Website Redesign


After some months of not having much time to devote to this site, I'm finally getting to some major improvements.

The first is to migrate from WordPress to Joomla. I've never been a big fan of WordPress, but for a while I hadn't bothered to explore a better alternative. Things came to a head a couple of days ago as I started to add some content to the site, and decided to pick a new WordPress theme. The one I had been using wasn't terrible, but I wanted the site to look more polished and less generic, and to have more control over appearance and content.

My experience with WordPress themes, particularly free ones, is that there are LOTS of them out there (hundreds or thousands), but most of them are pretty similar to each other. I tried about twenty different ones, and wasn't happy with the way any of them looked. Most free themes only allow you to customize certain pieces, and all the themes I tried had at least one glaring design issue that left me shaking my head. Besides these appearance issues, it had quickly become clear to me that WordPress just wasn't powerful enough to meet my needs. Though WordPress has come a long was as a CMS, deep down it's still blog software. It's not good, in my opinion, for fully-fledged websites with lots of non-blog content, but that feature a blog as one part of that content.

The obvious alternative was Joomla. I briefly considered Drupal, and it is certainly powerful, but it doesn't have a one-click install on Dreamhost (my hosting provider). I might still play around with a test installation of Drupal, but for now, Joomla seeks like the perfect place to start. It gives me much more control than Wordpress, but is still easy to configure. Setting up Joomla on Dreamhost is easy! I had to enter my database credentials (available from the wp-config.php file from my WordPress installation, or from the Dreamhost Control Panel). 

Installation and initial setup took perhaps an hour, maybe less - again, not quite as easy as WordPress, but well worth a little extra time in order to gain much more control over my site appearance and content.

Even from a first glance, Joomla is obviously much more capable than WordPress. It took a couple hours of poking around in the backend to get a feel for the overall Joomla structure...