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My Joomla! Story: How I Found and Built My Online Home

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I own and operate Screen Designs Printing & Embroidery in Bethel, Connecticut, and about 8 years ago I started getting a lot of customers in my store with printouts of t-shirts that they had designed on their home computers using sites like Vistaprint or CustomInk. I knew immediately that if customers had the ability to design pretty cool shirts on their own, it was going to be a game changer in the industry. People were picking products, selecting their favorite colors, uploading logos and creating a customized shirt in minutes, all from the comfort from their own home. It was a new way of doing business.

Up until that point, only had a basic brochure style/informational website. I wanted to emulate the functionality of these other sites and allow my customers to shop from home. I envisioned an easy-to-use process that would walk site visitors through a step-by-step process of picking a shirt, style, color and then having their customized product appear before their eyes. I know a lot about t shirts, but, at the time, I knew very little about web development. So I set out on a journey to help my vision come to fruition.

Through my research, the phrase content management system kept rising to the surface, and I started looking into Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla. I read a lot about each CMS, but ultimately decided on Joomla because the vast amount of training material available online. I visited the Joomla Forum and watched several videos on YouTube about how Joomla could be used to build a customized online business presence. I liked how easily I could launch a demo site through and I also found their Joomla Webinars very helpful. After attending a webinar I had my own website up and running in just about an hour. I was very excited about what I was doing because Joomla was much more powerful than what I had used to create websites in the past.

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  68682 Hits Partner Stories: Red Sage Communications, Inc.


Red Sage Communications, Inc. is an award-winning web services company based out of Decatur, Alabama. They provide everything from graphic design to branding, website development and marketing. They are really a one-stop-shop for brand building, marketing, SEO, and web development, and they have a very broad client base. is proud to call Red Sage a partner, and the story behind that partnership is quite interesting.

Red Sage was founded in 2006 by Ellen Didier. When they opened, the company used a proprietary product, ExpWeb by SunGard for website development. At the time ExpWeb made building sites efficient and relatively easy for the staff of novice programmers. However, SunGard eventually chose to package ExpWeb with some of their other products and it was no longer a stand-alone piece of software. At that point they stopped supporting it with even basic functionality and support patches.

With that little shove from SunGard, Red Sage decided it was time to circle the wagons and review other options. After a few days of looking at various choices the team narrowed it down to three: Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla. After many pro/con lists and discussions, they settled on Joomla due to the large community that was behind the project. Teresa Smith, Red Sage Web Products Coordinator, said, “we were able to find extensions that did things our clients needed, both effectively and at a great price point.”

With that decision behind them they began looking for seminars and classes to help get through the learning curve as well as become involved with the community to find out things like what hosting companies were best, which ones to avoid, etc. With the support of Ellen (aka Dragon Lady), Teresa traveled to the CMS Expo in Denver in November 2008 to learn about Joomla and hopefully meet some people in-the-know, and in a twist of fate, it’s there where she first met Gary Brooks, then the founder of, an ISP in Northern Michigan.

Teresa said, “I don’t know how we would have gotten to the point where we’re at without Gary’s hand holding. He spent lots of time with us, walking us through the Joomla installation process, explaining the content management system and sharing resources to help us get started.” Happy with their choice in Joomla, Teresa returned to Red Sage to share what she had learned. They contacted Steve Burge at OSTraining for additional Joomla training and from there set out to find a suitable host for their newly developed Joomla sites.

They found a host in late 2008, at which time hadn't yet evolved into Red Sage was developing in Joomla 1.5 and building with hired front end development talent through, taking Photoshop designs and having them custom programmed for Joomla through the Real Design Process. They were hosting on a dedicated server elsewhere, but weren’t completely satisfied with the level of support that hosting company provided. In the meantime had become and began to offer hosting services.

Once again, positive change is brought about by necessity when Red Sage began to create a plan for all the 1.5 sites they were hosting. They knew their current hosting company wasn’t going to be of much help in the migration process and they knew what great support they had received from in the past. So, a conference call with Gary Brooks was scheduled to discuss options.

Gary took the time to talk Ellen and Teresa through the options of hosting with as well as the pros and cons. The Partner Program was the perfect fit! Great support, great pricing, and a relationship with someone they knew they could count on! The next challenge was to move the existing sites from their current server to, as well as take the 1.5 sites through the upgrade process to Joomla 2.5. was able to assist in the migration as well. Red Sage ultimately moved 49 websites from their previous hosting company to and have since upgraded most of those sites to version 2.5.

Teresa said, “if you’re hosting a Joomla site, there is no other better solution. As a client of, you’re treated with respect, and they’re great at solving problems.” The Red Sage team is pictured above.

You can learn more about Red Sage Communications, Inc. by visiting . has several partner types, and Red Sage is a Reseller. Resellers offer a redistribution of hosting services, but they support and bill their own clients for that service. It's kind of like setting up your own hosting company. We supply our Resellers a drastically reduced monthly shared hosting cost, and they sell that hosting service for any price they choose and they do their own billing. For example, if you're a web developer, you can bundle hosting with development together into one package. Resellers pay the low flat rate for hosting and provide their own support, but they have access to our 24/7 Insane Support.

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