Spring Forward Web Design
Build your own Site... Control your own Future!
If you checked off the ADD DEFAULT CONTENT when you installed Joomla to your website, Joomla comes pre-loaded with a lot of content. The purpose of much of this content is simply to help you better understand what is possible with Joomla. Most of it is not needed. After you have had a chance to read the articles and see how the default website is set up, most of the content, including articles, categories, sections, menu items and modules, can and should be deleted. In addition, some of the default settings will make it difficult for you and/or your readers to use your website. So these also should be changed.
Now that you have your Joomla website running with the default content, we are going to go through your entire website and alter some settings, de-activate others and delete many others. This will also give you another chance to see what goes on behind the scenes with a Joomla website in terms of all that it takes to build a good Content Management System.
Step 1: Adjusting the Global Configurations Settings
After you log into your website Administrator Control Panel for the first time, one of the first things you should do is alter the website’s Global Configurations. First, go to Site > Global Configurations. This is the spot to make changes which affect the entire website.
On the Site page is a section called Metadata Settings:
This area is used by search engines to classify you website.
Change the Global Site Meta Description to something that describes your website.
For example, I used the following:
Spring Forward Web Design – Build your own Site, Control your own future.
Also change the Meta Key words. For example, I used web design, joomla, Cloudbase 2 template.
Then click on the System tab to bring up the system page.
Here there is a section on Cache and Session Settings:
Change the Cache setting to 30 minutes and the Session Lifetime setting to 99 minutes. This will help keep your website from timing out on you while you are adding documents to it.
The most important setting to remember to change here (once you have your own website) is to increase the session lifetime from 15 minutes to 99 minutes. Otherwise visitors will be booted out of your website after the first 15 minutes. Even you will be booted out of your website. Since it may take a couple of hours to get your website up and running, this is one of the first settings you should change on your own website.
The other glaring problem on the SYSTEM page is the failure to include FLV as a Legal Extension in the Media Settings area. As we will discuss later, FLV is currently the world’s most popular video file (mainly because it is the primary video format used by You Tube). If it is not listed as a legal extension, you will have trouble posting and viewing FLV videos on your website. It you want to add this video extension, simply type in the small case letters “flv,” just before “gif,” and the upper case letters “FLV,” just before “GIF,”
You can also increase the maximum file size of uploads by adding another zero to the end of “Maximum Size.” This will make it easier to upload videos (which have very large file sizes).
Leave the rest of the settings in this area alone.
Then click on SAVE to return to the Administrator Control Panel.
Step 2: Deleting all but two of the pre-loaded articles
The next area in need of adjustment is the Articles Manager section. Joomla comes pre-loaded with a bunch of articles. Some are worth keeping and reading to learn more about how Joomla websites work. But most are simply fluff articles intended to fill up the pages with empty content to show the potential structure of a Joomla website.
To delete articles, go to Content > Article Manager. There are 20 articles per page and 3 pages of articles in all. We will next delete some of the articles on the first page of the list:
To delete an article, just select the radio button to place a check mark to the left of the article.
Begin by selecting the following 11 articles:
Joomla License Guidelines
Platforms and Open Standards
Where did the installers go?
What happened to the locale setting?
How do I upgrade to Joomla 1.5?
Only one edit window! How do I create “Read more”?
Where did the Mambots go?
Where is the Static Content item?
Is it possible to change a Menu Item’s type?
What is an Uncategorized Article?
How do I install Joomla 1.5?
Then click on the TRASH button at the top of the page. Joomla will tell you that 11 Articles have been sent to the Trash.
Next click on Content > Article Trash. This will bring up the following screen:
If you click on the checkbox to the left of the word “Title” all of the articles will be selected.
Then click on the DELETE button. A list of the deleted items will appear. Check DELETE. This will return you to the Trash Manager page. Go back to the Content > Article Manager page.
Repeat the above steps to delete 11 more articles (Article numbers 10 to 20):
Select the articles, click on the Trash Icon, click on the Content > Article Trash page, select the articles again, click on the delete button and click on the DELETE button.
Then go back to the Content > Article Manager page.
Next, delete only the last 7 articles on the first page (items 14 to 20).
Finally, delete articles 10 and 11.
This should leave the following 12 articles in the Article Manager:
The only really important articles you should keep are Example Pages and Menu Links, and Content Layouts. The remaining Articles can all be sent to the Trash and then deleted from the Trash. Click on Content Layouts to Edit it and change the section and category this article is in to Uncategorized. Then click SAVE.
This means that there will be no articles left in any Section or Category – allowing you to eliminate whatever Categories and Sections you want.
Step 3: Deleting Un-needed Categories
Go to Content > Category Manager. Let’s next delete all of the categories except Latest which is in the NEWS section. (Note that Joomla will not allow you to delete categories that still have articles in them – including any articles which are still in the Article Trash).
Step 4: Delete all Un-needed Sections
Next go to Content > Section Manager and delete all Sections except News.
Step 5: Delete all Un-needed Menu Items
Now that nearly all of the articles are gone, we also want to eliminate nearly all of the Menus. Before we can delete the Menus, we need to delete the Menu Items that are in them.
Go to Menus, Key Concepts
Delete all menu items.
Then go to Menus, Example Pages
Merely un-publish these menu items (as they will be useful for examples later).
Then go to Menus, Resources.
Delete all but the Administrator link. This should be unpublished as shown below:
Then go to the Menus, Top Menu
Delete all but News which should be un-published:
Then go to Menus, Main Menu.
Delete all except Home, Web Links, News Feeds, FAQ and the News. These should remain published for now:
Step 6: Disable all Un-needed Modules
Next go to Extensions, Module Manager.
Disable all modules EXCEPT Breadcrumbs, Footer and Main Menu:
Step 8: Fixing Up the Front Page Layout
The default Layout for the Front Page is a 4 Column Layout. This makes articles very hard to read. To change the Front Page Layout, go to Menus, Main Menu and Click on Home:
This is your Front page and is the most important page on whole website.
First, change the Title from Home to the name of your website. I changed my title to:
Welcome to Spring Forward Web Design!
Change the number of Leading Stories to 1, the number of Intros to 9, the number of columns to 1, and the number of links to 9. Then click APPLY:
Under Parameters, System, change the Page Title from “Welcome to the Front Page” to Welcome to Our Website (or whatever you want). Then click APPLY.
Click Save. Then click on Preview to see how the Front Page now looks:
This completes changing the default Joomla Configurations. Your website content is now down to a manageable size – and you know more about how Joomla works.
Our next task, before we get to actually writing articles, is to go to the Joomla Extension Directory and get a better text editor installed. We also need to get a better template – including making a custom header for our new template. Those are the topics of the next articles. .