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Joomla is one of the free CMS (Content Management Systems) that gathered a lot of users in the last few years. The number of websites created with Joomla is numbered in a few hundred thousands, so one can say it’s one of the most popular tools to create web sites. The next reasons are only a few why you shoold use Joomla for your website design. You only need a web server that handles php and a mysql database to install this CMS and, after configuring it, to have a functional website. Next you have to add some functions (using the components, modules and plugins) you need and select or create a Joomla theme.
It is user friendly and easy to learn
Even beginners are welcome to use this – it may take longer to find out about all its function but it’s easy to learn. It takes at most a few days to learn it all over. The CMS is rather big (especially when you never worked with other CMSs) because it’s under constant development for some years, but it’s easy to follow the modification made in time – there are availabe online various versions of Joomla.
If you want to make a presence online, with all the advantages and obligation that come from that, you have to get some necessary steps. Depending of your experience over internet they can be easy or they can be difficult, but with the appropriate help everything will be easy and you will only benefit from this activity.
Get your domain name
The first thing you need to do before anything else is to get yourself a domain name. Choose wisely because it’s going to represent you online and must define you: it can be your name, your trademark or business name or your field of activity.
Depending the Top Level Domain (TLDs) you choose (they have their own rules), you will have to pay an annual fee to a registrar for the right to use that domain name or you can buy it “for life” (until you die, the interne dies or you decide to delete it). In some situations you’ll have to buy similar domain name in order to prevent lose of clients or fraud, but you can find more information from tips for registering and choosing the domain name - read them and follow them.
There are a few steps you need to do if you want a website, you can find them here. After reserving the domain name you may want to design your own website instead hiring someone to do this job for you – the result depends of your webdesign skills. If you don’t want anything important, ust a presentation web site with a few static pages it’s ok to use HTML tags with CSS, but if you want something more complex, such a dynamic website that’s not enough.
The first thing you have to do in designing your website is to choose one programming language (as php, C#, JSP, Java) and a database (MySql, Oracle or others). if you really want to do it youself or to hire an expert web designer to do this job for you, you can use and customize a free Content Managment System (CMS). In the first situation you can get a free CMS to use for (as Joomla - there are some reasone why you should use it, Drupal or WordPress), you configure it and you let people know your website.
It’s not a secret that most users judge websites by their appearance (first) and their content (second). It’s true that your content it’s the most important thing in getting new visitors, but the aspect of the website is the second main reason those visitors will return to read more. Allong with great content, getting your site (or sites if you have more than one) visually appealing will assure the flow the visitors, and in order to be appealing it has (they have) to be user friendly (the most important thing), navigable, attractive and organized.
There are some web designers or website owners that do not care about how their websites looks (not enough or not at all), they are interested mainly in designing and developing websited that function properly.
There are a few tips about how to make you website(s) to be visually appealing:
To start with the basics, consistency makes a website easier to use, to learn and to remember. Every successful website have a great consistency across all it’s web pages, it’s every easy to browse and to find what you want because every user is able to use and understand it. It is often said that consistency provides a balance between accessibility and usability in designing websites.
On the other hand, every web site should be accessible on all the devices with internet connection (that means smartphones, tables, iPads – not only personal computers and laptops). So, besides the standard rules that have applied until just a few years ago (about the browser compatibility), there are new rules a web designer must apply. Their ment is to get a consistent design and to help users to find the website accessible and usable.
Every good and experienced web designer knows that there are 2 layers in design a website: the core content or service (let’s call it the structure of the site) and the display layer (what every users sees). The core of the website should not change from device to device and from browser to browser, it must deliver a consistent content. On the other hand, let’s say a user browse your website using a smartphone and they get a piece of content they want to read or they want to wathc (an article or a video you posted), but they don’t have the time and/or the best connection to do so. Later they can try to finish reading the article or watching the video using a tablet or a laptop – the visual elements of design will be in some parts different (by necessity), but the routes the user tooks to find that specific content must be exactly the same.
As you already know, in the last few years a lot of tools were created in order to help improving someone’s work in designing websites (along with other fields of activity over internet). It’s seems very easy to install a Joomla, Drupal or WordPress on a server, to configure it, to select a proper theme and to write some content in order to have a website running allright and looking nice. It many cases it would be do-it-yourself website, meaning you can do all of these without any help from a professional. Some web hosting companies offer some services on a server and some software packages that generate websites for a very fair price (from the client’s point of view).
But being able to do it yourself doesn’t mean that you don’t need help from somebody working in the field. The packages that generate websites are cheap, but usually they are not complete: they are offering only the minimal options for a website. If you, as a client, want something else or something more, you will soon find the limitation of such packages as a bad thing. On the other way, big free packages such Joomla, Drupal or WordPress have to be configured properly and sometimes that can be very tricky for somebody that’s using them the first time or does not have intensive experience with them. They also offer only limited options, but the good thing is that this kind of free products created around them a community and the users created addition scripts that allows you as end-user to improve your website with a lot of efficient solutions. The problem is the big number of third party solutions (there are hundreds or thousands of plugins and components for each system) and you have to lose some time to search the best ones for you. If you don’t find what you are looking (as templates, components or modules) you have to hire a professional to do the job for you and you are back to square one.