How to Build a Community Website with Joomla
Community websites are not only fun and engaging, they can also be used to generate a revenue stream. Look at the success of sites like Facebook. Most of the revenue from social sites like these is generated by ads. However, this doesn’t mean that all community websites need to be geared to make money.
Building a community website has potential to drive a great deal of traffic. This is dependent on the niche and the purpose behind the site. In any case, platforms like Joomla make this much easier to accomplish.
Below are steps that will guide anyone to creating an amazing community website that has great potential for popularity. Keep in mind that these are merely tools to use to get the site up and running. It’s up to the developer to market the site with a purpose, content and an engaging atmosphere.
Step 1: Choosing a Good Web Host
The first step in building a community website is to find good web hosting. Not all providers are the same, and sometimes getting the least expensive deal results in the least features. So, how does one pick among some of the more popular hosting providers?
The Importance of Speed
Site speed is important for both visitors and search engines alike. As most people will leave a site if it takes too long to load, search engines rate slow sites poorly in results. This is why it’s vital to find a host that uses the latest technologies. For instance, having access to a content delivery network can vastly increase a site’s performance.
Available Marketing Tools
Marketing is a vital piece of building any successful website. No one is going to visit an online community unless they know it’s there. This is when free marketing and optimization tools come into play. Some of the best web hosting platforms will have some of the most effective tools on hand to get the website noticed in social media and other venues.
Space and Bandwidth
Some hosting plans are simply perfect for those who plan on building a popular website. Things like unlimited domains, web space and bandwidth can deliver the foundation to build an attractive website without fear of surpassing quotas. This makes it possible to build onto the community site in Joomla while continuing to expand the experience with pictures, games and other media.
Step 2: Install Joomla
One of the fastest ways to get a site up and running today is through the use of content management systems, or CMS. Applications like Joomla make most of the process automated through the use of modules and integrated settings. Instead of learning how to code in HTML or PHP, a simple install of the CMS is the beginning of the process to build a community website.
Some of the best hosting platforms will offer an easy way to install Joomla and other CMS applications. For instance, some providers offer Softaculous to install these apps without requiring coding or extensive procedures. After making a few custom changes such as site name and administrator login information, the software will install Joomla automatically.
What if Softaculous or other application is unavailable? It is possible to install Joomla from its core package. Although there are a few more steps involved when setting up the site, the process is user-friendly.
Step 3: Adding Modules
With the Joomla platform in place, it’s time to start adding community modules. There are a number of Joomla extensions that can be used to create a site centered around any niche or industry. The hardest part is picking which one will serve the purpose of the website. Here are a few that may be of interest.
Community Builder is a top-rated extension for the Joomla platform. It delivers everything needed to get started building a social site such as image avatars, profiles, custom fields for information, email and chat messaging platforms and member follows. This system is also mobile-friendly with custom options.
EasySocial 2 is another excellent community builder. It incorporates some of the other aspects that make top social domains so attractive. For example, the platform offers hashtags and mentions much like Facebook and Twitter. Users can create their own listings and the extension comes with several integrated micro-applications.
Using JomWALL adds a social networking element to the website that is great for a variety of purposes. It uses a responsive activity stream much like Facebook meaning that users are notified of updates in real-time. It also comes with a way to easily attach media files such as music and video.
Installing these modules is done from the “Extensions” area in Joomla. Since the CMS will unpack the zip file on its own, all that is needed is to add it. After which, new settings and functions become available allowing users to customize the community experience.
Step 4: Marketing the Website
After Joomla is installed and the right community systems are in place, start marketing the website. This can be done effectively in a myriad of ways. Although many people will use paid marketing platforms, such as pay-per-click systems, there are many that can be done for free. Some of these include:
Blogging is a great way to get the attention of the average Internet user. It will help increase traffic to the site while potentially engaging the audience to join the community. All it takes is quality content and good SEO to draw them in.
There’s nothing wrong with one social site promoting another. In fact, it’s seen all the time. For example, YouTube provides sharing buttons for the most popular social sites on every video. Market the community site on these other platforms.
A lot of online communities started with offline promotion. In reality, even profiles for major social sites are part of marketing in the real world. This is seen when a business promotes a Facebook or Twitter profile.
In the end…
A community site can be a great way to engage a large number of people simultaneously. It all starts with good web hosting and ends with solid ways of promotion. It can be a great experience to gain insight into customer opinions or as a method to simply meet a few new friends. Either way, Joomla can help build the community website easily and without extensive programming knowledge.