Archive for December 18, 2010

Joomla Template Clubs

December 18, 2010

Joomla templates are essentially available wherever you look on the internet. As this program is open source software program, this means that anyone and everyone who can write in HTML coding and CSS coding, can develop extensions of the core functionality of Joomla. This is why the availability of these templates is extremely profound.

You can find an extremely large amount of templates available for free; however, people have found a way to make money off of this technology. The development of these software template clubs are popping up all over the internet.

Because the development of templates can be hard and extremely time consuming, designers are beginning to sell their creations. So now, clubs have formed. Since, single templates can start around $25 dollar per template, and if the consumer wants to keep their website “fresh”, the addition of more templates (templates change the look of the front end of the website, the part that the visitors see) can become expensive. The benefits of becoming a club member can prove to be desirable by many webmasters.

With a onetime membership fee, you will have access to numerous templates. You can either join the club for 60, 180 or even 365 days, depending upon which membership you would like to buy. Depending upon the membership that you buy, will determine how much you pay. Costs are cheap compared to the amount of templates that are available. Within that 60 day period (for the 60 day membership) you can download the design that you will want.

Good template clubs are: Rocket theme, which is the longest running template provider; they have been providing Joomla templates for over four years now; Template Plazza; JoomlArt; and Joomlastorm. Through research, I have found that there are 14 Joomla template clubs with 29 providers. By the ratings, Rockettheme and JoomlArt are the top two sites because they provide high quality, professional and innovative templates. If you are looking for a club to join that is going to “stick” around, Rockettheme and JoomlArt are your best options, with Joomlastorm running a competitive race (they are the newbies on the block).

These three websites provide excellent support for their products and you will definitely not be disappointed with the service and quality of their products. If you have been thinking about joining a Joomla template club, start with one of these. You won’t be sorry.

No matter which program theme club you decide to join, the benefits can definitely be rewarding. For one low price, you will be able to download as many themes as they have to offer, as many times as you would like, as long as your membership is valid. If you are still not for sure, try the short term membership which has the lowest cost. You can always extend your membership if you do like the program and decide to take full advantage of it. Any way you look at it, you will still get templates for the price you paid for the membership, so what do you have to lose?
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Joomla help please ?

December 15, 2010
I have created a database onto file manager this morning I followed all the instructions then when it came to entering the site with the user name and password I typed them in and it said they was wrong to I tried other relevant user name and passwords and that didn’t work. So I then deleted joomla from file manager and now when i upload it it appears with the page where i have to delete the Installation file and when I do that I get this message on the website:

jtablesession::store failed
DB function failed with error number 1146
Table ‘owen66hu_lisamariewebsite.jos_session’ doesn’t exist SQL=INSERT INTO `jos_session` ( `session_id`,`time`,`username`,`gid`,`guest`,`client_id` ) VALUES ( ‘b8ab5aca01fc36f94a66a4c9d00bed57′,’1258932637′,”,’0′,’1′,’1’ )

Thank you in advance !! : )
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Configuration of Complex Joomla CMS and Customer Relationship Business Management Platforms

December 14, 2010

Joomla is a powerful framework for delivering Complex web portals. With over 4700 extensions and counting, the largest developer network in the world and the most user friendly interface has made the award winning Joomla CMS the fastest growing open source CMS project perhaps in the world. With millions of users and enthusiasts from all around the globe and a low cost of entry this is quickly becoming the dominant content management system (CMS) for small businesses (SMB’s) and even larger enterprises and institutions. We compared Joomla vs Drupal and Joomla vs WordPress which are other worthy technologies but Joomla seemed for us to be the best overall platform for recommending to our customers. As Joomla integrators and Joomla Component Developers we deliver complex Joomla configurations for a wide variety of customers. Joomla is a perfect framework for the micro small business owner that needs training and mentoring to work independently on building their web empire as well as the small business enterprise with complex Joomla configuration needs.

There are several layers in deploying a Joomla CMS project.

