Who is article for? Web developers, webmasters or even tech-minded entrepreneurs can benefit from this article. In fact anyone considering using the platforms mentioned. You're faced with a difficult choice Joomla or Wordpress?
Congratulations I already think you achieved a lot to get this far. Either CMS will make an excellent choice.
Wordpress has a complication that you might not or at least should be aware of. There are 2 ways that you can have Wordpress.
This is the Wordpress that you will host on your own server with your own MySQL database. It runs using PHP on Apache server. To that end you have full control of the content and backend settings. You will need to have many more skills to setup and run a Wordpress site than the OTHER Wordpress variant. You will need to also manage backups and update the software yourself. Once up and running however the skills needed are much less reduced and then start to mirror the OTHER Wordpress variant. However you should still update the code to prevent hacking and clear out webspam.
A bit about the license - Wordpress is GPLv2 firstly.
"The license under which the Wordpress software is released is the GPLv2 (or later) from the Free Software Foundation. A copy of the license is included with every copy of Wordpress, but you can also read the text of the license here." Source wordpress.org
To you and me this means you can use it for free and don't have to pay for it but the "free" is more about freedom to modify and distribute it. However if you do that you need to enforce the freedom to the people you distribute it to. What you can't do is sell Wordpress code or modified Wordpress code under a different license even if you modify it.
Wordpress.com host your Wordpress site for you and handle a lot of the server tasks that could ruin your plans for a great website. Seriously get some professional help if you want to control the site and you are daunted by setting up a database user for example. I fully recommend this easy approach and on a cost basis if you factor in they also host the site the basic plan is great it allows you to have your own domain name. It's a myth that you can't fully customise a template as well.
When not to use wordpress.com hosted site?
If you need to embed specialist advertising for example or sell products.
So that's the difference between the two versions of wordpress. The .com is a far easier solution and if you are looking for a hosted website then I would recommend this solution because of the out of the box SEO benefits.
Originally a fork from Mambo [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mambo_(software)] Joomla has stayed the course. A massive version increment from 2.5x to 3 saw the platform start to get easier to use and administer. It was also developed with mobile first in mind.
All systems can be administered from mobile if you are wondering.
Yes Joomla is more powerful in a sense but both could have custom code plugins written to do anything that PHP can do. One big difference is ACL in joomla is particularly impressive. You might find this useful if you have a quite large org and you want different people to have different levels of access. This adds power at the cost of complexity and is a classic example of do you really need it ?
Joomla requires some serious understanding of SEO and some tweaks and menu setup to rank well. It is my main issue with the platform and the support is less good at the high end though fine for you (the support that is) most likely. The SEO issues should not be ignored – building a great website and not getting visitors is no fun. I had a few poorly setup joomla menu systems, they were logical to the ordered mind but not for SEO.
Editor's note: If starting a new Joomla build from the publish date of this (late 2020) your urls will be much more friendly OOTB
As a user/developer with both I can say that if the website is for a smaller client who would like to blog and have a few static pages then Wordpress is fine in either format .com or .org. In fact nothing blogs better than wordpress. If you do run joomla and want to run a blog then consider easy blog. But if you feel you will need a specific component such an e-commerce tool or social tool then Joomla has some great extensions that allow you to build communities better than Wordpress can. I wouldn't try building a community these days unless you have a ton of willing members already from say an actual club.
In practise I wouldn't say that either site was faster but wordpress.org sites are AMP ready !
It is sad for me to say (as I started with Mambo) it but if you are needing to read this article then go for one of the two Wordpress variants.
Still not sure? Take a look at this infographic but note my disagreements on the following points:
The Wordpress community vs Joomla is actually better. Both are adequate if you go for a paid wordpress.com solution you have live chat that is very effective and another vote for that system.
The third bubble down on the left suggests that Wordpress is less capable than joomla for an e-commerce site and some other points. Ignore that Bubble entirely!
Second bubble on right side for wordpress – BOTH Joomla and Wordpress can be customised accordingly.
4th bubble down on right – again I say BOTH have a very good selection of plugins.