The Vice President of Joomla is helping the Police with their enquiries
Here in the UK, the phrase “helping the police with their enquiries" is synonymous with other phrases, such as “Assisting law enforcement with their investigation” and often ends with having “your collar felt.”
Luckily, I even get paid to help them, which is not the usual turn of events when dealing with the Law, but in my case, it is because I build websites for several different Police groups in the UK.
The secure nature of the work requires a secure environment, and Joomla has become the platform of choice, replacing several other systems and improving the Police’s reach when it comes to getting its valuable message out to the public.
But the story begins at a Joomla User Group London meeting (JUGL)
The background detail
It was a busy JUGL meeting, and a new person attended. They were from a charity that employed a developer to construct a revamp of their old site.
The next day, I received a phone call. It was the person who had been at the meeting asking if I could take a look at their site and check the administrator area out.
They asked how long the work I could see on the site would take me.
I went through all the components and modules used. The developer was clearly unfamiliar with the way Joomla works and had installed many different components to try to get the result that the client wanted but had abandoned and moved on to the next again and again.
I pondered and said: about a day and a half, two if I was drinking a lot of tea between working.
They despairingly responded that it had been over six months, and most of the budget had been spent! They asked what could be done to salvage the project as it was a charity, and this was going to really cripple them.
I said I would consult with my business partner and get back to them.
After much pondering, we decided to try to do the whole project on their remaining budget; it would not be cost-effective, but hey ho, it was for a charity and not everything has to be for a profit (remember that sentiment for later).
It took several months, but the work was done, and they were a very happy client.
Unfortunately for my contact, the business model changed, and although I remained the developer, they had to move on and find a new project.
Joining the force
A year or so later, I got a call one day.
“Would you like to tender for a new project? I now work for a police charity, and we are looking for a new developer as the current one is leaving”.
I thought it might be a good idea to tender, and so I did.
Within a month, I heard that I had won the job.
One site led to another, and then, before long, I was being introduced to different departments.
Funding for such things can be like the tide; it ebbs and flows, but there is always a core of work and then another expansion.
Groups form and divide.
Over time, there have been breakaway groups and new groups. Through my portfolio of work, I have been lucky enough to be the preferred and trusted choice when building sites, adding security and resilience whenever possible, and informing of best practices for the sites and other matters that touch on strengthening the systems.
Some of the sites are very much the client's design and decisions, but two sites for different police organisations are my favourites, ones I have had more input than usual.
National Business Crime Centre (NBCC)
This site's content is in core Joomla articles, and we use Yootheme Pro to pull these together with different sections using the Yootheme Pro templates.
So, all the content is stored as it should be in the core, and the templates allow us to combine the article's custom fields with ease.
This makes it easy for our clients to add content, as they don't need to touch the templating system but simply add articles with custom fields, and they automatically fit into some quite complex layouts.
We use category images to filter through the sections and tags to allow for the building of dynamic grids.
The newsletter is sent via NS Pro
Since the rebuild of the site several years ago, the growth has been really good.
The Cyber Resilience Centre for London (LondonCRC)
Another core Joomla content site with a similar setup of template and use of components.
This is the third time we have built it as its name, structure and orientation has changed over the last few years.
The London CRC is the only regional CRC that is not a WIX site, and yet, with its smaller but growing content, it has eclipsed the others with organic keywords indexed in Google and the traffic.
We are able to do things the other sites cannot. What surprised me were the lighthouse scores on the most popular pages, such as the news pages.
I opened them all in incognito mode, hoping to be near the top in Google's lighthouse site test.
At the time of testing, the Joomla site was not only top with 99, 90, 100, 100 (already planning to get those scores better), but others were posting 80s and one at 75 for a very similar page, news category blog view.
This would account for the smaller content site punching above its weight.
Once they catch up (they were the last formed), then they should streak away from the comparable sites.
There is always room for improvement, but it's good to see what a solid foundation Joomla offers against these multi-national, multi-million-pound rivals.
So Joomla is helping the UK police at least keep one step ahead of the rest regarding SEO and getting their message out to the general public.