A Thorough Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners to Getting Started with Joomla.
Do you remember when the only website building options for businesses were HTML static pages with fixed content, or dynamic websites with lively content, but they required a substantial amount of coding to build? If you lacked the knowledge of CSS and HTML or did not hire someone who did have these skills, then you had to go without a website for your business. My, how things have changed. Luckily, you now have the option to use a free Content Management System (CMS), like Joomla, where you no longer have to use these difficult and sometimes costly methods.
What Is Joomla?
Joomla is a Content Management System, which offers your business the ability to build websites and powerful online applications. As your CMS, Joomla provides you and your team with website collaboration, authoring, multi-user permission levels, and administrative tools. It is user-friendly and does not require you to have technical or coding skills. Webmasters can efficiently manage various content types, different resources, and data, necessary to have a website, today. This Customer Management System, is one of the most, popular, open-source, and free website softwares. Your website benefits from using Joomla, as it makes your site, mobile-friendly, fully extensible, multilingual, flexible, accessible, responsive, search engine optimized and much more. Over the years Joomla has won several awards, including their most recent one in 2018, for ‘The Best Free CMS.’ If your company’s goals are to create memorable online customer experiences and to grow your online presence with the efforts of landing more sales, then you must learn how to build your business website using Joomla. So, what is Joomla? It is your websites soon-to-be best friend. Still, before you can learn the “How,” of Joomla, you must first understand the “Why.”
Why Use Joomla As Your Content Management System (CMS)?
Today, there are over 1,756,660,327 online websites, and this number continues to grow rapidly every day, but that does not make them equal, for not all websites perform the same. Some are still sluggish when loading, not user-friendly, or optimized for search engines. The average mobile landing page can take anywhere from 15 to 22 seconds to load, and when a page load time goes from one second to ten seconds, the probability of a bounce, increases,123%. Yikes! Whether you have a large or small company or want to build a corporate or E-Commerce website, the CMS you use impacts its overall performance. Here are some startling website facts every business owner needs to know.
- 39% of website visitors will stop engaging if images do not load.
- 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive.
- 39% of website visitors will stop engaging if a site takes too long to load.
These percentages are made up of the potential buyers your company cannot afford to lose. If you are unsure of how fast or slow your site loads, Google does offer a page speed checker for you to find out, and since Google prefers faster loading sites, it is best for you to learn how well your website is performing. With an average, 63,000 searches on Google, happening every second of the day, you want to try to position your company’s website to be front and center, and performance difficulties will not get you there. In fact, your sites speed is a ranking factor that influences your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results. With only 7% of searchers ever go to the third page on search engines, this is not where you want your business’ website to be. Therefore, when it comes to your site, “everything starts with speed,” and with Joomla’s websites being SEO-friendly, you are already ahead of the game. It is clear, merely having a website is not enough. You must have a well-performing website to be a real player in the competitive online world. Steer your company in the right direction by having a website that meets your business and client needs, and everything points to using Joomla as your Content Management System. Make Your Website Efforts and Marketing Dollars Count As a business owner, you need to take swift action and use the right CMS for your company to obtain the best results for your site. Joomla can help you save time and marketing dollars, as it is free, offers many features, and is SEO-friendly. If you currently have an online site you are not using or seeing a return on investment (ROI), then, let’s face it, you might as well not have a website at all. Though, this is not an option. There once was a time when you could choose whether or not to have a website or blog. Today, you need both. Research shows, 70% of consumers learn about a company through their blog rather than ads, which sheds some light on how to reach your customers best and where to spend your marketing dollars. If you are among the 61% of marketers who list improving SEO and search engine rankings as a top goal, then you know how much of a role your website plays in making this goal a reality. Whether you are an experienced business owner or are only starting, you recognize how every decision you make will either hurt or help your company's bottom line. You must become an advocate for your website and build it the right way, the first time.
