New Orchard Theme and Website

New Orchard Theme and Website

Welcome to my new website developed with Orchard CMS, a free open-source content management system running on IIS7, .NET Framework 4.0, and ASP.NET MVC 3.0. I've kept things clean and simple, but the website does host a custom Orchard Theme as well as a number of Orchard customizations and custom Orchard Modules like a Tags Module, Recent Tweets Module, SEO Module, and social networking modules to share blog posts via Twitter and Google +1. Over time I will make further enhancements, but right now I think it looks clean and professional and conveys a sampling of what I can accomplish as an Orchard CMS Developer. Now let's take a peek under the hood.

Orchard CMS 1.2

Orchard CMS 1.2 is optimized for speed! Highly recommended for shared hosting.The website is powever by Orchard 1.2, which at this time is the latest version of Orchard CMS. If your website is running on Orchard 1.0 or 1.1, please do yourself a favor and migrate your Orchard Website to version 1.2. Orchard 1.2 not only has a number of bug fixes, but more importantly, has been optimized for speed. Orchard 1.2 not only has a built-in warmup module for quickly serving static versions of your dynamic Orchard pages, but the Orchard Pipeline and various algorithms for serving website content has been vastly improved to make Orchard a much better performing content management system. For those hosting their Orchard Websites on notoriously slow hosts, like GoDaddy, even they will find Orchard 1.2 much faster and better for hosting their websites. Further releases of Orchard will improve the performance of Orchard even more!

Orchard CMS and Shared Hosting

Orchard CMS runs well on inexpensive, shared hosting!I have clients running Orchard on Azure, Virtual Private Servers ( VPS), and dedicated servers, but most of my clients are running Orchard CMS on shared hosting. Shared hosting is very economical for small businesses and makes sense until your website generates enough traffic or income to move to a VPS. Since I want the same experience as my clients, I host my Orchard Websites on shared hosting, too! Although not all shared hosts are alike, I can recommend and create your Orchard Website on a shared host you can depend on for performance, reliability, and great customer support!

Orchard CMS Runs on Free SQL CE Database

No extra charges from your host provider for a SQL Server Database!Don't worry about paying extra charges from your host provider for a SQL Server Database for Orchard. Orchard CMS runs on the free SQL CE 4 Database from Microsoft that is automatically created by Orchard on installation and managed by Orchard during the lifetime of your website. SQL CE can also be copied to and from the website like any other file so you also don't need to install or purchase any expensive or complicated tools for backup or moving your website and database to another host provider. If you do choose to upgrade your database to SQL Server Express or SQL Server 2008 R2, this can be done fairly easily when appropriate. Since most of my clients run Orchard CMS with the free SQL CE Database from Microsoft, I also run my websites using SQL CE so I can experience what they experience.

Orchard Themes - Beautiful Custom Websites

It takes awhile to be good at creating Orchard Themes due to the extensive compositional nature of Orchard.The key to your Orchard Website is the Orchard Theme, which defines the look and user experience of your Orchard Website. Orchard comes with a built-in theme, called The Theme Machine, or one can choose a free theme from the Orchard Gallery. As more and more Orchard Web Designers enter the Orchard Community the choices of Orchard Themes will increase and improve, but in general, the theme choices right now in the Orchard Gallery are not that great.

The Orchard Theme for this website is custom. I started with the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and created a custom Orchard Theme based on those initial HTML Templates. It takes awhile to be good at creating Orchard Themes due to the extensive compositional nature of Orchard, but once you get really good at creating Orchard Themes, the sky is the limit. New Orchard Developers will find the learning curve for creating Orchard Themes a bit longer than most content managment systems, but the power and flexibility of Orchard more than makes up for the time it takes to learn it.

Custom Orchard Modules - Feature-Rich Websites

Where Orchard Themes are the beauty of the website, Orchard Modules are the brains.As mentioned earlier, this Orchard Website has a few custom Orchard Modules to add functionality. I like to use my own custom modules whenever possible so that I can easily provide end-to-end support for my clients. The custom modules I added to my website, include:

  • Tags Module - Pages, Blog Posts, and other content can be tagged on the website and the Tags Module makes it easy to navigate to specific tags to allow users to find content of their interest.
  • Recent Tweets Module - A module that displays tweets from my Twitter stream.
  • SEO Module - Search Engine Optimization is important for driving traffic to your Orchard Website. One of my Orchard SEO Modules customizes the page titles and meta keywords and description tags on the pages and blog posts.
  • User Module - The User Module adds a number of other items to a User Content Type in Orchard. In particular, I am using it to display my author bio and avatar at the end of each blog post.
  • Syntax Highlighter Module - As a developer I will be posting a lot of HTML, C# and JavaScript code from time-to-time. The Syntax Highlighter Orchard Module will provide proper formatting and highlighting of code in my blog posts.
  • Social Networking and Sharing Modules - The Twitter and Google+1 Modules used in my Orchard Blog provide a way for others to share and appreciate the content on my website. I have modules for other social networking websites like Facebook and Email Marketing, etc.

All in all I have built 20 - 30 custom Orchard Modules for portfolios, e-commerce, videos, sliders, SEO, social networking etc. Where Orchard Themes are the beauty of the website, Orchard Modules are the brains.

Orchard Blog Engine

Supports Windows Live Writer!One of the huge benefits of Orchard CMS is its built-in blog engine. Blogging is an easy and strategic way to add content to your website. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo will find this new content, add it to the search listings, and hopefully drive traffic to your website. Even cooler is that the Orchard Blog supports Windows Live Writer so you can write blog posts offline from the comfort of Windows. This website will use the blog engine in Orchard CMS extensively for most of its content.

Windows Live Writer and Orchard Blog Engine

Conclusion

Expect a lot more information and tutorials on Orchard. It is a fantastic content management system for your small business website.

If you are interested in upgrading your website, creating a new website, or the development of custom Orchard Modules or Themes, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Contact Me