Joomla

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Can i use joomla for ecommerce?

Is their open source, user developed platform efficient for constructing Online Marketplaces?

Joomla is a content management system that has been used for ecommerce over the past decade.  It’s prevalence as a content management system has diminished in the past few years with the emergence of more flexible and user oriented systems with simple backends such as BigCommerce and Shopify, whom are the current industry leaders. 

A CMS is essentially the warehouse that stores all of the data for your website and makes it accessible to visitors. This means, that almost all of your images, prices, shipping information and more is hosted in the software in an organized fashion.  The ability of your CMS to be effective is dependent on the intention of your website.  Some CMS are oriented exclusively to presenting information in a clean and well designed minimalist setting focusing on text. Other CMS are oriented toward e-commerce and the focus is on organizing products for ease of purchase.

The major point of using a CMS is that unlike building a site completely from scratch, it requires no advanced technical or coding knowledge.  Depending on the CMS the ease of use and learning curve is dramatically lessened. It also enhances the options for the non technically savvy to be able to create and customize their website to their liking.

 

Drawbacks

While “Joomla!” allows for powerful websites capable of handling traffic and managing content, we’ve explored the problems with open source hosting services before. Riddled with security issues, “Joomla!” doesn’t have many systems in place to prevent hacking, meaning your entire livelihood can be taken from you if you’re not careful. While not as popular as WordPress, “Joomla!” users still have to look out for the occasional hacker, a threat not common among E-Commerce providers.

Even more like WordPress, “Joomla!” seems to better supports blogs, newspapers, government websites and other “content-driven” pages. Their CMS means that these specific niches are their specialty as their software is designed to organize massive amounts of content. However, “Joomla!” wasn’t designed as a platform for e-commerce and while they boast some options in Framework, it’s clear that the only reason it was implemented was because the developers thought it was necessary to adjust their platform to the times.

Many of the most popular and widely visited pages on the web are online marketplaces, as the world of sales transitioned onto the internet. Because of this, domain providers and hosts have moved to include E-Commerce systems in their packages, without considering the software they’re working with.

Furthermore, “Joomla!” is somewhat complex, making customization rather difficult if you don’t have experience in web design. Though they claim to promote ease of access, their CMS is a little difficult to maneuver through considering the wide expanse of information, and it’s hard to pick up the interface, boasting a more rudimentary and old school design that makes designing a specific webpage kind of difficult.

The advanced nature of their layout shows in the lack of add-ons and extra features they have for their system. PHP is one of the more difficult coding languages to learn, so not many people have the knowhow to make the platform better. While many open source providers have add-ons that allow for engagement in E-Commerce and better ways to facilitate transactions, “Joomla!” comes with “integrated E-Commerce sites”, not allowing you to select from a variety of different E-Commerce options like WordPress.

Plus, the service doesn’t account for scalability at all, crashing when traffic reaches a certain point and lagging whenever your marketplace begins to hold more visitors than it’s geared for. This is a ridiculous problem for an online marketplace to face. No merchant wants their business to be hindered by something they’ve already paid for.

What’s worse is that if you do encounter a problem with your interface, there’s no support for assistance. All “Joomla!” offers is a forum of sorts, a community of users who have faced similar problems in the past and are willing to offer solutions. While the camaraderie is nice and getting assistance from other users, rather than experts, can be more informative, the lack of support is sloppy and without a security system in place to protect your marketplace, there are going to be many times when you need help with something and you won’t get it.

In terms of marketing capabilities, “Joomla!” is wholly mediocre. Besides the CMS, nothing in particular really stands out about its services, even as a typical web provider. For a merchant trying to build an online marketplace, there are scores of better options. Even WordPress beats it out for best blogging platform because of its wide spread popularity and aesthetic interface. But the only reason this is a thing is because “Joomla!” is using their CMS to compensate for the lack of other systems.

 

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