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How to Build a $ 4000 Open Source Dynamic Functionality Website in 40 Minutes


This blog will show how with free open source tools to build a spectacular information rich website that can be the epicenter of an online community as well as a platform to promote a message and sell a product. This website will have the following Web 2.0 features; multimedia content (video, photo, audio and animation), blogging system, event calendar, banner ad display system, ecommerce store, social media integration, forum, content aggregation, social network with Facebook and Twitter connect so visitors can create a profile in 2 clicks.

In case anyone is curious I do not charge my clients $ 4000 for less than an hour of work (True confessions: It actually only takes me about 20 minutes and I'm a task batching pro so I can set up like 10-15 sites in a few hours). The website I will show how to build below is just a foundation. A client project like this typically involves a time intensive creative process, content creation, customization of the site, business model development & marketing consulting.

The Content Management System (CMS)

It's important to understand that we are not reinventing the wheel here. What really makes this possible is the exceptional content management systems we are going to use, Joomla. I regard Joomla as the best CMS on the internet for three reasons 1 ) Its ridiculously robust with almost 7000 dynamic functionality extensions that allow you to scale your website to almost anything you can imagine 2 ) Its relatively easy to learn the basic administration functions of updating Content 3 ) It has an excellent community that will provide support for whatever issues you are having.

Installation – Since we do want to create a gorgeous website I do not recommend going with the default Joomla install template through fantastico. Get one of the gorgeous professional templates from RocketTheme or JoomlaXTC. Installing this is a breeze; create a MySQL database in your cpanel (takes about 3 minutes, your hosting company will have a simple tutorial on how to do this), upload the launcher or easy install version of the template into the directory then navigate to that folder in your browser and go through the simple install prompts. In about 5 minutes you should be looking at your installed website template populated with dummy data. Installing Joomla is breeze and there are many good tutorials on how it is done so I won't go into depth on it here.

Site Settings

From the backend admin area of ​​the site (YouSite.com/Administator) we are going to customize a few settings to make the website function a little better

Search Engine Friendly URLs. We want to the website to display SEO friendly URLs so navigate in the Main Menu to Site> Global Configuration . On the right hand side of the screen where it says SEO Settings set all 3 to Yes. Then through FTP or your Cpanel file manager go to the route directory of the site, find the file htaccess.txt and rename it. htaccess , now we have SEO friend URLs.

Session Time. We don't want the site logging us out all the time so in Global Configuration> System set the Session Lifetime to 45 minutes

Set Editor. After you've installed the JCE Editor (More info on this below in the blogging section) make sure you set this as the default content editor. To do this Site> Global Configuration> Default WYSIWYG Editor (Middle of page) and set it to JCE.

Note: To work within a CMS site you will definitely want to have a FTP (File Transfer protocol) program, this allows you to quickly upload and download files into the backend of the site. I recommend CoreFTP which is easy to use and you can download free.

Time Saving Tip: Let's say you are in the backend of the site looking for a particular setting. Instead of spending 5 minutes on a page searching for the particular setting since this is in browser editing use your browsers find on page function. On Google Chrome it's as simple as hitting Crtl-F and typing in what I'm looking for on the page.

Time Saving Tip: As you work within a CMS you will find that you do a lot of saving of articles and settings and navigating around. To save time use the Apply button and open your next destination in another browser tab, that way as you are making changes incrementally to an article or extension you just switch between tabs.

The Extensions

I've made this super easy on you by putting all my favorite extensions (Minus the paid ones) together in a zip file (see the link at the bottom of this article). Once the file is downloaded unzip it into a folder named something like Website Build Extensions (You will notice the extracted extensions are also ZIP files, DO NOT extract these ZIP files) . Now in the admin go to in the main menu Extensions> Install / Uninstall. To install extensions you are going to click Choose File under Upload Package File and then select one of the extracted ZIP files. Then click Upload File & Install back in the admin. I'm not doing a Joomla 101 class here so if you have any kind of issues installing these extensions please refer to one of many excellent tutorials online.

Managing and customizing the extensions is outside the scope of this blog but it is done by going in the main menu to Components > and clicking on the installed component or Extensions> Module Manager and clicking on the module.

