Choosing Premium Joomla Templates

responsive-rtA Joomla template is a package of design elements and a framework/outline or "Wireframe" for placing content and wrapping it with design elements on your Joomla CMS web site. Template packages are installed from the back end of Joomla. Some designers with tech savvy skills like to build these packages themselves but most folks find it far less expensive to use or modify a pre built template package from a 3rd party vendor. Most of these templates are very well designed and super flexible for adapting to your design goals. They also tend to be better maintained and more secure and much easier to maintain over time.

When it comes to finding the right Joomla template for your website goals, there are a number of things you should always take into account. It is important to consider the content placement options, availability of source graphics and the quality of their tutorial information when reviewing template designs.

Decide on What You Want

Before starting your search, it is important that you already have in mind a vision that you're aiming for your website. Settle on the color motifs, functionality, and specific genre that reflect your business aims and then shortlist a number of templates based on that. It would also be a good idea to look at your competitors' sites, this way, you can position yourself competently and avoid having a similar appearance to theirs, since the key for thriving in any industry is to differentiate yourself. Let this guide you when picking your template but remain flexible so you are only expecting the priority elements because if you can leverage features in a template right out of the box vs getting too deep in customizations, it will save you time, money and a lot of frustration down the road

Using Premium Templates is the right choice

Knowing your options and having a clear set of priorities is essential to picking the right template. You can search google and find many options for free templates but while some of them may look pretty, we do not recommend free template collections because they do not offer the ease of use, security or maintenance required for long term life support of your web site.

We recommend that you only work with premium Joomla templates. There are many great vendors in the Joomla marketplace but we tend to prefer YooTheme and RocketTheme because they provide a nice variety of choices, are well thought out for flexability and they are easy for us and our clients to use. Both catalogs have rich features, powerful frameworks, easy to follow tutorials with sample content, world class design elements and their support and maintenance are fantastic. We believe in them so much that we actually offer the entire catalogs or Rocket Theme and Yoo Theme FREE to our customers as part of our service agreements. 15 other great vendors, in no particular order, worth reviewing are listed below;

One of the most compelling reasons to use a template vendor is the need for responsive design. That simply means "responsive" to mobile devices such as tablets and cell phones. This is a relatively new trend but worth it's weight in gold to reach your online users from whatever device they may be using. Many of the new templates will support this out of the box. Testing for the more that 2000 devices in the market these days could very time consuming and not only requires specialised skills but in most cases is cost prohibitive for small businesses and organizations.

Most have a lot of deep feature sets to help their templates stand out so make sure any of the features that catch your eye can be easily implemented by you or your support team. Make sure you take the time to review and learn how to use the prebuilt features in the particular template you choose. Even if you do not configure this yourself it will help you communicate better with your support vender and in the end help you get more out of your technology investment.

Performance and Priorities

Prior to installing a template on your site, it would be a good practice to test the demo and review the documentation first. Just like most other products you would buy off the shelf, don't take it home without checking out a few things first or reviewing customer testimonials and specs. Consider how it will adapt to your preferred design priorities and the primary devices you are targeting. Is it responsive? How are the page loads? Do they have easy to follow tutorials? Do all its claimed functionalities work? More importantly, you might also want to get a feedback from people you trust just to make sure that the template is in line with what you've envisioned so far for your business. Some templates are specialized for extensions like JomSocial and Kunena. I have found when testing some of them, while they look sexy and clean they load incredibly slow and slow page loads will lose more users than a groovy design will attract new ones.

Joomla has the best options for template design

As someone that gets to mingle with many of these folks building these great template collections, I hear the inside scoop on how difficult is can be sometimes to build templates for WP or Drupal in comparison to building Joomla templates. What this means is that you are going to get better support, have more flexibility and lower costs by working with Joomla. The Joomla Community is also building a new portal for Joomla templat builders much like the Joomla Extensions Directory and as this comes together you are going to see even more options in the marketplace, thus improving your selection and the competition will drive vendors to make event richer features and easier to use and understand tools for presenting your content through their template designs and frameworks.

Joomla! World Conference - A tropical paridise for 2014

Joomla! World Conference 2014, Grand Oasis Cancun, Mexico November 7-9This year’s Joomla! World Conference is to date, the third being held in the event’s history. Set to convene in Cancun, Mexico, from November 7 to 9, the conference is anticipated to be  the biggest and most fun yet. As a wonderful opportunity to connect and learn from all levels of Joomla! enthusiasts and community leadership, event goers are sure to take home valuable knowledge, create memorable moments and forge new relationships from the 3-day event.

