What is Joomla?
Joomla is an open source content management system (CMS) that allows full featured web sites to be quickly developed, as well as allowing for easy maintenance.
What is a CMS and Why Would I Want One?
In the early days of the internet, web sites were composed of individual static pages and it was very time consuming and required technical expertise to both update the content as well as make overall changes to the site. The only web applications that were available were customed designed and very expensive to develop.
The initial web programming languagues ran on proprietary code engines and servers, again adding to the cost. With the release of PHP 4 along with the Zend engine in May of 2000 under an Open Source license, web programmers now had more affordable options to build their applications upon and the world of Open Source, PHP based web applications began to explode.
History of Joomla
When a web application is released under an Open Source license, it means that developers other than the original programmer can use it and build on it. The foundation of Joomla began with a PHP based program called Mambo, which was developed by an Australian company, Miro Construct Pty Ltd, and released under an open source license in 2001.
I personally believe that original intent of Miro was to offer Mambo as a free option and then offer their proprietary platform as an upgrade. However, what happened was that third party developers loved the structure, format, and ease of use of Mambo and jumped in and began to extend the platform.
In 2005, Miro changed the licensing of Mambo, incensing the third party developers that had invested so much into the platform. The developers took the code that had been released prior to the change and began a new project (or fork) under the name Joomla. Since then, collaborative development on the project has rapidly outpaced the Mambo platform it left behind and Joomla has won numerous awards and has become a popular web platform choice for both individuals and corporations.
Benefits for the End User
If you are wondering what all this means for you, the end user, it is that now the average site owner can have a web site with the functionality that was previously only available at enterprise levels.
Just as designing a site with HTML and CSS allows a designer to separate structure from presentation, a CMS utilizing a database and a programming language such as PHP allows the content and the programming of a site to be separated.
Owners of a Joomla based web site can create a new page for their site simply by filling out a web based form and clicking "publish." If you have ever posted on a forum or ordered something online, you can create a new web site page with Joomla.
In two minutes, I can upload a new Joomla template package, click to activate it, and the change the entire look of the site. But that's not all:
- Additional users can be added to the site with varying permission levels.
- Images and media are easily managed.
- Allows for multiple site contacts.
- Easily create new navigation menus.
- Easy content syndication (promote your content throughout the web.)
- Built in banner management
- Easily publish information in different areas of the site and control which page it is displayed on.
- And much more!
However, those are just a few of the features of the stock release. There is a world of functionality that can be added, both as existing release as well as custom components.
Joomla is a very powerful system; however, keep in mind that it is a web application and as such there is a learning curve for use. When analyzing a client's web site needs, I take into consideration not only what they need their web site to do, but also who will be using it, their current level of expertise, and how much they are willing to learn. On a scale of one to ten for ease of use for the end user, I would give Joomla a 6, with our Business Builder web sites being a 1, Wordpress a 4, and Drupal a 9.
Also, all installations of Joomla are not the same. The platform is amazing; however, it has to be configured properly and there are certain tweaks that can make it a search engine ranking machine. I have had several clients come with existing Joomla sites that thought they needed something entirely different because they couldn't be found in the search engines. Instead of redoing their site, we simply configured the site properly and made a couple of changes that should have been done when the site was initially launched. It made all the difference.
Common Joomla Misconceptions
All Joomla Sites Look The Same: This is something I hear ALL the time from people who have heard of the platform, but aren't really familiar with how it works. If you run across a bunch of Joomla based web sites that look exactly the same, it is because either it was set up by a novice user that did a one-click Fantastico install and is still using a default template, or it was set up by a "web developer" that doesn't really know how Joomla's templating works and is just using a stock theme from a template club. A Joomla based web site can look any way you want it to look.
Joomla Sites Aren't Search Engine Friendly: Joomla has okay SEO functionality out of the box, but it is true it does take a little tweaking to get the best results. However, this is true of any CMS. Wordpress doesn't have the best functionality either with a stock installation. Again, if configured properly with a couple of tweaks, your Joomla site can be a search engine powerhouse.
Expert Joomla Services from Legacy Marketing
We offer a wide range of services for clients with Joomla web sites from complete design, development, and launch to ongoing support.
Where We Work
Legacy Marketing Services is located in the beautiful community of Kingwood, in the northeast area of Houston, TX. (Yes, Kingwood is part of the City of Houston, although some Houstonians don't realize this.) We do have a number of clients that are in the Kingwood and Greater Houston area that like discussing their Joomla sites over a cup of coffee; however, the majority of our clients are spread out across the U.S. (with a couple of international clients as well) and we do business by phone, credit card, and internet access.
If you have an existing site and need someone to call for support, updates or maintenance and emergencies, we have support packages available.
Contact us for a free consultation on the development of a new Joomla based web site, a redesign of your existing web page, or migration to the Joomla platform at 281.305.9157.
Legacy Marketing Services is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Joomla Project or Open Source Matters. The Joomla logo is used under a limited license granted by Open Source Matters the trademark holder in the United States and other countries.