Provide an Omnichannel Customer Experience
It is vital that your company stays informed about which services and online systems are best to use with Joomla, to make your site the best it can be. You will not only want your Content Management System to make a difference in the performance of your site, but to use a CMS that works with the best business website tools, applications, and extensions, which Joomla offers. For instance, if your company wants to use a phone system to keep your team and customers connected, you want to choose one that works well with Joomla. Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain, on average, 89% of their customers. A perfect example of implementing an omnichannel experience is how the business phone system, Nextiva, is working on integrating Joomla into their services. By having your CMS and website tools working together, you will create a smoother online user experience for your customers. Not only will Joomla help you create a website worthy of being found online, but, it will be what people want to see as a result of their searches. On the other hand, if you do not choose the right website Content Management System and integrated tools, your site will get lost among the masses, be challenging to find, and hard to use. As a result, potential and existing clients will be unable to find your website and, if somehow they do, it will become a site they will want to avoid. Invite your clients to a website that is welcoming and designed with them in mind. Now, that you have a better understanding as to the “Why” your business needs to use the CMS, Joomla, we can move on to the “How” to build your site portion, so that you can begin reaping these rewards.
How to Build Your Business Website Using Joomla
Your Step-By-Step Guide This step-by-step guide is meant to help companies of all sizes and categories, including, online magazines, organizational, corporate, and community-based websites. If your interest is in creating a platform for your brand or company blog, you will also find this guide useful. There are seven steps to building a Joomla Website, which is what we cover in this guide. To have a clearer idea of what each step is referring to, we recommend you implement the steps, while reading them.
Step One: Plan First For A Better Execution
If you do not craft a plan for the type of website you want to build, then the site will not execute well, basically, setting it up for failure. Before you attempt to use Joomla to build your company’s website, come up with a realistic plan you can use that will meet your business needs and objectives. Plan first, and then go through the rest of the steps to create a workflow that is easy to understand and follow. Keep in mind, the seven steps are to be used as a guide and are flexible. For instance, you do not have to do step three before you can complete step four. Another example, is how you can add your template to your website at anytime. You do not have to wait until we cover it, in the fifth step, instead, you can choose to add it earlier and use the fifth step as a guide on how to do it. It all comes down to you. Ultimately, the order you choose to create your site depends on the content you have available, and what you “plan” on adding to your Joomla website later on. Although you do have some flexibility with each step, planning remains key to the entire website building process. The better you plan your website, the higher the chances of it performing well when you publish it online.
Step Two: Choose A Joomla Website Installation Method
What do all businesses love? Options. Having the choice of how you want to set-up and manage your website enables you to decide on the one that best works with your specific needs. Joomla Website Installation Options You can choose to install Joomla with “one-click” on your hosting site, manually using the cloud, or on your computer using WAMP or MAMP.
- Download Joomla Method
- Download the free WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) or MAMP (Macintosh, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) software to add to your server or development environment, using your desktop or laptop.
- Joomla recommends that PC owners use WAMP and for Mac owners to use MAMP.
- Download the software to your computer.
- Accept all of the “Defaults” in the setup process for all the questions it asks.
- There are two items you will need to set up your Joomla Website, a database and the Joomla 3 download.
- A Database
- In your WAMP or MAMP, locate PHPMyAdmin and click on “Databases” to create a new one.
- Name the new database after the Joomla site you are going to build.
- Then hit the “Create” button.
- Download Joomla 3 to your WAMP or MAMP server.
- Unzip the downloaded Joomla 3 files. If you are unsure of where they are located, click on “Preferences,” “Web Server,” and you will see your document root.
- Copy the file into your “Directory” and unzip.
- Rename the file to the name of your website and hit, “Save.”
- Go back to MAMP or WAMP and go to the URL.
- Click on, “Web Start Page” and remove all of the MAMP information from the URL and replace it with your website name. Hit enter.
- The Joomla installation screen will appear for you to install.
- Fill in the information correctly for your site and add a secure username and password.
- Choose if your site will be “On” or “Off” when it launches.
- Click, “Next.”
- The “Database Configuration” page will appear. Fill-out the information by going to your cPanel to retrieve what you need.
- Add the “Database Name,” using your website’s name.
- Joomla will randomly generate the “Table Prefix,” but you can change it and use your own if you prefer. If you do choose this route, remember to end it with an “Underscore” to separate the table names.
