3 days ago, while in conversation with a large group of prominent WordPress users, I asked “What is the most powerful CMS plugin for WP on the market right now?”. Within hours, I got a lot of backlash from the community reassuring me that WordPress is already a CMS. To me, WordPress is very advanced & powerful blogging platform, but not quite a full fledged CMS, yet. However, WordPress codebase is built so that you can code any CMS features you want. It explains perfectly why WordPress has 29,873 plugins (at the time of writing), comparing to 7730 extensions of Joomla, and 14,764 modules of Drupal.
….amongst those 29,873 WordPress plugins, compared to Joomla, the number of advanced plugins like Kunena, Mosets Tree, K2, VirtueMart, Community Builder, JomSocial, EasySocial, SobiPro, EasyDiscuss are not to the figure that I was expecting, If I can categorize 50 Joomla extensions to an “Advanced” group, I would expect at least 200 (4x more) WordPress plugins of the same group. With the integration of advanced extensions, I have seen people use Joomla as an intranet, a social network, an inventory management, a governmental information portal and much more. So my question was trying to find such “unserved opportunities” that would benefit the WordPress Ecosystem.
I can understand how “provocative” WordPress folks may feel about the question in the group. However, I am one of a lucky few people who have the opportunity to work with the most 3 popular CMS in the world for the last 10 years. After meeting briefly with my Joomla, Drupal, WordPress teams, I decided now might be a good time to summarize how these 3 popular CMS systems are meeting common, everyday needs.
With a lot of thought, I’ve come up with 12 attributes I consider “Musts” in order to be classified as a true “CMS”. If you can think of others, please share them with me in the comment so I can add them to this post.
1. In a CMS, I need a Content Construction Kit.
Have you heard about Content Construction Ket (or CCK) in Joomla and Drupal? A CCK will help you manage multiple types of content in your CMS, e.g. the content of a video page is different from a photo essay.
With Drupal 7, apart from the core strengths like Content Types and Fields, Nodes, Taxonomy and so on, users can also choose other modules like Views, Ctools, Wysiwyg to customize the display of their content.
In Joomla, you can consider using some advanced content modelling systems which have been developed to extend the native content manager of Joomla. This is the full list of CCKs for Joomla. Or you can check out these famous names that we picked for you:
Out of the box, WordPress doesn’t have any of the above functionality but we can create our own CCK with the combination of custom post types, custom taxonomies and custom fields. If you are a developer and want to code your own custom post type, read this great post before getting started.
2. In a CMS, I need custom premade layouts, page options such as a product showcase, team page or pricing table.
This feature allows users add custom pages to display special content, for example: portfolio view can display multiple products; contact page will automatically add map section, without manually adding short code into content.
In Drupal, the combination of the famous Views module and Block visibility will give users multi-layout and featured pages. With Views, you can create multiple pages, blocks with various display types without knowledge of coding i.e. Custom Frontpage, Slideshow block, jCarousel block, Latest Comments and Custom Taxonomy Pag
By default, Joomla has multiple Views that help users create landing page, detail pages with diverse layout and styles. It’s easy to override those views, styles, structure of layout; or add more Views.
So Drupal has” Nodes” and Joomla has “Views”, what about WordPress?
Fortunately, WordPress is fully capable to do this with its powerful Page Template feature. Or if you want to create your own content structure style, Siteorigin Panels Page Builder, Aqua Page Builder or Visual Composer will take your idea into reality at no cost.
Page option, premade layout are the key things of web design. And the amazing thing for WordPress, Joomla and Drupal is the active development of theme/template Frameworks from 3rd party developers. I believe the number of templates/themes developed so far is greater than total of all WordPress+Joomla+Drupal plugins available. I myself have spent so much time on template Development that I should stop talking about it or I can never finish this post.
3. In a CMS, I need a good setup of User Management, Roles and Permission.
Roles and Capabilities are built-in features of WordPress. With these features, admin will define the Role and a set of tasks called Capabilities. WordPress has six pre-defined roles:
- Super Admin - Administrator - Editor - Author - Contributor - Subscribed
As a site owner you can manage Subscribers’ access to blog resources, view and comment, but cannot publish content; Contributor can write, publish, and edit published content. You can read more at Roles and Capabilities.
