joomladiyAre You Off Color?

As a schooled graphics and Joomla web designer I have learned first hand that the colors you choose for your branding can really make or break you. It’s true that color choices are highly subjective, yet there are some fundamental choices that are viewed as ugly or inappropriate by an agreeable majority. Taking this reality a bit further, it is safe to assume that the colors you choose may not be appropriate to your audience or industry.

You have to choose colors that best project your industry and best convey the right message to your audience. For example, if you are a travel agency, you may not want to use too much black but instead use dark blue or dark green, etc. to coincide with outdoors. Keeping in mind that light shade of a color vs. the dark shade of a color can also impact your message. Pastel colors may seem relaxed and soothing, but can also backfire and give a wishy-washy impression if used in the wrong industry type or audience. The combination of light and dark also play a part. Too much use of light or dark can dilute your message or brand. For example choosing the shades of one color is more acceptable (black, grey, silver) than a mix of shades from more than two color groups.

Usually, professional services should have a strong color choice to project an objective, firm “we get the job done” attitude. A washed out light color will give an impression of uncertainty and unsure attitude. For example, a light color theme may not work well for legal professionals – but may work well for healthcare professionals who need to portray them as very caring.

If your website is a CMS and you are using a template, you may have a shortcut or a cheat way to get your colors coordinated. As a Joomla website designer, when I choose a Joomla design template, I look for one that best represents the industry style I’m working on, then I choose the best color combination that the template offers for my Joomla website design theme. The idea here is to match my branding colors from the template. As WordPress and Joomla web designers, we are very fortunate in that there are literally thousands of templates for us to choose from that offer infinite combinations.

The reason why this works well is because professional WordPress and Joomla web designers that create these templates choose their color pallet from harmonious swatch groups and themes. Following their color choices keeps my Joomla web design within the proper color group. For example, their blue and red work well together on their Joomla design sample, whereas, your blue and red may clash and make your Joomla website look amateurish.

Are You The Right Type?

You have probably seen graphics that seem as though they were created in the fifties compared to others that look as fresh as “today”. Often times it is the style of shading and type fonts used. A retro font automatically looks like a throwback whereas a tech font may not. Use the typeface that best matches your industry type. A high tech manufacturer may not be well served with a nineteen-sixties looking font. This is common sense but if you search you will be surprised how often this is overlooked.

joomla securityThe Joomla! Vulnerability List web portal and an active developer community helps keep Joomla one of the most secure open source CMS systems in the marketplace.

If you are going to build your business online you want to make sure you build it on a solid and secure foundation. We believe Joomla is among the very best solutions for any small business enterprise for this reason and many others.

The Joomla community is aggressive and proactive about making the Joomla CMS and platform one of the most secure in the industry. Not only have they done a great job building the core CMS with security in mind and been one of the fastest open source communities to respond when a security vulnerability is discovered but they also are aggressive with processes for assuring the many 3rd party extensions are secure as well. As you could imagine with a community that has contributed 10’s of thousands of Joomla extensions which are mostly available through the Joomla extensions directory  http://extensions.joomla.org/ and nearly as many templates (soon to be available in a Joomla Templates Directory), monitoring the potential security threats is quite a significant task. Joomla.org has always has a responsive security team but one of the things that community has done recently is expand their web portal  http://vel.joomla.org/ for the Joomla! Vulnerability List. If you are a developer or even a site administrator you can subscribe to this list and be notified as extensions vulnerabilities are discovered and monitor if and how the developers have responded. Since keeping your site and associated Joomla extensions updated is one of the most important steps for securing your online assets this is a fantastic resource for you and the rest of the Joomla user community.

Some hosts are better than others for securing their servers but most do nothing at the application level or to protect your Joomla web site. This is why we also recommend that you consider another application layer security solution such as www.securelive.com or some CDN (Content Delivery Networks) have additional security protection worth merit as well. We have found the Secure Live solution to be the best all-around protection. Especially if you are still running older versions of the software and are limited on funds to maitain it. Most of the common threats can be protected against if you install one of the SecureLive solutions. It is also worth taking time to understand how your hosting environment is configured and protected and again keep your site up to date. There are great utility extensions like www.watchful.li for Joomla that can send you alerts and quickly review the status of your site extensions.

Since Joomla 2.5 upgrading your core Joomla and many supported extensions is as simple and easy as logging in and clicking a couple buttons. This has made keeping sites upgraded almost a non issues in many cases and increased the trend for Joomla as a top performer compared to other open source applications when it comes to security. This they are not the final athority nor do they catch everything, tools like those by veteran Joomie Phill Taylor at www.myjoomla.com are a cost effective way to scan your sites for vulnerabilities.