* Planning and content architecture
* Template Design and graphics
* Components and Configurations
* User experience
* Customer Programming
* Legacy System Integrations
* SEO and Marketing
* Joomla User Training
* Ongoing Technical Support

Just to name a few… With any technology there are different points of entry depending on the experience and technical aptitude of the humans interacting with the system, the technical and business process requirements and the overall dynamics of the organization implementing the particular solution. We (our CNP Consultants) try to help folks “Get the most value out of their technology investment”. Yea you will see this in our marketing but this is much more than hype. Value can be the key to success or failure. Among the biggest mistakes we have seen folks make and even made ourselves are:

Common Mistake #1

Just because you can do something with technology does not always make it practical.

I have personally implemented many powerful tools that accomplish their intended functionality but they actually never get used to their full potential by the end customers. While these were fun for us to build as developers and to see something cool that works, it did not really serve any of us well since our clients customers do not use them and thus they have a significant investment they are net getting a return on and thus until this first investment is paid for they are not all that excited to engage us to build more stuff.

The key here is determining first the business priorities of the project and then making sure everyone is listening to the needs of the end customer or user. Hey sometime folks build web tools just for themselves. I know I often post blog articles with a lot of links I want to not only share but also refer back to and we put plenty of tools online that we want to use ourselves as much as we want to and share with our customers. Just make sure you are clear why you are doing something and assess if it is going to deliver the right return on your investment.

Stay focused on what your customers are saying and what will yield the greatest return.

Technology implementation can be a never ending pit you throw money into, something that my father used to say about owning a luxury boat. If you are building your site for the shear ego of having a beautiful site with all kinds of creative features and functionality, have at it and of course we love to work with entrepreneurs with big ideas. However, like any relationship and any good investment a long term strategy is often much more practical. Our consulting customers get good advice about products and services that can grow their business or allow them to continue to get value from their investments. I have seen folks to often go for a quick sell and end up with dysfunctional customer relationships that ultimately cost more than the profit you made in the first place. Ask yourself many questions including “Is what I am doing today going to matter a year from now”? If you ask the right questions up front this can help you get the most out of your initiatives.

Technology is a moving target

One of the many reasons we got behind the Joomla CMS project as a core competency was because it was open source which offered freedom and scalable options for solving the greatest amount of business problems. We took the gamble from the trends in the market place that Joomla would continue to grow with features and stability and that the developer community would continue to be attracted to the Joomla framework thus building more confidence in the market place. With a scalable platform that is built on open source code for use was great since we wanted to work with technology that sold itself and that we could support and expand upon it to meet the needs of the types of customers we wanted to attract. Any kind of dynamic web portal project is a moving target and often needs to change course in mid stream. You have to keep good forward momentum yet listen to the trends in the marketplace so you can sail into the wind effectively. An innovative and scalable open source platform like Joomla is a perfect foundation for meeting this challenge.

But wait there is more…

A couple years ago, after a good year of working with Joomla we were looking for solutions that could actually help us build an all-in-one web based framework for managing our business in a Virtual Office Environment (everything accessible on the web). This is when after trying and implementing several CRM and project management tools ranging from SugarCRM to MS Project to SharePoint we found Info@hand CRBM. This was the perfect platform since it was open source code base and integrated with the Joomla CMS and QuickBooks. Now after 3 years of connecting the dots we have a powerful web infrastructure with “Complete transaction life cycle management” and “Customer Relationship Business Management”. Very very very cool platform… we love it and so do many of the customers we have introduced to it. Though this system is also wired up with the DimDim.com conferencing and collaboration suite it also fills many gaps in client customer collaboration. These types of regular new innovations continue to add low cost of entry tools and value to the small business.

Sounds complicated but it is also very simple if you have time as your friend

What we have learned as “early adopters” is that there is much more to it than the technology if you are going to be successful. Complex Joomla Integrations are getting simpler as this platform evolves. The old carpenters saying get the right tool for the right job is very good advice. Since there are so many tools now in our toolbox and we fully understand how they all can work together I know I can start talking about it and it does not take long to get that “deer in the headlights look” from a prospect. The trick here is making sure we establish a clear roadmap and strategy for implementing technologies that will bring the greatest reward to your business and value to our customers. This takes time and effort to get it right and should be done early on in your process.

Common Mistake #2

Just because you have the technology does not mean you should implement it.

