Joomla is the second best – widely used Open Source Content Management System after WordPress. One of the biggest reasons of Joomla being chosen for CMS based websites is its built-in multi lingual capability and the ability to create a community like network along with newsrooms, forums, articles and other complex functionalities. If we talk of figures, you will be surprised to know that Joomla is downloaded every 2.5 seconds and serves as the backbone of nearly 3% of the total websites in the world counting to approximately 35+ million downloads so far. In fact, many of you might not be knowing that the websites of the most popular food brands — Pizza Hut and Kelloggs are running on Joomla.
As a consequence of the worldwide popularity of Joomla web development service, the responsive versions of Joomla – Joomla 3.x based on twitter’s bootstrap framework soon landed up in the market and hence highly qualified Joomla Experts are in huge demand. But amongst thousands of great extensions that are populating the Joomla Extensions Directory, there are just a few that I feel all Joomla developers must keep in their repository to spruce up a brand new Joomla website with essential features. All the extensions that I have mentioned here rate 4+ on the Joomla Extensions Directory and provide immense functionalities that can be sensibly utilized only by a Joomla expert professional. For those who already have enough knowledge of Joomla, I have also included a “How to configure and use” section to let you sail smoothly in your Joomla projects.
Top Extensions for Joomla 3.0
Xmap is basically an automatic sitemap generator component for Joomla Framework that lets you create a map of your website that is compatible with all major search engines including Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. With Xmap, you can even create multiple sitemaps with specific preferences for each one. Plus, it has a cache system that allows fastest generation of sitemaps and hence makes it ideally suited for large websites that attract high traffic.
How to Configure and Use Xmap
Download the extension and Login to your Joomla Admin Panel Backend. Go to:
Extension – Extension Manager, upload the downloaded file and click install. After installation, go to Component – Xmap, and click on the new button to create a sitemap for yourself. Here you will be asked to fill out a field that asks for “title” of the sitemap. Next, you need to switch to menu tab where you can select the menus which you want to include in your sitemap. Click on save and close button and your sitemap is ready to be submitted to Google. Now, you need to navigate to Menu – Main Menu – Add New Menu Item and click on select button to select HTML Sitemap. Finally give a good title and click save and close to get your site map published on your Joomla site.
If you are looking to shoot promotional mailers to your customers, Acymailing is the perfect extension to download !! Acymailing is by far the most reliable and robust email marketing solution for Joomla that is equally comparable to dedicated bulk email marketing softwares like Mailchimp and Sendblaster. Not only it lets you create and manage email templates, but organize bulk mailing lists along with large no. of subscribers and finally preview and send customized newsletters via a queue system that handles multiple subscriptions, validates emails and confirms the delivery as well. The best part about this extension is that it supports 40+ languages and even allows you to import your contact lists in multiple formats including CSV.
How to Configure and Use Acymailing
To get started with Acymailing, just Sign in to the admin panel and move your mouse cursor to Components – Acymailing. Soon a menu containing a bunch of module sections will show up. The “Users” module will let you add people as subscribers to sign up for your newsletter and here you can also manually add new contacts or delete the existing ones. Unsubscription links are also managed in this section. “Newsletter” module lets you create a beautiful newsletter for your marketing campaigns and automatically loads a default template as soon as you enter this panel. This module comes with all useful tags that puts in the user name, date and unsubscribe links as well in your mailer. Next, if you also need to add articles in your newsletter, go to “Article” module for article management. Finally, don’t forget to preview your newsletter and send a test mail to yourself before shooting mailers to your subscribers.
As the name itself suggests, JFBConnect is an extension that offers complete social media integration solution for Joomla. Apart from cool social media widgets, this extension adds myriad of important social connect features to your Joomla website like Registration and Login through Facebook, Twitter, Google+. It also handles all your Facebook Open Graph Actions like autopost to user’s FB timeline when they read your articles, upload photos or leave a review of your product. This extension can also configure the 3rd party Facebook Profile Integration and can even send Facebook Requests to let your visitors invite their Facebook friends and grow your network organically.
How to Configure and Use JFBConnect
Installation is as simple as other components of Joomla. Go to Extensions – Extensions Manager and upload the downloaded package file. As soon as you install it, the modules for integration with all major social media platforms are automatically configured. After this process finishes, you need to click the “Run autotune Now” button that uses the Facebook Auto Configuration tool and promopts you to enter your Facebook App Id and Secret key.
A website without a Blog is like a cake without sugar. Easyblog is the most flexible all-in-one solution for quick creation of a professional looking blog along with social network integration. Easyblog already powers 5000+ Joomla websites across the globe and manages both your personal or business blog with ease.
