WordPress and Joomla are without a doubt the two most popular Content Management Systems out there. In fact, they are so popular you will find that many top websites out there will use a form of at least one of them in some way. The great thing is; they are both free. If you are developing a website then it is likely you are going to need to determine which one will be right for your needs.
As I mentioned previously; both of these are content management systems. This means that you will be able to manage everything on your site through a simple control panel. They are quite easy to use (more on that soon) and both tend to have a lot of customizability.
Perhaps the main reason as to why people swing towards the idea of using WordPress is the fact that it has been developed with beginners in mind. Honestly, anybody with a basic idea of how computers work will be able to play about with the system to make it work for them. In most cases it is simply a case of typing in a bit of text and pressing post. The menus are fairly easy to navigate about. In my opinion, and the opinion of many others, Joomla is a bit tougher to navigate without some training. It is not completely impossible to learn. In fact, once you get started it is pretty easy. To understand some of the more ‘technical’ features may take a bit of time though.
Many people suggest going down the Joomla route if you are a developer as it is likely you will have to encounter some of its code at some point. You are really going to want to have a solid understanding of it. You do not have to worry about that with WordPress. You could use it for years without ever having to see a line of code. The plus side of Joomla though is that it will allow you to make small customizations easily. It can be a little bit difficult with WordPress.
Perhaps the main strength of content management systems like this is the fact that you have thousands of Plugins out there. A plugin is a small piece of code which allows you to add additional features to your system (they are easy to install on both platforms). The popularity of WordPress means that there are thousands more plugins available than with Joomla. There are still a lot for Joomla though and unless you are looking to do something crazy you should find something you need.
Finally, templates are important. You are obviously going to want to veer away from the look of the ‘stock’ installation. Again, there are thousands of templates for WordPress out there, however, I am sure there will be many a Joomla template that you will love.
So, which route should you go down? Well, I urge you to try out both systems. You should get a feel for how each of them works. You can then make your decision based upon this.