Whether you’re looking to launch your brand’s first site or you want to overhaul an existing one, you’ll want to have a strong content management system at your back. While WordPress is a great system for blogging and regularly updated content, two of the hottest platforms for more static company websites are Joomla and ExpressionEngine.

Both systems have solid core features and the potential for serious customization. So which one is your best option? Take a look at our comparison below to help you decide on a platform that will best fit your company and your goals.

Pros for Joomla

The major benefit of Joomla is that it’s open-source software; the platform is free to download and use. Also, it means you can access hundreds of extensions, plugins and modules to get the exact look you want for your website, and if you have a developer on staff or contract you can customize it at its deepest levels.

The system’s core features include several noteworthy functions that could make it a good choice. For instance, the language manager makes it easy to build multilingual websites. Also, the combination of internal features and add-ons can give your website a lot of power. Joomla is powerful enough to support an extension that runs WordPress right from within your website CMS. Joomla isn’t exclusively for hefty applications; it’s still a good bet for smaller projects too.

Cons for Joomla

For a seasoned developer, Joomla is a straightforward system to install, administer, and create a website. However, it’s complex enough that a business owner probably won’t be able to sit down and build a site alone. Also, after your website is finished, the platform may still be tricky to maintain. All that customization requires upkeep, and the management of a Joomla site may be beyond the scope of a casual techie — someone with coding experience may be needed at some point.

Joomla also has fewer themes available as a base for your website, as compared with other platforms. It can require hunting through the many open-source products to find a good theme that fits your desired outcome.

Pros for ExpressionEngine

Although ExpressionEngine is a paid product, it began as an open-source application. That means there’s lots of potential for customization and flexibility through thousands of add-ons. It allows a high level of control and finesse for the website’s developer, and it’s a strong choice for more complex projects.

The community for ExpressionEngine is also very large, and users of the system have extensive support for any problems — a big advantage of the pay-to-use model. Even the platform’s creators are available for troubleshooting, so we’re talking about enterprise-level support. You won’t get that with Joomla. A look at ExpressionEngine’s own website shows a list of many high-profile clients using the system, so it has the added benefit of a very strong professional reputation.

Cons for ExpressionEngine

The price tag could be enough to turn away many smaller businesses. The full commercial product costs nearly $300. After that, you’ll likely have additional costs for licenses and add-ons. If you’re looking for a very basic website, this platform may have too many bells and whistles to justify the price.

In contrast to Joomla and its myriad options for extensions, ExpressionEngine’s offerings for add-ons are more minimal. If you want something that cannot be done within the platform’s flexible core features, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to find it. That might mean more expense as you contract or hire a developer to build what you need.

Which Should You Use?

If you have the funds, ExpressionEngine has better usability, support, and reputation. Remember that a solid, beautiful website can pay for itself if it drives sales to your business. Be sure to think about these costs as long-term investments. However, for any business working on a shoestring budget, Joomla is more promising.

Either platform would likely require you to contract a developer for at least some of the work, since both have a fairly high barrier to entry. For a website that looks and behaves top notch, you’ll almost certainly need to set aside money for professional development help.

With either system, you’ll want to have a clear set of goals for what the website will do for your company and your customers. Joomla will almost certainly have add-ons to fit all the functionalities you want, but you may be able to create your ideal site within the existing framework of ExpressionEngine. Make your choice based on the platform that’s best equipped to provide the outcome you want for your company’s website.

Which of these CMS platforms do you use? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credits: Jerry Bunkers, fsse8info, Victor1558]