Archive for January, 2012
Many webmasters use Joomla for their websites because it is open source, free to use, has a lot of extensions and templates and is simple to use. It has also a large community of developers. There are many components, modules and plugins for every possible task. In other words, Joomla is a universal content management system suitable for simple home pages and complex websites. For most purposes it is enough to install a template and few extensions for common needs like displaying ads or Google Analytics. But sooner or later you need to modify the original display or standard layouts. There are two ways to make such modifications. You can either modify the original code or to override Joomla core files.
The first approach by modifying the core files might work but only until you upgrade Joomla. This process may overwrite the modified files and destroy your hard work. The other approach is to create core overrides in the template directory. For every extension Joomla checks HTML directory in the selected template directory where you can copy original files and modify them to suit your needs. Extensions are not only those you have installed, Joomla comes with many plugins, components and modules that are needed for normal operation. Creating overrides is easy. You simply copy files that need to be modified into template/HTML directory. There is a rule on how to create paths for overridden extensions:
One example for the overridden display of frontpage managed by the com_content component:
Original file PATH_TO_JOOMLA/components/com_content/views/frontpage/tmpl/default.php Override file TEMPLATE_NAME/html/com_content/frontpage/default.php
Joomla overrides are an elegant way to modify original functionality without modifying core files. Overrides work for built-in and custom installed extensions. Many times where you would like to change the blog display, add advertising code between articles or change any default layout, you don’t have to look for a special extension. All you need is to find the file in Joomla directory where this page element is created and create an override in the template/HTML directory. Of course, you need to be familiar with HTML and PHP code, but this is pretty easy because you will only modify existing code. This way you can customize your Joomla website without installing any extension. The advantage of overrides is that they still work after the Joomla files are updated, but the disadvantage is that they are linked with template. If you change it you need to copy overridden files and modify them for the new design.
I just finished reading “WordPress for Dummies” As a blogging professional and owner of several blog directories; I read as many books about blogging as I can. I had high expectations for this book because it was part of the famous “Dummies” series. I can say that this book exceeded my lofty expectations.
As the title suggests, the book is a complete guide to using the WordPress software to power your blog. WordPress had quickly become the top blogging platform and this book will walk you through everything you need to know from the first installation to the blog posting and everything else in between. What I like best about the book is how comprehensive it is. There are many books out there on this topic, but this is by far the most thorough as well as the easiest to follow.
Although this book is written for beginner bloggers, there was a lot of information that was useful for a pro blogger like me. Especially, the section that covers customizing the theme, I actually updated my blog theme after reading that section. I also found the section about the top ten plug-ins very useful as well. I was only using 8 out of the 10 and I quickly installed the other two right after I put the book down.
In closing, I would recommend this book to any blogger especially if you are brand new to blogging. I wish I would have read this book 3 years ago; it would have saved me a lot of time and headaches.
RocketTheme is one of the well respected template providers for Joomla! In fact, one of their lead designers is a member of the core Joomla! development team. RocketTheme subscribers tend to be enthusiastic users of the site, which says a lot about the user community that has built around the excellent guidance provided on their forums.
Almost all the templates come with bonus components and modules to get the most out of your Joomla sites, and they were first to proved an streamlined installer package (they call it their RocketLauncher) that not only installs Joomla on your site, but installs the template, components and modules along with demo content to get you hooking along with a minimum of fuss.
What Joomla Version do the templates work on – Joomla 1.x or 1.5 ?
There is still a huge amount of Joomla sites out there using the older Joomla 1.x as there are some great modules still not available for the new Joomla 1.5. RocketTheme know this, so all of their new themes are both 1.x and 1.5 compatible. However if you are using Joomla 1.5 and it’s enhanced features, you get an extra level of usability and features from your RocketTheme theme. If you like some of their older templates and have installed 1.5 then don’t worry, the older themes are being ported to 1.5 with added features.
How many templates are there and how often do they get updated?
Tons. As of May there is 66 and you get access to all of them. RocketTheme release a new theme every month, and each one seems to top the previous. That means if you sign up today for a year, before your membership runs out you will have access to up to 79 professional Joomla templates.
