Here's a checklist for setting up a Joomla web site. Download a pdf of this how-to Joomla article or read it below.
- Domain name: Get a domain name. (Buy a new domain, buy an old domain, re-purpose one of your domain names, or create a subdomain for your new web site.)
- Hosting account: If you do not have a hosting account, establish one. Make sure your domain name registrar has the DNS settings correct for your hosting company.
- Create a MySQL database: Take note of the database's name, the user name to log into the database, and the password.
- FTP layer: If you want to be able to use the Media Manager, create an ftp account that is associated with the root level of your website's directory. Take note of the username and the password.
- Download Joomla. Download the latest version of Joomla and copy it to your hosting company. Put it in the root level of where your web site will be. You can download Joomla at Joomla.org.
- Uncompress the Joomla file.
- Install Joomla by running the command http://www.DomainName.com. The installation script will start. Set up the ftp layer if you want to be able to use the Media Manager. Answer the questions in the installation script.
- Delete the installation directory. It is in the root directory of your web site.
Set up the site's look.
- Choose a template for your site and install it. Go to a search engine and type in "Joomla template 1.x" where x is your version number. Review various templates until you find the one closest to what you want. Some templates are free and some need to be purchased. Acquire the template you want. Install it. Go to the backend of Joomla and select Install/Uninstall under the Extensions menu. Install your template. Once you have done this, select the Template Manager underneath Extensions and click on your new template. Configure anything you can on that main screen. Most older templates require you to give your header a specific name and put it in a specific place to be used.
- Remember that the beauty of a content management system is that the look and feel of a site is completely different from the content. You can change templates later on fairly easily.
Add some content
- Decide how your content will be organized on the site. What is the name of the parent categories and each sub category? Imagine that you have a bunch of papers, manila folders, hanging green folders, drawers, and filing cabinets. What are the names of your filing cabinets? Those are your primary categories. What are the names of the drawers? Put each drawer in the right filing cabinet. Once you have decided how the content is to be organized, create that category structure. (This setup is very different in Joomla 1.6 vs. Joomla 1.5. This description is for Joomla 1.6+, but it will also work with Joomla 1.5 with K2.) Go to the Category Manager and create the structure.
- Write a few articles and put them in the proper categories on the site. Publish the articles.
- Put some articles on the front page. Go to the Front Page Manager under Content and click the front-page button for any articles you want to show up on the front page. Click at least one article.
- Set up the contacts. Go to Contacts under Components. Set up the categories for contacts and enter in a contact. At a minimum, you should enter a generic contact for the Contact page of your web site.
Create a menu
- Create a menu. Go to Menu in Joomla's back end. Click on Menu Manager and create a menu item. Then, under the Menu item in Joomla, click on the name of your new menu. Add a Home page, a contact page, and any other menus you want. You won't be able to add all of these until you have enough content in your site, but create a first menu.
Install the extensions you need.
- Community Builder basically increases the number of fields the database maintains on a user. This allows you to have users with profiles, which allows communities. After Community Builder is installed, there are a bunch of extensions specific it that you may choose to install.
- Forms—If you want to have any forms on your site, other than the contact pages, then you'll need to install a form extension. Form generating extensions can be found at extensions.joomla.org under Home-Contacts & Feedback-Forms.
- Other extensions include blogs, extensions to make membership sites, forums, photo galleries, event managers, hotel booking, editors, documentation, and directories. There are about 7,000 extensions to look through.
At this point, you have a basic site built, and you're ready to do the laborious work of finishing it.