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Old 1st May 2010, 04:53 PM   #1
DesignGuy
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Default Building A Joomla Site = Easy SEO

Good afternoon, everybody. Shawn from North Country Design here. I wanted to talk to you today about a very easy way to help you design, manage your web site and increase your sites SEO performance by using the Joomla CMS system to design and manage your small business web site.

Let me start by answering some of the more basic questions I typically get:

1) What is Joomla CMS?
Joomla is a Content Management System or CMS. When designing web sites for my clients I never use anything other than Joomla. I find it to be professional, feature-rich, there are many free modules available to help simplify your life and improve the user experience. Photo galleries, slide shows, easy solutions for everyday tasks.

2) How much does it cost?
Joomla CMS is open source and 100% free of charge. You'll still have to pay for web hosting (1and1.com is a decent, cheap host in my opinion) but you'll never have to pay to have someone else manage your web site again! Joomla's back-end administration tools can be learned by anybody in less than a few hours. I meet small business owners all the time who are amazed at how many options they have tried before making the jump to Joomla.

3) How Does Joomla Make Help Me With SEO?
By design, web site CMS systems are meant to make -everything- easier. There are a few ways that Joomla helps with your SEO. There are modules available that help you:

Manage Meta Data - A popular module I use tells me which articles I have not yet entered meta-data information for. These are the keywords that are associated with each article that helps the search engines know what the content is associated with. Easy to use and a time saver!

PING - these modules automatically notify a number of blog search engines on your behalf, such as Pingomatic, Technoratic, etc. This ping means your updates show up on the index of these websites and because Google crawls these services very frequently you often have your new content indexed in minutes. - A great way to get yourself more traffic!

4) Sounds like a lot of work. How long does this take?

Register your URL @ GoDaddy (or whomever you use for domain reg) = 10 minutes.
Select a web host and signup for a monthly service = 10 minutes.
Install Joomla = AutoInstaller ... 10 minutes.
Select a Joomla Template (Depends on how picky you are!)
Install a Joomla Template ... 2 minutes.
Learning how to build your menu navigation & articles = 2 hours.
Creating your content and starting your own site = as much time as you want to put into it.
Installing Modules for SEO - 1 minute.
Configuring Modules for SEO - 5 minutes.

These are honest numbers. Everyone learns at a different pace - however working with a professional that can coach you will speed up the process.

I'll be happy to answer any questions that you might have in replies to this thread.

Happy Entrepreneuring!

Shawn


Last edited by DesignGuy; 3rd May 2010 at 05:15 AM. Reason: typos & clairification
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Old 2nd May 2010, 12:29 PM   #2
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Here's a quick guide I wrote to help you SEO your Joomla Website:

How to quickly SEO Joomla

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Old 2nd May 2010, 02:50 PM   #3
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I'm new to these forums but I have a question:

Is it common courtesy to reply to someone article with a link to your own article? You didn't respond to my article. You didn't offer any type of critique or expand to the points I made - you simply slapped a link in there.

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Old 3rd May 2010, 03:24 AM   #4
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Sorry about that, I'm new as well!

You give a good overview on how easy it is to get Joomla up and running.

I could not find the "Manage Meta Data" or "Ping" modules. There are quite a few options out there! Could you provide links?

I'm particularly interested in the Ping and associated RSS feed modules. This is something I have not got into yet.

The other aspects I was referring to are:
  • Write good titles for your pages
  • Write good meta descriptions for your pages
  • Use the Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URL options

The first two go hand in hand with your module that enforces meta tag entry.

Keyword and Description meta tags have no use for keyword placement anymore, and has no or little effect on how well you do with the major search engines. Very few search engines take them into account any more, due to the way spammers abused them.

One slight exception is that Google is known to display the meta description on its results pages. So this should be a paragraph designed to entice searchers to visit your website.

Same with the title tag, use it to attract visitors, not just to cram in keywords.

Don't waste too much time on the meta keywords. Just add a few very relevant ones.

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Old 3rd May 2010, 05:15 AM   #5
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No problem - I've updated my original thread to provide links to the modules that I discussed.

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Old 5th May 2010, 11:54 AM   #6
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Most Joomla sites I have worked with I have started from scratch and re-written - I do not vote CMS systems for SEO

In the right hands of a professional SEO then you can optimise Joomla but I still convert my clients to a fresher outlook on their search engine efforts.

