The first time I ever got my hands dirty with a content management system, was back at the very beginning of 2011.
I was feeling entrepreneurial, and so I decided to launch an online store. To cut a long story short, I opted to use VirtueMart – an eCommerce extension for Joomla. Not my wisest move, but such was my inexperience.
Using my initials and some brilliant creativity, I came up with the name, “KI Electronics”. I bet you can't guess what I was selling.
It took me months of sleeping through Joomla and Virtuemart tutorials on YouTube before I was ready to launch my online store. When I finally did, I thought my days of dealing with the complicated “set up phase” were behind me. But boy was I wrong.
From the day my store launched, until the day I laid it to rest at some stage in 2012, I wasted time, money and energy in a number of different ways. To be frank, it was a disaster. And here's why.
Pining for Plugins
Perhaps my biggest failure was my dependence and eagerness to use plugins/extensions.
If I had a problem with an image slider or gallery module, I'd trawl Joomla's huge extensions library for replacements.
If I had security issues (which I very much did), I'd spend hours and hours researching different Joomla security solutions before spending days setting them up. Time wasn't really the issue though – it was expense.
I must have spent hundreds of dollars on a range of different plugins, many of which I ended up trashing. It was like an addiction.
In hindsight, I should have spent my time learning how to delve into code in order to fix issues and improve my store for myself. Instead, I relied completely on the Joomla community to fix my problems. And it cost me dearly.
There were many points in my venture where I knew I needed to change things, but I was simply too stubborn to do so.
My Virtuemart template for example, wasn't the greatest. I knew I could switch to a different template, but because I had spent so long honing my original theme, I didn't want to change it.
More tellingly, I had also began to hear of Joomla alternatives. The world of CMS was opening up to me at the time, and my mind wandered. After all, even back in 2011, content management systems weren't hard to come by, no matter what type of project you had in mind.
But still, I remained stubborn. In my mind, I'd spent far too long learning about Joomla and Virtuemart to switch now. Months had gone by, and I didn't want my work to go to waste. So I stayed put.
As you might have guessed, this stubborn avoidance of change (which in today's digitally evolving world is tantamount to suicide), paired with my reliance on Joomla extensions to keep my venture alive, eventually killed it once and for all.
It got to a point where I was throwing both money and time at extensions to secure and beautify my store, all whilst putting off a much needed migration to a more user-friendly eCommerce solution.
The Silver Lining
Although my first encounter with a content management system was a disaster, I do see a silver lining.
Through my months of inexperienced tinkering with Joomla and Virtuemart, I learned a lot about eCommerce, setting up and maintaining websites, search engine optimization, and so forth.
Sure, every lesson I learned was the direct result of a mistake, but that's neither here nor there. It's thanks to the disaster of KI Electronics that led me to understand the Internet better. Not to mention, it gave me my first taste of running a website using a CMS.
Those same lessons helped me set up my current ventures, and even gave me the confidence to apply for a role here at CMS Critic. KI Electronics may be dead, but the lessons it taught me are still alive and kicking.
So, no matter which CMS you're using, the moral of this story is; don't rely totally on plugins, don't be stubborn when it comes to change, and never choose a project name as bad as KI Elecronics.