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| Drupal

Why Add a Sitemap?

I'll be honest and say that I don't believe sitemaps improve your ranking in search engines. However, they do make sure more pages get indexed and that they get indexed more quickly. This article presents evidence that the difference is astounding:

  • Google with a sitemap: 14 minutes
  • Google without a sitemap: 1375 minutes
  • Yahoo with a sitemap: 245 minutes
  • Yahoo without a sitemap: 1773 minutes

How to Add a Sitemap to Your Drupal Site

  • Step 1: Click here to download the latest version of "XML Sitemap". Choose the top link under "Recommended releases".
  • Step 2: Extract the files into a folder on your desktop. The folder will be called "xmlsitemap"
  • Step 3: Login to your site's files via FTP and navigate to /sites/default/. If there isn't a folder called /modules/ here, create one.
  • Step 4: Upload the "xmlsitemap" folder to /sites/default/modules/
  • Step 5: Go to Administer >> Modules >> Administration menu and check the box next to "XML sitemap" and click "Save Configuration".
  • Step 6: After saving you'll presented with more options. Checking all the boxes would be a good choice.
Drupal Sitemap

Submitting the Sitemap to Search Engines

Drupal Sitemap

| Drupal

In this tutorial we'll show you how to place a Twitter feed inside a block. You can then display that Twitter feed anywhere around your theme. There are many different Twitter options out there but most have a couple of limitations:

  • They post tweets as nodes rather than in a block.
  • If they post to a block, they require very complex setups normally involving creating Views.

Thanks to Expedition Post, we're going to suggest a much simpler way to show tweets in a block on your site. They've created a script that is very cleverly called "Twitter Block".

Installing Twitterblock to Your Drupal Site

  • Step 1: Click here to download the latest version of "Twitter Block".
  • Step 2: Extract the files into a folder on your desktop. The folder will be called "twitterblock".
  • Step 3: Login to your site's files via FTP and navigate to /sites/default/. If there isn't a folder called /modules/ here, create one.
  • Step 4: Upload the "twitterblock" folder to /sites/default/modules/
  • Step 5: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Modules. Check the box next to "Twitter Block" and click Save Configuration.

Placing Your Twitter Feed in a Block

Now that Twitter Block is set up, we'll go and place it on our site:

  • Step 6: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Blocks. Scroll down to find Twitter Block.
  • Step 7: Click "Configure" next to the block and enter your Twitter username and password:
  • Drupal twitterblock Module
  • Step 8: Click "Save Block", publish the block and check to see how it looks on your site:

  • Drupal twitterblock Module

| Drupal

In this tutorial we'll show you how to place an RSS feed inside a block. You can then display that RSS feed anywhere around your theme. We don't need any extra modules this week as we'll be using the core Aggregator Module:

Setting up the Aggregator Module

First of all, we're going to set up the Aggregator module so that it can handle the RSS feeds for us.

  • Step 1: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Modules. Check the box next to "Aggregator" and click Save Configuration.
  • Step 2: Go to Administer >> click "By module" at the top.
  • Step 3: Find the "Aggregator" area right at the top and then click on "Feed aggregator":

  • Drupal Aggregator Module

  • Step 4: Click "Add Feed" along the top and enter the address of your RSS feed:

  • Drupal Aggregator Module

  • Step 5: Click "Save" and then "update items". That will load the latest articles from your RSS feed.

