If you have followed our 2 previous guides, you should now have successfully configured your Joomla! installation, as well as uploaded and activated a new template. The next step is to put a bit of content on your website.
Before you can start writing, however, you will need to create content Sections and Categories. These are used to make your content more manageable, and are especially important if you are going to have a lot of content on your website. Sections are used to (would you believe it) section your content into different segments, which are then split up further into categories. It might be a good idea to sit down and think about the best way to segment your content before you continue with this guide.
For example, if you are planning to run a website dedicated to beer, you may want to first create sections for different varieties, e.g. Lagers, Bitters, Stouts, etc, and then divide these further into categories, for example countries.
- As always, log in to your Joomla! administrators area (yourwebsite.com/administrator)
- In the top menu, locate and hover over Content then click Section Manager
- On the page that opens, click New in the top right corner
You should now see a couple of fields, as shown in the image below. Here is a breakdown of the various options:
Title – This is the title of the section. E.g. Lagers
Alias – A second alias for the section, used to create SEO friendly urls. Joomla! will create this automatically if you leave it blank.
Published – Determines whether the section, and hence the categories and articles it contains, is currently published.
Access Level – Determines who can view the categories and articles contained within the section. By default this is set to Public which means that anyone who visits the website can view them. If set to Registered only registered members can see access the content, and if set to Special only registered members of a certain rank (e.g. Publishers, Administrators, Editors) can view it.
Image – Allows you to select an image for the section, which will be shown if you choose to publish the section as a whole. These images are taken from the images/stories folder on your FTP server.
Image Position – The positioning of the image chosen above
Description – (not pictured) this field is found below the ones pictured, and consists of a big text area. The description will, like the Image, be shown if you choose to publish the whole section. You will find more information regarding this in the Joomla! 1.5 Menu guide.
Once you have filled out the form, click Save in the top right corner
You have now created your first section! Once you have finished creating all the sections you think you will need, continue on to Step 2 of the guide, below.
Step 2 – Categories
So you’ve finished creating all your sections, time to get some Categories going!
- Once again, locate Content in the top menu, hover over it, and this time click Category Manager.
- As with Sections, you will need to click New in the top right corner.
- As you will probably have noticed, the form in front of you looks very similar to that which you filled in when creating Sections
Many of the fields are the same, and as such we won’t go through them in detail. The main difference, as you will see, is that there is a Section: field. Here, you will need to choose a section in which to put your new category. Continuing on the Beer example I will be creating a couple of categories for each section, depending on the country the beer in question is from. So my categories and section will look something like this:
Lagers Bitters Stouts
-British -British -British
-American -American -American
While it may seem silly to have 3 separate categories for British ale, it will make it much easier to sift through the content later, as well as creating specific menus etc. This is however just one way of doing it, and by no means the best for everyone. It often takes a bit of tweaking before you find a system that suits you.
- Once you have filled out the form, click Save in the top right corner.
Continue this process until you have populated all of your sections with the categories you need. The Beer example now looks as follows:
Step 3 – Articles
Finally! The moment you’ve been waiting for - you have created all the sections and categories you need for the moment, and it is time to start writing some articles for your website.
- For the final time in this tutorial, locate Content in the top menu, hover over it and this time click Article Manager.
- Once the Article manager has loaded, click New in the top right corner.
- On the page that opens, you will have be faced with a couple of fields that you’re rather familiar with now – Title and Alias. This will be the title of your article, and alias is the version of the title which will be used when creating a link to the article (just like in Sections and Categories).
In the same group of options, you will also need to select the Section and then Category you want to save your article to. The Published field determines whether your article will be published when saved, and the Front Page option determines whether the article will be posted to your front page (the first page you see when navigating to yourwebsite.com).
- When you’ve filled out the above form, it is time to get writing! The default text editor has options quite similar to those of WordPad (the free text editor found in Windows) and as such you should feel quite comfortable in using it straight away. As you may remember from the Configuration tutorial (the first one in the series), it may be a good idea to click Apply in the top right corner every once in a while – depending on what you set your Session Length setting to.
- Once you’ve finished writing the article, there are a few more options to check out. You can find these to the right of the text editor. First, click on Parameters (Article)
Author – Choose which Author name to use (this will be displayed with the article, if set to Yes in the general article parameters, which we will look at later on in this tutorial). You can only choose from registered user names.
Author Alias – If you don’t want the author name to be a registered user name, choose an Alias here.
Access Level – As with Sections and Categories, this option determines who will be able to view the article.
Created Date – The date the article was created, Joomla! will enter the current date by default.
Start Publishing – The date and time the article will be published, will be set to publish straight away by default.
Finish Publish – As you will probably have guessed, this is the date the article will expire and no longer be published. It will still be available to edit and republish from the administrators area, but the Published option will be set to No.
- Next up is Parameters (Advanced)
These options are quite straight forward. Show Title, for example, determines whether or not the article title will be displayed on the front end. The ones that often cause a bit of confusion for new users are PDF Icon, Print Icon and E-mail Icon. Joomla! has a built in function that displays a small PDF, Print and E-mail icon in the top right corner of an article. These allow visitors to save the article as a PDF, print it or e-mail it to someone respectively.
- Metadata Information
This is where you enter the Metadata for your article. This tutorial will not go in to detail as for how to best choose your metadata and keywords, as that is a science of its own. For those of you who are completely unfamiliar with metadata, it is used by search engines to determine what your article is about. So in the case of the Lager article written for the tutorial, one might choose keywords such as Scottish, Lager, Beer, Review and a description that summarises the articles purpose.
- Once you’ve finished filling out the Metadata and feel comfortable with the parameters, click Save in the top right corner.
Step 3 – Article Management
This is the final part of the tutorial, in which we will take a look at how article management works in Joomla!, and explains why Categories and Sections are so useful.
First of all, let’s take a closer look at the article manager (found, as may remember, by hovering over Content and clicking Article Manager).
As you can see, I have created 4 articles. Two of these are American beers (one lager, and one incorrectly labelled bitter), one a British lager and a welcome page which I left uncategorised for now. Just above the articles, below the blue line which reads Successfully Saved Article, are 3 drop down lists, showed in detail below:
These options allow you to view only certain articles, depending on either their Section, Category, Author or State (State means if the article is Published, Unpublished or Archived). This is one function that makes using Sections and Categories very handy; imagine if the website you’re working on has 200 articles, browsing through page after page to find one would be rather time consuming, sections and categories help narrow the field a bit.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the (Global) Parameters option, which you can find in the top right corner of the Article Manager (as illustrated above). If you click it, you will get a list of options as shown here:
These are basically the same parameters that we took a look at when creating an article, under the Parameters (Advanced) heading. The difference is that changing a parameter here will affect All of your articles that have the parameter in question set to Use Global. If you set, for example Show Article Title to No in the Global Parameter screen above, but to Yes in a certain article, the articles unique parameter setting will override the general Parameter setting. So in short, these settings only affect article parameters set to Use Global.
That’s it, folks! You have now created your first article, and set up your website with sections and categories. What you’ll need to do now is create all the pages you want on your website (well, the ones you want to start with!) and then move on to the Menus tutorial, which explains how to link these articles to menus as well as how to publish, edit and place menus on your website.