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Our goal in this course is to help you create a successful online store using free open source web building tools. This course, Create Your Own Online Store, is a continuation of our previous course, Create Your Own Interactive Website. These two courses are part of an eight course series on Open Source solutions for sharing knowledge that we offer at College in the Clouds.org.



The over-riding goal of all eight of these courses is to revolutionize the way websites are built by introducing you to a new generation of free open source web building tools. In Create Your Own Interactive Website, we covered the essential steps in building a Joomla website. In this course, we will briefly review those steps and then cover in detail how to use another related free tool called, VirtueMart to add Ecommerce inventory management and shopping cart to your Joomla website. Open source means the source code, or software, is free and can be shared by anyone with anyone for any purpose. Open source is like a library...free and open knowledge shared with the community for the common good. No patents, no hassles, no barriers, no limits!

What about just hiring a consultant to build your online store website for you?
The tradition system for commercial businesses has been to hire a staff of consultants to build and run their websites. This system of farming out your website to computer programmers works well for larger corporations that have the funds to hire a full time technology staff. But it does not work well for small business owners and organizations who cannot afford to hire consultants. Even the simplest of changes to your online store requires hiring a consultant familiar with computer programming for a fee of hundreds to thousands of dollars. If you want to send your customers a newsletter, that is another thousand dollars per year. If you want to set up a virtual shopping cart, that is another thousand dollars. If you want to promote a new line of products or a new set of services, that is another thousand dollars. Even after spending thousands of dollars, business owners are left with a website they cannot control and cannot use to grow their business.

There is an online revolution occurring in the world today. Businesses are increasingly selling their products and services online. Educational organizations are teaching courses online. Social organizations are building their communities online. Authors are selling their books online. Families are shopping online. The sharing of knowledge and ideas is increasingly occurring online. It has been estimated that more than one billion people now use the internet on a regular basis with total sales soon to exceed one trillion dollars! If you want your business to succeed, it is time to join this revolution.


There is another online revolution occurring at the same time. Web 1.0 brought the internet to the entire world. But folks could only look at websites. They could not interact with them. Web 2.0 allowed folks to interact with websites by clicking on buttons and filling out forms. But you still needed to learn computer programming if you want to have full control over your own website. With our books and courses, we are introducing web 3.0 – full control over the appearance, content and function of your website without computer programming – simply by clicking on a series of buttons! With our books and courses, you will be able to build your own modern business website to bring in new customers now and expand to accommodate growth in the future. In the following pages, we will review how to add several important tools to your business website. These are the ten topics we cover in this course, Create Your Own Online Store:


If you are new to web building, you might want to take our first course, Build Your Own Business Website, before taking this second course. Our first course covered the following ten subjects:


To read the articles associated with our first course, visit that course’s website: createyourowninteractivewebsite.com.

Overview of this course... Create Your Own Online Store
This course begins with a “Quick Start” review of the first five chapters of our first course. We will show you how to build a solid foundation for your Joomla website and get it up and running in just 60 minutes!


In the rest of this second course, we will cover three different tools for generating revenue for three different kinds of online businesses. The first tool, VirtueMart is an online shopping cart. It is most appropriate for building an online store which sells tangible products.


In our first book, we explained the benefits of Joomla over other web building platforms. Joomla is not the world’s most powerful web building platform, it is also one of the easiest to learn. You can build a fully functional interactive website in just a few hours just by clicking on buttons – no need to learn complex computer programming. In this second book, we will show you how to add VirtueMart, a free open source shopping cart and online store, to your Joomla website. VirtueMart is one of the world’s most popular online store building tools – currently being used by millions of successful retailers.

If you have any questions on any topic covered in this course, feel free to post a question on our forum. Our intention in this book, on our website and in our course is to give you the tools you need to build your own successful online business.

Are you ready to take your online business to the next level? Let’s get started!