How good are the templates and how much can I edit them?
RocketTheme’s templates, especially the past 12 months, have been some of the most versatile and customisable templates on the market. In fact, they sometimes suffer from being too complex due to the amount of customisations that can be done. They provide you with numerous variety in module styles and module positions, and this allows you to take the basic RocketTheme theme and turn it into something unique for your site. Want to make it even more custom? Then leave a message in the forum and have one of the developers help you out with your custom changes.On top of that all source files are supplied so you can easily customise the theme further to suit your needs.
What other cool bonuses are offered?
One of the selling points is the previously mentioned user forum. Here you have access to not only the theme developers, but hundreds of users who are all willing to help each other out.Also you have access to some specially modified versions of their templates suited to specific uses (video game web sites for example), as well as a collection of free Joomla components.
How much does it cost and are their any restrictions on how I can use the theme?
RocketTheme offers three levels of membership
* 3 months $50US
* 12 months $75US
* Developer 12 months 250
Discounts apply for renewal of memberships.
It must be noted that on the basic memberships you are limited as to how many web sites you can concurrently use the templates. As stated in the RocketTheme Terms and Conditions:
Limited usage granted: Your membership grants you the rights to use the RTTC templates on as many concurrent sites as described in the matrix below. For example, a 3 month membership entitles you to use any RocketTheme theme on a maximum of 2 sites. If you renew your membership for 1 year, you are entitled to use the templates on an additional 2 sites, for a maximum of 4 sites. Even after your membership expires, you may continue to use the templates on these 4 sites, so the templates are not time-limited. If you wish to use a theme for a non-profit site, they do not count against your maximum concurrent theme usages.
Now while I do not particularly like the limited license, it is standard fare across most theme clubs.
RocketTheme is likely my favourite theme club at the moment. They provide toprate templates, with amazing features yet manage to maintain the ability to customise the site for your unique stylings. Many times I have been stuck for inspiration for a web site design and played around with a RocketTheme theme and come up with something striking and individualunique. Although like most theme clubs the limited license is a setback, I believe the expense worth it for access to such a great user and support community. If you do only join one Joomla Template club, it is hard to go past RocketTheme.
WordPress is perfectly suited to building affiliate sites for so many reasons that it is now one of the most popular tools of all in the affiliate marketers arsenal. The keys to success as an affiliate are driving significant traffic to your affiliate sites and then convincing as many of those visitors to click your affiliate links and actually buy something. When they do, you make money.
Let’s start off by talking about traffic generation when it comes to WordPress for affiliate sites. For some reason that nobody really understands, it seems that WordPress sites tend to get very good listings in the search engines. Indeed some people have joked that the word “blog” really means “Better Listings On Google”. Perhaps it is the way WordPress sites are laid out, perhaps it is the regularly updated content. Whatever it is, WordPress affiliate sites are great for traffic.
There are also other ways in which WordPress sites are great for generating affiliate traffic. For example WordPress provides an RSS feed which allows readers to actually subscribe to your site, leading to regular, repeat visitors. You can also submit this RSS feed to a range of specialist blog search engines which again helps to generate traffic to your site.
The second element, as mentioned, is that once you have got some visitors to your site you then need to convince them to buy something.
Luckily WordPress has an impressive array of features here too. Firstly because WordPress affiliate sites are database driven it is very quick and easy to make changes to the layout of your site so you can quickly change the appearance to see what has the best results.
And lastly WordPress uses plugins – little pieces of code – that allow you to do all sorts of clever things with your affiliate site. And this too can increase your affiliate sales.
With the Information Technology emerging as one of the highest revenue producing fields, leading to the creation of most people as masters of web development in hardware and software. E-commerce web sites have made buying and selling everything possible over the internet, making it easier for buyers and sellers to interact with clients. As E-commerce offers the facility of buying from home without you having to travel and get goods delivered home. Often this advantage has been one of the reasons for it’s popularity.