- If you have an “Old Database,” Joomla provides you with the option to “Backup,” or “Remove” the tables.
- Click “Next.”
- Choose “Yes” or “No” if you want your configuration information sent to you in an email.
- At the bottom of the page, you will see “Pre-Installation Check” and “Recommended Settings,” all of the items should be marked green. If any of them are red, correct the error before moving forward.
- Click, “Install,” “Remove Installation Folder,” and then, “Administrator.”
- The login page will appear on your screen. Enter the username and password you previously chose to log in.
- Once logged in, click on “System,” “Global Configuration, then “System” tab.
- Find the area called “Session Settings” and change the number inside the “Session Lifetime” box to “360.” This number will keep you logged into the site for three hours, which is helpful when building your site.
- Click, “Save and Close.”
- Launch Joomla Method
- Easily sign-up and build a fully functional Joomla website that is hosted on the Cloud. This method includes FTP, PHPMyAdmin, and the ability to install extensions.
- Create a unique name for your site.
- Joomla will send you an activation link, click on it to activate site.
- Once your site is active, log in to view your site.
- You will notice there is already some “Demo” content in there, which you can remove under “Admin,” then “Articles,” and “Unpublish.”
- Customize the look of your site by moving items around, like, your “Main Menu” and put them in the positions you prefer.
Administrator Site Quick Review
- Go to your Administrator Site by adding a slash administrator to your sites URL (/administrator) and log in. To go back to your site, remove this from the URL.
- A “Control Panel” page will appear on your screen with links on the left, which are links to the “Main” parts of Joomla.
- On the right, you will see a “Messages” section and other contents. The more content you add the more you will see this section grow.
- Go to the top “Menu” bar and become familiar with the different links and drop-downs.
- The one you will use most often is the “Content” section.
Step Three: Create, Add, And Show Content Using Your Joomla Website
Once you have a web domain and your Joomla website is on a server, or have signed up for a Joomla site, you can begin content customization by using the Joomla CASh flow system. Joomla CASh Flow
- Categorize - Create categories and sub-categories for your website. i.e., Transportation, or Locations. You can have unlimited nested categories in Joomla.
- Add - Once you have categories you can begin adding articles to your cateogries.
- Show - After creating articles and placing them in the right category, you will want to them to on your site, via a menu.
Examples of the CASh Flow: ABC Transportation (Category), Bus Station (Article), Bus Station (Single Article Menu) ABC Transportation (Category), Train Station (Article), Train Station (Single Article Menu) How To Create A Joomla Category
- On your site, click on, “Content” located in the top main menu and choose, “Categories” from the drop-down and “Add New Category.”
- Title the category, i.e, ABC Transportation. Fill out all of the information under each section, i.e., “Publishing” and “Options.”
- Choose to click on, “Save and New,” to add another category, or “Save and Close.”
- You will notice one is already showing under the categories section, labeled, “Uncategorized.” Joomla recommends you change the name to “General.” You will use it for articles that do not have a category.
- To change the name, click on the title, “Uncategorized,” and rename it. You will also need to change the name in the “Alias” section. The “Alias” is what will show in the URL for that category, if left blank, Joomla will auto-generate it for you using the chosen category title.
- Over time, your categories may grow to a large number, and Joomla provides a “Search” feature for you to find a specific category, using a variety of filters.
How To Add Articles To Your Joomla Website
At this point, you will want to create articles for each category you added to your site.
- Click on “Articles” and become familiar with the menu located in this section.
- Click on “New” to create a new article. Add the title of your article, i.e. Bus Station or Train Station, and write the text. Copy this information to your clipboard.
- Click the “Toggle The Editor” Button at the bottom and Paste the information inside the box. Choose where you want the paragraphs in the text by hitting the “ENTER” button on your computer’s keyboard.
- On the right-hand side, choose the category you want the article to be listed under, i.e., ABC Transportation.
- Click “Save and New” to create another article or choose to, “Save and Close.”
- If you forget to choose the right category for more than one of the articles, click on the box beside the articles you want to move to the same category, click on “Batch,” in the top menu section, and from the drop-down, choose the right category. Click, “Process” to finish. Repeat if needed.
