While almost everyone has heard of minisites by now if you know anything about internet marketing, very few people have considered using an open source and free CMS or content management system, like Mambo or Joomla, which is based on Mambo code, to produce minisites.
What are the advantages of using a CMS like Joomla to rapidly make and deploy minisites on the internet?
1. Joomla is easy to use and you can use thousands of free CSS based templates that support the latest standards and have a site up in hours, not days.
2. Joomla support easy wysiwyg or what you see is what you get visual editors that allow you to set up and add content to a site as easily as using a word processor on your desktop computer. What this means is that your site supports the latest web 2.0 standards and can grow in content easily and quickly without redeveloping your website from scratch.
3. Joomla has thousands of extensions and you can easily produce websites that rival sites costing tens of thousands of dollars for nothing. You can easily add membership sites, photo galleries, streaming video, audio, chat, and forums as well as rich blogs. In short, everything to make your site “sticky” and keep bringing back those visitors over and over again.
4. Joomla makes changing the look of your site a snap, since you can change your template and quickly change the look and feel of your website in just minutes, allowing you to freshen up your site every once in a while.
5. Joomla is continuously updated and is now releasing a beta version called 1.5. Most people are still working on 1.03 or so, but it is nice to know that future upgrades are available.
6. Joomla is well supported by many Hosting services now, and is able to be installed by Fantastico scripts with just one click. There is a user manual and several video packages that show you how to make templates and set up membership sites for profit.
7. Joomla and most of it’s extensions or add ons are free and open source so it is cheap to get a very professional web presence on the internet.
For all the advantages, it will take a few weeks to get used to the new methodology of using a CMS to manage and deploy your websites unless you are used to making websites from your browser. Once you get the hang of it however, you never want to go back to the slow laborious system of desktop website creation and uploading.
I recommend you go to one of the sites called Joomlatutorials.com and go through the tutorials right after installing Joomla and before you do any work on your own site. Basically, you start with a template that you get for free at the largest free site template repository called http://www.joomla24.com. They have over 1,500 free templates you can start with. Alternatively, you can go with one of the many commercial template companies that offer a variety of paid templates that you can modify and make into your site.
Once you select the template, you must change the permissions on your template and media areas of your template section in Joomla under your public html directory so that you can make changes to the appropriate template and files.
You do this either within joomla or most often, from cpanel using your file manager functions and set the file permissions to 777 for the folders and 666 for files.
You must get a log in from your hosting company after installation so that you can go into the administrators section that you manage and build the site from and make changes and add content to the site.
After you log in, you go to the templates section in the site manager and click on new.
Then you are presented with a dialog that asks you to browse on your computer and pick the site template which must be in zip format and you upload the template on your site. After a few minutes, if it is successful, and it tells you so, and then you click on continue. Then your site template will be listed with the other default templates. You click the radio button to make the template you installed the default template.
Then, you click on the radio button to select the default template and then you click on html to edit the html for the template page. You will be checking for the image files on the page.
As you can see, you need to study html and I would especially study CSS or cascading style sheets and tables so that you know how to place things on the page. In any event you need to look for the header graphic and replace it with a graphic header of your logo or a header image for your site.
You must be sure the graphic is slightly smaller than the size given so that the header graphic or logo will show up without messing up the format of the template or page. You must upload using an ftp program like Transmit or Filezilla the image file that you want to use for your logo or header image. Once you find the joomla folder in the public html folder, you must click on it to find the templates folder. Inside that there is an images folder. You must upload your chosen image to that folder. It should be a .jpg or .gif file in the same format as that used in the template if possible. Once the image shows up in the file, your next job is to change the html in the html file and replace it with the name of the image you uploaded. Then when you pull up your [http://www.sitename/joomla] your front page should show your graphic logo or header file.
Next, you need to unpublish those buttons on the front page that you don’t need. You go to the main menu section and unpublish everything but the home button. You will need to go to joomla extensions page and go to menu section and find a menu extension that will allow you to use images or other files to set up your menus. Then you will have the appropriate file extension ready when it is time to link your menus which is the last step in setting up your website.
One thing you can do now is figure out what extensions or extras you will need on your website. You can just have a straight minisite but you will do better in the search engines and in the eyes of your visitors if you have a theme based content site and not just a sales page. If you add a chat client, a forum, and a blog to your site then you will find that your visitors become involved with the site and keep returning. The more they are on your site, the greater the chance they will buy what you have to offer, be it an affiliate offer, an ebook, or a membership.
Check each section of the extensions. Especially the graphics section where all the banner advertising extensions are. You can monetize the site with banners and/or text ads that will bring additional money onto the site. It is true that if you use AdSense on your site, your site will show up in the search engines sooner. There are several AdSense modules. You will need to add docman or Remository if you will be setting up files for download on your site. Community builder or AEC will serve you well if you are setting up a membership site. You will need One of the wsiwyg content editors in the content and news section so that you can edit your pages easily and quickly. You must set up your wysiwyg editor as your default editor for Joomla. Then when you go to add content, you can easily and quickly edit your pages. You should go to the Blog section and add X-Blogg for editing your blog offline and download one of the blog programs for easily setting up and running a blog from your site. You will need to add one of the payment processors and/or a shopping cart for your site if you will be selling products from your site. Once you have added all the extensions, be it a component, module, or mambot you are ready to go to the next step.
Next, you will start adding the sections you will need in your site. Then you will add categories to the sections until you have divided your site into an organized entity. Then you will edit the front page using the content editor and the wysiwyg editor you have made the default content editor. You will add images and add articles so that everything is done to your satisfaction. Use Polls, banners, and the AdSense or other text ads for your affiliate programs to the front page on a rotating Banner or rotating ad schedule. That way you can track where most of your sales are coming from . Keep adding articles and other sections to your site until it is finished. Don’t forget to add sales pages for each of the products or affiliate opportunities you are promoting. Then you will add a Thank You page for any downloads you need to offer or ebooks or software. You will have to set up the extension and add any thumbnails or links you need to download products for.
Once that is all set up check all your images and your spelling for all your articles. Check your links and make sure that everything is in order. Make sure your shopping Cart is working properly by adding a sample products and ordering them. Make sure that any forms are working properly to add your visitors to your opt in list.
Add your newsletter buttons and set up your mailings. Set up your autoresponders for any orders or requests for you newsletters. I suggest you set up your newsletters in an archive section on your site so that people can download them from the site in case their email Spam filter eats your newsletter.
Once everything looks good publish your pages.
Congratulations, your site is now live. Write two articles in your area of expertise a day and you will have over 100 articles in a years time circulating all over the net earning you money. You just submit the articles to article directories and you will add a signature file mentioning your experience and your main web site. As I said, if you do this to hundreds of sites you will soon see a flood of traffic to your site and the money will follow! Joomla Greetings for the holidays!