We all learn in different ways. Some of us learn by following written step-by-step instructions with or without screenshots, some by watching tutorial videos, some by asking others, and some by clicking around to see what happens. For Julie Steffers, it was a bit of ‘all of the above’. When she needed to create an intranet website, she started out by launching a website on launch.joomla.org, the platform that enables you to build fully functional Joomla websites and experience how Joomla works (for free!). And she learned a lot along the way.

Thank you for sharing your Joomla story with us, Julie! Could you please tell us a little about yourself? 

I live in the South of Johannesburg. I was working for an NGO which survives on donor funding but I was laid off because of donor funding drying out. Currently I do freelance typing and try to find websites to build. My background is admin and secretarial and IT (developing software in Ms Access).

When did you make your first Joomla website?

In 2011, when I was working in the IT department at my previous employer, I decided that we needed an intranet website so I decided it was time to teach myself something new and started to research. 

What made you choose Joomla?

I tried both Drupal and WordPress and felt WordPress was more for blogging. With Drupal I had a challenge uploading attachments (it was not showing on the front end). And so I chose Joomla because I was able to start immediately when I launched the demo version of Joomla. 

What did you do first, and after that?

The IT guys installed WordPress for me and allowed me some access but not much. I decided that I don’t like anything where I don’t have access to the backend.

Can you describe the process of creating your first Joomla website?

I launched the free demo version on the Joomla website (launch.joomla.org) and I did not have to worry about setting up localhost being a fledgling. The support was great. I worked on the demo site until the 30 days’ trial was up and made a backup of the site using Akeeba Backup. I also attended the free and live webinars and learned a lot.

What challenges did you face?

I did not know how to restore the backup. When the website was ready the IT guys set it live on a Unix server and would not give me access to the files such as the htaccess and I installed Profiles to get access as I needed to make some changes. 

How did you solve them?

I watched a YouTube video which taught me how to restore the website with Kickstart. I designed the intranet website on localhost until it was ready. 

Where did you get help (if you needed it)?

During my trial I had support from CloudAccess. After that I did some Joomla courses at www.flossnet.co.za. I watched a lot of youtube videos. I also joined my local Joomla User Group which is no longer in existence. I attended the Joomla Day in Johannesburg. I remember Peter Martin came and encouraged us all to help each other where we can and give support. He spoilt us with yummy stroopwafels (a luxury in South Africa which is scarce and very expensive). Since then I have been trying to give guidance where able to. 

I did the online courses in Joomla training. I joined various Joomla Facebook groups and started to give support. I joined the forum on www.joomla.org. 

My first resource for asking for help is the Joomla forum. However my favourite resource is the Joomla No Spam Facebook group because I have got quite a good relationship with everyone. They know that I try to help others where I can. If I do not know an answer I just watch and learn. I sometimes ask questions on the Joomla South Africa group but it is kind of dead and I feel very sad about it. I often share information there and I seem to be the most active one in the group. My experience when asking for help is great. Sometimes I get some weird answers but others on the group are very quick to correct them, which I appreciate. 

What would be your golden tip for people who are new to Joomla?

Be warned. Once the Joomla bug bites it bites hard and does not let go. Jokes aside. Memorise CASh until you dream about it. C = Categorize, A = Add content, Sh = Show on a menu or on a module.

Are you, like Julie, struggling with restoring a backup using Akeeba Kickstart?

This video explains how you can restore a backup made with Akeeba Backup, on any server: https://www.akeeba.com/videos/1212-akeeba-backup/1618-abtc04-restore-site-new-server.html

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