Placing the RSS Feed in a Block

Now that Aggregator is handling the RSS feeds for us, we'll go and place it into a block on our site:

  • Step 6: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Blocks. Scroll down to find the block with the same name as the feed your created in Step 4. Aggregator has automatically created this for you.
  • Step 7: More than likely, you will need to click "Configure" next to the block and choose a new title. Aggregator creates a default title of "[feed name] feed latest items".
  • Step 8: Publish the block and check to see how it looks on your site:

  • Drupal Aggregator Module

| Joomla
These are the best extensions we use to create Joomla sites. The only criteria for this list is that they are all completely free and run on the latest version of Joomla.
  1. Joomla Content Editor (JCE). Far better than the normal content editor.
  2. Mass Content. Allows you to create large numbers of articles very quickly.
  3. Lazy Backup. Emails you a daily back up of your entire database.
  4. Joomlapack. Makes it simple to back up and also move a Joomla site.
  5. XMap. Makes creating sitemaps very, very easy.
  6. Jumi. Allows you to paste any kind of code into Joomla. Normally the editor makes a mess of Javascript, PHP and other code.
  7. eXtplorer. You can edit all your files directly from inside Joomla.
  8. K2. If you want something more sophisticated than Section / Category / Article, you need K2. The next version promises to be even better.
  9. Metamod. Much more flexibility for modules. You can set start and finish dates, show different modules for different countries and much more.
  10. Sobi2. Capable of handling almost any kind of directory. Need a listing of staff members? a business yellow pages? Sobi2 can handle it.

| Joomla

tracks Joomla site searches

This tutorial will show you how to add a contact form to the front of your Joomla site. This will allow people to contact you easily and quickly without having to navigate through to a dedicated "Contact Us" page.

  • Step 1: Click here to download the Rapid Contact module. Login to the Administrator area of your Joomla site.
  • Step 2: Go to the Administrator area of your Joomla site and click on Extensions >> Install / Uninstall
  • Step 3: Upload the Rapid Contact module.
  • Step 4: Go to Extensions >> Module Manager then find and open the Rapid Contact module.
  • Step 5: On the right-hand side, under "Module Parameters" enter all the details you'd like to use on the contact form. Click "Apply" and check the contact form on the front of your site.

A note of caution: contact forms are susceptible to spam. If you find yourself receiveing spam emails from this form, go to "Module Parameters" and right at the bottom you will be select and enable a spam-blocking question.

| Joomla

Joomla Related ArticlesThis tutorial will show you how to create a list of related articles for your Joomla website.

You can see an example on the right-hand side of this site in the "Related Articles" module. Joomla is analysing the keywords in the current article and automatically listing other articles that have the most matching keywords. Related articles lists are:

  • ... good for Search Engine Optimization because the search engines can find accurate and descriptive links to other pages on your site.
  • ... good for your users because they can find other articles similar to the one they're already reading ... which is good for you because they may stay on your site longer

In order to create our list, we're going to need three extensions: a component, a module and a plugin. Let's get them up and running on our Joomla site:

  • Step 1: Click here to download the latest version of the "FJ Related" component.
  • Step 2: Click here to download the latest version of the "FJ Related Articles Plus" module.
  • Step 3: Click here to download the latest version of the "Add Keywords" plugin.
  • Step 4: Go to the administrator area of your site, Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload all three.
  • Step 5: Go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager and enable the "System - Add Keywords" plugin.
  • Step 6: Go to Extensions >> Module Manager and enable the "Related Articles" module.

Once you've followed those six steps, your related articles list should start working.

A note of caution: the "Add Keywords" plugin will automatically generate keywords for all your articles. You don't have to do anything. However, to reduce the amount of work your site has to do, it may not create the keywords automatically. Have patience and the links will show reasonably quickly.

| Joomla

This walk you through will help you with adding an image rotator to your Joomla powered site.

We're going to recommend the "Flash Image Rotator" by Joomlashack. It's a free module that allows you to rotate up to 15 images with some pretty nice features.

Here's how you use it:

  • Step 1: Visit Joomlashack.com and download the free Flash Image Rotator. *You must be registered and logged in to see the download link (register here)
  • Step 2: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file.
  • Step 3: Upload the images you wish to use to your joomla_root/modules/mod_flashrotator/js_flashrotator/img directory via your favorite FTP client, or by using NinjaXplorer (we have a tutorial on doing that here)
  • Step 4: Go to Extensions >> Module Manager. Find "Flash Rotator" and enable it, publish it to your preferred module position, and set the parameters.
  • Step 5: Go to your frontend and view your newly installed image rotator!

