There are many areas to Joomla to learn and at times it is a little overwhelming to learn all of the intricacies and functionalities of the system, but once you have mastered the basics and get a good understanding of the setup, all of the more complex functions and additions that you can add on to Joomla are actually very similar and easy to extend.
The overall initial learning curve is high, but after you have that base understanding, I personally find Joomla much more empowering than other content management and publishing systems out there and worth learning.
This is a guide to what you need to learn about Joomla in an order and structure that I believe is right to step you through the different aspects of the system. Over the years of teaching people how to use it, we've worked out a nice workflow teaching people one element after another. Each one is dependant on the previous to work to please step yourself through the direction and structure of this beginners guide to help you get the most out of Joomla!
Basics Areas of Joomla
An Overview of Joomla
First of you'll need to have a little bit of an overview in regards to how the system is setup and perhaps a little history into how it came about.
Richard Pearce from BuildAJoomlaWebsite.com by far provides the best videos and documentation around the bare basics of Joomla and understanding its make up.
- How this course works
- What is Joomla?
- The benefits of using a content management system
- What can you do with Joomla
- Joomla versions
Learn why you should consider Joomla over other content management systems.
- Joomla Benefits
- Alternative Content Management Systems
- Website Builders
This is one aspect of Joomla that is a little complex for beginners and makes it a little harder to get started but there are many ways that this can be done.
- Installing Joomla from a Hosted Solution
- Installing Joomla on your own web host
- Installing Joomla on your local computer
I've written and documented detailed instruction in regards to how to perform each type of installation but by far the best and easiest for beginners is to choose to start Joomla on the demo site or on a hosting provider that allows for quick startup with Joomla site as SiteGround.
Having a hosting company will cost, but SiteGround are very cheap and the perfect place to start learning how to use Joomla. You can sign up and get your Joomla site running within minutes, taking away all the difficult setup procedures.
Create New Categories, Sub Categories and Editing Categories
Creating categories is the very first thing you need to do within the CMS. You need an area to place all of your content and the categories are what house and organise this content.
Again SiteGround have a fantastic written article in regards to creating categories in Joomla.
Alternatively, CloudAccess, a hosting company that use to run the demo site for Joomla have also done a great video which details and overviews the process of creating categories and how they work.
Brian Teeman, one of Joomla's co-founders has also created various videos for SiteGround in their creating websites with Joomla course. This video from Brain and SiteGround details the creation process of categories in Joomla.
Adding and Editing Articles in Joomla
Adding articles is at the core of the CMS and is one of the daily functions of a content editor on the website.
The articles can be used t serve up dynamic content around the site on the module position or on menu pages through out the site.
Knowing the ins and outs of article management is essential.
Again, Richard Pearce has created some great material around just this.
Understanding the second part of creating primary content: Joomla articles.
- Creating Articles
- Searching for and Filtering Articles
Menu management is where all the magic happens for Joomla. Once the categories and the articles have been put in place, you will need to link them up with menus, and these menus will allow you to display content in some really fancy ways.
CloudAccess have a great video detailing how you can link a menu item directly to an article.
Advance Parts of Joomla
Custom HTML modules allow you to essentially place any text or HTML code into a module block and arrange it in a position on your website. This tutorial from SiteGround will take you through the steps on how to create the custom html modules.
Modules on Joomla can also have a timed status. That is it will unpublish itself or publish itself at a certain time and date. This is great for banners or content on website that is time sensitive such as application forms with a due date. This tutorial from SiteGround and Brian Teeman takes you through that process of setting and controlling the timed aspects of a module.
Another important aspect of the web these days is being mobile friendly. With the rise of mobile devices around the world, your website must cater for this audience. This tutorial outlines how easy it is to define a module to be accessible on a mobile device or not. It helps optimise the users mobile experience.
CloudAccess have a great video on installing extensions.
Using Templates in Joomla
Templates control the look and feel of your website and is usually the first thing people do when they look at setting up a website. There are many free Joomla templates but there are more that you will need to pay for to gain access to.