I have built and continue to build lots of Joomla sites. Experience and a need for efficiency, have lead me to develop a system that allows me to quickly create new Joomla web sites with all my favorite extensions pre-configured.
This systems uses a Joomla install as a base or a seed site. All standard components are added and configured here. Then JoomlaPack is used to back up and restore the site to a new location. The seed site is then kept up to date with security fixes and code updates.
Anytime you need a new Joomla website, return to your seed site, back it up and restore it to as the base of your new Joomla website. All extensions are up to date and configured to your tastes.
Steps to create Joomla sites quickly:
Create a base install or "Seed Site"
Create a list of standard extensions and default config changes
Install these extensions and make needed changes to their config
Use Joomlapack to back up the Seed Site and restore it to the new location
Maintain the Extension List and keep the Seed Site updated
Use your up-to-date Seed Site to start your next Joomla project
Explanation of the steps
1. Create the Seed Site
This can be set up at any domain or subdomain you like, start.mydomain.com or joomla.mydomain.com, whatever works best for you. Do not use this Joomla install for anything else. For the Joomla install I use Joomla 1.5 and do not install any of the sample data or set up any Sections, Categories, Articles or Menu items. Keep it clean.
2. Create the Extension List
This is a seperate file, can be notepad, word, google docs. List should include:
All extensions added
The project URLs for each extension
The current version of the extension
Any initial default configuration changes
When set up a new site, I go through this list checking each extension for security fixes and feature updates. You save a lot of time by keeping all of the information in one place.
Keep this list to just the extensions you install on every site. Try to avoid site specific components. If a new version of an extension is released update your list. You will refer to this document everytime you start a new site. The more complete and up to date your note are the more time you will save. (Coming soon my list of standard joomla 1.5 extensions.)
3. Install and Configure Extensions
Using your extension list install and configure your seed site to your liking. This will become your new default Joomla Install.
4. Transfer the Seed Site to the new live site
Use JoomlaPack back up your Seed Site and restore it to your new site location. You now have a base install to design, add content, menu items, and what ever else you need. You save time by configuring your default Joomla install only once and then just cecking for updates as opposed to setting your new joomla site from scratch each time.
5. Maintain the Extension List and Seed Site.
Keep your Extensions List and seed site up to date. It is a good ideas to password protect your seed site or even disable it if you hosting company will allow. Then when you need a new joomla site enable it, refer to your extension list, check all the sites for new updates, (the cleaner your list is the easier it is to check all the extensions for updates.) If you find an extension update, or joomla update make the change to your seed site, and update the extension list.
6. Create your new Joomla site again and again and again.
The real power of this system is found when your create the 2nd, 3rd, etc. You have already done the bulk of the work, you are just checking for updates and security fixes, then transfering the Seed Site to the new location.
It may take you a few times to refine your system but once you get it down the time required ot set up a new joomla site is drastically reduced.