SORRY: Joomlashack no longer have this product available.

| Joomla

google-analytics-logoIn our beginner classes we recommend Google Analytics as a free and accurate way to count people visiting your site. Here's how to install it:

  • Step 1: Go to http://www.google.com/analytics and login. If you have any kind of Google account, you can use those same login details.
  • Step 2: Click “Add Website Profile” and you'll see a screen like this:

Add Google Analytics to a Joomla Website

  • Step 3: Enter your domain name and click "Finish".
  • Step 4: Take the code that Google will give you. Copy this code and paste it into a text editor.
  • Step 5: Login to the administrator area of your Joomla website.
  • Step 6: Go to Extensions >> Template Manager.
  • Step 7: Check the box next to your template and click "Edit" in the top-right corner.
  • Step 8: Click "Edit HTML" in the top-right corner.
  • Step 9: Scroll all the way to the bottom of the file until you find this at the very, very bottom:
    < /body >
  • Step 10: Go to your text editor, copy and paste the code directly ABOVE
    < /body >
  • Step 11: Click Save and you're done!
  • Step 12: Go back to http://www.google.com/analytics in subsequent weeks and check the number of people visiting your wonderful website!

| Joomla

Simple Joomla Shopping CartOne of the most common questions we get from Joomla learners is ... How do I set up a shopping cart with Joomla?

For several years the only option was Virtuemart. However, Virtuemart is a very large and complex product that it simply overkill for many sites.

Fortunately, some simpler and easier shopping carts have recently been released and perhaps the best of the bunch is RokQuickCart from Rockettheme.com.

It does have basic tax and shipping options, plus support for either PayPal or Google Checkout. It doesn't have the ability to put products into categories or have custom fields for products (except color and size). Really it's ideal for a website selling up to 20 or 30 products.

Installing RokQuickCart

  1. Click here to download the RokQuickCart component.
  2. Go to Administrator >> Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the RokQuickCart file.
  3. Go to Menus >> Main Menu and click "New"
  4. Choose RokQuickCart >> RokQuickCart Cart Layout for your menu link.
  5. Give the menu link a title such as "Store" and click save.
  6. Visit the front of your site and click on the new "Store" link. It should look like the screenshot below:
storehome.png

Adding Products

The first thing we'll do is add our own products to RokQuickCart. It comes with some sample products that you can use to see how the cart will look.

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> RokQuickCart
  2. Click "New" and you'll see a screen like the one below.
    • Give the product a "Name".
    • Set your "Price".
    • Add a "Shipping Cost" - it must be a flat fee and can't be flexible according to location.
    • You can click "Pick Image" and upload the relevant image.
    • On the right, if you want to set sizes or colors, just click "Add" and enter the options. Unfortunately you can't change the price based on these options.
product.png

Choosing General Settings

Once you have your products installed, there's only one more step - choosing the general store settings.

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> RokQuickCart
  2. Click on "Parameters".
  3. Here you can configure how your store looks. More importantly, you can insert your Paypal or Google Checkout account details so you can get paid ... after all, what else is a shopping cart for?
RokQuickCart Parameters

| Joomla

This tutorial is similar to last week's in two ways:

  • It's the answer to a question asked by a user in our support forum.
  • It deals with managing people signing up on your Joomla site.

It has one important difference however ... it's much shorter! This week's tutorial explains how to approve Joomla users when they register. You might have a school website and only want to approve parents or students. You might have a club website and only want to have members join your site. This tutorial will show you how. We're

Read more ...

| Joomla

Joomla Registration FormThis tutorial is the answer to a question asked by a user in our support forum ... "how do I collect more information from my members when they register?".

The user's problem is that the normal Joomla registration form gives you precisely 5 fields:

  • Name
  • Username
  • Email
  • Password
  • ... and, er ... Password again.

