Joomla is an open source system which one can use to create a website. It’s popular because it is free and this is one of the reasons the government and agencies of South Africa are using it. As of 1st quarter this 2012, Joomla was downloaded by over 30 million people which makes it the second most used Content Management System (CMS) in the world. It only comes after WordPress which is another free source.
Compared to WordPress, Joomla is considered as a portal where one can build an entire website while WordPress is more of a blog. Joomla also has many commercial add-on choices like a newsroom, membership, forum, articles, ads – in short it has more power and options which fits in perfectly with the rapidly changing scene in South African governance.
There are more than 10 government agencies and municipalities using Joomla as their CMS and many see Joomla being used by more in the next 2 to 3 years. Some of the other advantages of Joomla include:
- Easy navigation structure
- Basic html knowledge recommended but not required
- Comes with a choice of stylesheets although there are templates for sale online which would cost about $35 to $50 only
One of its disadvantages is that it can get complicated to maintain or upgrade without a professional web developer. This is because if you expect high volume of visitors and you are using many of the Joomla resources and plug-ins, the system could break down without a little tweaking. But it is this very reason why Joomla works: it’s isn’t a uni-directional CMS because you can expand your community page or website quickly.
Furthermore, one of its newest add-on features is the Joomla billing which allows websites using Joomla to post bills, sell overseas, close contracts and agreements like car rentals and book tickets.
Aside from local government agencies using Joomla, it is also popular as an online course for web designers who wish to capitalize on its growing popularity in the country. It is possible that Joomla has become a preferred choice in South Africa because the name is a Swahili word that means “all together.”
Joomla! South Africa
There is a Joomla! South African Community Portal made of Joomla fans from around the country. The site is about 5 years old and the members are very active in promoting Joomla CMS as an option. They also volunteer training to students as well offer their services to companies wishing to develop their website.
Joomla! South Africa is also an ideal place to post updates on how this CMS has helped a community or organization boost its consumer awareness ratings. It gives companies and South Africans a viable option to finally get to be on the Internet. What’s nice about Joomla! South Africa is that it is neutral and will never post anything against other CMS choices like WordPress or Drupal.
In a recent study on Internet activity in South Africa, a surprising result reveals that in 2008, about 15% of adults were using the Internet. Today, that figure has spiked to 34%. South African businesses need to start being visible online in order to tap into this growing market. And it would be even more impressive if they could make their website available in English and a local dialect. The fastest way to do this is through Joomla since it’s free, readily available, and fully supported.
Simply put, people with nothing more than their laptops and Internet connections can create blogs, personal websites, ecommerce websites and more with the help of projects like Joomla!