If you are not satisfied with the predefined Roles and Capabilities of WordPress, you can fully customize them using Advance Access Manager. Moreover, creating a brand new role can be done with User Role Editor.
In Joomla, we have Users management, Groups management and Permission management. Each group is assigned with one or more permissions. Each user can be members of multiple groups, so that they can have various permissions in the system.
Default user group tree in Joomla
- Super User
Default access levels in Joomla
- Guest - Public - Registered - Special - Super User
Drupal 7 manages users with Roles. Each Role will have multiple permissions according to the settings of admin. List below are the default roles of Drupal core:
- Anonymous User - Authenticated User - Administrator
Administrators can add more roles with different permissions as desired.
4. In a CMS, I normally have to provide customer support and community management.
The interaction between readers and the site owners are indispensable in CMS platforms.
A. Forum & Social Network
- Kurena extension (Forum)
- Discussions extension (Forum)
- EasySocial (Social Network)
- JomSocial (Social Network)
- [Module] Forum (Drupal 7 core)
- [Module] Advanced Forum
- [Module] Organic Group
- [Module] Shoutbox
- [Distribution] Drupal Commons
- [Distribution] Open Outreach
Major sites tend to utilise separate forum source code and then integrate it into WordPress via a bridge or similar. The favorite choice is PHPBB.
Helpdesk is not only for customer support but also serves as a forum, communication portal
C. Form & Survey
It’s very easy to find contact and customer survey application or forms packages for any of these three CMS
Contact Form 7 is the most popular plugins of WordPress, but it is the less advanced form plugins ever. That is an awesomeness of WordPress, the community & plugins development is driven by the users, by the simple usages, not the number of code lines.
5. In a CMS, I need a multi-languages website
Corporations needs to talk multi-languages, so do their websites.
With Joomla (from version 1.6 up), you can easily set up a multilingual site without third party extensions. The function was born in Joomla 1.6, and became more friendly and easier to use in Joomla 2.5. Starting from Joomla 3.x, it is integrated into the installation steps when setting up a Joomla site.
6. In a CMS, I may also need a shopping cart – ecommerce solution.
Magento and OpenCart are special CMS for e-commerce. But sometimes, all you need is a small customizable portion of e-commerce integrated into your existing system. WordPress has some popular e-commerce plugins that are well worth taking a look at.
Joomla is not dedicated to e-commerce, but transforming a Joomla site to an e-commerce platform is easy with many popular e-commerce extensions, here are but a few:
There are various solutions to e-commercialize a Drupal page. These two extensions are among the most popular ones with their own supporting communities.
7. In a CMS, I need a white label customize solution
A branded system is what templates and sites developer need. With help of these dedicated plugins, they will easily change the WordPress branding system into what customers desire, like changing the login UI, customize the dashboard and much more besides,
8. In a CMS, I need post relationship solutions
This may be a drawback of WordPress comparing with other CMS. Post relationship is a flexible solution in content management, especially in dealing with large content source like online press. It links different articles together.
WordPress doesn’t have an official solution for post relationship management. There’s always room for improvement with your own experience in content management. Please refer to these post relationship plugins:
- Posts 2 Posts
- Relations Post Type
- EG Series
- Organize Series
- Simple Post Series with SEO
In post relationship, Joomla has many solutions, from Tag add ons to other modules like:
These modules allow you to display related articles in a category, with tag, meta keywords and so on. If you have a huge number of articles, you can just archive the old ones, the module “Archived articles” allows readers to re-visit them.
Drupal 7 core manages content with taxonomy but it’s very limited to display post relationship in a same article. However, you can extend this feature by combining contributed modules Similar by Terms and Views.
9. In a CMS, I need multimedia content management.
By default, WordPress Media Library manages your digital content (pictures, video, sound, files). Its disadvantage is that Media Library only manages separate files, and it doesn’t handle those digital assets professionally. So, If you need a media management solution, please refer to the below list:
- Enhanced Media Library
- Nextgen Gallery
- Media Manager Plus
- Image Pro
- Media Tags
- CM Download Manager
- WordPress Download Manager
- PB oEmbed HTML5 Audio
- Advanced Responsive Video Embedder
In Joomla, there are also various drawbacks in managing and displaying multimedia files. Joomla core only manages images and links, others are not supported. Managing files and folders are acceptable.
