Today, I’ll show you how to make a Joomla website. Whether you’re interested in just getting a presence on the Internet or want something a little fancier, Joomla makes it easy to create something that looks professional and high-quality while allowing you to easily update it in the future.
Why Use Joomla?
Like Drupal and WordPress, Joomla is a content management system. It may appear a little advanced to work with at first compared to WordPress, but once you remember where everything is located, it’ll all become second nature in the end.
Joomla works, and the company has the numbers to prove it; nearly 30 million websites are built on Joomla, including Ikea as well as Barnes & Noble. With the vast library of extensions available, a huge percentage of which don’t cost a dime, you can add all kinds of functionality to your website, developing whatever your imagination can create.
Because of how many millions of users rely on Joomla, there is a huge community of support to access. With it, there’s plenty of documentation and thousands of other resources to take advantage of; Joomla isn’t an exercise either you or I must execute alone.
I have plenty of experience building several websites with the Joomla platform, which gives me the knowledge necessary to show you how to get started with your web presence and make a Joomla website.
Things You’ll Need
You will require a few things to get started, assuming you have not taken a single step to developing your website.
- Some of these will cost money, so you will need PayPal or a credit card.
- A personal domain
- A Web host
- Content for the new website
- Getting a Domain and Hosting
Before anything else, you must purchase a domain for your website. Be sure to pick something that reflects the intent behind your website. You’ll also need a Web host that houses the Joomla files and content so you can view your site in a browser.
With everything in place, you can get started with installation. Some hosts may offer easy, one-click installation options for Joomla, though this is not always the case. In some instances, you may need to manually install the content yourself.
I’ll briefly go through the manual process for those who do not have that ability with their host. To get started, download the latest Joomla from the official website, uploading the extracted files to your host server. It’s easiest to perform this by FTP, but some hosts may allow you to upload the ZIP directly and automatically extract it. If you want the new Joomla site to be the core of your website, place the files into PUBLIC_HTML. Otherwise, use a folder.
Make a MySQL Database
After uploading the appropriate files, you must make a database and database user will full permissions. The exact steps on this will vary, so you’ll need to refer to the customer support service of your host if you have difficulty here.
After creating the database, be sure to remember the name of the database, the username and the password you entered here. You can write them down, but I’d shred the paper later if I were you.
Continue Through Installation
Open your browser and head to your domain where Joomla will be installed. This will take you to the installer’s first page, where you’ll have to provide information about your website and select a username for administration use.
- Site Name: Most templates use this as your main heading.
- Description: What is the site about? Templates vary in how they use this field.
- Admin Email: Ideally, your own email address. This is for password recovery and receiving messages from the system.
- Admin Username: The username you’ll use to access for admin use. Don’t just pick “admin” or “administrator” because hackers target these common names.
- Admin Password: Don’t use dictionary words, use alphanumeric characters and use symbols to develop a memorable but strong password.
- Site Offline: Should the site be hidden after installation?
The next screen requires you to enter the information you wrote down about your database. It needs the information to continue the deeper installation of Joomla. Be sure to keep following the instructions until the site is done.
Getting Started with Joomla
First, you should log into Joomla, using the admin username and password from installation. After logging in, you’ll see the control panel. Clicking the logo shows your basic website displaying the header title you selected. If you want, you can take some time to update Joomla and install any extensions you find interesting or useful.
After this, you can start adding content. The paradigm behind Joomla is displaying content as articles placed into categories, and menus organize the content. Simple sites that won’t have much content can bypass using categories to no penalty, leaving everything as Uncategorized.
Click on Content, followed by Article Manager and Add New Article, taking you to a new page similar to a word processor. Here, you can add the text and images for a new page on Joomla. If you need to upload an image, click Image at the bottom of the screen.
When you’re ready, click Save. If you want to add additional pages besides the one you just made, you can click Save and New to save that page and then immediate start a new one.
Return to the control panel and open the following sequence of links: Menus > Main Menu > Add New Menu Item. This takes you to a new form where you can name a menu and display a single article as the content. When you’re done setting this up, click Save to complete the new creation. Of course, you can also click Save and New to continue with making additional menus.
Return to your live site and refresh the website. You can see new content appearing at the top by the main menu, assuming you have not yet changed the template appearance.
Congratulations on making your first, basic Joomla website!
What to Do Next
What can you do with a new website built on Joomla? That depends on what you want to do. For example, I could build a website that’s meant to sell shoes, or I could make something that displays portraits of artwork or set up a text blog. Whatever you do, I suggest a few basic steps to get started:
- Pick a new template: The basic one works, but you probably want something that looks more attractive than Protostar. The Web is filled with Joomla templates and even software that helps you make one of your own.
- Make a contact page: Your readers should be able to reach you if they need to. Joomla has native functionality for this, but other extensions provide more features tailored to your needs.
- Backup your site regularly: Be sure to regularly back up your website in case it becomes victim of hackers or other disasters. This is actually best left to a reliable extension.
A personal recommendation of mine would be Akeeba Backup, which has both free and paid versions with varying features. Of course, it never hurts to manually back up your own copy every so often too.