When the Internet was young and dotcoms could write their own start-up checks, meta keywords were all the rage. They determined search engine rankings, and the rankings determined income. So they got spammed. Marketers stuffed them with all sorts of irrelevant terms and search engines responded by… well, ignoring them. Google’s Matt Cutts explains in the following video that:
“Our web search disregards keyword meta tags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.”
And yet, iJoomla SEO allows you to manage all of your meta tags in one page. If Google doesn’t use them for ranking, should you bother?
You should, and here’s why:
Title meta tags and description meta tags are still very important for search engines. The title meta tag is the single most important SEO element on a Web page, and Google uses the description to create a snippet of your page in the search results. If a description isn’t there, Google will simply grab the text around the search term. That won’t look anything like as persuasive.
Meta tag information is used in modules. In Joomla, the keyword meta tag is used for a number of different modules, including “related articles.”
Meta tags can help with your keywording. iJoomla SEO uses the keywords you enter in the keyword meta tag for the “keywords manager” page. This page shows how each keyword ranks on Google. That alone is a good reason to populate your keywords meta tags.
Search engines still rank by meta tags. Google might not do it but MSN, Yahoo! and other search engines still consider keyword meta tags when ranking pages.
So don’t let anyone tell you that meta tags are not important! You need to use all of these vital metatag fields:
Title meta tag – This is the most important meta tag, and it’s the phrase that appears at the top of the page.
Description meta tag – Important for correct display of your articles on search engine results.
Keyword meta tag – Important for some search results and vital for a number of Joomla tools, including some of the great features of iJoomla SEO.
Cut your SEO time by 95%!
With iJoomla SEO, you can edit all your meta tags in ONE page! You won’t need to open each article, add the tags, close, and repeat for every article you’ve written. You have more important things to do than that! You can also manage all of your menu item meta tags and the meta tags of extensions such as k2, sobi2, Mosets Tree, and iJoomla extensions.
Stop working hard on your SEO today, get iJoomla SEO!
You know it’s important to have a blog on your website. Google loves fresh content, and many companies report they get more traffic to their blog than to any other page on their site.
Joomla does have some blogging capabilities built in. You can create a category and a menu item that links to a list of articles in blog format. It’s simple enough, but it’s also missing many of the cool features available for WordPress, the most advanced blogging software available.
So how can you keep your Joomla site and still enjoy all of the benefits of WordPress?
It used to be difficult: you’d have to install WordPress and then somehow coax the two programs to work together. It wasn’t easy and it definitely wasn’t fun.
There is now a simple way to use WordPress on your Joomla site, and you don’t have to log in with two separate admin interfaces.
In fact, you don’t even have to install WordPress!
All you have to do is install the component WP4J! by corePHP! The WordPress admin interface will be right inside your Joomla admin!
But the component also comes with a bunch of neat modules like a list of categories and latest posts that are installed just like any other Joomla module.
Once you’re inside the WordPress interface, you’ll see all of the options that come with WordPress. You’ll be able to add a post, manage comments, place tags, and list categories, etc. It’s packed with goodies and extremely easy to use. Really, it’s no wonder that WordPress is such a popular tool.
Converting iJoomla’s blog to WordPress
I’ve decided to convert our iJoomla blog to WordPress using this component, because I was never quite happy with our blog the way it was. After I installed WP4J on iJoomla.com, I created a menu item to link to WordPress. It showed the default “hello world” post, which I was then able to edit. The default setup also included a sidebar under my posts and a “powered by” notice. I wanted to get rid of both, which I did with a little help from the corePHP team.
How to get rid of the sidebar and “powered by” video tutorial:
With the sidebar gone, I was able to start creating categories and adding my content. I had to copy all the 26 articles I already had into wordpress which took me about an hour to do (and I hear that they have import tools as well), and I love the result! So check it out and let me know what you think!
SEF and WordPress
The way SEF is handled by WordPress is impressive. You have many options to choose from, just go to settings->permalinks and choose the one that works for you. Remember to keep the structure of the URLs the same as your Joomla SEF structure, so that you don’t create duplicate pages with the same content (Google doesn’t like that). By default, WP4J works with the following SEF: Core Joomla, SEF Advanced, sh404, and there is even a plugin for Artio SEF (for a fee).
Summary and Suggestions
Overall then, I am extremely impressed with WP4J It’s well executed, easy to use, and adds a huge amount of great features to your Joomla site — and without having to manage or log in to another admin. But I do have a few comments and suggestions to help make the most of it:
WP4J is big so if you are having a problem installing the component, it’s likely that your server doesn’t accept such large files. You’ll have to install the alternative component, which is smaller, then upload the files with FTP. Read the README file that comes with the alternative file for the steps.
I’d really like to have the Joomla menu on the top instead of the “Back to joomla” link. That would let me access other areas with one click instead of two.
There is a problem adding links to pages on my site. I can’t see a list of my articles/menu items; I can only add a full URL. Maybe the guys at corePHP can find a solution to this so that I can create links inside my site easily.
