Dorothy Firsching

Dorothy Firsching

Joomla SEO Performance by Simon Kloostra Simon Kloostra’s book, Joomla! 3 SEO and Performance, is a very focused, short book that is chock full of useful tips and links to resources that Joomla! website developers and administrators may not be aware of. As a long-time Joomla! user and founding member of the Northern Virginia Joomla! Users Group, I find that this book fills a gap on my Joomla! bookshelf.
Simon Kloostra (see his site at joomlaseo.com) is clearly an authority on Joomla! and SEO, but he avoids unnecessary jargon, provides context, and explains SEO in a clear and pleasant style. As of the date of this review, the book is quite current, which is usually a challenge with books. It includes evaluations of and recommendations for dozens of resources to consider for your toolkit.
One frequent question in user group meetings is which commercial template provider is best. This book does get specific and list well-regarded template providers, and also delves into the SEO considerations of template design. This which gives the site developers something more to consider in making their template selection or development decisions.
Perhaps even more valuable is his coverage of ways to maximize Joomla! performance. We have all seen sites that are slower than they need to be; this book explains what to do about it and provides a clear explanation of caching options and ways to optimize both css and javascript files.
Even those with good backgrounds in SEO and Joomla! will find additional insights that will justify their investment in buying and reading this book.

 

 

Monday, 13 July 2015 21:30

Customer Service Article Published

May 2015 Quorum reducedMy article, Self Service, Customer Service, and Community Service was featured in the May, 2015 issue of Quorum Magazine, the magazine of the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the Community Associations Institute, which focused on Customer Service. (You have to be a WMCCAI member to log in and download the issue.)

When I was asked to write this article about customer service, with respect to board expectations of management and owners expectations of the board, I immediately realized that disconnects in expectations with regard to customer service lie at the root of many of the problems in the community association world. Who exactly is the customer, and who is supposed to be serving that customer? What expectations do these customers have?

I shared some true stories to illustrate the disconnects, and presented the relationships as they ideally should operate.

Achieving excellence in the Community Service model requires partnering.  Ultimately, the vote of ONE person on a board may tip a critical board decision affecting all owners for years!  The management companies operate within the terms of their contracts and their commitment to a perceived level of service. I challenge boards and management companies to provide a greater level of excellence, to:

  • Improve the condition and value of the property over the longer term
  • Raise the quality of live at the property, through education, communication, and better customer service
  • Improve the financial soundness of the association for the long haul.

This requires breaking out of the box of business as usual, to include consideration of partnering and commitment of the board and management to shared goals, improved training, and improved communication across diverse groups.  One of the reasons why our community has been successful is that its board cares. Let's discuss how to expect and achieve more!

 My prior articles in Quorum include:

  • June, 2014, A Wonderful State of Being, reviewing the 2013 Community Association of the Year winners
  • July, 2011, Hard Work Rewarded, when we were recognized as 2010 Community Association of the Year winner

In addition, I was introduced in the January 2015 issue as a new member of the WMCCAI Board of Directors.

The Foundation for Community Association Research (FCAR) has contributed valuable research and analysis on community association issues and trends for 40 years.

The Foundation recently produced a video celebrating excellent work done by community association leaders. Dorothy Firsching, president of the board of directors of Talltree South, and Mindy Culver, vice president, appeared in the video. Watch it below!

 

Foundation - Board Service Video from Community Associations Institute on Vimeo.

Dorothy and Mindy were also featured in a promo for the Community Association Institute's new board member education course. See below!

The Board Leadership Development Workshop - Promo from Community Associations Institute on Vimeo.

Monday, 13 July 2015 18:27

Delta Consulting Group

Delta Consulting Group, an international consulting firm, needed a new website that featured its professionals.

Delta's experts provide consulting and expert witness services in delay, damage and defects analysis, forensic accounting, loss of productivity, and related services on multifaceted litigation and arbitration cases around the world. 

