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The benefits of using Joomla for a Small Business Website

Why your Small Business or Non-Profit Needs Joomla

I've seen it far too often. Small local businesses having a "friend" or family member create their website. Sure, it helps to keep costs down, but unless friends and family do data architecture for a living, the small business owner is often left with a static Dreamweaver HTML site or a thrown-together Wordpress blog that was done in a couple hours with free templates and plugins.

Don't get me wrong: Wordpress is a great platform for blogs. When used as a blog, it can be a great starting point and powerful platform for what it is designed to do. Small business owners usually have just a handful of staff, have to be everywhere and all the time, so the website has to work right and get the job done.

The Joomla! CMS is ideal for local business websites, and I've created a few of these now. It works equally well for non-profits and larger entities, so scaling up won't be an issue as your business grows.

Looking at the Business requirements for a website

This is one of the critical steps in having a site. You have to figure out what the purpose of the website will be. Is it just a site that is supplimentary? This means that it might be on your business card, and you'll tell a few people about it, but other than that, will you be ignoring the site's existence?

Is the website going to become part of a marketing strategy? Will your site be on not only the business cards, but on your telephone outgoing message, creatives for mailers, posters and flyers? Will you be referring to your site through social media channels? In essence, is your site going to become a part of gaining new business and communicating with your existing clients and customers?

The Joomla CMS can run quite well on conventional shared hosting through web hosting companies such as GoDaddy, Host Gator and 1&1. A site that is used just to serve static content to your customers (like hours, prices and about us page) can be set up quite quickly and with even an un-altered template, can look great and get the message across.

Joomla's full capabilities are truly realized (on a small business and non-profit level) when you have a couple people who's job duties include writing/editing web content, blogging about daily business (are you doing this? If not, you should!) and actively communicating with the customers. Features such as Access Control (ACL) and extensions such as K2 really come into play, and Joomla is transformed from just being a way to render a website and content, but a robust web authoring and publishing tool that far surpasses what other software can do out of the box.

The important thing to understand is that while platforms such as WordPress are great for what they are designed to do, Joomla is far more flexible and extendable right out of the box, but is easier to use and handle than the "Developer-Friendly, User-Alienating" Drupal Platform.

Also, Joomla can usually be handled by any teen who uses Facebook, Pintrest and Tumblr (I should know, my daugther is one of them) so it really doesn't take higher skills to maintain. You don't need to have a full time developer to take care of the site for you, saving money and increasing your return on investment (ROI). If you don't have web building skills, then having a developer build the site initally is a great idea, but plan to do the content editing yourself if you have to find ways to save money.

Lastly, Joomla is available for free, and many web hosting companies offer an automatic installation from the web hosting account's control panel.

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