Check out the infographic below, which highlights some differentiating characteristics between the two CMS’s.
While both Joomla and WordPress can be used to create an amazing website, they present some differences (and similarities) in usability. In addition to the above infographic, here’s a brief explanation of some usability differences between the two.
WordPress Themes Vs. Joomla Templates
Both Joomla and WordPress contain a good number of themes and templates* that allow you to design and customize your site. There are thousands of themes on WordPress’ end, but with Joomla it’s more difficult to tell and nobody seems to have an answer to the exact number on either platform.
You can get free and premium themes/templates with both platforms. In contrast to WordPress, Joomla presents two sorts of templates (front-end and back-end).
Both CMS’s are easy to customize, with WordPress themes being a tad bit easier to install in the click of a button. With Joomla you have to download the template, upload it to your template directory and then make it the default one.
Joomla templates are more versatile and can be easily adjusted to the project in hand. WordPress themes are created with a specific project in mind, thus requiring more attention before selection.
Both CMS’s allow you to add multiple themes/templates within a single site. WordPress makes this task easier through plugins.
*Note that templates exist in WordPress, but serve a different purpose than Joomla’s templates. WordPress templates act as a blueprint to a theme.
WordPress Plugins Vs. Joomla Extensions
There are more than 40,000 plugins in the WordPress Plugin Repository. Plugins help extend the functionality of your site; the equivalent to plugins in WordPress are extensions in Joomla. There are 8,500-plus extensions you can use with Joomla to extend its functionality.
WordPress vastly exceeds Joomla in the number of plugins it contains (in comparison to extensions), although it’s important to note that many WordPress plugins have not been updated in a long time.
Joomla breaks its extensions down into three categories: plugins, modules, and components. This makes it easier to find an extension based on function. WordPress, however, groups all of its plugins together, giving no clear distinction in category.
Installing a plugin in WordPress is easy — simply download it and activate it. You can then edit the plugin’s actual code to adjust it to your preferences.
With Joomla, it’s a little bit more tedious to install an extension. You must download it and then upload the extension using the extension manager. Depending on if editing is allowed, you can then customize an extension’s code.
It’s easier to search for plugins in WordPress, whereas with Joomla you have to search for an extension outside of your Joomla installation.
WordPress Widgets Vs. Joomla Modules
Modification of sidebars can be achieved through widgets in WordPress and modules in Joomla.
WordPress widgets are responsible for generating small side-blocks in the sidebar that perform specific functions for the end user. Examples include categories, social icons, Google Maps, archives, testimonials, calendars, and more. You can drag and drop widgets to arrange them in the desired order. Depending on the theme you use, widgets may differ in how they appear.
Joomla’s modules are similar to widgets. They can be arranged as a list (although not by drag and drop) and include functions like ratings, social icons, weather, photo slideshows, and more. You can arrange modules by clicking them on/off and set the order in which they appear by manually numbering them.
It takes more time to arrange modules in Joomla, whereas widgets contain an intuitive drag and drop functionality, making it easier to set them up the way you want.
That’s just a scope of the differences between these two CMS’s. Want to know more about the differences between WordPress and Joomla? Check out this in-depth white paper, which goes into detail and compares the two based on user-friendliness, extendability, SEO, translation and localization, security, and more.