4 minutes reading time (731 words)

Breaking Down Barriers for Joomla! Users

Breaking Down Barriers for Joomla! Users

I have experience teaching several hundred Joomla! users. The highest barrier for my students was to move their sites from their local servers that they used for their training, to real servers that will host their sites. There should be an easier way to do that and make new Joomla! users satisfied than ever.

Technology and religion share quite a few characteristics. It’s enough to read reactions to an online products, services or other technologies to see how vehemently users can defend a favorite platform and how passionately critics can attack it.

Discourse about a product or service technology will often cross from its practical and applied aspects, to issues that are not rational and are often marginal to the product or service itself. But likewise, those wanting to spread the word of their favorite online product or service can be likened to making a religion accessible and likeable for its followers.

Having taught several hundred Joomla! users, I’ve found that the biggest hurdle for my students has been moving their sites from their local servers that they used for the training process to real servers that will host their sites. I propose that there should be an easier way to make that transition and make new Joomla! users more satisfied than ever.

Let me describe our Joomla! newcomers:

Most of them are users who did not have a website before, and are building their first site with a content management system, in this case Joomla!. Some others already have a website, HTML or another CMS, and want to add features and capabilities that their current system does not allow. So they decide to switch to another system.

Both of these new users are, as it were, entering a “new religion" or “converting”. We - the Joomla! community - want to help them make the move and engage Joomla! to the fullest.

We have to help them and make their transition as smooth as possible.

So our newcomer has decided to build a first website. The CMS is free - it's sort of like getting a prayer book. But to use it, they need hosting services – a synagogue or church, if you will.

These days, hosting prices are incredibly low, but the process of choosing and settling with a host is not yet a simple process. A first-time hosting process at best takes two days, resulting in quite a bit of hair-loss (for those who have hair to lose) or close encounters with heart attacks.

If we want to significantly increase our Joomla! community membership, we must remove the hurdle of installation on an external server host service completely! I am sure that by enabling a simple and valuable server service for our Joomla! users, we can do just that.

Such a service would allow anyone to establish a Joomla! site free of charge. All the user would have to do is provide a website name, username, and password. The new user would then be the rightful owner of a Joomla! site.

The minimum time providing such a service free of charge should be 10 weeks. Why 10 weeks? So that teaching and training in Joomla! can be optimized from several locations (school and home), and within this time, the user can set up a website, install any extension available for their version; and even back it up in case they decide to transfer to another server later on. After the first 10 weeks, the supplier should offer a competitive price for the user to continue using the site with any good hosting service on the planet. Clearly, the quality of service must compete with the best hosting services available today. The hosting service owners could be prompted to consider a pricing model where up to a certain volume hosting would be free (as long as there is traffic), and beyond that volume charges would be competitive with other hosting services.

This type of service should be able to convert an existing blog-based website to a Joomla! site while installing, by extracting records from another system. It should be relatively simple, requiring only the URL, username, and password of the user’s previous system.

Technology, as in religion, if harnessed correctly, can spread and increase its usability among the people. In terms of Joomla! users, community membership could expand phenomenally and the commercial service providers involved would enjoy significantly enhanced revenue. 

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