Archive for February 27, 2010

What Can Joomla Do?

February 27, 2010

Right out of the box Joomla is a very powerful application for websites. The potential it has is amazing. You can have as many or as few pages as you want for your website. This can be great for those website owners that have a lot to say. Adding more pages doesn’t bloat the code or the site. Joomla was created to handle a lot of pages.

Joomla was also created to have organization on your site so you aren’t having a hard time trying to figure out where all your pages are. You can categorize them anyway that you want. If part of your website is about services you offer you can categorize them, if part of your site is specific information to your industry it can be categorized as well. This also works well for your visitors because you can link to individual sections and categories and let them choose what they want to look at without cluttering the site with different menus.

Once you get into adding things the potential expands even more. The need to pay for extra services becomes almost non-existent. There may be some extensions that do require payment but the majority of them are open source. The problems with linking the applications together, additional logins, and templates, are simplified because the extensions are specific to Joomla. You can access them all just by logging in to the backend of the site and they use the same template that is used for your website so no need to create another template that matches your marketing message.

Newsletter Manager

We are all familiar with the different newsletter managers such as constant contact, icontact, aweber, etc. All of these cost something plus you have to link it into your website. With Acajoom, (newsletter manager for Joomla) you don’t have to worry about extra fees or problems linking it to your website. The application is open source so there is no fee associated with it. You have the ability to have multiple lists. It even gives your subscribers the ability to easily select which one of your newsletters they want to subscribe to.

Shopping Cart

One of Joomla extensions is a shopping cart that is also free for use. You can provide discounts, keep track of inventory, accept payments through PayPal, and through other payment processors. All extremely simple to use, and setup fees are reasonable – there is no cost for the cart itself. 

Seminar Booking

This is an extension that allows for easy seminar/event registration. Your clients can confirm or even cancel their attendance simply and easily. It accepts payments through PayPal. There are also many other scheduling or event registration options.

Social Profiles

The basis for a community networking site. User profiles that can be enhanced in a variety of ways, including personal guestbooks, personal photo galleries, personal RSS feeds, and much more.

Forum

This is a great add-on so that can provide the central communication area for either social sites, or for business support forums. It offers moderation, membership set up and much more. FAR simpler to use than PHPBB, and shares the template with your Joomla site, so setup is much easier and less costly.

Gallery

Galleries come in many flavors. They may be photo-community oriented, where users can submit photos and create new galleries, or they may be portfolio styled, where you are creating a gallery presentation. They come in both a grid style layout, or a slideshow style, and in varying ranges of complexity and flexibility. If you need a gallery, chances are, Joomla has one available that will do what you need.

Directory

More than a link directory. Joomla directories can manage just about anything, and can be used to catalog almost any kind of listing. Whether you need weblinks, course catalogs, resource listings, software libraries, or anything else, a directory is a flexible structure to add to a site to get just the right structure. With customizable forms for entering data, and many ways to extend the function, a directory can be much more than a list of links.

Article Submissions

Right out of the box, Joomla handles the process for both user article submissions, and an approval process (so nothing goes live until you say it can). This functionality can be enhanced in a number of directions, to give better control over the submission or approval process. It can even be integrated with social networking profiles.

This is just a sample listing of what can be added to Joomla and what Joomla can do. As I’ve stated many times, the possibilities are endless.
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10 Tips on Creating a Winning Intranet

February 24, 2010

What is an intranet? An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet technologies to securely share any part of an organization’s information or operational systems with its employees. (wikipedia)

Can you remember a time when the only reason that one would go to the company’s intranet was to find the number for HR or to print out a benefits form (that you would then FAX in to the Benefits Department)? Intranets have come a long way since then and are now considered the organization’s heart rather than just an unused appendage.

If your intranet is not the beating web heart of your organization, it may be that your intranet team does not yet know how to create an Intranet that will capture and keep the attention of what is, after all, a captive audience. Here are just a few ideas for creating an intranet that speaks to and engages the average employee.

1. First and foremost, you must utilize an easy to use and feature rich content management system (CMS) when creating your Intranet. This will give you personalization and collaboration tools that can be propagated to all of the mini sites on the Intranet. Additionally, it allows your users to become content managers instead of just content contributors.

