Joomla is a great platform to start a website, but, like any other CMS, it has its limitations. If your requirements go beyond the basic presentation site, you might discover that what you can find in predefined templates doesn’t quite cut it. So does that mean that you should quit using a CMS and spend more on building a custom site? Not at all. Joomla was built with flexibility in mind, so all the features that aren’t offered to you by default can be added with Joomla extensions. These are PHP scripts that expand Joomla functionality and help you build the website you’ve always wanted. Available in both free and commercials versions, Joomla extensions can either be made by Joomla or by independent developers, so you have thousands of great options to choose from, depending on what you want your site to do. Extensions can be installed and uninstalled at any time and you can even tweak around in their settings to make them work for you. If you’ve just started your Joomla website and don’t know what extensions to install, here are the most popular types that you should consider:
Form builders are one of the most common extension types, not just for Joomla, but for other CMS as well. They help you create complex forms where the user inputs data and submits it to you. For example, you can create a contact form using these extensions, so that your site visitors can get in touch quickly. No matter the niche of your site, you should design these forms with ease of use and user experience in mind. All fields should be easy to fill in and the form should support integrations such as conditional fields and CAPTCHA. When choosing the features of a form builder, keep in mind all the reasons why a client might want to contact you. For example, you might want to add a drag and drop grid for quick file attachments or a dropdown menu for choosing the nature of their inquiry.
Event management extensions
If you have a website that sells tickets or accepts bookings, then you will need an event management extension for your Joomla template. This type of extension enables you to add events on your website and lets users book or buy tickets. You can also have features that allow you to display the event location on Google Maps, import the event from Facebook or support online payments. Because many users prefer printing their own tickets as opposed to having them delivered at home, so QR code integration is also a good idea.
The right Joomla templates can help you grow your online influence and increase traffic, but, the more visitors you get, the more likely you are to become the target of a malware attack. Unfortunately, no website is safe from hackers, so you have to make sure both company and user data are safe in the event of an intrusion attempt. Security Joomla extensions have integrated firewalls that block unwanted parties from accessing your files and they get regular update patches so that new types of attacks don’t get through. By installing them, you get to protect your files and folders with extra security steps and all files that are submitted via your website will be scanned for viruses. No matter what website you have, installing a security extension is a must.
Another type of extension that should be installed regardless on your niche is the SEO one, because it helps you make sure your pages are search engine friendly and increase the odds of higher search engine results rankings. Not all SEO Joomla extensions are created equal. A free version offers just the basic features, such as letting you change page metadata and generating the sitemap, but if you invest in a paid commercial version you’ll also be able to integrate Google Analytics into your dashboard to see relevant stats, redirect pages, fix broken links, monitor targeted keywords (your own or your competitors’) or check how SEO-friendly the content on each page is.
Emails & Newsletters
In 2018, email marketing is far from dead. On the contrary, when used right, it can increase customer loyalty and boost your profit. You can engage with your clients using personalized newsletters and track the results of running campaigns, all through your Joomla newsletter and email extension. By automating the email marketing process, an extension of this time helps you save time and money and ensures that each sent mail is targeted and effective.
A business that only has a website, without social media presence, it almost bound to fail. More and more Internet users prefer to interact with their favorite brands on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and perceive an active social media involvement as a sign of reliability and customer service. While the advent of social media has created many opportunities for business owners, it’s also brought more responsibility, especially when it comes to managing content. To make this easier, you can install a social Joomla extension and you’ll be able to access links to your social pages straight from your Joomla dashboard and configure social buttons.
File management is a major website admin task and let’s face it, it can be quite tedious, even for a developer. Thankfully, you can make it less so by installing a file manager Joomla extension. There are several features to choose from, depending on how much file sharing is going on your website, but some of the most common aspects to consider include: quick sharing options, creating permissions for user groups and allowing users to download files.
Asking customer feedback and analyzing it is key to understanding your strengths and weaknesses and developing growth strategies. You don’t have to call your clients directly and ask them for feedback (although this option does work at times), because you can install a Joomla extension to facilitate the process. Feedback forms allow your clients to rate products and services, answer questions, vote or suggest improvements. In the backend, you will be able to filter and sort feedback and organize feedback groups.
If your website has a blog, the comment section is a great way of getting reader input, sparking conversations and opening a conversation channel between you and your followers. However, since Joomla doesn’t offer a comment system by default, you can only have one by installing a Joomla extension.