Joomla is one of the most sophisticated CMS to make your own website with. It was branch off from the Open Source Mambo which it has based its coding. Joomla is getting more popular while Mambo usage is declining. The appearance of a Joomla website certainly catches the eye. With the many well designed Joomla templates around be it free or paid versions, you can get a well designed template to suite well with your website theme and stand out from the www crowd.
First time user of Joomla would get quite lost with its administrative interface. It takes awhile to learn what goes where. And if you have lain off fiddling with the Joomla interface for awhile, you could easily forget where the functions and modules are located. There are many features that you can switch on or switch off which you can control either globally for the entire website or each individual webpage.
One interesting aspect of Joomla is their newsflash module. Content entered into the newsflash section will be displayed randomly every time the page loads. It is useful for highlighting a short message or information, something to catch the visitors’ eye as it changes randomly each time the visitor browses around your website.
Joomla’s control of content is very sophisticated. It takes awhile to understand its intricacies. For the first time user, it is very daunting to learn how to use it. As with most CMS, they separate the webpage into two types of content, the standard content and static content. Static content are for those pages that would not expire while standard content can be expired and taken offline if chosen so. How one would like to differentiate their website content is up to each user preference. For those who would like to keep any content permanently online, using either makes no difference.
In addition, Joomla breaks down the standard content into sections and category. The sections comprise the usual standard content and the newsflash type of content. Trying to compartmentalize your web pages into static pages, standard pages and compartmentalizing it further down to sections and category can get one a little confuse as to where one should post an article content. However if one could master it, it could become a powerful tool to place and group the content into areas of similar topic.
The menu navigator is similarly sophisticated and takes awhile to understand how to use it effectively. When trying to make a navigator link, Joomla presents you with so many choices that in the end for the sake of simplicity, you may as well just use link-url to create a menu navigator to a particular page. The Menu Manager provides you with four ways of placing your navigating menus – mainmenu, othermenu, topmenu and usermenu. You might be better off to consider just using two of the menu class – mainmenu and topmenu. Too many menus will just make it confusing not only for yourself to put the appropriate link on which menu list but also for visitor to figure out which menu link goes to where.
As for templates, Joomla being one of the most popular CMS used online, meant that there are plenty of themes which you could download and use. There are so many Joomla themes available and they could either be obtained for free or paid. Using free version though, has some conditions of usage such as copyright notice and links back to the original designer. But hey you did get a free template for your Joomla website right? If you know some amount of HTML/CSS/PHP coding you could tweak the template a little to suit your purposes. Using a beautifully designed template can really put the wow into your website. Of course if you want to express your individuality, you will have to create your own design provided you are an expert in graphic design, as well as good in programming the PHP/CSS/HTML codes to go with it. In the end for most of us it would be better to save time and just get a good template off the rack.
Installing plugins though is a very complicated affair for a Joomla installation. The last time I tried it, it crashed my whole Joomla installation. Putting additional functionality for Joomla is no walk in the park. Unless you are an expert, it would be best to just leave the Joomla installation as is. This is where Joomla looses out to Drupal and WordPress, where the installation of additional functionality is so complicated. Hopefully future versions of Joomla provide some easy way to install plug-in.
Another big drawback about using Joomla is the way the URLs are formed. The dynamic URLs are rather ugly and some web pages may give rise to duplicate content. You could switch on the SEO friendly feature in the global setting page, however there is a caveat if you are using adsense on a Joomla website; using the build in SEO friendly feature may cause your adsense to publish public ads that do not provide you any income from click-through. The SEO friendly links are still rather ugly; and you could not use keyword rich URL for your webpage. This is a big down point if you are trying to fight for good ranking in the search directory. You could install some plug-ins to rectify this matter, but the installation process is complicated and there is a big possibility of breaking your Joomla installation.
In conclusion, if you want a sophisticated content management system, Joomla is the one for you. However if you want something easier to use and manage it would be better to look at other simpler CMS script to build your website.
Find out more from the Joomla website.