There will be many posts added in a very short time in the beginning of this blog. I will transfer most of the pages I had on my site managed by Joomla to the new WordPress site. It seems fitting, though, to have the first post be about the actual migration.
How WordPress is Better than Joomla
Bottom line up front: For the vast majority of people and organizations in 2023, WordPress is the clear choice to manage a website.
With the new block editor, WordPress has greatly improved the ease and simplicity with which anyone can create web pages. The amount of additional functionality you can add to your installation with plugins is just enormous. For example, if you want to include embed photo galleries you have at a third-party site, like Smugmug or Flickr, there are several items to choice from with WordPress and none with Joomla. The list goes on and on…
The simplicity of publishing a web page using WordPress vs. Joomla cannot be understated. You create the page you want in near What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get fashion, save a draft and or publish with one click. Using Joomla, you must create a separate entry in the Menu section in order for you page to go live. The fact that Joomla doesn’t default to “use the stuff I have entered already” as a menu item is mind numbing.
The support you can receive from various WordPress groups and companies is orders of magnitudes greater than you can find using Joomla. There are definitely groups where users try to be helpful, but the variety and volume is jut not there. There is an “official” Joomla users group that I got kicked out of (for life) for being a “spammer”. I honestly don’t know what I did, but I think I might have tried to answer another person’s question using one of my own web pages where I had worked it out(?) If you take a look at my site, and know that I have not sold anything on it, and was not even showing adds at the time, it really is kind of a joke how arbitrary and harsh it was. I asked for an explanation twice and both requests were ignored. This did make leaving that much more easier.
How Joomla is Better than WordPress
The biggest factor that made me use Joomla when I started with a Content Management System was the way it could handle sorting my photos into a folder structure. Still to this day, the media management in WordPress is surprisingly bad. I mean just awful. You can only sort things by dates or not at all. It’s just one big mess. Fortunately, in 2023 there is now a plugin available that lets you use “virtual” folders to sort your media (Filebird), which is good enough for now.
The other benefit most-touted as a benefit for Joomla is the base installation has significantly more functionality to it. For example, there are more security modules, ways to handle 301 redirects and back-end maintenance type stuff. Joomla is set up to be have more customization out of the box, but none of the benefits tempts me in the least to stick with it to create a website.
Joomla to WordPress Migration
There are a few plugins that claim they will migrate your site from Joomla to WordPress and, maybe if they were strictly text pages, they might work for a good amount of pages. For pages featuring photo galleries, I do not think you have a chance of automating anything.
Luckily, I have a local copy of all my photos that I have uploaded to my website and they are organized in a file structure that matches the site. These are the reduced photos with the watermarks on them. This allowed me to fairly quickly re-create the galleries. I chose the Kadence gallery software because I had purchased the use of their other software as well, but there are many choices that will give you fair results.
I used the Filebird Pro software to manage my photo uploads and this made it very easy to select just the photos I wanted for each gallery. For the text on the pages, I basically had to copy and paste my website page-by-page. I kept the original page in one browser tab and the editor in another tab and just went back and forth, selecting the appropriate WordPress block for each item. It was tedious, but not hard to do while watching a football game or something else with a lot of commercials.
The simplest way to maintain a website is to sign up for a service that does everything for you. If you are mainly a writer or podcaster, then substack.com is probably the best solution.
When I first investigated WordPress (maybe 2020?), there were three main competitors for “do it all” website creation services. I compared Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix. After a few days of trying a few sample pages on each one, I thought that Weebly was the best of the three, but I didn’t create any reviews.