- Another method is to go to the “Search” area, click on “Select Category” and choose the category you want to add articles to, from the drop-down.
- Click on “New,” to add a new article. You will notice on your right-hand side that the category is already filled-in, saving you time.
- If you add an article using an apostrophe in the title, you will need to fix the name of your “Alias.” Go back into the article, click on the title and correct the “Alias” name.
- When inside an article, use Joomla's text editor to add bold and italic text, bulleted lists and other formats.
- Add Tags to categorize your content and a meta description, plus keywords, for search engines.
- Choose when to publish your article or when you want it removed by clicking on “Publishing,” located above the text editor, and by setting the calendars to the correct dates.
- Beside “Publishing,” is the section called, “Image and links.” In this area, you can choose to add images to your website and links to the bottom of an article.
- Under “Options,” you can choose to override the “Display Options” you previously set-up in Global Configurations.
- You can also choose to click on the “Configure Edit Screen” and change “Permissions” from the same menu.
- Once finished with adding articles, click, “Save and Close.”
- Keep track of all this in your content calendar. This will make it easier to keep track of everything.
When you return to the homepage of your website, you will notice nothing has changed in the menu section, which takes us to the final part of CASh. We will now learn how to make your content, “Show” on your website.
How To Make Articles Show On The Homepage Of A Joomla Website
Now that you created categories and articles for your site, you want to show them to your visitors, by creating site menus.
- You will create a menu for each individual article so that the article will appear on your site.
Example: If you have articles about transportation, which you already added into a transportation category, you will now want to make a transportation menu, for those articles to display on your Joomla website.
- Click on the “Menus” tab, located in the top menu of your site, and hit, “Manage.”
- You will notice only one menu currently exists in this area, which is labeled, “Main Menu,” this contains your “Home” page.
- To add a new menu, click on “New,” and fill out all the information.
- Title - ABC Transportation
- Menu Type: Transportation
- Click, “Save and Close.” There will now be two menus that show in this area.
- Click on the little zero, under, “Published” beside the “Title” you just created.
- You now want to create individual menus for each article listed under a specific category.
Example: Create a menu for each of the articles listed under the “Transportation” Category to go inside of the ABC Transportation menu you just created.
- Choose a “Menu Type.” There are multiple options to choose from, but when wanting to add only one article to the menu, choose “Single Article.”
- Select which article you want to add to your new menu by clicking on “Select Article.”
- Click, “Save and New” to add another menu or, “Save and Close.”
- Your article(s) will appear under your new menu, and you can arrange their order by just dragging the article up or down.
- Your menus will not show up on your site yet, for you will need to choose where you want them to appear on your website, in a module position. (Each “section” on your site is called a module.)
- For your new menus to show on your site, you will need to place them in a module.
- Click, “Extensions,” located in the top menu, and choose, “Modules.”
- Click, “New.” You will see a list of modules appear, scroll until you see the one called, “Menu.”
- Use the same name as your categories. The title will appear at the top of the menu.
- Choose the position it is in by clicking on “Position,” scroll until you see, “Right Middle [Position 8].”
- Click, “Save and Close.” This time, when you refresh your homepage, your menu will show on your site with the articles listed below the menu title.
You just completed the CASh Flow section and have added content to your Joomla website. Congratulations. Next, we will briefly cover the five Joomla extensions.
Step Four: The Five Joomla Extensions
Before attempting to add any extensions, let’s first learn the five kinds of Joomla extensions, which make your site work.
- Components - Does the heavy work of your site: Galleries, Forums, Large Scripts, and more.
- Modules - Displays information on your site: Menus, Latest Articles, Small Scripts, and more.
- Plugins - Are helpful assistants to Components and smaller tasks.
- Templates - Change Website Design. The template “lays over” the content; it does not change it. Here are a few templates/tips to build your website.
- Language(s) - Makes Joomla a global Content Management System
How To Add An Extension To Your Joomla Website
Here are the two ways to add an extension to your Joomla website.
- The Joomla Extensions Directory
Joomla offers a directory with 8,000 extensions. You can add extensions from inside your Joomla site via a search.
