[How did I begin with Joomla] Episode 3: Joomla is better than WordPress!
Welcome back to the series “How did I begin with Joomla”!
This month, I am happy to bring you a helpful interview with Christopher Wagner, an active and key member at joomla.de which is an official website for Joomla community in Germany. Chris is an online marketer and technical SEO expert. In this interview, he shared with us some tips to improve Joomla SEO performance and his plan to “make Joomla sexier” .
Do you remember the first time when you "met" Joomla? What is the best impresision?
I started my journey with Joomla! in 2007, when Joomla! 1.5 was current and my student fraternity needed a new website and a place where to exchange information internally to organize things. What we needed was a solid user management, some internal web pages with information and, of course, a forum.
Using phpBB3 was the option I decided for – in combination with a login bridge. The system was used for 5 more years. In the meantime, I decided for being a professional Online Marketeer and SEO – doing that with Joomla! is my field of expertise along with the optimization of online shops.
For smaller customers, my team and I like to use Joomla because it is easy to handle and very fast if you know how to configure it.
Did Joomla bring you any trouble at the first time?
Many of the troubles when first using Joomla! were connected to having to learn about servers, databases and PHP itself. Over time, I was able to connect to a rich and helpful community that was always open for questions. JoomlaShine, as one of my favorite template providers, included!
Do you have any advice for a Joomla newbie to help them get started with Joomla easier?
Go to the JUG (Joomla User Group) in your region or start one, if you have the chance! Have a look at the public forums. Buy extensions with premium support – that will help you most likely in a lot of instances.
You are running SEO service and you choose Joomla to build your website. Why do you choose Joomla to stick with?
Yes – as mentioned, our smaller customers all use Joomla! due to its rich extension culture, helping us to deliver tailored solutions for them.
Having dealt with Joomla! for years, made my team and I gain a lot of experience in the server-side technical optimization measures with Joomla!. Also, security and code cleanliness is an issue to us. From experience, we can say that Joomla!-systems tend to be safer if managed correctly than WordPress installations for example.
The SEO features of Joomla! could need a new router – which will luckily be provided in Joomla! 3.6. Other than that, there are many extensions that can be used to deal with SEO. sh404SEF is one of the ones that I like. I use JCH-Optimize for speed optimizations and sh404SEF for url optimization. Along that, I often optimize pages by crawling them manually with the ScreamingFrog SEO Spider or other tools that come in handy. The Frog allows you to crawl 500 urls for free, by the way.
In general, I would like the SEO features to be a little bit more part of the core of Joomla!. Next to that, a better cache-recache organization (core wise) would be helpful to have pages that are fast when first opened.
As many of the core developers are close to us in Cologne or Germany in general, we believe there could be changes coming in the foreseeable future!
Do you have any tip to share about Joomla search engine optimization?
One of Joomla!’s problems in optimization for search engines is that you have to be really careful which pages you want in the index and which not. Ideally, you have one page that deals with exactly one keyword and its semantic close words (also proof keywords). If you push too many useless pages into the index, this hurts quality scores of your page.
To check, if really the pages are in index that I want, I often go to Google and enter “site:[yourdomain]” to let Google show my which pages are in index. If there are useless pages (no keyword focus, not good as a landing page for the user), I tend to delete or noindex-follow or status code 410 (gone) them.
* One useful tip from Chris: Limit Google indexed pages using sh404SEF
I’ve heard that you have a plan to contribute to Joomla community, could you please tell us more?
Right now, we are preparing to improve the technical SEO part of www.joomla.de – there are a lot of things to do. We are also discussing about “making Joomla! sexier” to first time users. JandBeyond will be happening in Barcelona soon (http://jandbeyond.org/). And there will be much time to discuss with developers what we can all do to create better and cleaner webpages from the perspective of a search engine. Internally, we have been discussing in Germany, how to move forward with making Joomla! easier to handle and improve it from a marketing perspective.
WordPress is one of our big competitors and we need to move quickly to stay sexy, easy to handle and work like a charm from a SEO and usability perspective. We believe that there is a lot we can do next to our professions to help more users see the amazing benefits of the Joomla!-community.
Thank you for the interview and the great tips, Chris. I’m sure Joomlers will enjoy your tips.
How did you begin with Joomla?
With this series, I hope that you can learn some tips about using Joomla as well as connect to Joomla community better. Interested in this series? Feel free to share it to your friends.