Multi Media Content

HD Video Share. In 2 years of working with web video these two are the best video players I have been able to find. HD Video Share is an excellent video gallery that can play videos that you've uploaded to your site or it can stream them from other videos sites like Youtube, Google Video, etc (talk about content leveraging!). It can also be scaled to turn your site into a mini YouTube style video sharing community.

Flowplayer . Flowplayer is a little more simple video player that is great for if you want a video to autoplay on a page, like in a sales letter or welcome page.

Rok Slideshow. This will display a nice scrolling photos. Photos can be linked to site sections.

Ozio Photo Gallery. There is a very wide variety of free photo galleries available. I've found this photo gallery is pretty easy to use and offers a number of nice display options

Simple MP3 Player. Want to play MP3 audio files on your site?

File Names: HDVideoshare, mod_flowplayer_J15_v1-0-1, mod_rokslideshow_j15, com_oziogallery2.4, mod_simple_mp3_player_1.5.3

Social Network

Community Builder. Out of the almost 7000 extensions Community Builder is one consistently one of the top rated for it's easy of use, robust functionality for building a social network and good support. Community Builder itself has +160 sub extensions (many of which are also free) that can further expand the abilities of the your social network.

Facebook and Twitter Connect. These will add those little buttons to your site that allow people to login or create an account in about 5 seconds with just 2 clicks (For those of you concerned with conversion). These are plugins so they need to be installed through Components> Community Builder> Plugin Manager . You will also need to set up Twitter and Facebook applications for these to work, which is easier than it sounds. Like the rest of community builder these have excellent documentation and support. These are part of the CB Doc Extensions Package which I believe runs $ 20- $ 30.

File Names: See Community Builder folder, plug_cbfbc_1.1, plug_cbtwitter_1.0

Blogging System

Today content creation is a more important than ever in determining your online success. Joomla is an excellent blogging platform through its hierarchical system of article sections and categories To get started on a blog create a blog section and then head to Content> Article Manager in the main menu.

Disqus Comments. In our social age of internet content consumption blog commenting is very important. Disqus is the best commenting platform available and really encourages social commenting. It's very easy to install as well so set up a free account w / Disqus now.

JCE Wysiwyg. Allows you to imbed pictures, videos, animation and do HTML content styling within the Wysiwyg. A word to the wise, DO NOT cut and paste directly from MS Word into the Wysiwyg, use the MS Word Import button or better yet import with the Text Pad Button and then style the text HTML in Wysiwyg. It makes a for a better looking and more SEO friendly article.

File Names: plg_jw_disqus-v2.2_j1.5, com_jce_157_156_package

Event Calendar

JEvents. There are a number of Joomla events calendar but this is free and probably the easiest to use.

File Names: com_jevents_154b, mod_jevents_latest_154, mod_jevents_legend_154, mod_jevents_cal_154, mod_jevents_filter_154, plg_jevents_search_154

eCommerce Store

VirtueMart. Virtumart is one of the leading Open Source online store platforms to sell products or services. VM itself has +300 sub extensions (many of which are also free) that can further expand your ecommerce abilities to almost anything you can imagine.

File Names: See Virtumart folder


Agora Forum. Allows visitors to the site to carry out discussions about topics related to your industry through 'threads'.

File Names: See Agora folder

Social Media Integration

Ultimate Social Media Links. You want to encourage your visitors to share your stuff virally so make sure you have big conspicuous social media share links showing up next to your content.

RokTwittie. If you are building a brand online you gotta have a twitter. This is the best module I've found for displaying your Twitter feeds on the side of your website. You can also set it to search strings of phrases on Twitter so you know if people are talking about you.

File Names: mod_social_widgets, mod_roktwittie

Misc Extensions & Functions

Admin Bar Docker. Install this plugin it makes it a little easier to navigate around inside the Joomla administration backend.

Banner Ad Display. Joomla comes stock with a banner ad management system that can be access through the main menu Components> Banner . Upload your banner ad graphics to a folder then select them through the banner ad display system. You set how many clicks and impressions the banners receive or just set them to rotate.

Feedgator. Feedgator is its own world of open source awesomeness. It basically lets you feed any RSS to becoming articles on your website. If you've ever wondered how to create an auto blog this is how.

File Names: AdminBarDocker-v1.1.2, com_feedgator_2.2.4


Source by Jonathan Roseland