Author Archive

Merav Knafo

Merav Knafo is the founder and CEO of iJoomla, Inc. She loves writing about Joomla, usability and facebook.

The New Way to Work

Written by Merav Knafo on . Posted in outsourcing

Remember the days when you had to work in a freezing cubicle, deal with office politics, sit through dozens of boring meetings, and count the minutes until the day was over so that you could sit in gridlock on the commute home? That’s so yesterday! For entrepreneurs, business owners and managers who use Elance.com, those days are over. I’ve been using Elance for almost eight years, and it’s changed my life.eLance Outsourcing through Elance has allowed me to start my own businesses online and with a very small budget, and expand at a rate that I could afford. I’ve created three companies with the help of the talent I found on Elance and I consider it an essential tool for success. These are the benefits that I’m getting out of using Elance:
  1. No office politics and no drama. When you work by yourself, you can focus on managing work instead of massaging egos.
  2. Short meetings. I spend maybe 5-10 minutes a day on Skype meetings with my developers. Shorter meetings means more time getting things done.
  3. Easy firings. If someone doesn’t do a good job, I simply don’t hire them again. That’s much easier than handing out a P45 to someone who works with you at the same office.
  4. I get to be picky. When I post a project and get dozens of bids, I can be as choosy as I want to be and hire only the best talent.
  5. I get a lot more done. I hire people to help me with the dull, time-consuming stuff, so that I can focus on my highest income producing activities. For me, that’s product development and marketing.
  6. Working with talent around the world is fun! I’ve had the opportunity to virtually meet and work with a number of great, talented people from across the globe.
  7. I’m free to make my own schedule. I can punch 16 hours on one day, and then put in just one or two hours on another day. And if I don’t feel like working, I don’t need to call in sick. I get to choose my time off.
There is an art to outsourcing though. I’ve learned to identify which types of work fit suppliers from which countries best. And, in time,  I got better at hiring the right people. Merav KnafoWhen there is so much talent available at my fingertips, I can achieve more and save more, giving me more time and money to invest back in my companies. To me, Elance has meant a much better lifestyle,  an upgrade to first class. If you’re looking to start working at home either as “talent for hire” or a “buyer”, Elance is your new best friend. Special thanks to Tina and Giles for helping me create this video, we all had a great time! Merav Knafo Founder iJoomla.com meravkn @ elance.com Contact me at merav @ ijoomla.com

What Do You Get When You Mix a Sidebar with an Ad Agency?

Written by Merav Knafo on . Posted in iJoomla Extensions, Tips & Tricks

I just love it when I can combine two powerful extensions. I always end up doubling the functionality while halving the effort – and reducing the cost. That’s a win-win-win! And that’s why as our products evolve, I’m constantly looking for ways to integrate them. Two obvious combinations are the iJoomla News Portal and iJoomla Ad Agency, and iJoomla Ad Agency and iJoomla SideBars. News portals, which can earn you income by selling advertising next to the content rather than by pushing products, really should be using iJoomla Ad Agency. It makes earning money from advertising very simple and it’s extremely powerful. You can place those ads in any module position and, for a more complete integration, you can put them right in your news portal layout. Combine the Ad Agency with SideBars, and you can even put those ads right inside your articles! Recently, we made the Ad Agency even better by allowing publishers to add an image to a text ad. We call it “Facebook-style” because the ads are similar to Facebook’s neatly optimized units. Because they look like a part of your site and not like ads, they get more clicks. Now you can earn even more cash by adding these Facebook-style ads to your news portal too. Here’s a video that explains how to place an Ad Agency zone containing our Facebook-style ads right inside your News Portal layout: And here’s a video that explains how to create an Ad Agency sidebar: If you don’t have these combo extensions, then check out our packages. You’ll be able to pick up a $10 discount for each product. Do you have any creative ideas to make our extensions work together — or even with third party extensions? Post them here.

What Use Are Your Keyword Meta Tags?

Written by Merav Knafo on . Posted in iJoomla Extensions

seo meta tags
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%!

seoWith 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. metatags Stop working hard on your SEO today, get iJoomla SEO!

Review of WP4J – A Powerful WordPress Extension for Joomla

Written by Merav Knafo on . Posted in Extensions Reviews, Joomla, WordPress

wordpress_sidebar_img2You 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. joomla wordpress for joomla

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Find out more about WP4J! here!

iJoomla Ad Agency’s new features video – coming soon!

Written by Merav Knafo on . Posted in iJoomla Extensions

iiJoomla Ad AgencyJoomla 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:

Zones:

  • 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.

Packages

  • 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.

Text Links

  • 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

Settings

  • 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 – What’s new? Presentation by Andrew Eddie

Written by Merav Knafo on . Posted in Joomla

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).

Thoughts:

  • 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

How to replace the favicon on your Joomla site

Written by Merav Knafo on . Posted in Tips & Tricks

Changing the favicon (the icon on your browser window) can be pretty easy, if you know the right way to do it.

How to replace your favicon video Video summery:

  1. Create an image for the favicon, the width and height should be the same
  2. Go to http://tools.dynamicdrive.com/favicon/ and upload your icon
  3. Download the favicon and save it on your computer
  4. Find out where the image is located on your server
  5. If you don’t already have it, download and install Firefox and the “Web Developer Tool Bar
  6. Find the location of the image
  7. If you don’t already have it, download and install extplorer extension on your Joomla admin
  8. Find and replace the icon
  9. Go to front end and refresh the page(CTRL + F5) to clear cache

Overview video of the new features of iJoomla SEO – coming soon

Written by Merav Knafo on . Posted in iJoomla Extensions, SEO

iJoomla SEOHere’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.

Adding zone control on packages and banner rotation

Written by Merav Knafo on . Posted in iJoomla Extensions

ijoomla ad agencyToday 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. {digistore id=81}

Mockups:

ijoomla ad manager packages