Joomla! (officially spelled sorta like “Yahoo!”) is free open source software. It runs on PHP and therefore is usually found on unix and linux hosting packages. Like other content management systems, the design of the site is completely separate from the content of the site. By applying a new “template” you can completely change the look and feel of any Joomla! site without altering any of the content. Joomla! automatically creates a printer-family version of each page, along with a .pdf file for each page.
Joomla! grew out of another content management system called Mambo, and the two are very similar at this point in time. They are expected to diverge in the future. There is a steep learning curve associated with Joomla! in the beginning. Designing the look and feel of a site is diffficult and requires knowledge of CSS and XML unless you are simply using a commercial template. It usually helps to add some of your own content before trying to change the design of the site. Sites look different with the stock content than they will with your own content. To see what I mean you can visit the official demo site and compare it with the new ParkQuick site or with Psychology.info – two sites that I renovated using Joomla!. Another interesting site to view Joomla! templates is the Joomlart demo site. Use the controls at the bottom of the page to see the site with different templates applied.
You can install Joomla! on a server by following the instructions at Joomla.org, but an easier approach is to use a script collection like “Fantistico” that is available on the control panel of many hosting services. HostGator is one hosting company that offers unlimited domain for $10 a month, and also offers Joomla! installations and upgrades free-of-charge.
Also in this month’s Name Monetizer newsletter is an interview with Jerry Nolte of iMonetize, and information about changes at Sedo and the new free domain conferences. As always, thanks to Andrew for sharing this podium.