Tutorials, reviews, case studies and other tips to help website owners and website developers master the Joomla content management system.
7 ways to make your Joomla site shine
1.Publish better photos and more of them
Websites tend to be a rather cold medium. Breathe some warmth into those pages with better photos and more of them. If your site is about business, include shots of people using your products. For maximum impact, use shots of people looking directly at the camera. Or if you provide a service, include people in a photo that displays the end result of that service.
Could your site use a photo gallery? If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, check out sigplus Image Gallery Plus. It’s free and easy to use.
Self-assessment: FAIL. I need an about page with photos and we’re working on that now. Also, one of the challenges of providing an intangible product such as our Joomla video tutorials is that it is hard to create an image of the product. But each product page needs one and that’s on our list too.
2. Start a blog or improve your existing one
There are lots of reasons why you need a blog. Businesses need to constantly engage with their customers and a blog is an easy way to do that. With a bit of promotion, a blog can attract new followers, who might become buyers. And it can improve your SEO. But they’re not just for business. Non-profit organisations can keep in touch with their team and supporters.
Creating a blog using Joomla is easy as demonstrated in our free Joomla tutorial course. Just create some articles, store them in the same category and then create a Category Blog menu item that links to the appropriate category. However if you want a fully-featured blog then I recommend EasyBlog. It has all the standard blog features such as commenting and social sharing as well as more advanced options including trackbacks and Google Plus profile photos.
We teach how to use EasyBlog in our Joomla Pro course. It is a commercial extension, but our members receive a 40% discount.
Self-assessment: PASS – This is blog post number 127 (I have written more but some became stale and were removed) so that shows commitment. But I’m conscious that a lot more can be improved so this is still on the list.
3. Make your website mobile compatible
Have you looked at how your website performs on a SmartPhone? Most are poor, but should you care? Well, spend a couple of minutes reading through some mobile statistics, courtesy of Google.
By 2013, more people will use their mobile phones than PCs to get online. 60% of users expect a mobile site to load in three seconds or less. The good news is that in many cases, you’ll find that making a mobile version of your site is easy and it’s free thanks to Mobile Joomla.
This extension detects if a visitor to your site is using a mobile device and if so, the site is rendered using a mobile friendly template.
We’re starting to take mobile seriously and our course titled How to earn $4000 a month as a part-time Joomla web developer (included in Joomla Pro) heavily relies on mobile site development.
Self-assessment: PASS (just). Although I haven’t created a dedicated mobile version of this site, I have ensured that all the tutorials run on iOS devices. The paid courses also include downloadable versions of each lesson and these are provided in MP4 format that can be played on any platform.
4. Engage (more) with your audience
One of the best ways to increase the quality and quantity of your website content is to engage with your audience. Allowing readers to leave comments on your articles may seem scary at first, but this is a great way of getting feedback and a better understanding of your market.
If your site receives enough traffic, consider adding a forum. They can be a lot of work and a pain at times, but as long as there is activity, they show that you have a living, breathing organisation. There is a great free forum extension called Kunena as well as the powerful EasyDiscuss commercial alternative.
Don’t forget social networking integration. There are a lot of extensions available that display social sharing buttons.
Self-assessment: PASS – we started the forum a few months ago so we didn’t have to answer questions individually. I’ve actually been surprised at how much our little community has embraced it.
5. Do something with video
If you’re in business and you’re not using video on your site, you’re potentially missing out on a lot of cash. In most cases, using video to drive sales and leads far outweighs text and images. The difference can be enormous as I and many others have found. The first time I switched from a static opt-in box to one with video, the opt-in rate jumped from 12% to 47%!
Creating an effective video is a subject in itself. If available, output the final file in .MP4 format as this has become the de facto standard. Check out the Video Players category at the Joomla Extensions Directory.
Self-assessment: are you kidding? There are over 150 videos in our paid courses.
6. Ask your visitors what they want to see
This is great one if you’re stuck for ideas. Simply ask your audience what interests them. Or encourage them to ask you for help solving a problem.
Self-assessment - FAIL. I did do this once early on, but I tend to assume what you want. So please write a comment below letting me know how I can further you on your Joomla journey. If it is a support type question, it would be best to post this in our forum.
7. Contribute to the Joomla! Project
OK – so this isn’t going to help your site directly, but it will help indirectly. Without Joomla, you wouldn’t have a website and without continued help, the project will cease to grow. Here’s one easy thing everyone can do and it won’t take long. Pick an extension you use a lot and write a short review at the Joomla Extensions Directory. Here are some other options:
- Answer a question in the Joomla forum
- Join a Joomla User Group
- Contribute financially to Open Source Matters
Self-assessment – FAIL. Sadly I don’t do much to help the project, partly because, like you, I’m just so incredibly busy. However our Joomla for Beginners course does help Joomla newbies. Hopefully I’ll be able to make time to pitch some article ideas for the Joomla Magazine soon.
What have you done recently to make your site shine? What else would you like to learn about Joomla? Comment below.