2.  Mimic the internet. Your organization’s employees are on the web quite a bit and have gotten used to certain forms of communication and website designs. Your Intranet should provide the same functionality, and should be just as easy to use as the internet.

3. Include collaboration tools such as Forums and Blogs with real content and engaging issues, and the ability to subscribe to conversations so that updates are delivered to the subscribers Inbox. What if George, a consultant in England could post a question on the message board before leaving for the day, and come back to work in the morning to find it answered  by Tim in Los Angeles, Juan in Mexico, and Laura in New York?  George would be able to solve his end of day problem before he has his first cup of tea.

4. Create your own YouTube – but on a controlled and manageable scale.  What if each department was able to create and upload videos for training, marketing, motivation, or just for fun (e.g. videos of events held for the recent United Way fundraising drive or the company outing to a local amusement park)?

5. Remember that dusty and not very up to date Employee directory? Turn it into a directory of profiles (think LinkedIn more than Facebook). Give each employee their own profile page  where they can upload a  photo,  past and current accomplishments, video etc.  Assign publishing rights only to content managers or intranet team members so that all content is monitored.

6.  Make it Green – eliminate print and fax or print and mail documents by using a CMS to design online forms that can be filled in and stored in a database or emailed to the recipient.

7. If your company is a global entity then make sure that the language and content on your intranet sites is localized. A good CMS will provide this functionality for you so that an employee in America can read the China intranet pages and vice versa.

8. Save money and increase collaboration and personalization by adding a document library for each department as well as a My Documents component for each employee. They can then go directly to the documents which they use most often as well as share those documents with others.

9. Make it useful by including RSS feeds to relevant news sites. For example, the Marketing department would probably appreciate daily updates on marketing trends.

10. Add an internal news release component to keep everyone up to date on business trends, accomplishments, new hires etc.

11. Use iFrame components to provide easy access to other internal/external web sites your staff might be interested in or are required to use.
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Can’t log in to local install of Joomla (refreshes endlessly) – please read post before answering?

February 21, 2010

I know there are a load of posts on the net relating to people who can’t log in to their Joomla admin areas (I am using Joomla 1.5). What happens is that the pass/user combo seem to be accepted, but the login page just refreshes without actually letting you in.

You can tell that the pass/user combo has been accepted because there are no error messages when the page refreshes. Try typing in the wrong password and you WILL see an error message.

That’s not the problem here. The pass/user combo is valid.

I have gone into PHPMyAdmin and ensured that jos_plugins > User – Joomla! is set to ‘1’. The site is also ‘live’ according to PHPMyAdmin.

So the user/pass is valid and these two ‘fixes’ (which have been recommended to many in forums are not relevant.

This is a ‘local’ install using XAMPP, not a web install. I have already started over from scratch twice, and I have already used the standard copy and paste text that creates a new user with the MD5-hashed password ‘secret’. None of these things have helped.

I don’t see the point in starting over a third time if there is no solution to this almost random inability to log in.

I note that this problem crops up when I change anything in ‘Global Settings’ when I am successfully logged into the Joomla back-end.
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Advantages of WordPress As a CMS

February 14, 2010

Looking for an alternative CMS solution that is affordable? WordPress is an open source blog publishing program that is installed on the user’s Web server. Many companies have discovered the benefits of utilizing WordPress, while using its vast resources to create a custom blog or employing its content management system abilities to update and manage an affordable website. WordPress provides dynamic and user friendly input with functions that also allow easy additions and overall customization. Moreover, WordPress also allows for:

Search SuccessWordPress naturally provides a platform for creating structured content, which can be easily indexed by search engines. Custom URLsPutting keywords in your URL increases relevance in search engines. WordPress allows customization of URLs, therefore allowing one to choose the influential key words. ApplicationsApplications built for WordPress provide further opportunity to tailor one’s site towards their specific needs. Plug-InsWordPress offers a large selection of plug-ins that provides links to social media sites or ways to optimize one’s search. Plug-ins offer benefits for SEO, overall usability, or speed up back end administrative use. AffordabilityWith access to plug-ins that create customization without a fee as well as applications that can be created to fit a budget, affordability reigns.