How to Configure and Use Easyblog
After installation just like other Joomla components, go to your Joomla Control Panel,
Navigate to Components – EasyBlog. The page that lands up shows some sectioned modules like “All Blog entries”, “Categories”, “Tags”, “Comments”, “Bloggers” etc along with “Settings” so that you can explore and check extra functionalities. To create a basic Blog quickly, just go to the
Categories module – Create a new category for your blog (using “New” option on Top or choose from the existing categories). – Switch to “Blogs” tab (present on the Category page itself) – Click on “Add” button (on the top) – Fill out the title, intro text, multiple other options – Save – Publish it after you complete.
If you create a Blog with EasyBlog but you don’t feel like publishing it now, you can save all your work using “Save” option and return later.
Akeeba Backup extension is the extended version of the most popular Joomla component –JoomlaPack and comes as a boon for those who are looking for an open source Back up solution for their websites while maintaining complete security. Akeeba smoothly runs in the background to create timely backups and fully restores your website on any Joomla Server. The Back up and Restoration system of Akeeba is Ajax powered and thus you need not worry about any server timeouts even with high traffic websites. Akeeba offers a one click backup in a single compressed archive that constitutes all your files along with a database snapshot and an installer similar to the standard Joomla Installer.
How to Configure and Use Akeeba
After downloading and installing the extension, navigate to Components – Akeeba Backup, agree to the terms and conditions and Click the “Back up Now” button. Here you need to add a short description with comment and the backup creation process will soon begin. Now sit back and relax waiting for its completion. When the backup process finishes, the screen will automatically refresh and navigate you to the page indicating that the Backup process was successful. Next, you need to proceed by clicking on Manage Backups button wherein you will see a list of all the Joomla backups that you created. Quickly look for the Backup you created just now and download the archive to store a backup of your site on your hard disc.
JCE is a rich WYSIWYG editor extension for Joomla that allows you to build, control and present your content the way you want and give it a customised look in accordance to your requirements. This extension comes bundled with exclusive core functions just like MS Word that even lets you insert media files and manage the access control level of different sections. Its extensibility makes it the most powerful Joomla Editor component
How to Configure and Use JCE
Install the extension and go to users – User Manager – Basic Settings and set the editor as JCE. Now save and close this screen and go to Site – Global Configurations and set default editor here also as JCE. Next go to components – JCE Admin panel and switch to global configurations tab to change the configuration as per your requirement. And that’s all for you to get started.
If you are looking for an amazing all in one plugin to take full control of SEO power in your hands, this plugin is a must have. Not only it comes bundled with Google Analytics Dashboard, but it comes with all the social sharing options included and advanced security features to block spammers and hackers. Plus, it helps you rewrite your URLs according to search engines, customize metadata and insert H level tags. The bestest part is it solves all the hassle with redirection of error pages like 301 redirect or 404 errors in a jiffy.
How to Configure and Use SH404SEF
Before getting started with SH404SEf, I recommend you to take the backup of your whole site using Akeeba backup and test it before going live to ensure everything works fine. Install the extension as you install all other Joomla components by going to Components – SH404SEF and soon a menu will show up. Now go to URL Rewriting Mode, check the Enable URL optimization and finally press the start button at the bottom. And now you are ready to invite traffic on your site.
This extension is the most important extension to have ultimate control over all Joomla modules . With this module, you can just control or modify the menu items but you can edit the modules, give color codes and can even choose whether to display them or not.
How to use Advanced Module Manager
After its installation, the core Joomla module manager will be automatically replaced with this and you will see an Options button on the toolbar. Here you need to change the Default settings as per your requirements and set permissions to control access to different actions.
K2 is an out of the box CCK (Content Construction Kit) solution for your Joomla website that features rich content forms for items along with additional fields for integrating text based content(articles) and graphical content(images, videos, galleries and attachments) to transform your Joomla site to a news/magazine site with author blogs. This addon also comes bundled with automatic integration of Captcha and Google Ajax Search Engine.
How to Configure and use K2
Configure K2 just like you do it for all other components by navigating to Components – K2. As soon as you finish, you’ll see the K2 icon appearing in the menu toolbar. Now quickly import all your Joomla content by clicking the “Import Joomla Content” button right at the bottom to get started with K2.
Admin Tools Pro is an Akeeba product and is a must have extension to secure your website from spammers and hackers. Before you figure out your site acting weirdly due to external attacks by antisocial elements, I recommend installing this plugin as the first task and make your site 100% secure from any type of attacks.
In a nutshell , I would like to say that there is no worth flooding your website with tens of extensions and getting frustrated with regular updates and making yourself vulnerable to potential cyber attacks. Installing everything is not the golden mantra to have a great Joomla website. If you are a newbie to Joomla, seek help from Joomla experts and configure only the ones that are actually required for the kind of website that you have. Do leave your comments below to let us know your experience with these extensions.