The second most challenging aspect of implementing a complicated project is the thought process of “let’s do it all at once”. I have often had clients that want to load up their sites with a ton of components and then they want to throw these new features out to their customers or workforce all at once. Well this is a huge horse pill that never gets swallowed. Hate to say it but until recently I have been guilty of this myself. There is a fine line between “Build it and they will come” and “Here take a bite and let me know if you like it”.

Remember this is all about relationship management

I remember back in my days of dating that it only takes one or two words to “turn off” and scare someone away. Essentially this is a similar process we go through for attracting customers. While you want to make sure what you are presenting is honest and has substance you do not want to overload, overwhelm folks with more information than they are particularly interested in at the moment. You also want to put out information and web tools in a way that they want to have them presented. As in listen well and be a good conversationalist. Such is the case even more now with the Social Technology boon. I used to say “it is not hard to fall in love since people are impulsive by nature but the real challenge is falling in love with the right one”. The same is true with technology. It can be easy to get excited about some new features and want to add them right away to your site just because they are cooler than the site next door. However, every time you push something new out it may distract or turn off your customers.

In relationships of any kind they are best nurtured over time. Deploying technology is a complex multi dimensional relationship. Moving too fast has greater risk of failure for everyone involved. You actually have several relationships and processes that need careful consideration over time:

* Solutions: Customer Needs – Business Process Need – Technology Implementation
* Relationships: Vendor Teams – Client Teams – Customers

In Conclusion work smarter with a good plan

Plan carefully and gather the right information about your customers and how technology can get you the best results as it relates to your business strategy. Make sure you deploy solutions over time with good the right vendors and the right customers. These systems have enough complexity that you have to really keep your eye on the ball or you can and will often times fail. None of us want to waste time or money and the wrong decision in this economy could cost you business. Before you travel anywhere it is a good idea to get directions, a map or invest in a GPS. Why would you not want to invest in good quality consulting to help guide you along the path of implementing technology?

Joomla Roadmap and Planning Guide

Value Builder Methodology

We have since built consulting practices to address these two common mistakes folks make with complex technology implementations. Yea sure we have to be geeks and able to wire all this stuff up and yes we do this well but the trick to getting value out of your technology is much more that the groovy tools we can dish out. With a few exceptions, most of the technology these days is all ready built and what that means is there is a greater need for configuration and being able to map the humans with the technology in a way that will allow you to stay focused on your priorities. Just start asking yourself questions like: What actions will give the best long term results? What will put out the fires of tomorrow before they start? How can I make this profitable to my company and add unique benefits to my customers?This should help get you on the right path.
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Choosing a Content Management System

December 13, 2010

No hosted solution can offer you the flexibility of simply getting your own cheap (or free) web host and creating your own blog.

Some of the major players in this industry are: WordPress, B2Evolution and ExpressionEngine but there are plenty of other lesser known but just as solid solutions available as well. Browse our list here to see the full choice (there are likely more, we simply haven’t found them yet).

Let’s run over some of the main features most common when people are looking for a blog solution.

1. SEO:

If you aren’t familiar with this term yet, you will be. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and basically means that the software offers a way to optimize the way URLs, Content and Links are viewed in order to give you the best possible exposure when being spidered by a search engine web crawler.

2. WYSIWYG EDITOR:

Wysiwyg stands for ‘What You See is What You Get’ and basically means that as you are typing your article or blog post, you are able to format and use the same type of options you would have available in your favourite word processor.. and that what you see as you type, is how the text will look once published. There are several commonly used WYSIWYG editors used by most blog platforms. The top two are TinyMCE and FCKEditor.

3. IMAGE Handling:

By default, most wysiwyg editors only offer you the ability to add images via url and not to upload directly from your computer (which is a pain IMHO). One of the things you need to be conscious of is whether the blog platform you are choosing offers image uploads or whether it’s going to be more difficult to add an image to a post.

4. THEMES:

Not everyone is a designer, I will be the first to admit that without a base theme to start from, I have the imagination of a piece of granite… so for myself and most users, it’s important that the Blog software is either a) easy to theme or b) offers a good selection of starter themes to choose from.