Ready to jump on the WordPress wagon? Ask yourself these questions:
Does your company need to create additional sites to facilitate multiple dealers?Will you need to make frequent modifications to your site?Are you a small business owner that needs an affordable CMS system? Do you want to enhance and act upon natural search to define your website better?
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CMS Outshines Your Website in the World of the Internet

February 11, 2010

Website can be managed easily without any need of installing any technical programming tool. Better management of web content, is actually what CMS is all about. Content management system makes the working smoother within the organization as well as with the customers. When content is managed effectively, the website yields positive returns. It brings down the operating costs thus elevating the profit percentage. In absence of proper knowledge about the CMS and  the content creation, your website would surely be adversely affected.  

Content is the key tool of any website, and should be well written with keywords and key phrases. These are extremely important in obtaining higher rankings in major search engines and gaining popularity overall. They will ultimately help you enjoy greater profits. The combination of effective CMS and good content can take your business to newer heights of success. After proper business planning, conduct an extensive search for companies that offer the most appropriate SEO and CMS services for your company’s needs.

When a content management system is installed, it makes sure that every page of your website shows the content in similar manner thus maintaining uniformity. If a visitor sees differently formatted web pages of a similar website which are mixed-up, chances of losing their interest is maximum. Through the medium of articles, blogs, advertisements, news, etc latest information can be added easily and your site can be made content rich. Content management system (CMS) is fast becoming a necessity for every webmaster. Reaching out to international clients and using multi-lingual display is also possible through content management system.

A CMS needs some prior factors consideration like navigation, user-friendliness, taxonomy, etc. Prior to its implementation build content organization system. Before final installation of the system carry out a ‘test’ which will help in knowing the efficiency, it’s positive and negative effects. Content Management System is not just related to articles. Take into consideration other aspects like e-mails, search engines, customer feed backs, RSS feeds, and so on.

In simpler words content management is complete web content control, so that there is uniformity and quality maintenance of the content in the entire website. Whether its news, articles, home page or any other site part containing content, installing CMS makes website maintenance simple and easier to do.

Editing, deleting or adding on live content is very well facilitated with a CMS tool. Especially when you want to post articles, news, press releases, comments, etc on your website so that it is displayed instantly.
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How to Update Your Website In-House

February 6, 2010

Every businessman does his best to widen his or her business sales on the one hand and cut the marketing costs on the other. In today’s market place it is necessary to watch out for every penny being spent on the marketing strategy. What methods could be used to cut your expenditures? Let’s examine for example your website; this is one area that you can easily start with. One of the ways is to perform a really fast saving is for you to keep or move updating in-house. But if you do not know how to do it properly you will need the help of a professional team. Let us talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the in- house tasks in question.

We all appreciate that it is a necessary thing to update your website. It is the face and reputation of your company as well as your online presentation platform for your goods and services.

Regular updating provides clients with fresh information and news. Thus shows that you are working well and your company is prospering, as is now often used as an indicator of your work. Remember the more frequently you update your website the better the impression you have on your visitors. What parts of your website should be updated? Put simply the answer is as much as possible. Thus, all sections of your website must be updatable if at all possible using a Content Management System. This includes menus, pages, banners, products, catalogues, news, special offers, discounts, events etc. In other words, keep your website always hot. For example, if you want to add a new element or product, advertisement or text. You normally need to contact a programmer or designer for help. You can do it on your own in-house system if you have a Content Management System or CMS which allows you to perform updating actions like these, without having any great knowledge in programming or design. If you are too busy to devote yourself to updates, then you can pass the responsibility to one of your workers. Again it is rather good if he knows something about HTML or at least has some knowledge and experience in working with Content Management System.

They must be however patience and be scrupulous and accurate in what they do. This is so you can be certain that all the changes will be done at the required level and standard. If you do not have any of the above abilities or a CMS then you can give your updating to a web design company or perhaps ask them to build you a CMS. It may well cost you some money in the short term but the long term pay back will be rich in saving time and energy.

Finally it is a must to update your website regularly, whether you do it on your own or with the help of other people. If you have any questions and want to hire a professional staff for your online business, contact any centre of web design company in Birmingham.
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