A little bit of planning and forethought about your website will save you time and money down the road. Don't get me wrong, you don't have to work out every little detail. In fact it's good to not be too attached to the little details so that you can be flexible as building takes place. There are always adjustments and fine tuning that happen along the way.

Some of the information in this article is from my book Using Joomla, Second Edition. From a technical perspective, the book is terribly out of date now. But the planning principles are just as relevant now as they were five years ago (a lifetime in tech years). Thus, the images in this post refer to "Joomla Pet Center" which is the example site used in the book. Just ignore that bit. It matters not the platform as these planning principles don't care about what platform you are using.

This post will talk about:

  • Goals of the website
  • Writing Your Goals
  • Planning the Menu/Navigation
  • Planning the Home Layout
  • Layouts of Internal Pages
  • Planning Users

"How fabulous! They'll give me a free domain," you think to yourself.

I know when you're first starting out it might seem like a great idea to save a few bucks and accept that free domain name. Please don't. I'm begging you.

Or maybe it's a different scenario...

Here are a list of terms that are commonly used in a website build, migration or redesign. They aren't necessarily totally technical definitions, rather it's how I explain them to clients. Hope it's helpful!

It can be so overwhelming, can't it? You know you need a website but then it's trying to sift through tons of conflicting data as to which platform to choose! So frustrating. And it can be brainwashing too. Your friend has a gorgeous website and you want one just like it, but then you find out it cost $35k and you don't have $35k. Now what?!

NOTE: If you don't feel like reading this and just want to contact me, we can probably chat for 10-15 minutes and determine the platform that would be best for you.

There are a few different types of website platforms. Based on popularity and ease of understanding, we'll focus on two types.

Siteground (above) and CloudAccess both are willing to host Joomla 1.5 sites. Siteground has the ability to choose a PHP version from cPanel. CloudAccess does not. As of summer 2014 CloudAccess is running PHP 5.3.x. If your 1.5 site requires 5.2 to function, it won't work properly at cloudaccess. That being said, both will move your site for you which is very nice.

CloudAccess

cloud access logo

Hover over Services and click Migrate to CloudAccess.net. CloudAccess.net will move your site to their server regardless of size (might mean 50GB).

 

Domain name choosing tips (sure you can google more):

  • You can use your company name if you already have one and the domain is available.
  • Or, you can choose a domain name that tells the visitor what they "get" as a result of doing business with you or visiting your site.
  • The domain name should be easy to remember.
  • It should be logical.
  • It shouldn't be to long - unless it fits with the logic (like the company name, etc.)
  • It should avoid confusion - like if the company name is berriesandcherries - and yet the domain name is berriesncherries (cuz the "and" wasn't available).
  • Avoid numbers unless it is part of your company name - for example 4u2win - tough for people to remember if it was a number or the word.

Coming soon

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