Two Robust Joomla Classified Ads Components
Many people consider using Joomla! to create a classified ads website or to expand functionalities of an already existing portal. There is such a possibility of course, and the Joomla Extension Directory (JED) offers at least a dozen components to use. However, there are only a few dynamically developing solutions worth recommending.
Many of you have faced a dilemma which of the components to choose as the best alternative for an advertisement portal. When it comes to that type of extension, I find DJ-Classifieds and AdsManager to be very good.
At a first glance it seems that AdsManager and DJ-Classifieds are very similar, and the only determinant of choice can be the price. Still, it's worth considering what is really important for your advertisement portal and consider all the "pros and cons" of each component.
To help you decide which one to choose, I listed both components in the table below. All the information comes from the official websites of developers and the JED directory.
If you are thinking of a professional classified ads portal I encourage you to carefully examine the content of the table below.
It should be emphasized that AdsManager has a free version of the component, which makes it more accessible to users; however, its functionality is limited. It’s also worth remembering that the developer doesn't support free version. If you consider purchasing a license for AdsManager, have in mind that cost and functionality of the component depend on the license type, which also determines the period for which the component is purchased.
The most expensive license costs 99 EUR and it is valid for 12 months. Only this version gives access to all the available component functionalities offered by the developer. Licenses purchased for a shorter period of time have limited functionalities and this might be of importance when deciding which component to choose. It is worth making a list of all the essential functionalities for the portal before making a conclusive decision.
DJ-Classifieds is only available as a commercial component, where the cost of a license for the period of six months is $75, and the annual license is $110. Both versions have the same functionalities. Regardless of the type of license you purchase, DJ-Extensions provides component functionalities without restrictions and its support is handy. If you need to use any option you don't have to wonder whether you have subscribed to the relevant license, as in the case of AdsManager license policy.
It is worth pointing out that both developers provide updates to their components during the whole license period, which is a big plus. There is no need to worry about the necessity of a new license purchase each time a component is extended. However, AdsManager clients should check if the update introduced by the developer applies to all or only the selected version of the license. It must be remembered that the licenses bought for a period shorter than 12 months will not give you access to all the functionalities of AdsManager.
If you still do not know which extension to choose, make your own list of pros and cons. Every website, as well as every user, is different, so a comparison of the components and selecting the best one is not easy. For this reason, I made my own list of pros and cons for these components.
In my opinion, a great advantage of DJ-Extensions is a simple licensing system. When buying the license you get all the functionalities of the extension, regardless of the license period. AdsManager developer offers Bronze, Silver and Gold packages, depending on both the price and the period for which they are purchased. Such a solution can make the customer confused. A rash decision and making a wrong choice can cause additional costs. Although I believe that the free version of the component is a big advantage of AdsManager, it shows only a sample of the component possibilities, too limited for many classifieds portal types.
Both components have as an essential element of the functionalities: the search module and additional custom fields. This is a very important part of any type of ads portal because with them we can design a dedicated form for each category. For example, automotive category should define additional fields such as mileage and engine capacity, and real estate ads require such fields as the surface or the floor on which the flat is located.
The combination of search engine and additional defined fields is a very interesting solution in AdsManager. All the additional fields and their assignment to basic or advanced search may be defined by administrator on a component-level. Administrator can control wherein basic or advanced search engine will search a phrase.
In my opinion, the interface designed for AdsManager is more user-friendly than in the DJ-Classifieds. In case of the second component every additional field to be used by a search engine has to be configured separately by checking Yes/No boxes. Below you may find a screenshot presenting solutions implemented in AdsManager. In DJ-Classifieds it is a “select” field on the card of each additional field.
When designing a new portal we may not realize that the admin panel appearance is important. If you plan to create an extended advertisement portal, DJ-Classifieds offers you better and far more intuitive back-end. Component control panel is clear and easy to read. Even with a huge amount of ads, navigation is not a problem. The icons in the navigation menu help you navigate and make the interface more friendly for the average user, which may not be said about AdsManager.
The navigation menu is located on the right and the settings are arranged in tabs in the center of the backend. Such unintuitive solution may cause more trouble and slow down the work. The comparison is presented on the screen below. First picture shows the backend of DJ-Classifieds and next picture shows AdsManager backend.
DJ-Classifieds introduced a very interesting and innovative functionality, namely auctions. This component provides basic elements of an auction service such as possibility of setting a minimal sales price or minimal bid increase. Giving a user ability to sell his item on auction gives DJ-Classifieds a huge advantage over competing portals and significantly expands capabilities of advertisement portal itself. AdsManager does not give such opportunities.
The range of integration with social networking is always individualized, therefore I will not draw a comparison at this point. AdsManager gives users a built-in plugin that displays social buttons with no possibility of expansion. DJ-Classifieds is integrated with Addthis. The platform itself is much more powerful. It gives the ability to analyze shared content and integrate popular comments with a very popular comment system - DISQUS.
External extensions integration is also a very important issue. As the table above suggests, DJ-Classifieds enables integration with more external components. This allows to expand the functionality of the portal on a larger scale than with the use of AdsManager. Same conclusions according to the payment methods. DJ-Extensions component gives administrator more possibilities, but remember to check if the chosen payment method is serviced in the country your buyers are located. DJ-Classifieds offers payment plugins typical for his home country - Poland.
None of above components should cause you any trouble with SEO. AdsManager and DJ-Classifieds support short urls, which is of great importance when search engine optimizing the portal. What has to be remembered is that AdsManager supports integration with paid extension sh404SEF and that solution generates additional costs, while DJ-Classifieds is integrated with a free component ArtioJoomsef.
To sum up, in my subjective opinion, both components have comparable functionalities. For people who are serious about creating an advertisement and/or auction portal as well as want to create a functional and user-friendly service, DJ-Classifieds is the best solution. Its license price is lower while its functionality and integration with other components presents a high level. I would offer using AdsManager in free version for non-profit projects, because the cost of the license is inadequate to the offered functionality.
Let me know in comment if you think I missed any feature.
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