7 Steps For Building Successful Joomla Web Site

By: Christopher Nielsen

Step One: Defining your business goals.
The first step in this process is to clearly understand what the goals are for investing your time and money into this project. What quantifiable results do you want to achieve with this initiative and who else will be involved in the process of achieving these goals. Very much like starting any new business you want a clear understanding of your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

Step Two: Defining your Project Plan.
Once you have a clear idea where you are going you need to develop a strategic plan for getting there. Project plans need to consider where you want to go both short term and long term with this project. It needs to have a focused and phased approach that takes into consideration your available time and resources over time to sustain this project. It needs a timeline and content acquisition checklists that will help you stay on target and on focus with your priorities.

Step Three: Defining the Look and Feel.
The first actual development tasks with your Joomla Project are to define your Joomla Website design and choose your template or process of implementing one. There are three key parts of a template you need to consider.
1. Graphical design elements: Colors and style
2. Layout options: Wireframes or in Joomla terms Module Positions
3. Features and Functionality: Standards compliance, special modules and capabilities.
It is important to realize that the Joomla template is a foundation for which you will build your site and you need to consider this decision carefully. However, you can easily change templates in the future with often little effort.

Step Four: Defining Content and Navigation.
Now that you know how you want your Joomla web site to unfold, both from a design perspective and from a roadmap ahead you can start mapping out the intended content and collecting any graphics or generating article copy. Typically you will want to bring every page of content into an offline document that can be edited prior to inserting into your new site. Sometimes if this is a site redesign you can cut and paste from an existing site. If you plan to get the most out of search engine optimization you will want to get targeted keywords generated and pass these on to your authors for consideration in developing the copy.Now is a good time to think about the Sections and categories for which you will organize your content and how you want your users to navigate with the best possible user experience. It is a good idea to use a mind mapping tool to define your site navigation.

Step Five: Features and Functionality.
With a clear understanding of the content you want to present and manage you will have a better idea of the types of Joomla Extensions that you will need to implement this. With over 4000 extensions and the list is growing every day, you may need to make lists of the options, compare the features and review the demos and reviews before installing them on your site. Once you have narrow this down you can then test them on your new site once you get it installed. Sometimes you may find that there are not existing components that provide the features or functionality that you need. This will require creating a development spec that clearly itemizes the features you want to add to an existing extension or for building a custom extension for your site. It is a good idea to get this sorted out early in your development process.

Step Six: Installation and Configuration.
Once we have all of our objectives, a defined roadmap, site plan and specific template in hand we can begin the installation and configuration process. Some ISPs have automated tools for installing Joomla but I prefer to get the latest release directly from the Joomla.org site and to install it manually. Once Joomla is installed we go through a process of configuring this specific for your needs. Installing extensions, installing the template and setting up the parameters, once you get the baseline of your site configured with all of the components, modules and plug-ins and perhaps a couple place holder content articles and menu items it is a good idea to make a back up copy of this and there are inexpensive extensions that can automatically do this for you.

Step Seven: Populate your Joomla web site with content.
Having a good baseline for your framework in place and backed up prior to beginning to populate content and fine tuning the configurations helps you move quickly and safely through the content population stage in your project. This is the point where we provide training or you would go through tutorials on content management techniques. Once you get this underway most of the outcome is in your hands. With a good support team that is well rounded in both strategy, branding and marketing expertise as well as the technical support and programming expertise you can increase your effectiveness through a collaborative Joomla Website development approach. We highly recommend that you work with a qualified team to guide you through this process. In the end it will give you a much more professional web site, better train your team and give you the technical support to get the very best value out of your investment.

Moving Forward:
Joomla CMS is a superior choice for growing a solid business online. There are endless extensible possibilities and freedom to expand this as a platform for success. There are many other steps you can take to optimize your content and leverage more in-depth capabilities of the Joomla framework over time but this should get you an overview of the initial steps for getting started. With a good strategic and tactical plan you can keep your focus. In a world fill with exciting possibilities it is very important not to lose sight of your intended business results. Regardless of your web expertise, choosing a qualified support team to help you build, launch maintain your project will give you the very best return on your time and capital investment.
Be sure to visit our new http://www.JoomlaDesignServices.com web portal for an example of a site built using this planning process and to find valuable resources for Joomla development.

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Christopher Nielsen is CRM 2.0 Certified, an award winning multimedia producer and open source technology expert. With rich product knowledge on systems such as Joomla CMS and Info at hand CRM systems. As the founder of CNPintegrations.com he is the principle CRM consultant, software configuration specialist and Social CRM technology evangelist. Be sure to visit the new www.JoomlaDesignServices.com web portal and blog at www.cnpintegrations.com/myblog/

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