5. EXPANDABILITY:

Depending on what you want to do with your blog, you will likely want the option to take advantage of some of the services offered on the web for bloggers to share their posts with the world and/or to monetize the blog. In order to be able to do this, you need to be able to either code well in HTML/PHP or be able to choose a platform that has add on modules to help you do this quickly and easily.

Now that we’ve covered the basics (and I’m sure there is more.. this is just designed to be a starting point)… we will now look at some of the major CMS platforms available and what they have to offer.

THE PLAYERS

1. WordPress

Designed initially as a simple blog platform, this software has exploded into somewhat of a cult classic in the world of blog software. WordPress offers more themes, modules, options and expandability than any other blog platform released to date. The best part? It’s still extremely easy to use and very very simple to install. WordPress meets all of the above and more but it’s not for everyone. Some may simply not find the interface appealing and others may simply want to try something different.

2. ExpressionEngine – Another very good cms solution with a massive list of features. It doesn’t match WordPress as far as available themes and modules but it has alot of the key options out of the box without the need to installing anything additionally.

3. MovableType – MovableType is a strong competitor of WordPress and only recently went Opensource when it became apparent that WordPress was succeeding quite well by going this route. MovableType main downfall in my eyes is it’s difficulty to install. It does, however, have very good support, nice themes and a good selection of modules.

4. B2Evolution – One of the few that offers out of the box ability to run multiple blogs from a single installation. Updated frequently and with a fair amount of themes and modules, B2Evolution is a strong up and coming blog platform.

There are plenty of other platforms out there as well, I couldn’t possibly cover them all in one article.

You’ll want to explore the choices available and find out which one suits what you need. The only way to truly do so is to try them out. Most of the sites offer demos which you can try.
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How to SEO Your Joomla Site

December 13, 2010

So you have a great design, great content and even a few links to your Joomla site but it still seems that you aren’t going nowhere in the search engines. Well, there is a reason: although Joomla is a great CMS it isn’t that good with SEO. Let’s see what we can do so Joomla will become the Search Engines’ best friend:

1. Enable SEF urls: this is almost critical for good rankings. Even though search engines are very good at indexing dynamic urls many webmasters have seen better results when using search engine friendly urls.

Here is how to enable it: log in the administrator backend and look for the “Global Configuration” icon. Now click it and in the upper right part you must enable “Search Engine Friendly URLs”. Also, if your site runs on an Apache server than you must rename the “htaccess.txt” file to “.htaccess”.

Although Joomla’s built-in SEF component is rather limited the output is still seen very well by the Search Engines. But it gets even better with the next module.

2. OpenSEF ( tinyurl.com/2oeogw ): this the best SEF component for Joomla. It works great, doesn’t slow down your site and is very configurable. Some of OpenSEF’s features:

– automatic rewrite of all urls

– ability to define how SEF urls will look based on section, category and article title

– define 404 Error url

– unlimited number of alias URL mappings

– possibility to create and update XML sitemaps, usable by Google, Yahoo and MSN

– many more…

And it does all this without modifying Joomla’s core files!

3. Put up a sitemap ( tinyurl.com/3y9bz6 ): in case you don’t want or can’t use the OpenSEF component you should create a XML sitemap to help the search engines index your site easier. It is integrated with other built-in components so contacts, newsfeeds and weblinks are supported.

4. Use metatags: this is very important if you want good rankings and many clicks from the search engines. The keywords metatag isn’t used by the search engines anymore, but using the description is a very good idea.

The best use for the description metatag actually is to influence visitors to click more – leaving the text excerpt that is shown up to the search engines is not the best idea in the world.

5. Ping module ( tinyurl.com/y8m5aa ): pinging is usually done only by blogs, but it can be used to great success with normal sites too! Install this component and after each time you write a new piece of content click “Syndicate” in the “Components” menu to ping Technorati.

6. Technorati tags ( tinyurl.com/2nkcqt ): this plugin adds tags at the end of your content, tags that are linked to Technorati. This way, when you ping Technorati with the ping module I’ve told you about before it will help you categorize the search engines.

