There are several options to organize the material of a web site. Content Management Systems (CMS) were created to help with document management, media management, authoring, publishing and security. One of the most sophisticated and customizable systems available is Joomla.
What is Joomla?
Joomla is a free content management system that can be extended by the use of add-on components. It is an open-source product which means the code that runs the product may be modified by its users. Although not recommended for the casual user, web developers with programming skills can make very site-specific changes in the software.
Web developers can create several types of websites with Joomla. One example is the traditional information site with static pages where the content rarely changes. These might include “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages with a main information page as the home page. Another type of site is the blog. These are pages that change frequently, perhaps daily or even more often. The blog pages can allow others to post comments as well. A product-oriented web site is a third style. This type of website might contain some static information but also have products for sale that change over time. Joomla accommodates all of these styles through the use of templates and modules.
The look of a Joomla website is based on a template. These are pre-built shells on which the website is designed. The template controls such things as font and character size, colors, headers and footers, column layout and media display placeholders. Many templates allow customization of these items in the Administration screens. Most templates have additional functionality built into them such as advanced search capability or media management.
There are many templates available on the Joomla home site that are free. There are also many third-parties that create and sell Joomla templates that contain even more advanced capabilities.
Hosting Companies and Joomla
The majority of hosting companies offer the Joomla CMS as a tool for their customers. It is easy to install from the hosting company’s control panel. If not available or if this is the first time Joomla has been installed, the software may be downloaded from the official Joomla website. There are detailed instructions for installation of various platforms.
Once Joomla is installed, customizations and website management are done through the Administration screens. Changing global settings, selecting the template to use, adding users, creating document categories and defining the website security are all done through the Administration area.
Modules and Plugins
A part of the CMS web design for a Joomla website is deciding on the modules and plugins that one will use. These components extend the basic capabilities of the chosen template. One can add a complete store system with checkout and various payment options, add download capability of music or other files, add media management such as image pop ups or slideshows and numerous other options. Since Joomla is open-source, anyone can create a module or plugin to add functionality. The majority of extensions are free.
At the heart of Joomla is its content management capability. There are many editor options, bulk upload and even mobile applications to allow publishing from a smartphone. Documents may be tagged and categorized for easy access by viewers. The website security may be set up to allow other people to add or edit content. Content may be set up to be published on a specific date and removed for the archive at a later date.
Joomla, the free open-source content management system allows one to create a sophisticated website that lets them focus on publishing great content instead of spending their time managing the site!
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