No Joomla plugin support. If you are used to adding Joomla plugin tags to your articles to display videos, sidebars, etc. Then keep in mind, it won’t work here, it would be great if corePHP added support to Joomla plugins to the next version.
iJoomla Ad Agency has always been a very strong extension, but we want to make it the perfect advertising solution for any Joomla site. So we’ve added a bunch of new features that we’ve been thinking about for a while, many of them prompted by your emails and feedback on the forum.
We’ve also put a lot of work into the interface.
Because iJoomla Ad Agency is so feature-rich, some users have said that they struggle to find their way around. We’ve tried to make that simpler by adding “grayboxes” to different pages. These allow you to add advertisers and advertisements without having to surf to a different part of the back end. You’ll now be able to do all of the most important tasks from one place.
We also improved usability on the front end. Your advertisers can now see an “overview” page that includes the advertising opportunity details and a short explanation on each page. The packages page too is much clearer and includes a preview of the different zones available on your site.
Here’s a video that summarizes the new features.
Summary of new features:
Preview zones – See a preview of the positions available on your site before you choose a position for your zone.Advertise here – Show an “Advertise Here” link at the bottom or top of your zone and specify where the link should lead.
Vertical and horizontal rows and columns – Display ads and banners horizontally or vertically by selecting the number of rows and columns to show.
Rotating banners – Rotate the banners automatically without refreshing the page.
Randomize – Randomize your banners so that they don’t appear based on their upload order.
Zone selection – Specify the zones on which the banners will be displayed for this package.
Free packages – Create free packages.
Description – Describe the package to be displayed on the front end.
Title – Enter a title for your text link.
Action Text – Specify the action text to link to the target URL.
Font – Choose a font, color, and weight for each element
Terms & Condition – Show a link to your terms and conditions.
Overview – Create an overview page. A basic overview page is available by default.
We are hoping to release this new version within the next two weeks.
Joomla 1.6 alpha is already here, and the beta version will be released in August 2009.In this presentation Andrew Eddie explains the changes and the new features of Joomla 1.6. Unfortunately, like with the case of Joomla 1.5, this is not going to be a simple upgrade (currently there is no upgrade plan). The good news is that ACL and Nested Categories will be included. We at iJoomla.com, plan to start modifying our extensions to work with Joomla 1.6 within 2-3 months, and hopefully by the time it’s stable, we will be supporting it (no promises though).
If you’re still working with Joomla 1.0, there is no real point for you to switch to Joomla 1.5, because soon, you will have to switch to Joomla 1.6
Due to popular demand, we’ve decided to add meta tag support to K2, the popular extension by JoomlaWorks.gr, to our iJoomla SEO. So now, you will be able to edit all your K2 meta tags in one place, easily. This feature will be available in the next version of iJoomla SEO, coming in mid July 2009, stay tuned!
Here’s a video that describes what are the new features that we’ve added to the upcoming version of iJoomla SEO. As you will be able to see, this new version is MUCH more robust, and allows you to monitor your keywords placement on Google, identify problematic pages on your site and fix them easily and create internal and external automatic links. These new features make iJoomla SEO a very complete solution for optimizing your Joomla site for Search Engines.
Today I’ve been working on specs for new features of iJoomla Ad Agency. iJoomla Ad Agency is very powerful and our customers are very happy with it. There is one feature though that people keep asking for and it’s the ability to control which zone(s) applies to which package. For example, a package with a zone that’s “above the fold”, has more visibility and there for should cost more. I’m attaching the mockup so that you can see how it will look like on the backend and front end.
The other feature people are requesting a lot is banners rotation. So now we’ve added it to our “to do” list and it should be done soon.
I’m hoping to finish these 2 features in 2 weeks and release a new version within a month. As usual – all our upgrades are free. If you don’t currently own iJoomla Ad Agency, you can purchase it by clicking on the button below.
THIS PRODUCT IS CURRENTLY IN BETA!!! AND ALL MY COMMENTS ARE JUST FOR THIS BETA RELEASE!!!Morph is a new and revolutionary template from JoomlaJunkie.com. It’s the first template I’ve seen that includes a component!
I had the pleasure of meeting founder Chris Rault at the 2008 CMS Expo. He is a very bright guy with some fantastic ideas for Joomla, and he’s determined to change the way we see and use Joomla templates. Chris asked me to perform usability testing on Morph BETA and I was very excited to do so.
I didn’t read any of the template’s documentations because I wanted my experience to be “fresh.” That led to one unpleasant surprise. In this limited beta version, Morph wipes out the site’s entire data, replacing it with template information. Chris assures me that this will not be an issue in stable releases. Users will be able to choose whether to keep their content or to install the Morph content.
There were a few other issues but they were very minor and as you will see in this usability testing video and in the summary below, I was very impressed with this template’s breadth. You can control every aspect of your site’s design: logo, colors, width of different elements and so on. I tested only a few features but I am sure I will be testing and using all of them in the future.
