Joomla: the beginner’s guide with screenshots
Ok, let’s start at the beginning. This post is a short introduction to Joomla. Joomla is a content management system (CMS). A content management system is a computer application that allows you to build digital contents (such as a website). A common CMS is WordPress (and you’ve probably heard of that). However, you can also choose to build your website in Joomla. This post is a small introduction to Joomla: what can it do and what are the basic functions?
Joomla is a CMS that is mostly used for e-commerce sites, but it can also be used to build your blog. Just like WordPress, you don’t need to code anything if you don’t want to. With an easy-to-use dashboard as a homescreen, it won’t be too difficult to navigate through the different options.
In order to use Joomla, you need to have set up your hosting and domain first. If you want to know how to set that up, read one of my previous blogposts. You will need to download Joomla first, and then upload the files to the server. See the instructions here, or watch this very informative YouTube video by Digituts on how to install Joomla on cPanel web hosting.
To log into Joomla’s dashboard, go to www.yourdomain.com/administrator. Enter your credentials, and you should be ready to go.
Joomla homescreen tour
Alright, so you’ve set it up and you’re logged into the platform, then you will see something like this:
At the top, you will see a main menu and on the left side is your control panel.
The names of the menu items speak for itself. Articles is for writing a new blogpost or write a page. Under Global, you can find all the settings for your website. If you click on it, a new sort of panel will open. You can change or edit settings for your whole site here. Click around, and see what settings you want to change.
If you work in a team and want other people to edit the website, you can add them under Users in the main menu on the homescreen.
Change the design
To install the new theme, go to Templates in the menu on the homescreen. There, you can upload the file you purchased.
Create a page
Of course you want your website to consist of multiple pages. In Joomla, there isn’t an obvious way to simply add a page (compared to WordPress, for example). In order to build a page, you have to write an article and turn that into a page. Here’s how.
Go to Articles and create the content for your page and save it. Now go to Menu(s) in the menu on the homescreen. Here you can add multiple menus, but you can also add menu items. A menu item is a page. So, click on menu items and on New. Now select a menu type. You want to add a Single Article to your menu. The link will automatically be generated. Save your changes.
Don’t worry, the most difficult part is behind you. Now it’s time for the easy peasy steps: writing a blogpost. Before writing posts, it’s wise to add categories first, but you don’t have to. Choose Categories in the menu on the homescreen and add as many as you’d like.
Once you’re finished with that, you can go to Articles and write the blogpost. Save your blog and voila!
I think Joomla has a big advantage over WordPress when we’re talking about the media department because Joomla is able to create folders in the media library. Yes, I know you can do that in WordPress as well, but it requires you to download a plugin. And I’m too lazy to do that. Sorry.
This feature basically speaks for itself. You can upload pictures or video’s and then insert them in the articles.
Since this is just a short introduction to Joomla, I won’t bombard you with a lot of information. But next to these fairly easy steps, there are many more ways to expand your website. For example, you can add modules to your website like a footer or a section of most read articles. Also, don’t underestimate the global configuration menu. There are a lot of options in there you should check out and go through to optimize your site. If you need me to do an in-depth blog about that, let me know.
Ready to use
Alright, I have covered the basics of Joomla for you. Installing and using WordPress or Joomla is a personal preference, I think. It is possible to create a wonderful website with both systems. WordPress is a little more mainstream, I would say, but if you find your way in Joomla, it is just as “easy” to use.