Can I Update My Own Website? Part 5: Joomla


Welcome to Jessica this week! Jessica has completed a variety of projects for Onward! Studios. This week, she joins us by sharing her expertise and experience with Joomla.

This is the fifth posting in the series “Can I Update My Own Website?” If you missed the previous postings, check them out:

Part 1: Intro
Part 2: WordPress
Part 3: CushyCMS
Part 4: Contribute

In this posting, the final one for this series, we are going to look at another option:


Joomla is a powerful Content Management System that is an open source program, meaning that anyone can use the Joomla CMS for free. You may want to use Joomla for your next web design if your organization is large enough to warrant a website that will need many pages, multiple content editors, or you want to be able to use features like a shopping cart without having to have a web programmer on staff.

Before you can begin editing your site your web designer will need to create a template in Dreamweaver and then upload it to the Joomla interface. Joomla templates consist of modules, and your designer will have made the main content area a module for you to edit and add articles. In Joomla an article is considered the equivalent of a “page”, so when you are editing a page you are essentially editing the article on that page.

When you are editing an article you have many tools available to you including the ability to format the text, add images that will pop up in their own windows, create tables for data, etc. The editing screen (shown below) is fairly simple and you would use it like you would a Word Processing program. When you are finished, there are buttons in the upper, right-hand corner that allow you to Preview the article before you make it live on the Internet, and an Apply button to publish it.

Your article will appear in the designated spot that the Designer indicated when he/she created the template.  The “article” will look like any other content on a regular web page and it will include tools for saving/printing/emailing the article.

One of the most powerful tools in Joomla is the ability to assign user roles to various people within your organization. Each person can have an account on your website and they can be assigned different roles by the site’s super administrator (usually the web designer holds this role).  You can have people with Administrator accounts that are allowed to add pages and review other people’s work as well as update the navigation of the site, and you can have people who are designated Managers and they can only edit the articles given to them. There are a few other roles in between, but you have many different options and you can give editing and content creation abilities to people as they need them.

Last Joomla allows you the flexibility to edit and manage navigation on your own, and it will keep the links intact. Also, you have the ability to change different layouts with the articles so that you aren’t stuck with one article per page. You can do a news roll for instance, with the first few lines of every news item (article) showing and a link to “Read more…”

Joomla is a very powerful Content Management System and the fact that it is free yet professionally made is a nice bonus too. However, I would not recommend using Joomla if your site is a small, informational site that one or two people can update at a time. Joomla was made for websites that have a lot of content or websites that need a lot of different features.

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