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4 Steps To Add A Blog To A Joomla Website

Do you want to add a blog to your Joomla! website? Our development team is often tasked with this job and put together this handy guide.

blog on computer screenTo add a blog to a Joomla website:

  1. Add a new category and menu item
  2. Add article(s) to the new category
  3. Add plugins to optimize social sharing
  4. Add modules (optional)

The entire process of adding a blog is documented below with step-by-step instructions. Be sure to read to the end so that you know the secrets to creating more effective social media shares by placing Open Graph and Twitter tags in your posts, automatically!


1. Add a new category and menu item

In Joomla when adding a blog, we need to create a new category in the administrator. This will allow us to group our blog posts together on one page.

Joomla Admin >> Content >> Categories >> Add New Category

joomla-add-new-category

You can name your new category however you like, but the most obvious name is 'Blog'.

Next click on Save or Save & Close.

After adding the category, we need to create a Menu Item which will use the category created in the above steps to display articles in a blog layout.

Joomla Admin >> Menus >> Main Menu >> Add New Menu Item

joomla-add-new-menu-item

Set the Menu Item Title = 'Blog', or whatever is desired.

joomla-set-menu-item-title

Select Menu Item Type  = Select >> Articles > Category Blog.

joomle-select-menu-item-type

Next click on Save or Save & Close.

2. Add article(s) to the new category

Once the category and menu items are created you can create the article(s) to show in on the new page.

For that go to Joomla Admin >> Content >> Articles >> Add New Article

joomla-add-new-article

After clicking on Add New Article you see the below screen:

joomla-article-settings

Enter the article Title and Content, and then select the category created in step 1 on right side drop down under Category.

Go to the Publishing tab, and set a Meta Description in the available field. This is important for social shares, and also for SEO.

joomla-article-set-meta-description

Next click on Save or Save & Close.

You can now access the newly created menu item (page) on the front end, and you will see the article(s) that you created displayed on the page.

3. Add plugins to optimize social sharing

It's important to make it easy for your readers to easily share your blog posts on social media networks. There are two plugins that you will want to add to your Joomla site, one places social media share buttons on your posts and the other add the necessary Open Graph and Twitter Card tags to optimize shares on Facebook or Twitter. These tags are an important, they will give your shares the optimal appearance on social media sites..

To show Social Icons we like to use the BT Social Share plugin, which can be downloaded at http://bowthemes.com/joomla-extensions/bt-social-share-plugin.html.

With this plugin we can setup Facebook Shares, Likes, and other social networking settings as you can see below.

joomla-bt-social-share-settings

In the Advance Config Tab we need to enable plugin for “Single Article” and Exclude all categories except the one on who's articles you need to show the social buttons. For example, if you have created a 'Blog' category in the above steps, you will select all categories used in your site except Blog.

joomla-bt-social-share-settings-advanced

That's the basic setup to add social share icons to your blog posts, now let's optimize the tags that live behind the scenes in your HTML code. Doing so will assure that your shares on social media look great on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

If you'd like to see how your pages and posts look before you add the plugin, you can do so at:

https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator

To Show Open Graph tags on articles and pages, we use the BCS Open Graph Tags plugin which can be downloaded from the Joomla! Extensins Directory at http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/extension/site-management/seo-a-metadata/bcs-open-graph-tags.

Once this plugin is installed you can set your Facebook admin and application IDs, and your Twitter username for the content creator and website. You can also add a default image to show in the tags, this is very useful for pages or posts that do not contain an image that is sized properly for social sharing.

This plugin gets the tag data from the meta description and title of the page. If you're not already in the habit of setting the meta description for articles in Joomla, this is a best practice for SEO too.

If the proper resolution image is found in the article, the plugin will choose that image for the OG image and Summary Large Image. Otherwise it will use the default image selected in the BCS Open Graph plugin. Do note that this means you may want to add a category image too, if you want your main blog page to use a unique image.

The Open Graph plugin is not free, but the cost is minimal when you consider how much time it will save by automatically setting social media tags. And for a limited time you can get the plugin at no cost with the discount code 'freeformyblog', check that out here. Hurry, the code expires 10/1/2016.

4. Add modules (optional)

You may want to add some sidebar modules to make your blog page more closely resemble a WordPress blog. In WordPress there are several default widgets that appear in the sidebar, and by adding the equivalent Joomla modules you can create a similar layout. The modules needed to do this are:

WordPress WidgetEquivalent Joomla Module
Search Search
Recent Posts Articles - Latest
Recent Comments Article comments are not available in core Joomla, check the Joomla Extensions site for options
Archives Articles - Archived
Metas Not available in Joomla, Tags are used instead

 Conclusion 

Adding a blog to your Joomla website can be a great way to take advantage of content marketing opportunities. With proper setup, users can easily share on social networks and you might even have a "viral" post one day!

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