A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about why you should use Joomla for blogging. Now I want to expand a little on the topic.
I've been blogging with Joomla since 2009 and don't want it any other way. I think there are plenty of reasons why one should use Joomla for blogging. So the question if it is right for you. Not trying to convince you (OK, just a little), but the aim of this post is to help you decide on whether or not to use Joomla for your blog project.
As you know, you can find loads and loads of extensions to use on your Joomla site. That means you can extend the core package of Joomla with exactly the functions you want. And there are extensions available for almost anything you would think of. The Joomla Extensions Directory is full of extensions you can install for free, and many you can buy for a low price.
This is one of the real strengths of Joomla. And it works for you when you are building a blog, as there exists a good selection of extensions that solve things like commenting, social functions and similar needs.
Many templates available
Another strength of Joomla is the vast number of templates you can get for the platform. The concept of template clubs has been around for many years already. Template developers have been churning out at least one template a month for years now and have accumulated a lot of experience in the process. The result is solid template frameworks and a great selection of designs.
Most templates are easy to customize
Talking about templates. If you know a bit of CSS and basic HTML, it is quite easy to adjust the templates. I recommend that you learn to work with the CSS files of your template. Experiment with CSS and learn how you can change the look of modules and templates. It will open up a new world for you.
When you have this knowledge, it will be easy to make the template look exactly what you want to. Many templates have good parameters as well, so you can adjust many settings in a control panel type environment. Colors, template width and number of columns are typical things you can play with.
Many ways to achieve a goal
When deciding on how to build your Joomla blog, you have three options:
- Joomla + installed extensions
- Joomla + a content construction kit + additional extensions
- One component with everything you need for blogging included
1. Joomla + installed extensions
If you have a low budget, the first option can be a good one. Joomla itself is free. And you can find many free extensions and template that will enable you to build a blog without spending much money. The challenge can be to create a blog that is has a uniform look and feel, and to find extensions that are compatible with each other.
2. Joomla + a content construction kit + additional extensions
The second option is also something you can do on a low budget. Most Content Construction Kit are free as well. K2, FlexiContent, jSeblod and more are free CCKs that you can use to build complex sites. This option could be a good choice if you want to build a site where the blog is just a part of the complete web site. The downside is that you can spend quite some time learning the inner workings of the component. As they are made to build complex site and structure, the learning curve can be steep. The more freedom you have, the harder it gets to learn, I guess. Personally, I have used both FlexiContent and K2 for blogging, and prefer K2 for this purpose.
3. One component with everything you need for blogging included
The third option is probably the better choice if you want to build a pure blog. You will have to cash out some money to get a full-fledged blogging component. That apart, you will save precious time searching for extensions. Blogging components like EasyBlog includes everything you need for blogging. You will probably spend most of your time customizing the settings and design of your blog.
There is another reason why getting a dedicated blogging component is a good idea: The more extensions you install, the more you need to maintain. And upgrading extensions takes time. Blogging components will include most or all of the functions you will need for blogging.
Also, the chance that one of the installed extensions has a security vulnerability or is incompatible with something else increases. You will do yourself a favor if you limit the number of extensions you install in a site.
Expanding on the blog
If you at some point decide to expand your blog to something more, that is easy to do with Joomla. Let's say you want to expand the business side of your blog. In that case, you can expand it with an ecommerce solution to sell products, add a support system to follow up questions, add contact forms, membership systems, forums and much more. Simply put, you can grow with Joomla as your blog and business grows.
I have met some roadblocks in my blogging with Joomla. Mostly, it has had to do with remote blogging and Joomla. That is, to use a blogging software like Windows Live Writer, MarsEdit or similar. And when you're done, publish the finished post to Joomla directly without logging in to the Joomla administrator. I wrote a blog post on Remote blogging for Joomla a while ago which highlights the topic.
Apart from that, I think Joomla and the available extensions will solve any blogging needs I have.
As I hope you can see, blogging with Joomla is more than a possibility. It is a reality for me and it can be for you, too. The choices are many in terms of how to extend Joomla and how you want to build your blog. Joomla core, CCKs or blogging components. Simple functionality or complex structure. Buy a fully functional, designed template. Or build and design the template yourself. Or do a combination of both. It's all up to you.
What I like about Joomla is the freedom it provides. Freedom of choice. And that applies to Joomla blogs as well. From the start six years ago, the Joomla community has been about letting people achieve that freedom. I love it and I wouldn't want it any other way.
In my ebook Blogging with Joomla, you will find chapter after chapter on how to build a blog using Joomla. The topics mentioned in this post will be explained in detail. And much more.buy