When people see that I'm a Joomla specialist I am often asked what Joomla is. In its simplest terms Joomla is software to build a website, but in reality it is a lot more than just a simple website.
Joomla is a content management system which means that all of the information for the website is contained within a database. As visitors browse the site Joomla will dynamically present the appropriate articles and content. Yet this is still a simplistic description of what Joomla is capable of. As with many content management systems you have the ability to appoint people to different roles, such as authors, editors, publishers, managers, administrators and super administrators. Each role has a different level of authority and access but this means that a website can be created and maintained by many different people in many different locations.
When I'm discussing websites with clients I tend to use the metaphor of comparing Joomla as a supermarket. Joomla organises content by using sections and categories in much the same way a supermarket will organise their products in aisles by product type. Joomla even has the ability to create articles that are uncategorised, enabling more control as to where they appear, in much the same way that supermarkets use special offer baskets at the end of aisles or near the checkouts.
As Joomla has the ability to create a hierarchy of membership this means that some content can have restricted access. This could be compared to the wines and spirits section in the supermarket, where age is relevant in order to make a purchase. It is possible to hide content to the general public while keeping it openly visible to members of the site.
Joomla has the ability to set a start and finish date for the publishing of content, which really helps those sites who wish to release information in a regulated flow to encourage visitors to return for the next update in the article. By using the finish date on articles you avoid the possibility of forgetting to remove something that is time sensitive. I'm sure we have all seen websites where the offer was valid for Easter, yet here we are many months further on with the offer still being displayed. This causes the site to look unprofessional and raises doubts as to the validity of the site and visitors will often move on to their next choice.
In order to operate a Joomla and effectively there needs to be an administration area where access is restricted to managers and above. This is the equivalent of the supermarkets back-office where all of their administration takes place, away from their customers.
As Joomla has evolved so have many of the add-on components and modules, often provided by third-party developers. These products may be free or sold commercially and they tend to be specific in terms of operation and will add functionality to your website. In much the same way as supermarkets sell products from other suppliers rather than just their own brands.
Time waits for no man and as time progresses websites begin to look dated. If you have a large website it can be quite daunting to have to change the look and appearance, but because Joomla is based on a theme or template, changes can be made quite quickly. This means that in the supermarket terms your website could be Tesco one day, Marks and Spencer the next, or even Fortnum & Mason.
All in all Joomla is a very flexible, comprehensive, and versatile piece of software to enable you to have an effective website which can be kept up-to-date, contributed to by other members, as well as being modern and friendly.
As regular users of Joomla we are happy to assist any of our clients with their Joomla based sites. This includes configuring the site, planning for navigation, and designing templates. Please contact us for more information.