- Install Extensions From Web
From inside your website, click on “Extensions” and “Manage.” Click on the, "Install from Web" tab, search for the extension(s) you want to add to your site. Once located, click Install. All of the extensions available via “Install from Web” are free, although some may have commercial add-ons.
Step Five: Choose The Right Joomla Template For Your Website
Templates are entirely separate from your content, which means, you can update your template without it affecting your website’s content. Each of the Joomla templates will have different module positions. Some will have “Menus” on the right-side, while others may have them on the left. A quick Google search will provide results with a variety of Joomla templates to choose from, as well, some you can buy, while others will be free to download. Before installing a template, Joomla recommends you review the documentation it provides to make sure it is what you want.
How To Easily Install A Joomla Template
In this section, you will learn how to install and configure a new template and how to position your modules. Please note, you do not have to wait until this step to install your template. You can choose to install it at any time. The early you added it, the better.
- Choose the template you want and “Download” it.
- Go to your site, click on, “Extensions” in the top menu, “Manage,” and “Install.”
- Choose the tab, “Upload Package File” and choose the file for your template and click, “Upload and Install.”
- Keep in mind that some templates come with plugins and modules you will need to install. This details should appear in the documentation about the template.
- To start using the template, click on “Extensions,” “Manage,” and “Templates.”
- You will see a list of default templates that come with Joomla, as well as, the template you just installed.
- Click on the “Star” to set your new template as the default template. Go to your site and hit “Refresh.”
How To Position Your Joomla Website Template Modules
You can move and reposition the modules to put them just about anywhere you want them on your website.
- Click on “Options,” located in the top right-hand corner after your template is installed.
- Make sure the “Preview Module” button is set to “Enabled,” and click, “Save and Close.”
- Go to the homepage of your website and add “?tp=1” to the end of your site’s URL. Refresh the page.
- You will see boxes appear on your site. Each will have a name like, “Position = Menu,” or something similar.
- If you find one of your modules is in the wrong “Position,” go to your site, click on, “Extensions,” “Modules,” and “Main Menu.”
- Click on the “Position” drop-down bar, located to the right of your screen, scroll until you find your template’s name and click on, “Menu.”
- Click on “Advanced,” and under “Alternative Layouts,” choose, “Default,” “Main Menu Layout.”
- Click, “Save and Close.” Go to your homepage and remove the “?tp=1” from your URL and refresh the page.
Step Six: Joomla Website User Management and Access Control
- Learn how to create accounts for your website users and how to control their level of access to the site.
How To Add A New User To Your Joomla Website
Inside your site, click on “Users,” located in the top menu and choose, “Manage,” “Add New User,” from the drop-down.
- Fill in the user’s information.
- Quick Tip: Never leave the name of the user as the default name, Joomla recommends you use the actual name of the user. For the “Login Name” avoid using “Admin” or your first name. Joomla recommends you use a strong username and secure password.
- You will also see your user’s information, such as the last time they used the site, and so on.
- Only Administrators should receive “System Emails” and have the ability to “Block” a user.
- Assign them to a user group and choose what the user is allowed to do.
- On the left side of the site, choose “User Groups,” to view and add new groups.
- Click on “Viewing Access Levels,” also located on the left; this will allow you to set up what users can see and do on your website. You can also complete this action when setting up a new user.
Step Seven: Manage Your Joomla Website To Keep It Healthy
In this last step, you will learn how to maintain your Joomla site by keeping it healthy and up-to-date.
How To Check For Joomla Website Updates
To check for any available Joomla site updates, click on “Components,” located in the top menu and choose, “Joomla Updates,” from the drop-down. Always make sure to update your site when needed to keep your website performing well alt all times. After using this step-by-step guide, on how to build your business website using Joomla, you will not be a beginner for long. You will have the information you need to take your business website to the next level. Once your Joomla website goes live, you will immediately offer your clients an exceptional user experience, while saving your company marketing dollars. It is a win-win. Joomla is an award-winning and popular Content Management System for a reason. It is the CMS that can provide your company, the best of both worlds.
Originally posted on Joomla.org: https://magazine.joomla.org/all-issues/march-2020/build-your-business-using-joomla