Now the question arises of how and where to get an E-commerce site developed and by whom? However, setting up an E-commerce web site by hiring a professional web developer has now become an easy task. Moreover, this market is largely composed of fresh talented web designers hungry for survival, giving you the golden opportunity to take your pick. This sector comprises of expensive and affordable web designers as well. The market has seen a gradual switch/diversity in the services they cater. To create a niche in the IT world, today they offer more than merely developing a website. They develop the site along with writing and managing content, creating logos, uploading pictures, keeping your site updated till you have hired them, and much more. Certain things to keep in mind while hiring a professional web developer is to take into consideration the security of your E-commerce site, see to it that a user-friendly and comprehend-able web site is being developed which allows customers to use credit cards for buying solutions and integrate easy-to-use shopping carts.
By and large E-Commerce web sites are developed using Magento, Joomla with Virtuemart, OsCommerce, Ajax, also in.NET, PHP, JAVA and other programming languages. Third party shopping cart solutions are also available for the development of an affordable e-commerce web site. Various E-commerce sites possess difficult-to-use shopping carts with fewer features for customization that annoys buyers and sellers leading them to leave the website.
Semaphore Software is one of the phenomenally hard working web developers company offering E-Commerce solutions like Open Source Ecommerce Integration, E-Commerce with Content Management System, Payment Gateway Integration, Secure Shopping Cart Solutions, Credit Card Processing Integration, X-Cart Integration, OsCommerce Integration and many more under $3000. We help you not only to built up an E-commerce but also with its marketing tactics as we are client orientated people/as we are experts in the realm of E-commerce web designing. If after a period of time you want to take over and manage the site yourself, developers at Semaphore will guide you to the entire process of updating your website, manage content and images, assist you to check the number of visitors with their IP addresses as well – Making you an expert at handling your own site. Our highly accomplished team of web developers caters to clients the best E-Commerce solutions that supplies absolute client satisfaction with our innovative and technologically advanced blend of results. Motivating, Visitors to re-visit our sites as they are user-friendly and super-easy to navigate. Semaphore web developers promise breakthrough success to clients – creating a trustworthy relationship for a lifetime.
About the Author:
Building an e-commerce website — what does it entail? Again, don’t let me go into that harangue of telling you guys that this task is something only 21-year old eggheads in stiff white collars can do. You would either need a little of their help or search online for a reliable company that offers a package of services for high risk merchant account owners. And if you got lucky on the latter, you still would need to create a checklist on which elements you need to prioritize for your website. I’m talking about the bare bones. After you have decided on those, it’s time to figure out whether to add some fancy stuff on your website or keep things simple.
So what elements should you consider added on your e-commerce website? If you’ve published a book before (not e-book, but if you want to go into that detail, see my article “Homemade Remedy for Download Theft”), most likely you’d already be familiar with the steps you need to take from the time you’ve conceived the story to the moment it’s out in the bookstore shelves. Yes, you would need an endorsement from celebrities, too! Remember Harvey Mackay’s “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive”? Well yeah, that one’s a classic.
Web copy, layout and other visuals, e-commerce elements, marketing elements, and customer service tools, are some of the basic stuff you need to incorporate in your e-commerce website. Each one of these elements come with its own set of structure that would also require a bit of search engine friendliness or better yet, full-blown SEO campaign.
THE WEB COPY
IMAGES AND FLASH CLIPS
Images are important for your e-commerce website but be selective in handling them. Look into how they will improve your catalog or shopping cart before you assign your web designer into building elaborate Flash intro pages, logos, or banners for affiliate programs or other online marketing campaigns. Image incorporation can be expensive. Worse, they are not often crawled by Google’s spiders anyways. Also, the heavier the image files in your e-commerce website, the longer the loading time, the harder it is to retain customers who go by split second click-browse shopping method.
Setting up the shopping cart itself requires the help of a good programmer but you can always make use of osCommerce. The important thing is that you are able to handle credit card payment processing with the aid of a low risk or a high risk merchant account provider. Your shopping cart has to be user-friendly enough to foster a good online shopping experience for your customers.