Morph is going to change the way template developers and users see templates. It will also allow users to create user-friendly sites easily. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it evolves!
Usability Testing Video:
Usability Testing Video Summary:
A good start! The template and components are easily installed…
But where’s my information? Everything’s gone! This beta version is currently being used by only a few developers. When it’s released, users will be able to choose to keep their data.
Template settings are unclear
My first reaction is that the backend is very slick and easy on the eyes.
But it’s hard to read the field label. The dark gray on black background makes text difficult to see.
Selecting the color is a little fiddly. Once, I’ve made my selection, I can’t see the color I’ve chosen, and I’m not sure what the “secondary color” is. The popup doesn’t explain.
The text in the drop down menus is too small.
The logo options are great. I can easily upload my logo image and set my logo width and height.
There’s a huge number of menu settings. I haven’t been able to test them all yet.
I’m not clear what the Toolbar block is. That should be made clearer.
I’m not clear what the Themelet is.
Where’s my logo? That I can upload it is great – but I’d like to see it, and it should become the default automatically.
Most importantly, when I upload anything, all the other settings are gone. It would be best to save everything upon upload.
I’m not clear how I can change the module colors.
On the whole, I found Morph very promising, slick and beautifully designed.
Color selection should indicate which color is currently selected.
The background of tabs should be white or light gray to make the text easy to read.
The drop down menus should also be bigger.
Everything should be saved when the user uploads a logo, favicon, or anything else.
Over the years I’ve been involved in Joomla, I’ve seen some great improvements in templates. Many templates are now very sophisticated, slick and beautiful. Just compare the early work of any of the veteran template providers with their recent efforts to see the quantum leaps they’ve all made.
But while looks have improved, front-end usability — hasn’t. Many Joomla templates don’t take usage into consideration. They’re missing some of the most basic features, making it difficult for novice developers to create a user-friendly site. I know I’m constantly hacking templates to make them do what I want.
Now that template providers have figured out how to create great templates with amazing backends, a gazillion module positions and sophisticated menus, it’s time to pay attention to usability. The template providers who take that step will differentiate themselves from the crowd and stand out in the marketplace. Here are some simple guidelines that should be standard for every template.
Add a Utilities MenuThis is probably the biggest problem I find on almost every template. A utilities menu links to the features that every site needs but which aren’t the site’s main functions. They might include “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “Archive” etc. The menu should be located at the top of the site and a module position for it should be included in every template as standard.
Put the Call to Action on the RightUsability experts agree: the “call to action” should be on the top right side of the screen. That could be a “Buy Now” button, a newsletter registration form, contact information, or any other important action you want people to take on the site. So place a module position on the top right side, to make adding that call to action simple.
Add Search to the Top RightDid you know that 30 percent of users reach a site and immediately look for a search box? They don’t like to browse to find content; they want to search. The search box on the top right of a website is becoming standard — it’s where users expect to find it. Every template then should have a module position at that location to insert a search box.
Include a Site Intro BoxDo your visitors know what your site is about? You only have a few seconds to communicate your site’s main message — so get it in early… and clearly. A module position somewhere on the top is perfect. It can even be a “teaser” position like JoomlaShack’s Inspiration template. Just don’t make the position too high. You want to keep that prime space above the fold for your most valuable content.
Make the logo image bigger . Too many times the space allocated for the logo is very small. Template providers need to remember that rarely nowadays, website domains are-one word short. Many times, they are 2-3 words long! Which means, more width is needed for the longer logo. Yes, I know that people can modify the CSS and make the changes, but many users don’t know how, so why not make their lives easier? Recommended dimensions: 300 x 100 px.
Allow Banners!Banners and Google ads are almost standard for every site nowadays, so I am constantly surprised that templates don’t include a position for a banner. There should be room for a standard 468×60 banner on the page.
Links Should Look Like LinksEven in the most stunningly original templates, visitors should still be able to see the links. Some templates though have page elements (such as article titles) that are not links but which look like them. Make the links one color and the other elements a different color.
Get the Text Size Right Some templates have text so small, you have to squint to read it. Template providers should set the default text size to be large enough to read and in a color that is easy on the eyes (so no light grays, please!). Go for a 12 px text size and you should be fine.
Make the Navigation ClearIn Joomla, the navigation is the “Next >>” and “<<Back” links at the bottom of the page. On some templates these links are so small that they are hard to see. Make them look more like clickable buttons than links, and users will find them easy to click.
Use Both Sides of the ScreenSome template providers have figured this one out already. Some haven’t. Joomla users want flexibility in choosing whether to use the left position, the right position or both. Give them the choice. Give them both.
Free the Width of the Right and Left PositionsAs templates have become increasingly sophisticated, so it’s become increasingly important to allow users the ability to control the width of the right/left positions. Give them the freedom to design their sites.
Before you buy a club subscription or an individual template, make sure that the templates on offer follow these guidelines. If they don’t, ask your template provider to make a few changes. Hopefully, in time, these suggestions will become standard in the Joomla world and we will all have more usable Joomla websites.