But that’s not an obstacle for Joomla users, because there are many strong extensions to help them manage their multimedia library and digital content:
Drupal 7 finds the same difficulty in managing and supporting multimedia assets. In each content type, admin can add Image field for writer to place images, but Drupal doesn’t gather all the files in one place, and it’s hard to reuse those uploaded assets. To enhance the capacity of Drupal in managing digital assets, consider installing these modules:
- IMCE: IMCE is an image/file uploader and browser that supports personal directories and quota.
- Media: extensible framework for managing files and multimedia assets
10. In a CMS, I need a total SEO – SEF solution.
SEO is now the standard of web development. WordPress is SEO friendly, as long as you follow these principles:
A. Make URL SEO Friendly
WordPress, by default, generates dynamic link like www.domain.com/?p=X, and this is considered not SEO friendly. Everyone should know how to rewrite the link and make it friendly through Settings -> Permanent link.
Things are easier in Joomla. Just come to System >> Global Configuration >> SEO settings and enable the option ‘Search Engine Friendly URLs’
In Drupal, you can turn on Clean URLs option by entering Configuration >> Search and Metadata.
B. Use a SEO Friendly theme
Choosing a SEO friendly theme is very important, it affects directly the data crawling process of search engine.
You can develop a SEO friendly theme using the best frameworks out there like Hybrid Framework, Roots, Genesis Framework, Thesis Framework, Canva Framework.
C. Use plugin for SEO
WordPress toolbox contains multiple SEO plugins. you can fully customize title, description, rich snippets – schema.org, generate sitemap and optimize keyword
- WP SEO by Yoast
- SEOPressor (Premium)
- XML Google Sitemaps
- Easy WP SEO (Premium)
- All in One SEO Pack
- SEO Smart Link
- WP Social (for Social & Rich Snippets)
- SEO Friendly Image
- WP External Link
You can use SEO features from the Joomla core like alias, meta keyword, meta description, robot URL rewriting, Add suffixes to URL and so on. Also, please refer to these extensions when it comes to SEO in Joomla:
These modules will take your SEO efforts in Drupal to a new level:
11. In a CMS, I need a multi-author workflow solution.
A CMS combines the work of multiple authors, and helps them working together flawlessly without any drawbacks.
WordPress is quite competent with its Roles and Capabilities feature. You can add one of these plugins to manage a multi-author workflow:
- Edit Flow
- Good Writer Checkify
- Co-Author Plus
- Audit Trail
- Advanced Author Bio
- Peter’s Post Notes
- Private Messages For WordPress
- Author Advertising Plugin
Not as powerful as WordPress, but Joomla 2.5+ and 3 are already providing a superb solution for multi-author workflow. Versioning since Joomla 3,2 allows various authors working on a same article, and it records every change on those articles. With Versioning, you can estimate the contribution of each author, and content management is trouble free with backup and restore.
Meanwhile, Drupal 7 comes with a basic revisioning solution. Multiple contributors can work on the a same document, comment and review every little thing they edited.
And if you’re not satisfied with the basic solution, dive into these modules for a better experience:
12. In a CMS, I need a Social Media connection solution
Now is the time of Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin are channels that no one can overlook.
You can cleverly leverage the power of social media by incorporating them into your CMS with these plugins:
- Digg Digg
- Next Scripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster
- Social Login, Social Sharing, Social Commenting and more!
- Super Socializer
- Social Gallery Lite
- WP Social SEO Booster
To socialize Joomla content, you can use a service like AddThis, ShareThis or install these third party plugins:
In addition to get more traffic from social channels, you can also auto-import content from social networks and display them beautifully on your site with JA Social Feed.
Drupal has gone social with these solutions, what’s your pick?!
Each CMS has its strengths and weaknesses and has its own eco-system with supported plugins and extensions. I am more on the Development side of WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and don’t have many chance to be a real user. I believe the list here is far from complete, please correct me if I miss any.
So to all the WordPress geeks, join the discussion in comment and help me fulfill the list. I may try to bring some Drupal nerds from ThemeBrain.com and Joomla Guru from JoomlArt.com to take a look here as well.