On Friday, we talked about why people should blog on their own domain, rather than using a free hosting site such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com.
This week, we’re going to have a look at the best blogging alternatives for Joomla.
We’ll start at home and provide a rundown of what we’ve found to be the most useful blogging tools for a default Joomla installation – these are the extensions and tools we use ourselves.
Caldate from Joomlaicious.com. Its no fun to visit a bad-looking blog. My favorite sites all have simple designs with small, neat little twists such as the calendar dates provided by this mambot.
Jomcomment from Azrul.com. As discussed by commenters in last week’s article, Jomcomment does a great job of cutting down on spam, while still allowing guests to comment.
Community Builder from Joomlapolis.com. If you open an account and click on "My Profile" you can see a list of all the comments you’ve made on the blog, manage your affiliate details, add an image and add personal details. This works at least as well as the functionality for members on most rival blog setups.
The SEF Patch from Joomlatwork.com. Without the ability to create different page titles for the meta fields and online, we probably would have gone with WordPress instead. SeoMoz recently got some of the smartest (or at least richest) people in the SEO world together and in their collective wisdome, they decided that Page Titles were the single most important SEO factor on a site. With the SEF Patch, the page title that people read can be "What Extensions Do We Use on the Alledia Blog?" but the Meta Page Title can be "Joomla Blogs – Joomla Blog Extensions Components Mambots Modules".
Extended Menu from Daniel Ecer. This is amongst the most ridiculously complicated but ridiculously useful Joomla extensions available. It gives us a lot of control how to display each category page.
RSS Feed Manager from Run-Digital.com. Joomla doesn’t allow you to create individual RSS Feeds for particular Sections and Categories. Run Digital’s component does a great job of allowing you to do that.
RSS and Email Subscriptions
We take the RSS Feeds from Run-Digital and enable people to access them via Feedburner.com for RSS Feeds and Feedblitz.com for email subscriptions. We could just provide the Run-Digital feed, but Feedburner provides more detailed statistics.
Inside of Feedburner, under the "Publicize" tab there’s an option called "PingShot". This does a pretty good job of pinging at least ten major sites. For the ones we don’t cover in Feedburner, www.pingomatic.com can help. Yes – it would be nice to have the option to drop in a list of 100s of sites to ping, as is possible with WordPress, but I don’t feel it to be essential.
Advantages to this setup
The key advantage is that we have most major blog functionalities, but they are wrapped up in Joomla. Because of this, people can use their account to make Ebook purchases, download our free components and generally be active on other parts of the site without needing to create an extra account. Also, we can use the same sitemap, same SEF URLs and same design on the blog as for the rest of the site.
Things we can’t do with this setup
- Blog Calendar
- Effective way to handle archives
- Cross-categorization of posts
- An easy way to see the posts of an individual writer without having to view their Community Builder profile
- An effective way to show related posts
- Ability to search through blog posts only
- Reply to particular comments, rather than just to the whole set of comments
Over to you…
Have we missed any great Joomla blog tools? Are we right to trust Joomla with our blog? Could we be making much greater hay with an alternative setup? Let us know…