7. Trackback module ( tinyurl.com/2wvj7l ): this is another thing we can pick up from blogs to help us get higher in the search engines. If you write about blogs this can help you get a few links. Think of it as a new form of link exchange – you place a link from a page on your site to another page on another site and you get a link back.
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How to Design Your Own WordPress Themes in Minutes Using Artisteer

December 11, 2010

WordPress has established itself as the blogging platform of choice. Below are one of many reasons why people prefer WordPress over creating a static site.

Easy to setup – setting up WordPress is very easy. If your hosting provider includes a cPanel then creating a WordPress installation can be implemented in minutes with only a few clicks.

Easy to update content – One of the key elements of any website is to be able to update the site. WordPress is a complete content management publishing system which has a very clean and intuitive user interface which makes adding content very easy. It can even be accessed via your cell/mobile phone.

Your site does not have to be a classic blog – Although WordPress is classified as a blogging platform, many are using it as a conventional website. Wouldn’t it be great if you could design your own layouts and look and feel without any programming?

Search Engine Optimisation – It is a common myth that WordPress is liked by search engines such as Google. In addition, using the permlinks feature allows you to structure the site to look like a static site with html extensions.

Customisable – WordPress allows you to customise certain elements which gives your readers a personal touch and is targeted to them. One of the main problems with designing WordPress themes is that you need an understanding of scripting languages such as php in order to incorporate design and layout as you want it.

Artisteer is an ingenious and revolutionary piece of software that enables you to design around the most common elements within WordPress. The great thing is that you can click a few buttons and you’re design can be ready to be uploaded. One of the most useful features is that the software does not come with a list of templates that you use but ones that you generate on the fly. There is an option where you can generate random themes by a click of a button; they are usually very colour co-ordinated and very professional.

If you are an affiliate marketer or Google AdSense publisher, or indeed somebody who needs to develop numerous WordPress sites quickly and professionally then this is definitely the tool for you. No more backlinking to other design companies, no more paying for themes. A one time fee ensures you get this incredible piece of software which should be part of any publisher’s arsenal.

In summary, Artisteer is a great tool if you want to design WordPress themes quickly and professionally without the need of any programming. It is very easy to learn and intuitive and is actually fun. It doesn’t come cheap but if you have lots of sites then the investment should hopefully pay off.
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Mambo and Joomla guys, please HELP?

December 8, 2010
I want a content management that is similar to Joomla! or Mambo. It should be an open source application.

I want to use it for apartment listing. It should be able to classify the search results into what the client wants. For example, I will be listing 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom houses. It should be able to display results according to what the client has entered.

It should also be able to list according to suburbs within the town I plan to use the website for. If it is possible that I can get a Mambo plug-in that will allow mw to to that, please supply me with the info
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Different Types of Track Loaders

December 1, 2010

When you hear the term track loader, it may mean one thing to you and another to someone else. A Track Loader is a type of machine that you will see on some construction job sites and there are various types of loaders and they have dramatically evolved over the past three decades. Just as things change and evolve over time, so to machines and the way we use machine on our construction job sites. Let’s take a look at the two main types of these machines that are on the market today.

The original loader on tracks and what people who have been in the industry a long time will identify as a track loader is a machine that almost looks like a track type tractor or a dozer. It is a machine that sits relatively low to the ground and runs on tracks, there are no wheels involved in this machine. The tracks are the same tracks you will see on a dozer machine or rent a wheel and all of the components are made of steel. It is a machine that doesn’t move very fast at all with a top speed of around 5 miles per hour. The big difference between a dozer and a track loader is that instead of a straight blade on the front end of the machine there is a loader bucket and can pick and move material.

A newer type of track loader is basically a skid steer on tracks instead of wheels. This type of machine has become very popular as it is able to go a lot more places and work in a lot more environments than a traditional wheel powered skid steer. Like the traditional track loader, this compact loader machine has a steel undercarriage but most of the components are covered in rubber. These machines also go extremely fast comparatively and can reach speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. These machines are quite popular with landscapers and they have very low ground pressure and won’t disturb newly laid sod, grass, or fresh landscaping work.

Whether you are looking for either one of these loader machines to add to your fleet of equipment it is best to always do your research before you make a large purchase. A lot of times, various manufacturers will allow you to rent a piece of equipment or even take it out for a few hours with no charge so you can try out the machine before you make a large purchase.
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