I put this video together to discuss some of the similarities and differences between Joomla, Wordpress, and Drupal.  In particular, I set up some sample content in a "plain vanilla" installation of each platform, and examine the underlying database structure.  Too frequently, I find myself reading peoples' opinions about which of these platforms is better than the other, and I can't help but think to myself, "You're just saying that because you learned (insert platform name here) first." 

If you already have a site built using one of these platforms and want to hire me, I'm happy to play the role of consultant.  If you don't have a site and want to engage me to design & build it, I can do that, too.  (I generally don't find the database structure by itself to be enough of a reason to switch from one platform to the other, but that's also an option if sufficient reasons exist.)  Get in touch today!

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Building optimized sites has always been a major part of our strategy: they are easier to maintain, easier to upgrade, and they load more quickly.  I have never built a site using only Flash, and have always built sites using HTML-and-CSS based navigation menus.  They are search engine friendly and easy to expand or rearrange.

With that in mind, I have recently come up with a few other ways to speed things up.  A faster site will generally rank better in the search engines, plus it will have less people abandoning the site while waiting for it to load.

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A Discussion Drupal vs Joomla Theming

I think this might be my first post specifically about Drupal.  I’ve been using Drupal for a few years now, but as many know, I’ve been a Joomla guy for a lot longer.  One of the nice things about Drupal’s theming structure is their “content” is rendered as a regular block.  So, when you’re managing blocks in the admin panel, you can assign a contact form block to the content area block area, and it shows up right below it.  No need to tweak the template files create a new block area (in Joomla speak, a module position).

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013 02:19

A Lesson in SEO: Client Rescued from Flash

“Now, people are calling and saying they found my site through an internet search.”
- Chris Pip, owner of CP Construction

We recently rebuilt this website for a local contractor and wanted to share the results.  

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Rather than writing an article that dissects each CMS platform, I've decided to discuss the similarities between Joomla, Drupal, Wordpress, and ExpressionEngine.  Combined, these 4 platforms power more than 20% of all websites, so let's not choose sides just yet.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2011 00:19

How to maintain control of your web site

Domain Registration -> Hosting & Email -> Framework, Content, Updates

As a business owner, the thought of not having control of your website is is most likely frightful.  I've experienced a handful of situations where a client hired a different web developer previously, hire me to re-engineer the site, then come to find out that their prior developer has more control of the site than they do...

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When it comes to building your company's web site, there are two basic ways to build it.  The first method is to use a program like Dreamweaver to build the template, menu, and pages using HTML.  Each page becomes a separate HTML file, and all of the HTML files are interconnected.  For basic sites, this method is fine.

If you want to have more control over your site, you will want to use a Content Management System (CMS).  Compared to the first method, where each page becomes a separate HTML file, a CMS-powered site will store each page into a database.  This way, all of your content is stored in rows and columns, which makes it much easier to manage.  For example, you could display the latest 5 articles on your home page.  If your site is built using a database, you can tell the home page to look inside the database for the most recent 5 articles, instead of creating all of the links by hand in HTML.  A real time saver!

There are two basic types of CMS software.  One is a commercial license, where a software company charges a setup fee, plus maintenance, for using their software.  This Enterprise-level software typically costs a few thousand dollars for the setup fee, and a couple hundred a month for maintenance.  Examples of commercially licensed CMS software include Ektron and Red Dot.

The other type of CMS software is Open Source.  Open Source software is free to use, and free to customize.  It is supported by an online community of developers - thousands of nerds from all over the world (like me) develop, support, maintain, and upgrade the software so that they can use it for their own purposes.  Frequently, a client who needs an open-source plugin will fund the initial project, and makes the resulting software freely available.  Some developers also build commercial plugins which can be purchased, typically for less than $100.  Examples of such Open Source CMS packages include Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, and OSCommerce.

Also, a CMS-powered site will be easier to enhance, upgrade, or re-skin in the future.  Many CMS packages will have basic functions like search, rss feeds, and image uploading capabilities built-in.  Also, a strong CMS platform (my personal favorite is Joomla) will have a plugin system which will allow you to add features to your site such as eCommerce, photo galleries, client extranets, online communities, discussion forums, and more.

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