If you want to invest in brand-building, checkout workflow, usabiliy and more, consider contacting CloudAcccess.net Professional Services - we have a Real Design Process to help you get the exact look and feel you’re after by creating a custom Joomla template that matches your brand perfectly. If we were to build a custom VirtueMart template for a client, for instance, we start by implementing each extension needed in a basic template. Then, we create the index view of the shopping cart followed by the category view and lastly the product view. We would set up VirtueMart as if it were about to go into production. The key is to always assemble first, and design later. After the assembly, a Photoshop artist would create new views for the index, category and product views of the shopping cart. The images would be sent to the client for approval and then passed to a front end coder who would bolt the designs to the live application. If you have a talented front end coder, they can get creative with CSS to make look and feel adjustments without the Photoshop artist. Building a custom VirtueMart template is not an easy task, and the labor that goes into creating one could exceed 100 hours.
If you want a shortcut, consider starting with a template that is built to fit the purpose, even it it doesn’t match the colors you want right off the bat. You could use a standard template not built for your major 3rd party extension, but the views may look awkward. Standard templates aren’t really built to override the views of large extensions. As a result, you’d probably have to spend time styling the shopping cart views to get the desired look and feel. If you like the basic style of a template built for your extension, you can always dive into the CSS and HTML to adjust the style to fit your brand. This will ultimately save you a lot of time and money.
I recently had a chance to talk to Kowshar Ahmed, a passionate Joomla enthusiast and the owner of JoomShaper. The JoomShaper team creates high quality Joomla templates and they recently released a great VirtueMart template called MegaDeal. If you need to build a VirtueMart site, you can’t find a better template.
I definitely suggest that you test out the demo and play around a bit. I’m excited about the MegaDeal template for VirtueMart because it provides a pre built solution for building a fast, flexible, clean and easy-to-use VirtueMart shopping cart design. You will not be sorry that you took the time to invest your design efforts around a pre-built ecommerce template. Watch the video below for a brief preview of MegaDeal.
Building your own template using one of the many frameworks available is another viable option. Please note that this really isn’t for the faint of heart. If this interests you, please check out our recorded Joomla Template/Framework webinars. You’re also invited to attend a free & live webinar with Kowshar from JoomShaper. Kowshar is going to explain how to use the Helix V2 Framework to build your own Joomla template.
The best part about the Shaper MegaDeal is that it is ready for Joomla 2.5 right now, and will be updated to 3.0 as soon as Virtuemart is also ready for 3.0. This is big news if you're building a VirtueMart site and want to stay on top of the latest versions of Joomla. It’s unfortunate, but many 2.5 Joomla templates will not work with 3.0 unless unless the template provider has an update available. If you are using a free template, it’s probable that a new version won’t be ready for you. I recommend that you purchase a club membership with a reputable template provider like JoomShaper.
Too many people shopping around for free templates, and most of the free templates come with very little support or none at all. If you host your site with CloudAccess.net, we will install just about any Joomla template for you free of charge, including JoomShaper templates. All you need to do is submit a ticket, give us your login details to the template developer’s site, and we’ll do the work. You can also submit tickets, use live chat or call us directly to get help troubleshooting core Joomla issues. Purchasing a template membership is as equally as important. If you have a membership with a template developer and you’re struggling with changing backgrounds or finding CSS, you can always submit a ticket to the team that built the template to get help. Companies like JoomShaper offer outstanding support for their products. By having a membership you’ll also have access to upgrades, which is extremely important if you are going to stay current and up-to-date with the latest version of Joomla.
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