I thought I would share a little of my experience with setting up a community website using Joomla, a free open-source CMS (Content Management System). It has been slow process and a big learning curve, but the site is now live... albeit a little lacking in content.
Here are the basics. If anyone is interested in more detail then let me know. I could write for hours on this experience, but would prefer to spend this time on the new website. Happy to answer any questions for people considering going through the same process.
To setup a community website for the Moreton Bay Islands, SE QLD.
A nexus for local groups, individuals & businesses to interact & collaborate online.
With Discussion Forums, Notice Board, Group Management, Newsletters & Photo/Video sharing (etc).
Minimum cost for maximum functionality.
I started this project just over one year ago, looking for a free, open source, CMS with good extensions for building online communities. Joomla CMS & the Community Builder (CB) extension were the clear winners for me, as they provided good integration via CB with the Kunena, AdsManager & AcyMailing extensions, plus a load of other quality extensions. CB includes GroupJive, an excellent feature for creating groups which can be managed independently.
- Joomla CMS - Free
- Joomla Extension - Community Builder - 65 Euro
- Joomla Extension - AcyMailing Newsletters - Free
- Joomla Extension - Kunena Discussion Board - Free
- Joomla Extension - Google Maps & Calendar - Free
- Joomla Extension - AdsManager (Noticeboard) PaidSystem (Payments) - 99 Euro
- Web Hosting - 65 Euro yr
1. Choose a web hosting service for your website. It will need to support MySQL & PHP5.
2. Download Joomla & Extensions to your computer
3. Upload Joomla & Extensions to your Web Host - If pre-installed, check it is the latest version..
4. Install & configure Joomla. (Not always easy for a beginner )
5. Install & configure Community Builder. (Easy, in my experience)
6. Install & configure extensions (Kunena, AdsManager, AcyMailing... Easy, in my experience )
7. Make A BackUp (this is your framework)
8. Add Content, create Groups, setup Discussions
9. Backup Data, Promote Traffic, Maintain Framework, Manage Content & Users.
10. Repeat Step 9.
At present my project is sitting between steps 8 & 9... I still have some testing to do, a lot of content to add, and locals to get on board & active, but that is just a matter of time now. I plan to add more videos to the 'Current Affairs' section of the Forum to promote discussion, plus I'm still not convinced that the web hosting service is up to scratch, so that may have to change, again.
The website is '(Southern Moreton Bay) Island Communities' island.org.au
Anyone is welcome to join & contribute, however most of the content will target an Australian audience, and in particular those of us on the Moreton Bay Islands in SE Queensland. Ultimately i would like to build the website to a point where it could provide a dedicated community nexus for any island in Australia... Macleay.Island.org.au | Lamb.Island.org.au etc, but this is beyond my expertise at the moment.
I'd love to hear any feedback, criticisms & suggestions that people may have. In particular...
- Site performance: Did pages load fast, slow, or normally?
- Site Error: Did any pages fail to load or cause an error?
- Usability: Easy to navigate & find the different features (Notice Board, Forums, Calendar etc)?
- Content: Suggestions (Aus relevant videos [carbon tax|fracking|fluoride|...])
- Content: Contributions (Recipes, Discussions, Photos/Videos etc)