I am not a fan of content management systems I guess

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Old 5th May 2010, 12:13 PM   #7
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Good afternoon, Nutty. I value your feedback so I'd like to understand your point a little better.

Can I ask why you wouldn't like the ease of developing articles in a CMS + the added benefit of SEO modules to speed up the process?

What benefits to straight HTML coding are there in the SEO world?

My opinion:

The reason that I prefer to develop with CMS systems instead of X/HTML systems boils down to ease of use for the end user. If I can allow clients to manage their entire site themselves and have a complete understanding of the back end - it saves them a ton of time and money.

As a bonus, all the automated plugins and modules that CMS systems offer (like the auto-Ping feature I spoke of above) make them a really smart tool for the small business owner.

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Old 5th May 2010, 12:54 PM   #8
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I understand the ease of use, but what part of search engine optimisation is easy for a customer? All my customers wouldn't know where to start so they need a pro who can handle that for them so they can just deal with their leads, my customers do not want to know how to create good title tags or where to get keywords from to create title tags, they don't even want to fuill in the fields, they are simply too busy so I find the title tag field is left and a company name goes in instead, the list goes on

The last one I took over was in such a mess, the person running the CMS system got it into such a state that the client was coming up for "women under 40" when they should have been targeting "nutritional supplements" for example

I understand that Joomla is a good system and I do not dispute that my point is - in the wrong hands it goes very, very wrong

When I have run CMS systems years ago, all that happens is the content is created badly and is messed up, keyword choices are badly selected, bad titles are constructed for the pages and so on

In these competitive times, stand out in a crowd

I understand it can re-write pages as that is a plug in which is good but we always convert our customers to bespoke, when you look at the medium/big companies they are not using CMS, it is all bespoke, why is that? Because written properly it is easily customisable and it can then do absolutely anything you want.

The customers we deal with are always changing the look and feel of their websites, and with bespoke they can change it to their heart's content and know their SEO is still intact, they don't have to worry about it.

Someone like myself and many on this forum can easily customise a Joomla CMS system but there are also those who are not SEO minded who would just create a whole lotta mess and not even realise it

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Old 5th May 2010, 01:22 PM   #9
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Excellent response.

So this leads me to believe that you agree that educating the customer is the key to having a successful CMS-based web site. I can agree with that 100%. If they are instructed on the proper way to do things and provided ongoing support - they'll be just fine.

In the hands of someone who had a web site developed and tossed in their lap - regardless of if it was a CMS, XHTML, a custom "WYSWYG" site, etc ... it's going to get messy.

As for the client not having enough time to worry about a web site - I think it's a good idea for the client to spend 30 minutes with their site every time they make a post. Proofread the post, spell check it, add your meta information and ensure it looks proper on your web site.

The alternative, I suppose, is paying someone $X a month to do all of this for you and I've found that in today's economy more people are bootstrapping their new startups and want to be more "hands on" with their web information. So the people that I've run into appreciate the understanding of how to properly handle their web site and know that there are multiple tech support options (like forums!) available if they need it.

In terms of extra work, when a client wants to change their web site design in a CMS setting, nothing changes with the SEO of those articles that they've already written. As soon as they apply the new template to the site and are done customizing it - the metadata is all back in place and ready to roll. Never skipped a beat.

Lastly, talking about prices - because of the amount of Open Source options available for Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal and the other CMS systems, you can generate some really nice sites and stay well within the client's budget. It literally costs NOTHING for a client to sit down, get a free host, auto-install Joomla and start playing around. Is it a professional solution? Nope. With a couple of hours of education can they start developing their own site and getting their feet wet with the process? Certainly. That's a lot harder to do if they're trying to take on learning HTML/XHTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, etc.

At the end of the day I look at it like religion. People have what works for them and it might be completely different for the next person. Until something comes along that fits my needs better (or the needs of the client) I'll continue to recommend Joomla (or a CMS equivalent)because of price, ease of use and the sheer number of people dedicated to making Open Source become mainstream.

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Old 24th May 2010, 05:09 PM   #10
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Have you found that Joomla is better for SEO than WordPress?

In my opinion, Drupal is just not good for SEO, or, rather, it needs to be pretty heavily modified to be good for SEO.

I'd love to try Joomla again if it's good for SEO. It was one of the first CMSes I tried, and it seemed like it wasn't really suited what I wanted, but that was before I really got into working with CSS and themes.

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