CUSTOMER SERVICE ADD-ONS
For a good discussion of customer service tools you need to add in your e-commerce website, see “7 Best Tools for First Rate Customer Service”. The key here is to provide interactivity measures for your customers to learn more of their buying tendencies, suggestions for improvement, inquiries, and above all, a way to reach them via mailing lists! Shouldn’t be complicated. When these foundations are built, you’re all set to sail in the gritty world of e-commerce industry.
About the Author:
I have seen a pattern forming over the years where we will be contacted by a potential client with a story such as, “I paid over $5000 four months ago to have my ecommerce site built and it’s still up and the designers won’t fix it!”. I’m not a big fan of stories like this. For one, this means that this potential client has already spent their budget having something created that didn’t actually meet their needs – meaning that they do not have the budget to pay the going rate for having the site done properly. But the more disturbing aspect is when I have a look at what has already been built and find out that the ecommerce website is really nothing more than OsCommerce.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with OsCommerce, it is a FREE shopping cart solution built by many different programmers to be offered as “open-source”. It’s fine if a client really has a bare-bones budget because hey, it’s free. When we use a free solution such as OsCommerce, what we charge the client for is simply installing, customizing the template, and setting up initial categories, shipping, etc. Unless you are programming or installing many additional complex modules to interact with the base cart, I really can not fathom why a job using OsCommerce would cost $5000 or more. To me, this screams of shady business practices.
I’ve said this in a number of other articles, that I believe honesty is always the best policy. If you are using any sort of pre-developed software (whether it’s free or if you are paying for it), do not fool your client into believing that they are receiving 100% custom work. I find that even when using software, there are aspects that are custom (usually the design), but we make clear in our estimates and contracts which is which and what the client is actually paying for.
Designers and programmers are always on the look out for things that can help them while doing a job, everything from free scripts to stock photos to the latest software. As a designer or programmer, you have to judge for yourself what works best for you and what would benefit your client the most. I find the clients are much more comfortable working with you when they know exactly what you are doing for them and what they paying for and it’s simply more ethical to let a client know when you are using a free or pre-built solution.
Joomla is a very powerful open-source content management system that is used for many commercial and non-commercial websites. There are thousands of extensions that can add functionality for almost anything imaginable. While the original installation provides basic functionality and many users only install a suitable template, there are some simple extensions that make life with Joomla much easier and pleasant.
The first required extension is JoomlaPack. It is an elegant solution for complete backup, from files to the database. This is a component every Joomla website should have installed. The second very useful extension is the “eXtplorer” component. This is a complete file manager for Joomla. With eXtplorer you can browse the directory structure, download, upload, view and edit files. The user interface of eXtplorer is very similar to typical FTP software. You have a total access to all the files and directories.
In general, Joomla provides user interfaces for uploading image files. In most cases this is enough. But in some cases you need to upload a file to a different directory, to edit a file that belongs to some extension or otherwise access the Joomla installation. A common approach to do this is to use a FTP client software which is usually used to upload the files to the web server. This is a standalone application that must be installed and configured. If you are accessing your website from a public computer then it is very likely that you will be only able to use the browser. In such cases a file manager extension is a great solution to have all the files under total control without any additional software. The security aspect of this relies on the security of the website. If you are not using the default user name and your password is long and complex enough, then you should not be worried.
The second advantage of Joomla file explorer is the ability to unpack archives. You can simply upload a zip file containing many small files and then from the file explorer interface unzip this archive. This is a much faster way that uploading individual files.
Joomla can access its files in two ways. Directly or by a FTP account. FTP access is a convenient way to solve issues with file permissions. Usually, for security reasons the account is configured to access only the website directory. However, it can be configured to access the whole hosting directory. If this is the case then you have a very elegant way too access all the files, not just those that belong to Joomla. This means that with only one Joomla component you can have web access to every single file. This is a great advantage when you need to transfer some files and all you have is a web browser.
Joomla is a great web content management system. With a simple file explorer extension you can make it even greater.