So, you've just uploaded your first Joomla template and now your site is up and running but you don't know what to do next?
You could sit there and stare at your marvelous creation, but you'll probably find something you'll want to fix or customize. You could start writing your first blog post, but then you'll probably find yourself occupied with formatting and editing.
While those are certainly steps to add to your to-do list, before you even get started with design modifications or your content creation campaign, there are certain preliminary measures you can take to ensure your installation of Joomla is well-equipped to handle every challenge you'll face as a webmaster.
Joomla by itself without any sort of extensions installed might not be the most capable solution for managing a website. It's no secret that every CMS depends on a set of third-party extensions to reach their full potential, and Joomla is no different. Thus, you should expect to be installing extensions for most of this guide. With that said, here are seven steps you should take immediately after you've uploaded your first template:
Prepare for Ongoing SEO
Since ranking highly in Google is the best way to attract an ongoing stream of traffic, establishing a system for handling ongoing SEO duties should be the first thing you should do once your Joomla site is online. While there are extensions that will help you with SEO-related tasks, you may still want to look into SEO services to maximize your chances of obtaining page one rankings. You may also want to install a site map extension like JSitemap to ensure that all your pages are well-indexed by Google and other search engines. You can use this extension to quickly generate an XML site map that can then be submitted to Google WebMasters for faster and more accurate indexing of your site's pages.
Incorporate Facebook Integration
Once you've got your SEO taken care of, it's time to optimize your site for social network integration. Start with Facebook by installing the JFBConnect extension. This useful addition will make it possible for your visitors to leave Facebook comments directly on your site while also providing other integrated sharing features. If you've been browsing the internet at all lately, you've probably noticed that many blogs and online stores give you the option of leaving a Facebook comment or sharing a page with all of your friends. JFBConnect gives you that same functionality.
Install a Backup Extension
Perhaps even more critical than your ability to rank well in the search engines and generate social hype is the ability to restore your site in the event of a digital mishap. As soon as you install your first Joomla template, be sure to install a backup extension like Akeeba Backup. This extension will automatically create backups of your site on a scheduled basis and it's so easy to use even a child could set it up without issue. It comes with a configuration wizard that will guide you through each step of the installation and introduce you to the main features.
Install an Email Marketing Extension
If you haven't been using the power of list-building to market your website, you're probably not getting optimal conversion and engagement rates. The most commonly used Joomla extension for mass email marketing is ACYMailing, which integrates seamlessly with the CMS to provide every email marketing feature you'll ever need. ACYMailing gives you the ability to manage and optimize lists better than any other Joomla extension and has subsequently become the leading standard in the email marketing category.
Install a Blog Management Extension
While WordPress is traditionally known as the most blog-friendly CMS, you can install the EasyBlog extension to greatly enhance your blogging abilities in Joomla. With features like team blogging, access control, geo-targeting, support for social sharing, and the ability integrate with numerous third-party blogging extensions, EasyBlog is a must-have for anyone who intends to manage a blog on their Joomla site. This extension also compliments JFBConnect because it comes with its own set of social networking features for other sites like Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Install a Contact Form Extension
Contacted Enhanced is one of the best extensions you can install to enhance the functionality and appearance of your 'Contact Us' page. With this extension installed, your contact page will be able to incorporate Google Maps integration, QR code scanning, an unlimited number of form fields, integrated Captcha support, and seamless compatibility with ACYMailing and other 3rd party email marketing extensions for Joomla. You might not think that a contact form is a critical component, but if you're offering any kind of product or service, it's actually one of the most essential pages on your site.
Setup an eCommerce Shop
Even if you didn't plan to run an online store, setting up an eCommerce shop is so easy in Joomla that you might as well list some dropshippable merchandise. HikaShop is one of the best Joomla extensions for setting up an online shop in minutes. There are many companies that will dropship custom merchandise, so you won't even need to purchase and stock inventory out of pocket. HikaShop even includes a convenient guided setup wizard that will walk you through the process of setting up your first online store in a matter of minutes.
The Above Steps Make Joomla a Powerhouse CMS
Many people overlook the full potential of Joomla as a CMS because they're not familiar with all of the ways its functionality can be extended and enhanced through the use of extensions. By taking all of the steps above, you'll have a comprehensive suite of tools that will help you achieve optimal success with your site for years to come.
Ultimately, with these capabilities enabled, Joomla can stand up against any CMS or site management platform in terms of overall features and capabilities. Conversely, if you fail to take the steps above, you might find your webmaster experience lacking in comparison to that of someone who's taken the time install a diverse set of extensions.