In the previous article (Part 1) we have understood Joomla, its essentials and how to install it on a local system of on hosting server. We have also gone through the basics of how to create different websites by installing the plug-ins and customization of the same.
In this part, we will discuss further on some of the functionalities of Joomla that which enhance the overall appeal of websites, add little extra flavor to the aesthetics and get you the traffic that you are aspiring for.
Many modifications, what we generally call as ‘customization’, of the features can be done by the Administrator through the control panel. To access this panel, you need to access it through a separate URL which looks something like this – www.yourwebsite/administrator. This page seeks your Admin user name and password which you have entered in the Main Configuration section during installation. Enter those details and there you are, just like Steven Spielberg engrossed in making Jurassic Park or Schindler’s List (whichever one you like!).
Now, after getting behind the scenes, you need to call the shots “Start”, “Roll”, “Action” and you may won’t like to say “Cut” because action at Joomla never gets over.
Once you are in, you would be welcomed by a team of managers, your production managers for with different names. Meet User Manager who helps you in managing the members, access levels etc. Menu Manager takes care of different menus that come by default like main menu, user menu, login menu etc. Article Manager and his associate Category Manager will organize the categories and the articles that would go under different categories. You can publish selective articles as ‘Feature Article’ with the help of Article Manager.
Here comes Extension Manager, the wondrous and powerful manager of Joomla Empire. He is a magician, installer, executioner and of course eraser. With Extension Manager you can install or uninstall any plug-in or module.
What Is Joomla Plug-in:
The scalability of Joomla is in its plug-ins. Plug-in is a kind of extension that adds new functionality or feature to the Joomla website. It could either enhance the back-end operations by the Admin or the front end experience of the visitors. There are plug-ins directly offered by Joomla but many of them come from third party developers who create plug-ins exclusively for Joomla users.
Each plug-in work well with a particular version of Joomla and a plug-in designed for higher version of Joomla does not work with lower versions. To facilitate their users, Joomla display the version details alongside of the plug-ins.
What Is Joomla Module:
Joomla uses flexible and light weighted extensions called “Modules” which help in page rendering. Page rendering is defined as ‘setting up the display resolution of a web page.’ A Joomla module places text boxes on a typical web page and thereby ensures the rendering.
Building Different Websites:
Websites can be built by using Joomla with ease and comfort. Joomla users can build any type of website by selecting the suitable theme, plug-ins and modules.
In the following sections of this part let us see how to build different types of websites with the help of Joomla’s Admin panel and Extension Manager.
1. Build an E-Commerce Website using Joomla:
E-Commerce is the talk-of-the-town and a potential online business opportunity. There are many types of E-Commerce businesses like:
- Online shopping
- Paid downloads
- Memberships & Subscriptions
Joomla supports all the above endeavors with plenty of extensions, plug-ins and modules and hence you need to decide the type of online business that you wish to do and choose the plug-in/module accordingly. To select the extension, go to “e-Commerce” category of Joomla Extension Directory and browse through the sub-categories like Auctions, Billing & Invoices, webERP etc.
Download the package on to your local system’s hard disk and choose the same through your Joomla Admin panel. Install it through Extension Manager and do the required customization. Your E-Commerce website is ready to go live.
2. Build a Real Estate Website using Joomla:
Real Estate is booming all over the world. In 2012 alone more than $340 billion worth investments were made in commercial real estate segment alone. Residential sector is not lacking behind at all. Many people are looking for rent, lease of own a residence and thus property listings have gained popularity. If you are the one who wants to latch on to this popular business, go online with Joomla.
Joomla’s Extension Directory has an exclusive section for Real Estate under “Vertical Markets” category. It appears that only one component called JEA (Joomla Estate Agency) is the popular extension and fortunately it is a non-commercial tool. There are few commercial extensions like EZ Reality with good rating & user reviews. Visit the category and pick the right one from 15 components that are currently available.
Get the installation done through the Extension Manager and setup the parameters as per your choice by customizing the component. You can scout for suitable webpage themes if you wish to spice up the homepage and inner pages. Integrating the image and video galleries would be an added advantage as you can provide the virtual walk-through of the properties on the listing.
3. Build Directory website using Joomla:
Directory services are the flexible, searchable and easily accessible lists of information. These services can be catered to under different categories like Business Directories, Classifieds, Website Directories, Product Cataloging and Affiliate Directories.
Your online directory service can take its wings with Joomla’s plug-ins and/or modules. So think of your website made with Joomla CMS.
Once you are read with the domain, follow the Part 1 of this article series to know where to download the Joomla software and how to install it on a hosting server. Once you are through with the initial setting up of Joomla, now you need to download the extension/plug-in/module that can enable you to create directories.
Visit Joomla’s Extension Directory and select “Directory & Documentation” section. Under this category, you would find several sub-categories and ‘Directory’ is one of them. Go into this category to find the right component that serves best.
SobiPro is the non-commercial and popular component with multifaceted features. With this plug-in, you can build a real estate listing or restaurant guide or a business directory. This component includes review & rating system with which your users can express their opinions on a particular listing. There are certain commercial components too with powerful features.
Download the suitable component and install it with the help of Extension Manager and do the customization. SobiPro offers a template which can be edited by the user. In other terms, you would be able to create an appealing webpage by editing the source code of SobiPro’s default template.
Go ahead and unleash the power of Joomla’s Directory Website building components and become a successful businessperson.
4. Build a Review & Rating Website using Joomla:
Reviews and ratings offer tremendous help to the newbie customers or users before they can take a decision or make a purchase. They also help the enterprises to know about the perceptions by the users about their products and services.
By creating a Review & Rating website you shall not only be extending benefits to the net users but also can make money from advertising. It would have been a Herculean task to build a robust Review & Rating website but thanks to Joomla and its plug-ins and modules it no big task at all!
You can find useful components in Joomla’s Extension Directory. Visit “Clients & Communities” category and select “Ratings & Reviews” sub-category. There 20 components at the time of writing this article and they include commercial and non-commercial plug-ins. But these components are either for rating or writing reviews alone. JReview is a commercial product but seems to be a powerful component to build a good Review & Rating website.
So, decide by yourself on type of component and go ahead with installation of the same through Extension Manager. Have the customization done suitably and go live, at once.
Well, it had been a wonderful journey so far in to the world of Joomla and we have traveled deeper into the realms of Administration Panel, Extensions, Plug-ins, Modules and four types of different websites that can be built on Joomla’s powerful technology.
In the upcoming part (part 3) which would be the concluding part as well, we will be taking a deep look at other turbo chargers of Joomla with which you can zoom ahead in realizing your online dreams.
Till then be Christopher Columbus and do not stop the voyage to find the new dominions of Joomla’s Admin panel.