What is Joomla?

Joomla is one of the most popular, free content management systems you can build a website with.

Joomla launched in 2005, and is currently downloaded by website builders all around the world about a million times each month, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Harvard University and Linux are just two of the many top institutions which have built their websites using Joomla.

Now you’re probably thinking, “What’s a content management system?”

A content management system is a computer application that allows the user to create and manage digital content – the words, images, and code elements that make a website work like a well-oiled machine.

Other content management systems include WordPress, Moodle, Ruby on Rails, and Drupal. There are some similarities between content management systems, and different types of web developers will argue for their content management system (CMS) of choice.

Today, however, we are going to talk about Joomla and present why it might be the website solution that fits your needs.

Why Choose Joomla

As I mentioned in the beginning, Joomla is free, and once you have gotten your domain name and hosting, is quite easy to install. In fact, most web hosts will provide you with one-click installs of Joomla so that you don’t need to be Joomla-savvy to get that part done it.

Furthermore, because of how many times it is downloaded and used for websites per month, there is a huge community that supports Joomla. They provide educational resources and support, and if you get stuck on an issue as you build your website, the community is super helpful. Within these communities, you can find tips, comments, and solutions to help you.

One of the reasons some web designers prefer Joomla is because of how well-organized and laid out its backend is. There is no confusion as to where your pages are or where you can go to upload different elements (templates and extensions) onto the site. WordPress, on the other hand, is notorious for having a website backend that can be terribly confusing to a beginner.

Using Joomla comes in 2 flavors: you could create a hosted Joomla site where you host your website through a regular web host, or you could create a free site using a Joomla.com extension (example: somewebsite.joomla.com).

Of course, if you are a business wanting to stake your sword in the ground, going the hosted route is always better.

How to Install Joomla in 4 Steps

  1. Installing Joomla is pretty easy! Just buy your domain name and get hosting through your preferred web host (one that has Joomla as a CMS option).
  2. Choose Joomla for your CMS in the control panel of your hosting account.
  3. Click on the one-click Joomla installation button and let your web host download all of it to your domain.
  4. Keep a record of your username and password for Joomla.  You created these when you were starting the installation. You will need these to get into your new website’s backend.

Choosing A Joomla Template

By this point, you should have a bare bones structure of your website that needs some flesh put on it.

To start out, you will need to download or purchase a Joomla template. Several marketplaces like Creative Market and ThemeForest and even some web hosts sell Joomla templates. There are also some free Joomla templates you can access just by typing “free Joomla templates” into Google Search.

Joomla templates can be grouped into two broad categories – premium templates and free templates.

As the name suggests, premium templates will come at a financial investment. However, I sincerely believe that starting out with a premium template will be the best for your website because of the support you will receive from the company that designed the template. If there are any problems with the template when you start using it, you can easily reach out to support teams and receive the assistance you need. Another great thing about premium templates is that you can find truly gorgeous ones that are pre-designed for particular types of websites right out of the box. If you intend to design a restaurant website or one that is for a doctor’s office, you can just go and get that specific template.

Free templates come easily and you will find a plethora with a simple Google search. However, these templates usually come with no support and so if you run into a problem, you are on your own in trying to figure out a solution to the problem.

When you download the Joomla template, it will be in a zipped file. Unzipping the file is usually done by right clicking the file, choosing to unzip or extract data, and then following the appropriate steps.

Next, you will upload it to the site by clicking on the extensions tab in the back-end of the website and following the instructions laid out there.

The Types of Websites Joomla is Best For

Joomla is an excellent choice for a CMS if you are trying to build:

  • A social networking site: You might not be creating the next Facebook, but if you would like to create a social networking component for your website, you are better off using Joomla versus other CMS.
  • An eCommerce store: While other CMS like WordPress can support the creation of an eCommerce store if you use the right plugins, Joomla makes it incredibly easier for you to build a website to sell things from.
  • A one-page site: This is a simple website that has one page which contains all the information a person would need in order to do business with the company. Apart from occasional updates in the back-end of the website, not much is changed on this one-page site. If a one-page site is all your business requires, Joomla is an excellent choice.

Joomla does require some technical expertise, although it typically is not the kind of expertise that will have you pulling your hair out in frustration.

What do you think?

Are you thinking of using Joomla in the near future? Do you use Joomla now?

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