Using Joomla as a WordPress Style Blog – Pro’s and Con’s

The other day, I decided to add a Blog feature to my Joomla website. I have some web designer friends that think you can do ANYTHING with Joomla. While can do a lot, I’m finding that there are limits. Warning: these ‘limits’ may just be my own personality flaws?

My goal was to add a Travel Tips Blog to my Australian Accommodation and Travel website. The main goal of this website is to offer easy to navigation of Travel and Accommodation information about Australia. Sort of a hierarchical layout > Country > State > Town > Business Listings.

Joomla, with an extension called JZine, has made that pretty easy, but I found it did not suite my goal of discussing travel tips, events, shows, news, etc. I use WordPress a lot, and Word Press would be great for Travel Tips, but then WordPress is not as easy as Joomla for managing the business listings. Of course, I want both.

Joomla Does Have A Blog-like Solution

Changing the Item Type to Blog for Menus in JoomlaUsing the ‘Joomla can do anything mindset‘; I quickly discovered there are some features in native Joomla that will make it like a Blog. When you set up a new Menu, you have choices for Changing the Menu Item Type.

There were 3 options for Articles:

  • Category Blog Layout
  • Front Page Blog Layout
  • Section Blog Layout

I decided to use the ‘Section’ option because it would allow me to have Blog Posts that could be divided into posts sub-categories. Then, I needed to create a new Section and Categories for each State.

Joomla Menu Settings that control Blog LayoutOnce I had the Sections and Categories set up, I went back to the Menu and selected the Section in Parameters (Basic). Here you can also set attributes that control how posts display. For example, I wanted to display 4 posts and then go to a new page. You also need to question whether you want to display all the Titles and whether you want them to be clickable links.

Once the structure was set up, then all I needed to do to make a new post to my Australian Travel Tips Blog was to write a new Article and assign it to the correct Section and Category. Then, it automatically inserts into the Blog.

In the end, my Joomla website looked like a Blog and I kinda got what I wanted….

Joomla is Not WordPress

Okay, while it looks like a Blog, it is still lacking something. The other reason I wanted to have a Blog was the fact that WordPress is so good at SEO. You can add a new Post on WordPress and it will be indexed by Google in a few minutes. The same is not true for Articles made in Joomla.

There are options to add Joomla Extensions like WordPress for Joomla! by corePHP. I tried that once and had some bad experiences where it stopped working. While it worked, you could go to Components and open something that looked just like the WordPress Dashboard. corePHP looked and acted a lot like WordPress, but I never got to use it fully as the client was not very interested in making posts.

So, this time around, I was faced with trying WordPress for Joomla again but decided not to pay the $69 because I wasn’t so happy the first time. There are other Joomla Extensions that also claim WordPress features, but in the end I think they are just focus on layout where as WordPress is all about SEO and comment management, pings and track-backs.

In the end, I’m not 100% happy with results, but I need the Joomla functions and I already had 100’s of pages created so switching was out of the question. If anyone has better ideas, I would be happy to hear them. Certainly Joomla changes quickly and there are so many Joomla Extensions that one day something will be available that does everything.

About Mark

Founder of Web Reservation Systems, focused on helping businesses in the Australian Accommodation travel sector get more value from Internet Marketing. Originally, we opened up in 2001 as a supplier of Front Office Software linked to Online Booking facilities. That allowed motels and hotels to add booking buttons to their websites as well as sell through Global Distribution Systems. You could say this was an early 'Channel Manager' because it allowed the property manager to simply control price and availability for a diverse array of wholesale and retails websites. Next, we started building websites to profile our customers (Australian Holiday Guide). That lead to building websites for customers as a favour. Now do about 80 websites a year using BurgundySky and Joomla. For small businesses I recommend using BurgundySky as it is very easy to start and manage. Joomla is also great, but harder to install and maintain for a small business. Our web design business is based in Byron Bay, NSW. Byron Bay is a great place to live and work. I have 2 kids (15 and 17) who are both born here and my wife, Shobhan Oliver) is a successful artist.
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