Creating a website is a piece of cake nowadays. Managing a successful website can be tricky, at times. A good administrator is familiar with the “Less Is More” concept and applies it to the site’s structure and design, however a GREAT administrator understands that it takes more than a stylized template to attract fresh customers.
We have compiled a list of 10 suggestions for running a blooming Joomla! website, based on our extended experience and customer impressions.
1. Prepare the terrain
Before boarding onto the long road of testing and optimizing, you need to search for the most “fertile” ground for your online business to grow. Do research on what are the best hosting options for Joomla!, calculate the budget according to the resources you’ll need (shared or dedicated server), then proceed to choosing an appealing domain name, also according to the nature of your website.
2. Pick a backup solution
We have emphasized on this before and we shall do it again – BACKUP IS ESSENTIAL! Some hosting providers offer excellent deals for backup subscriptions, which are sometimes included in the virtual machine price. One can never be too careful with their data, so this is why extra care is implied on this subject.
3. Get extensions
This may take up some time, depending on the website functionality and extension offers. Reviews and user feedbacks help, but you should focus more on the developer houses that allow you to test their products. This should give you realistic expectations towards implementing their solution. Please note that a fairly basic website (blog, image gallery, classified ads index etc.) can work fine in native Joomla!, however if your business is oriented towards e-commerce, auctions, online dating etc., professional components should be #1 priority.
4. Get an appropriate template
In an earlier article we have summed up a few of the most beautiful and practical templates available for Joomla! Considering the effort put so far into creating a legendary website, the chosen template will need to be in perfect harmony with the 3rd party extensions. The best way to ensure everything falls into order is to seek the help of a reliable developer to tweak and customize the default template version.
As long as there is Internet, content will always be king. There is no better way to spark interest in the eyes of new leads than relevant content. You are the website owner, therefore you are the supreme authority in relationship with the information your site provides. If it information proves to be false or misleading, your credibility will suffer. A few quick tips for quality content would be:
- don’t make your article/post too long.
- Ideas need to be concentrated and on point;
- use simple words, for faster reading (useful for visitors who read off mobile devices);
- a clean structure is very important, so it is ideal to have one idea per paragraph;
- avoid at all costs having clickbait titles, unless the nature of your website demands them;
- good grammar is always appreciated, but perfect grammar is often exhausting to follow.
7. Keep your J! version and components up-to-date6. Test everything on a separate website
There is nothing more painful than to test a new feature on the live site, then watch in frustration how you receive 500 or 404 errors on the frontend. This headache can be easily avoided if you duplicate your website on a separate server and fool around with it in total safety. On the long run, you will be saving a lot of time fixing bugs or tweaking the template CSS. On the live site, only install the extensions you need and have been previously verified on the test platform.
Needless to say that Joomla! versions which have reached the end of the support cycle are vulnerable towards security breach and malware infections. Whenever a stable version is released, that’s your queue to update. The same goes for the 3rd party components running on your website – real professionals will keep their products “alive” and will also help you perform whatever modifications are necessary.
8. Maintain contact with the community
The best way to learn Joomla! is to be an active Community member. The forum is a wonderful opportunity to know other Joomla! enthusiasts, exchange experiences, talk about issues and how they were solved, share advices in regards to best SEO practices etc. It is also a chance to participate in the many conferences and international meetings that make Joomla! fun and amazing!
9. Use SEO tools for better exposure
Nothing will ever help you get good rankings the way quality content does, but it’s good to keep your URLs concise, have a responsive template and keep both SEF URLs and mod_rewrite on. Best SEO practices are not done by employees of SEO companies, but by simplicity and relevance.
10. Keep your site clean and accessible
The 3 click rule is still standing, many years after its inception. Your home page needs to have a clean menu, where every section can be accessed with ease. Too many subcategories may confuse the visitor, so a sitemap, preferably located on the bottom of the page could make a lot of difference