 

Expect active participation from the community’s very best and get to know some of the exciting new possibilities in store for Joomla! in the coming years. With many great designers, developers and users attending, there are plenty of opportunities to grow and extend your skills.

 

Cancun: JWC 2014’s Grand Tropical Venue

The Cancun venue cements JWC’s goal to promote a global camaraderie since it serves as a nearer location point for the Latin American side of the community who may not always be able to  attend events in the US or Europe. Cancun is not only a fun destination but the location is economically reasonable for the rest of the Joomla! community. More importantly, the venue choice provides the event with a holiday feel where everyone can enjoy a tropical location. After all, the Joomla community to many is like an extended family and what a better way and place to bond than in a tropical paradise.

 

One of the best perks of the event is the all-inclusive stay where you’ll get great discounts negotiated by the event organizers. In addition there are a broad range of restaurants and bar inside the premises so you can consolidate your personal or professional meetings and interactions with convenience and little effort. All discounted rates can be extended one week even after the event so attendees can take full advantage of this for extending your stay to enjoy the location even more. Check out the Joomla World Conference website for more details. http://conference.joomla.org.

 

Program Lineup and Event Highlights

In terms of the program, expect some fantastic speakers and announcements and working sessions designed for a much improved collaborating and learning experience. The lineup of keynote speakers include prominent leaders within the open source community and some special presentations that will surely inspire. The Joomla! Ignite session from last year is set to make a comeback this year with engaging 5-minute presentations designed to kindle your enthusiasm and motivate you to take action.

 

Exciting workshops are also set to be included in this year’s program, and a this is the first year with a track specifically in Spanish. Many of these sessions are designed to include hands-on exchanges and offer extremely useful lessons learned. There will be targeted learning and informative tracks around the following key areas: community, integration, design, development, and business where participants will extensively share and discuss the most common issues Joomla users encounter everyday.

 

Social Events and More

The 2014 JWC is more than just getting to know more about Joomla—it’s also all about connecting the people in the community, whether you’re a new or seasoned user. In addition to a full day of activities, for the true Joomla geeks, it will really be a paradise on Friday with an evening of bug squashing and surely there will be plenty of pilsners for the beer lovers. Saturday morning is reserved for workshops while Joomla! In Action sessions are set for the afternoon. For the evening, a Mayan-themed BBQ party is in store at the beach so attendees can kick back, relax, and enjoy the local atmosphere. For Joomla! health enthusiasts, a yoga session on the beach has also been scheduled along with many fantastic activities that will cater to just about any interest. Sunday continues with action packed sessions and extended learning tracks.

We know you are going to want to be a part of all this, and to help make it even more affordable, go to http://conference.joomla.org/buy-ticket and use CNPINTEGRATIONS as coupon code to get 50% off on a standard ticket price which amounts to $150 of savings per person. With that said, a big thanks to the organizers for making the necessary arrangements for such a big event. We’re definitely excited for the future of Joomla! and if you want to take part in the very same enthusiasm the community is known for, make sure to have your presence felt at the event.


See you there...

Are Hackers Launching a World War in Cyberspace?

norse-live-hacking-mapThese days when I scan some of the links below and check the news I get the feeling that in addition to the unfortunate physical conflicts around the world that we are also deeply engaged in a World War in cyberspace. When looking into the live hacking maps it looks like nation states and corporations and perhaps criminal underground networks and some "wanabe famous bedroom hackers" are battling online for information dominance and control and perhaps in some cases just for the sake of disruptive outcomes.

A day does not go by where the average person is not in the middle of this with their personal information at significant risk. It is almost like an airborne virus you could just catch being in the proximity of someone infected. You can put up your guard and do all of the right things to protect yourself and still be vulnerable. As more and more companies and services move online we all need to open our eyes a little wider and prepare for many "what ifs". What can you do to become more aware of where and how you are vulnerable and in tune with the threats that are out there? I encourage you to poke around the links below and do some searching yourself on ways to protect your information and practices of using your technology connected to the internet.