Their professionals consult on project controls, construction audits, planning and scheduling, and budget analysis.

Ursa Major developed the website using Joomla 3, using Zoo for the directory of professionals.  Their content is administered by an in-house staff, supported by Ursa Major as needed.

 

Saturday, 14 March 2015 03:23

Nice Benefits of Joomla! 3.4

Hey, folks, Joomla! 3.4 has front-end module editing and "I am not a Robot" recaptcha!

These are two things among many that I know my customers will enjoy.

Read all about it!

I will expound on it more when I have a few minutes!   Just didn't want to tive the impression that I'm napping!

Saturday, 14 March 2015 03:07

Keeping busy in diverse ways!

Just a little placeholder to let the world know that we are alive and kicking despite neglecting update of this website!

Working hard on a wide variety of efforts, including:

The Virginia Housing and Supportive Services Consortium (HSS) is an inter-agency collaboration supporting planning for integrated community-based housing opportunities and supportive services for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (ID/DD). The HSS Consortium includes:

  • Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS)
  • Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)
  • Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), and
  • Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).

On January 7, 2015, the HSS Consortium convened a meeting with regional and state-wide stakeholders to initiate collaborative planning, incuding the regions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and the Richmond metropolitan area. Additional regional meetings are planned, leading up to a Summit anticipated in May 2015 to achieve and sustain rapid results and increased options for housing and services choice for people with ID/DD.

Ursa Major Consulting is pleased to be supporting the HSS Consortium. We are working witth Catoctin Consulting, Rapid Results Institute, and TAC, Inc. in this effort.

HSS Consortium Calendar

 

I was recently appointed to the Foundation for Community Association Research's (FCAR) Research Committee for the 2014-2015 term, that is, July 1, 2014 through June 30,2015.

The FCAR Research Committee encourages and actively supports academic research for common interest communities by seeking out timely research projects, as well as developing sources for research in the common interest industry.

This appointment should be fascinating.  I am really looking forward to it.

Thursday, 07 November 2013 23:53

Joomla! 3.2 Adds Great New Features

Joomla! LogoJoomla! 3.2  was released November 6, 2013. Key new features include:

  • Version Control - Enables a Joomla administrator to revert to an older version of content on a website and compare side-by-side to see what changes have been made.
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD) - RAD simplifies the process for a developer to write their own Joomla extensions; apps that enhance a Joomla site like calendars, videos or polls
  • Extension Finder - This simplifies the process of searching for and installing Joomla extensions by allowing users to do all that directly from within their admin view with just a few clicks. The previous processes included separate steps to first search for and download extensions to a desktop, and then log in to the Joomla admin view and install those extensions.
  • Bcrypt - A strong encryption method that scrambles passwords stored in a Joomla website's database.
  • Two-factor Authentication - In order for a change to be made to a Joomla website, there can be an optional requirement for a user to fill out another form of authentication (other than a username/password). Two-factor authentication can be anything like entering an auto-generated code that is texted to a person's mobile phone.
  • User Interface Improvements - The new Joomla 3.2 administration interface is more streamlined and task-focused.
  • Iimproved template manager
  • Multi-lingual site installer,
  • Improved WYSIWYG editor
  • Micro-data semantics library
  • HTML form fields and attributes.

We will discuss Joomla! 3.2 at our November 20, 2013 Northern Virginia Joomla! Users Group Meeting. See the event on Meetup.

In addition to the press releases all around the web, here is Tim Plummer's briefing on the new features:

 

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 15:42

Alliance for Full Participation

 

The Alliance for Full Participation, a nonprofit collabortion of disability organizations, required a website that provided a forum for collaboration among State Team leaders as well as individual members, including a directory of State Teams and their plans.

The site was constructed in Joomla!, incorporating Kunena Forum, Community Builder, and Sobi directory. It also shares success stories of employment for people with disabilities.

Unfortunately, the Alliance was disbanded in 2014 and so we have removed the website.

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