That's it. If you want to collect people's location, birthday, opinion or any more information about them you're stuck. What we're going to show you in this tutorial is how to collect more information from your users when they register.

Read more ...

| Joomla
  • "What happens if someone makes a mistake in an article? How can we roll back to a previous version?"
  • "We have a legal requirement to track the articles that appear on our website - how do we do that?"

The answer is "versioning" and there's quite a few solutions out there. Over the last few weeks I've tried all the available versioning extensions available for Joomla and one stood head and shoulders above the others. Its free, its easy and its called "Content Revision". Here's how to set it up:

  • Step 1: Visit Galore.co.za and go to "Galore Content Revision".
  • Step 2: For Joomla 1.0, download that version. For Joomla 1.5 you'll need to download the component and also the plugin.
  • Step 3: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the files. If you're using Joomla 1.5, go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager and make sure the plugin is published.
  • Step 4: Go to Content >> Article Manager and edit an article.
  • Step 5: Go to Components >> Content Revision >> List New Changes. The change you just made should appear in the list.
  • Step 6: To see the changes, click on the number in the "CR ID" column. You'll be able to see the "Before" and "After" Versions.
  • Step 7: If you want to roll back to the previous version, make sure you are on the "Before Save" tab and click the green, circular arrows in the top-right corner.

| Joomla

Why Add a Sitemap?

I'll be honest and say that I don't believe sitemaps improve your ranking in search engines. However, they do make sure more pages get indexed and that they get indexed more quickly. This article presents evidence that the difference is astounding:

  • Google with a sitemap: 14 minutes
  • Google without a sitemap: 1375 minutes
  • Yahoo with a sitemap: 245 minutes
  • Yahoo without a sitemap: 1773 minutes

Creating the Sitemap

  • Step 1: Go to the Sitemaps section on Joomla.org.
  • Step 2: Download one of these components: Joomap, XMap or SEF Service Map. They are all good solutions. Our how-to here will focus on XMap.
  • Step 3: In your admininstrator area, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and install Xmap via Joomla's installer.
  • Step 4: Go to Components >> XMap. You should see a page with three tabs "Sitemaps", "CSS" and "Extensions" plus a layout like this:

    Xmap Layout

    • Step 5: Click "Add Menus" and select all the menus that you want search engines to find. Private menus shouldn't be included.
    • Step 6: Click the "Options" tab in the top-right, then click "Preferences". A pop-up will appear.
    • Step 7: You'll see a variety of different options for your sitemap. We recommend the following: "Include link to author: No" and also "Use Cache: Yes. Click Save.

    XMap Popup

    Allowing Search Engines to Find Your Sitemap

    • Step 8: From the XMap popup, take the URL from the "XML Sitemap" field. Copy and paste or save it into a text editor.
    • Step 9: Login to your Google Webmaster Tools account: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
    • Step 10: Click "Sitemaps" and enter the URL for your XML Sitemap. It might take several hours or evey days for Google to pick up this sitemap.
    • Step 11: Go to https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit and submit the same XML version of your sitemap.
    • Step 11: Go back to the administrator area of your Joomla site.
    • Step 12: Go to Menus and find the menu that appears at the bottom of your Joomla template. Often this will be in "Footer" position and contains your copyright information, privacy policy etc.
    • Step 13: Click "New" and choose "XMap" and save. This will create a link to the HTML version of your sitemap.

    | Joomla
    This week we'll walk you through how to easily upgrade your Joomla 1.5 site to the latest release of 1.5. Some caveats first:
    • Sorry ... there's no magic button to move from 1.0 to 1.5 or from 1.5. to 1.6.
    • If you've made any changes to the core Joomla files, you will need to upgrade manually.
    • Backup first! (use steps 1 to 5 here)

    Here's how you upgrade:

    Check Your Joomla Version

    tutuploadsmedia_1279375307549.png

    You can nearly always find out what version of Joomla you're running by looking to the top-right hand corner of your Joomla screen.