One of the reasons why we are focused on supporting Joomla as our premium platform for delivering web applications is not only because of the ease of use and robust capabilities that our clients demand. We do this also because the Joomla CMS offers many advanced security features we can use to protect our client data and their customers data. Joomla has lead the way with security as a priority for their platform. Starting at the core with great code in Joomla 3.x and unique capabilities of features like 2 factor authentication are actually innovations that many other similar CMS solutions are striving to catch up to. While there is no such thing as an invulnerable system many Governments and Enterprise customers depend on Joomla already for maintaining the privacy and integrity of their web assets. There is no wonder that Joomla has especially found a favored niche for small business owners, nonprofit organizations and midsized institutions.

Stay alert, be informed and if you are building or maintaining a web site for your business or organization you can rest assured that working with us and a Joomla! 3.x platform will offer you a higher level of protection.

JoomlaDay MN the beginning of more great things for Joomla in the Midwest

Joomla Day MinnesotaEvery time a JoomlaDay is carried out in a new place, it spawns enthusiasm in the community while bringing together old and new friendships alike along with introducing folks to new things about Joomla in which everyone can benefit. These events open a gateway for getting involved and doing more with Joomla! Once we take advantage of this momentum, then we’ll be able to do much greater things with what we know.

 

 

Joomla and family are really synonymous when you get involved in the Joomla community and both mean a lot to me. Once you begin participating, Joomla quickly becomes an extended family of passionate, like-minded professionals with common skillsets, multi-faceted interests and diverse cultural mix of worldly experiences. True, it sounds like kind of mouthful, but it is hard to actually put the coolness into words for being part of this charming, often spirited, yet sometimes borderline dysfunctional (said with a smile of course), amazing community. To celebrate the exciting activities going on in the world of Joomla and to bring folks from this global community together, official Joomla User Groups (JUG’s) often collaborate, contribute, and plan JoomlaDay events around the world (http://events.joomla.org/).

 

 

Here is why this event is important to me (“my story and I am sticking to it”). After transplanting to the East, near Boston, over 14 years ago from the Midwest (I so miss the vibrant music scene there), I settled in around 2006 to build our Joomla centric business.  This has been a great time to do stuff on the web and Joomla has become so much more than just a technology platform for us. 

 

 

Over the past 9 to 10 years of being involved in the Joomla Community, I have been waiting for a JoomlaDay event to happen in my hometown’s MN Twin Cities.  Finally after 9 plus years of waiting there is finally a JoomlaDay MN planned for July 19th in Minnesota. The only bummer is that I cannot go and to make matters more frustrating, I will be right there in MN and WI at that time. It’s kind of like putting a kid in a candy store with him knowing he cannot taste any of it.

 

 

I am so blessed to have come from a large family with many uncles, aunts and great uncles etc. and every three years, one of the groups (branches in our massive tree) takes charge of hosting our family reunion. This event spans three days and draws kinfolks from all around the country and sometimes visits from our relatives of originating all the way from Denmark where we have a family crest and a rich history.  It turns out that our Nielsen Family reunion is on the same weekend and our branch of the family are the hosts this year. Needless to say, I have to be there. ;-)  

 

 

There are however, one or two things I can do and that is to be a cheerleader and sponsor of the event.

 

 

Joomla is a powerful suite of tools that meets the needs of customers and businesses that utilize it. If you need to build, design, or code a website, or if you just simply want to learn more and know folks that do – this is going to be well worth your time. You will definitely end the event with new friends and plenty of inspiration. Many folks get involved with Joomla as an opportunity for the professional freedom and the flexibility it offers as a powerful online business and content management solution. The work of everyone contributes to your success through working with this open source technology platform.

 

 

We want to make a lot of big noise to our many friends and extended family in the Twin Cities to please get out and participate in the great event. I would include family in this call out but as stated they will be with me up in the North woods celebrating Danish culture. :)

 

With everything said and done, why is this an important event? I can enumerate it for you but where’s the fun in that? Better yet, go to the web site and see for yourself what the buzz is all about.http://www.joomladay.mn

 

 

There are so many great presentations and this is a great opportunity to get involved. I know some of the most amazingly creative and technically smart folks I have ever met will be there.

 

 

Here is a “you betcha” special Minnesota deal. Get a $25 discount on admission by going here.

 

 

https://jdaymn.eventbrite.com/?discount=CNPJDAY

 

It is going to be remarkable to have so much of my family and extended family all so close in one place. I may not be there physically but I will certainly be there at JoomlaDay MN in spirit. I am sure this will be the beginning of something great for the growth of the Joomla community in the Twin Cities. I hope you choose to be a part of it!

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