For many of us in the translation industry, the task of getting online has been on our 'to-do' list for several years. We know the benefits that having an online presence could bring to us, in terms of marketing our services to a wider client base, and creating a stronger sense of brand identity and reliability, but we just haven't got around to doing anything about it. Maybe there is still the widespread perception that to have a professional-looking website, you need to be a computer-buff or shell out hundreds of dollars to hire a web designer. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.
In this article series, I will be taking you through how to build a professional online presence for yourself, without knowing anything about HTML, without hiring a web designer, and without buying into any of the $30+ per month 'design-a-site' solutions. The current article provides an overview of how Joomla, a free and open-source content management system, can be used to build your web presence. Future articles will deal with the practical steps of customizing your Joomla site to reflect your business and increase your profits.
Of course there are other ways to get online, but as someone who has been using Joomla since 2007 and has run training sessions on Joomla at major international conferences, I feel that I ought to stay within my area of expertise.
Aside from being a free and open source solution for creating your website, Joomla (or a similar CMS) is the engine behind some of the most popular sites online today, which means that knowing about Joomla is frequently a requirement for landing website localization/translation projects.
Webdesign-The Very Least You Need to Know
Internet browsers (such as IE,Firefox or Chrome) do not ‘know’ how to display a particular website. They need to have extremely detailed, line by line instructions about how to do so, covering the position,size,location and color of every single object on the screen. These instructions are called the code, and are written in a particular language, called html. The website stores these instructions in its own dedicated online space, called a server (provided by a web hosting company).
Two Ways to Design A Website
As explained above, each webpage is rendered by a detailed set of instructions (the html code for that page). There are two main ways of creating the html code that is needed.
(i) The most primitive way of designing a website is to write that code, line by line,using a html editor or web design software. Using this method, every detail of every page must be carefully coded. The site is then uploaded by FTP to the web server. If at any point, the site needs to be changed, the entire site must be re-uploaded by FTP. This approach to web design would be called static because it does not lend itself to revision or adaptation of content. Use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) makes the process slightly easier in controlling common elements of all pages, but making changes to the site is still awkward and time-consuming.
(ii)A more sophisticated way to design a website is to use a Content Management System (CMS).After the initial install, a CMS is managed entirely online, without the need to re-write code or re-upload files every time a change is made. A CMS has a front end (which is the website which people will see when they navigate to your webpage) and a back end (which is the online control center of the site, accessible only by you, the creator of the website).
Types of Content Management Systems
A CMS can be categorized as proprietary or open source. Joomla is an example of the latter, in that it is free to install, and many (though not all) Joomla extensions are also free. You can take a look at the Joomla Extensions directory
There are literally thousands of Joomla extensions. Joomla development began in 2005, as an offshoot of the Mambo CMS. It has grown to be the most popular open source CMS in the world.
Advantages of Choosing Joomla to Develop Your Website
Because a CMS is managed entirely online, it is the perfect choice for managing your online business; simply by logging into the administration panel (the back end of the site) content can be added and updated at any time and will be immediately reflected in the front end. A CMS is an ideal choice for translators, whose work involves frequent updates of materials and interaction with potential clients.
In future articles, we will be seeing how easy it is to install advanced functionality (such as guestbooks, online chat/messaging, file downloads and blogging tools) to your site, by simply downloading an extension from the Joomla Extensions Directory
and uploading it to your site's administration. Essentially this means that you can add advanced functionality to your site at the click of a button.
Signing Up With A Joomla Webhost
For now, we will simply be seeing how we can get started with Joomla by signing up for a Joomla Webhosting Account for your translation website.
-choose a domain name (web address) for your site. There are numerous domain name checkers online, which will tell you if your chosen website address is currently available,
Try and make your site name as short and memorable as possible. Of course, if you have already built up a significant reputation in translation going by a certain name, you may wish to include that in your domain name for the sake of continuity.
-sign up with a Joomla web host for your chosen domain. A list of the most popular Joomla hosts can be found here
In fact you can host a Joomla website with almost any web host nowadays, but a webhost that describes themselves as a Joomla Host will typically make it much easier for you to get started with Joomla, offering features such as a pre-configured Joomla site, which is ready to go as soon as you sign up, a '1-click' Joomla install, or specialized Joomla support.
You can find a Joomla host from as little as $2-3 dollars per month. There are even free Joomla hosts, but be careful as features and support options may be limit.
Accessing Your Website
If you purchased a pre-configured Joomla install, you will be sent an activation email, which includes your frontend address, www.yoursitename.com, and the backend address (at www.yoursitename.com/administrator) which is where you can log in to customize your site.
If you purchased hosting with 'a one-click Joomla install', you will be sent an email containing your log in details for the webhost's control panel. Typically you will be able to install Joomla on your website with a single click. Then after a few minutes, navigate to your website (www.yoursitename.com) and follow the prompts to complete your Joomla install. Your webhost will also provide you with step by step set up instructions in the welcome email.
Now you are ready to start playing with Joomla! One of the best ways to learn Joomla is to experiment yourself, by making a change on the backend and seeing how it is reflected in your site. In future articles, we will be seeing how easy it is to add content to your Joomla site, by means of a simple online word processor, and learning how to create menus to link to the content which you create.
Please follow this article series for more on how you can create a stunning, professional website with Joomla. In the meantime, I recommend watching some of the excellent introductory Joomla tutorial videos produced by cloudaccess.net
You might also want to browse the 'Absolute Beginner's Guide to Joomla'. Absolute Beginner's Guide to Joomla