Our best advise is to make sure everything on your site is upgraded and use an application layer security tool like SecureLive). The costs of getting hacked and cleaning up are much more than the costs of being proactive and you can have a much greater peace of mind. The good news is that the Joomla community is doing a grewat job of providinge good information and built in tools for staying on top of security even if you know little about it. To learn more, make sure you drop by the Joomla! Vulnerability List portal and see where you may need to do any upgrades or proactive protection.  http://vel.joomla.org/

mobile-ready-3-350xWhy is Joomla better than Wordpress and Drupal CMS systems?

Quite simply because Joomla is just as easy to use as Wordpress (Especially in the J3.0 release) but it does not limit your scalability for future growth. The Joomla CMS and Platform offers rich features that are equal to and often superior to those in Drupal but because Joomla CMS has such a large Global community of developers and service providers you do not have vender lock in due to the often complex nature and higher cost of managing a Drupal site. Joomla sits right inbetween these other top contenders as the best of both worlds and currently powers over 2.8% of all web sites on the internet.

We have considered many times the idea of supporting Drupal and Wordpress and to some extent we do but we have kept our focus on being the best at Joomla. We do help many folks with their migrations from Drupal to Joomla or Wordpress to Joomla. In fact our team was the first ever to migrate an enterprise level Drupal site to Joomla and in doing so created several tools for making this process more practical and more affordable.

So there are two appealing factors for folks considering Wordpress; one is that typically for starting a simple blog site Wordpress is relatively easy to implement and manage for a non-technical end user and like Joomla can be downloaded for free and if your set aside a week end you can pretty much get a site set up if your hosting provide makes this easy for you. The other approach is where developers that like building custom sites will use the Wordpress framework to build custom sites where they only want the end users to put in content vs taking a more hands on approach. I do have friends in the industry that appreciate some of the simplicity found in Wordpress for building client sites but they typically are building very custom instances that require some type of ongoing support anyway. This is fine but it to me loses the real value to the end client because you are then for the most part working with a custom environment, thus defeating the purpose in many cases of using these empowering technologies.

We have found that the trade-off between a little more learning curve in Joomla vs Wordpress, which is easily overcome with a little training, offers our clients a much better long term solution. It ends up being less cost to maintain, you can do so much more with your online tools and the benefits of working with a service provider to compliment your skills and expertise through the process of building any web site can bolster your potential for success.

tag-3.1Ok so now lets’s think through Drupal…

Brian-JDNE2013This past Saturday in Brattleboro VT about 80 plus Joomla junkies came together to learn inside tips and tricks on improving their skills and upping their game with the Joomla platform. Three unique learning tracks from some of the most knowledgeable Joomla developers and some humorous interludes kept the crowd entertained and with plenty of “ahhh haaa” moments.

CNP Integrations was a sponsor of the event so I wanted to make sure I made it again this year. The highlight for me was Brian Teeman’s showcase and cool feature review of the JCE Editor. Every one of the folks that attended agreed that they learned something new about this ever so popular Joomla extension and the developer was online with us via a live Skype stream. Check it out here:  http://www.joomlacontenteditor.net/

I personally stuck around for the responsive template sessions and found them very informative. Brian, Matt and Andrea all had great information to share. I learned some cool knowledge bits that I can use for building custom responsive templates and how the addition of Bootstrap and LESS to the joomla framework have given even more power and control to both designers and developers alike.

I also got to sneek away from the responsive design track to see part of David Hurley showcase his new CRM system for Joomla www.crmery.com. I just recently installed this to see if it would be a viable replacement for the CRM we just discontinues and I have to say I have been very impressed. There are some new features discussed briefly that when they get released will make this a perfect solution for tracking our sales opportunities and managing new customer relationships. So far I have been pretty happy with Active Collab but they have a new release of JForce coming out early June that might have a very convincing case for change since it integrates nicely with the CRMery solutions.

Elin Warring was able to showcase the new tags feature coming out today in the latest Joomla 3.1 release. I must say this is really going to have a significant impact on how folks decide to organize and manage their content with Joomla moving forward.

sushi-2013-jdneThe event management team really does a great job on this event and it goes on so smooth you wonder where the day went when it is over. One of my favorite parts of Joomla Day events is the after events where you meet and network with new friends from around the world. Often they are folks you have been talking to in cyber space and chat rooms, so putting a face to the online personalities reinforce how and why being part of such a unique community means so much. This time about 25 of us went out to a local Chinese/Japanese restaurant and in addition to some great conversations the Susi was wonderful. 

I now have a new bunch of friends that I can say "Hey we did sushi together... ".

See what you missed by going to the event web site:  http://www.joomladaynewengland.org

Joomla Days are a great way to connect with the community, learn more about what is going on in the development circles of the software and gain valuable tips on how to create better results using Joomla. So far there are announcements for a few more Joomla Day events planned this year and I bet there will be even more that pop up in the coming months. Keep your eye on this link for current events:  http://events.joomla.org/all-events/21-joomla-days.html