In many ways, today’s marketers are blessed to have so much choice when it comes to the content management systems they use for their websites. There’s a ton of off-the-shelf software available that’s designed to make it easier than ever before to build powerful content sites and ecommerce stores, with no need to manually code every page from scratch.
When it comes to ecommerce, two of the giants in the industry are Joomla and Magento, which helps us to cut down the available options and to focus on just the two of them. But which is better? Let’s find out.
What is Magento?
Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform that’s gained a huge amount of popularity thanks to its versatility and its strong community. One of the benefits of being an open source platform is that there’s no need for them to try to squeeze everything into the core software. Instead, they throw open the source code and allow third-party developers to build their own plugins and themes.
If you’re familiar with WordPress then it can help to think of Magento as the WordPress of ecommerce. It uses a similar operating model and has a similar market share, at least amongst ecommerce stores, and it’s also pretty easy to pick up and start using if you’re a beginner while still offering a ton of functionality to more advanced users who want to customise and more tightly control their ecommerce site.
All of this combines to make Magento one of the more versatile choices for an ecommerce content management system, and it’s a pretty good pick for a default that you can fall back on if you check out the other providers and can’t find one that takes your fancy and ticks your boxes.
Pros and cons of Magento
Open source software has the advantage of being free, although there are downsides too. While Magento itself is pretty secure, it also has a big bullseye painted on to it. That’s because hackers know that if they find a weakness in one Magento store, the same weakness is generally present in all of them.
At the same time, its huge number of users means that there are also a ton of white hat hackers who are looking to improve the software and to solve any security weaknesses they find before they become a problem. Smaller, closed source CMSs, don’t have that option.
As a general rule, Magento is usually the best option if you’re looking for customisation and ease of use, and you’re likely to find that most ecommerce professionals are already familiar with it. If you’re more worried about security or you want to develop your own proprietary ecommerce CMS, you might need to look elsewhere.
Who needs Magento?
Magento is interesting because it has something to offer to everyone. In particular though, it’s a good choice for those who don’t have a huge amount of budget but who want to create a professional quality ecommerce store.
The great thing about Magento is that as well as the software itself being free, so too are many of the third-party themes and plugins that are available to it. That means that you can build a complex ecommerce store without too much of a headache, and within a content management system that’s easy to wrap your head around. Best way is to hire Magento developers that can handle that.
Ultimately, its main selling point is that it’s the most cost efficient ecommerce CMS on the market. If money is no object than you’ll probably be able to either find or build something that’s more specific to your needs. But let’s face it, if money is no object then you’re in the minority.
What is Joomla?
Joomla is like Magento in that it’s an open source ecommerce platform, which means that the two of them have a similar set of advantages and disadvantages. Joomla is arguably the better of the two if you’re looking for something that runs smoothly and easily right from the first install, and Magento can start to throw up errors if you try to cram it full of too many themes and plugins.
Magento is arguably a little better when it comes to SEO functionality, especially once you start to add new plugins and functionality. Still, Joomla will do a pretty good job too, and there are other bonuses like its user-friendly admin interface, which is arguably the easiest of the two to wrap your head around, especially as a newbie.
As for speed and security, Joomla and Magento come out on pretty even footing, although both can get bloated if you don’t keep an eye on how many themes and plugins you’re using. The same holds true for mobile responsiveness, which comes as default on both platforms but which will ultimately depend upon which theme you go for. Seeing as mobile responsiveness should now be the default as opposed to something that’s nice to have, you’ll want to look for responsive themes as a default.
Pros and cons of Joomla
One of Joomla’s biggest pros is the fact that it’s relatively easy to publish blogs from it. As a general rule, ecommerce platforms tend to place such a strong emphasis on managing product listings and sales that they forget about content creation.
With Joomla, there’s no such problem, and you’re not going to need to install a bunch of plugins to get it working the way you want it to. This gives it an edge for ecommerce stores that are also content creation sites, especially when you’re looking to bring them more closely together and to display content that’s related to the products that are in stock.
Some people also have a personal preference for the way that Joomla handles user-generated content, and customer reviews in particular. As with most things, it’s a good idea to take a look around a few demo sites and to compare Joomla to other software providers to see which one works best for your own unique use case.
Who needs Joomla?
Joomla is probably the best choice for people who want more granular control over the look, feel and functionality of their website. In fact, that’s probably the reason why it has a lower market share than some of its competitors, most notably Magento. It’s just that little bit more specialised, despite also being nice and adaptable.
In particular, you’ll want to consider Joomla if you’re trying to build a hybrid website that mixes together both ecommerce and content management functionality. It’s one of those weird CMSs that doesn’t really fit into any one mould, allowing its users to shape it however they want to and working just as well for huge ecommerce sites as it does for small landing pages and personal blogs.
Joomla can also be easier for newbies to wrap their heads around, and it can cost less in the long run as you’re likely to need to spend less on development. If it’s performance that you’re after, though, then you might be better off going with Magento.
Conclusion : Joomla vs Magento
Ultimately, both Joomla and Magento are pretty solid choices if you’re looking to create an ecommerce website, and so it’s often more a matter of personal preference than of practicality. It can be as simple as identifying who’s going to maintain the site and asking them whether they have a preference or any prior experience with one or the other.
Still, the tips and tricks that we’ve shared today should be enough to get you started, and it’s true that there are certain situations in which you might want to use one over the other. The good news is that you now know everything you need to go ahead and make a decision. Good luck!