    Download Update Manager for Joomla

    tutuploadsmedia_1279374804857.png

    We're going to download and install the "Update Manager for Joomla!" Click here for the listing on the Joomla Extensions Directory and click "Download".

    tutuploadsmedia_1279374897907.png

    You'll be taken to the main download page. Click on the name of the file and it will be downloaded to your desktop.

    Upload the Update Manager for Joomla

    tutuploadsmedia_1279375024534.png

    In your Joomla administrator area, go to Extensions >> Install/Uninstall then click "Browse", select the file you downloaded and then "Upload File & Install"

    Go the Update Manager Screen

    tutuploadsmedia_1279375112788.png
    tutuploadsmedia_1279375159193.png

    Choose Your Update Option

    tutuploadsmedia_1279375199807.png

    The first line will tell us what version we're running and that we need to update. The best option is nearly always "Patch Package" as that makes the minimum number of required changes.

    Proceed With the Install

    tutuploadsmedia_1279375357302.png

    Hopefully the Update Manager will tell you that you can proced with the install. Otherwise you'll need to fix the errors it mentions.

    You're Done!

    tutuploadsmedia_1279375598970.png

    A Quick Confirmation Check

    tutuploadsmedia_1279375782395.png

    Visit another page on your site and check that the version number has changed. If it has - congratulations! Your upgrade is complete.

    As always, if you need any help with this feel free to post in our forum for support if you are a member.

    | Joomla

    This week we'll walk you through how to enable Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs in Joomla.

    This mystical feat requires no extensions!

    Here's how you do it:

    1. Go to the Administration area of your Joomla site and Global Configuration (or in the menus, site >> Global Configuration).
    2. In the 'Site' settings, on the right you will see 'SEO Settings', click on the 'Yes' radio button to enable Search Engine Friendly URLs

    That's it! You have just enabled SEF URLs for your site. However, if you would like to clean up the URLs even more, read on...

    To shorten up the URLs ever more, follow the next steps:

    1. Select 'Yes' for the option to use Apache mod_rewrite *ONLY if you are on a server that uses Apache (which will most likely be the case, but if you're unsure check with your hosting company).
    2. Go to your joomla_root directory and locate the file named htaccess.txt and rename the file to .htaccess (notice the proceeding dot . ) This can be done either via FTP or your hosting control panel.

    You should now have nice clean URLs that are human readable.

    If you find that upon trying to visit links in your site's menus you are getting 404 errors, you can simply go back to your configuration area and set the 'Use Apache mod_rewrite' option to 'No', and rename your .htaccess back to htaccess.txt Your issue should clear up after.

    Additionally, should you wish to add a suffix after your URL (.html for example), you may select the third option in the SEO Settings 'Add suffix to URLs'.

    As always, if you need any help with this feel free to post in our forum for support if you are a member.

    | Joomla

    This week we're going to walk you through adding a commenting system to your site, the easy way!

    We're going to be using the 'Disqus Plugin for Joomla' by JoomlaWorks. It's a free plugin that allows visitors to comment on your articles in designed categories and/or menu items using the popular Disqus Comment System.

    Here's how set it up:

    • Step 1: Visit Disqus.com and sign up for a free account.
    • Step 2: Visit JoomlaWorks.gr and download the Disqus for Joomla plugin.
    • Step 3: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file.
    • Step 4: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager >> Disqus Comment System for Joomla! (by JoomlaWorks), and add your Disqus subdomain name to the Plugin Paramters (this will be the name you added to the 'short name' field when you set up your Disqus account), assign the categories/menu items you would like to allow comments in, and enable the plugin.
    • Step 5: Start adding comments to your site!

    There are quite a few really nice features you can further enable, such as shared login for Facebook and Twitter, and the ability for visitors to post their comment to their twitter feed, thus taking your commenting system to a 'social networking' level! These features and more can be enabled within the Disqus settings and managed in your account at disqus.com

     

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