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.
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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