If you are new to Joomla and still learning the basics of website building with the Joomla CMS, this tutorial may help you a lot in figuring out what to do after you install Joomla. While Joomla has many great options, it can also be challenging to not get lost into details. So I have created a checklist with the top 10 task you should do when setting up your Joomla website.
Change Site Title and Metadata settings
Global Configuration > Site Settings
When installing Joomla, you have the option to choose a title for your website. Most of the time users do not know how important the title of their website actually is. Many templates include the website title in the header as text logo. If you don’t replace the website title with a logo image, than you want to change the default title with something that represents your website. This can be done in the Global Configuration page. Here you can also change, to be more precise, add the meta description and keywords for the homepage. This is a very important step in making your website search engine friendly.
Remove index.php from URLs and enable SEF URLs
Global Configuration > Seo Settings
Here you can change the default dynamic urls to search engine friendly urls, this means, that the ugly urls will turn into keyword rich, nice looking links, that not only Google will favor, but website visitors will also like more. Recently we have created a tutorial on this topic that explains step-by-step how to remove the index.php tag and enable SEF urls.
Install your favorite Joomla Template
Finding a good Joomla design can be challenging, because there are so many template providers out there. If you have a greater budget, you can opt for a premium joomla template, however if you want to create your website absolutely free, there are many free template to choose from as well. Whatever template you choose, make sure that the choose theme is responsive, so it will work on mobile phones, tablets as well on laptops and desktops. Test the template on different screen resolutions. Also make sure that the template is lightweight, so it does not load too many files, only those that are really necessary; having a lightweight design can significantly improve website speed, which is also a factor in Google rankings. Not every template developer pays attention to SEO, so there are templates that are missing some basic SEO standards, such as appropriate headings. Make sure everything is in place. Also take a look to the source code, and avoid themes that are encrypted; these will restrict you from making modifications to the template as well can hide malicious code.
Install necessary extensions (modules, plugins, and components)
If you need custom functionality for your website there are over 10 thousand extensions in the Joomla extension directory and many more around the web. Depends on what extended features you need, you can choose between free and paid modules. Installing a nice slideshow module or a cool menu to your site can have beneficial impact and can add to your design. Remember to not install too many extensions to your site, while each added module, plugin or component will slow down your website, so install only those that will be used. If, for testing purposes you installed a couple that are not in use, that uninstall them from the “Extensions Manager > Manage Page”.
Add categories, articles and featured articles
Functionality is important, but we cannot forget about the content. To be able to add new articles to your Joomla site, you will need a category first. Add a new category in the “Content > Category Manager”. By default, Joomla creates a default category, you can delete this one if don’t plan to use it.
Once you have a category structure in place, it is time to create your articles. In the “Content > Article Manager” you can add and edit articles. In the “Content > Featured Articles” section you can view all the featured articles or add new ones. Uploading images can be done via the “Media Manager” as well in the article editor.
Configure articles display settings
Depends on what type of website you build, probably you want to show or hide certain details of your articles. For instance if you are building a blog, probably you will want to display the publishing date and the category of the article. In other cases, such as review pages, you may want to hide these information and show other such as article voting, enabling your readers to vote that particular product. All these features can be edited globally in the “Content > Article Manager > Options page” or individually in each menu item editor.
Create menu categories and menu items
Navigation is also important for your readers. The website visitor wants to easily navigate your website, find and access your content as quickly as possible. Create a good menu structure using the “Menus > Menu Manager” page. Here you will be able to create multiple menu categories such as main menu, top menu, footer menu, or you call it. The menu items can be added by accessing the created menu category. A menu item can be linked to a component, article, category, homepage, featured articles, blog, contact page or even external page. Choose the “Menu Item Type” you need, set up display options, add meta data and assign modules to it if needed.
Change user configuration settings
If you are running a forum or a website that needs user registration, you can manage the registered users in the “Users > User Manager” section of the administration panel. Here you can also create user groups, add or remove users or change their details. You can even block certain users. However if you don’t need user registration on your website, and you only need your Super Admin user, then is highly recommended disabling the option for new user registration; you don’t want unnecessary information to be stored in the database and slow down your website. You can do this in the “Options” section.
Setup the contact page
The Joomla core contain a contact component, which is great, because don’t have to search for any extension to set up a contact page on your website. To setup a contact form, first you will have to access the “Components > Contacts” page, where you will need to create a new contact. While adding a new contact form, you can assign this to a user from the Joomla database, for instance your Super Admin user. After you have set up the details of the new contact, you will need to create a menu item with “Single Contact” menu item type to have easy access to the form.
Enable cache and Gzip compression
To speed up your website, you will have to enable cache and gzip compression. Joomla has this option in-built, however have to be activated. In the “Global Configuration > System tab” set the “Cache Settings” to Progressive caching.
By enabling this option, will increase the speed of your website, but if you want to go even further, you will also want to enable the Gzip compression. To do this, you will have to access the “Global Configuration > Server tab” and set the Gzip page compression to “Yes”.
Remember, that if you make any changes to your website, you will have to clear the cache on the “System > Clear cache” page, or wait for the cache time to expire.
So, these are the top 10 task I usually do after I install Joomla. If I’m missing something here, please let me know and leave a comment bellow. Thanks for tuning in!