Joomla! Website Design Specialists
At Bathcomms we specialise in dynamic database driven websites that use the Joomla!* content management system. We are confident that with a combination of Joomla! technology and our design and support skills, clients get a genuinely useful web based facility that will really support their business and organisational needs.
A Joomla! powered website has the following key advantages:
*If you are wondering: "Joomla" is a phonetic spelling for the Swahili word "Jumla", which means "all together" or "as a whole".
Joomla! Facilities and Concepts
At the heart of Joomla! are two core systems. The content management system which allows for the site's content (text, image and other media) to be both updatable and expandable. Then there's a user management system which in a nutshell facilitates registered site users to do what they need to do. Depending on their privilege level, user activities range from accessing private pages and updating content through to processing information, user administration and adding new site extensions. Importantly, these core system functions are made available to all extensions that are added making the whole site hugely interactive for public visitors, registered users, information processors and administrators.
As mentioned above, Joomla! is structured in such a way that you can add and remove website facilities in a modular fashion. Individual facilities are called 'Extensions'. Extensions are sub-divided in to components and modules. Components provide blocks of functionality while modules display content in designated page positions. Note too that Joomla! also comes with a few pre-installed such as a Contacts Manager and RSS feeds.
Look and feel
A key part of any website is its 'look and feel'. It is important to convey the right image through a design that is both professional looking and visually represents and enhances the essence of the website. Joomla! treats templates like extensions. This makes it easy to set up and subsequently change the look of the site, say for rebranding. Note too that the website content (or 'copy') is separated from and independent of the site's appearance.
Bathcomms now have considerable experience in building bespoke templates - this being one of our key skills. You'll also find many Joomla! templates are available from third parties. We recommend a bespoke template though if you have an exacting professional requirement.
There are a huge number of Joomla! extensions available and more are being developed all the time. We can integrate a range of sector-specific extensions, eg. for estate/letting agents. We also regularly supply sites with a combination of the following more universal extensions:
There are many web based Open Source content editors available and you'll find that Joomla! comes with and supports quite a few of them. Our favourite at the moment is XStandard which does a good job producing compliant code... even when MS Word text is pasted directly in. We continue to improve the way X****Content editors allows any content creator/editor to edit website pages directly via their browser. The WYSIWYG interface is not unlike your average word processor with menus and buttons allowing you to insert things like tables, images and text styles. JCE also supports its own plug-ins, adding yet more options, such as downloadable files, and image, media and link managers.
Possibly our most heavily used component, VirtueMart offers excellent e-commerce features for both customers and website administrators, including product management (and stock control), customer management, payment gateway integration, multiple shippers and shipping rates, order status tracking, e-mailed invoices and a whole host of other features that you'd expect to find in a sophisticated, and therefore expensive, e-commerce package.
There are a number of Open Source message board applications used on the web and many of these can be integrated into Joomla! one way or another. The only one that fully integrates into Joomla! as a component (and does not require any 'code hacking' or 'database bridging') is Joomlaboard. It uses the same database as the rest of the Joomla! site and is compatible with other third-party components, such as the enhanced user management component - Community Builder (see below).
E-Mail newsletters have a whole host of applications and are equally as important to commercial web users as they are for community websites. It can be a key tool for keeping in touch with an extended community. Bathcomms use both Acajoom and Letterman, depending on the complexity of the system required. Once the mailing templates have been designed and created all that's left is for the text to be dropped into the template and the system will mass mail the message to all those who have opted in to receive them.
The DOCMan component is developed by a member of the Joomla! core development team and provides an excellent application for the management of files and downloads. It provides an intuitive administrator screen for content providers and allows documents and document categories to be restricted to different user groups. It is also possible to protect the documents so that they can only be downloaded via DOCMan and not accessed outside of the website that is hosting the files.
Search Engine Optimisation
Having your website found by the search engines (Google etc…) is vital in most cases for a successful website. Our prefered SEO (a.k.a. SEF or "Search Engine Friendly") Joomla! component is JoomSEF because of its sophisticated and advanced features.
JoomSEF enables you to change all of the URLs (Universal Resource Locators) that Joomla! dynamically generates into whatever URL you like. This allows you include Key Words in page links, important to improve search engine rankings (referred to as organic ranking...as opposed to pay per click paid advertising searches). It also allows database driven(dynamic) web pages to appear as static HTML pages which assists human visitors to the site (always a good idea).
We then go one stage further and use something called "SEF Patch" which gives you improved meta data management for your Joomla! website, allowing you to specify keywords, descriptions and page titles for each page of your Joomla! website. This vastly increases the number of keywords, and therefore potential searches your site will be found on.
Advanced User Management
Joomla! comes with basic user management support but the Community Builder component builds on this and provides a number of extended features. It allows users to have public profiles, members contact lists, improves the management of user signups and can integrate into other third-part components like message boards, for example. As the name suggests it's a key component for building an online community.