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10 Site Management

Welcome to Chapter 10 of our course Create Your Own Interactive Website!

Chapter 10 Site Management Tools includes the following five sections:

10.1 Add a Downloads Manager
10.2 Search Engine Optimization
10.3 Add a Broken Link Redirect Tool
10.4 Add a Site Map
10.5 What’s Next

In Section 10.1, we will review how to add a Downloads Manager to display links to products and information you want to share with the community.

In Section 10.2, we will explain how to increase your search engine rankings.

In Section 10.3, we will add a tool to redirect broken links to our Home page.

In Section 10.4, we will add a tool to create a Site Map to help search engines.

In Section 10.5, we review additional opportunities to learn more about creating your own interactive website.

This completes our course on Create Your Own Interactive Website. While we have covered a lot of ground in this course, there is still much more to learn. Creating an interactive Joomla website gives us an excellent foundation. But the real benefit of using Joomla as our web platform is that it opens the door to all kinds of exciting course options that we offer at College in the Clouds.


You could choose to build an alternative news organization on top of your Joomla foundation. In the following course, Create Your Own News Website, we will explain how to add several more free Joomla tools to turn your website into an online regional, national or international news organization.


Or you could choose to add a social organizational website over our Joomla foundation. In our next course, we cover how to Create Your Own Community Network. This important book, website and course reviews how to install free Joomla online organizational building tools such as Community Builder for creating a membership interaction network, Kunena Forum for creating a topic based discussion board, AcyMailing for free customized newsletters and ICAgenda for organizing community events.


Our you could choose to turn your website into an Ebook. In our fifth course, we describe how to use free open source tools such as Joomla, LibreOffice and Sigil to create an Ebook and post it onto online retailers such as Amazon Kindle. There is a very close relationship between a website and an Ebook. Both are ways of sharing knowledge in an organized manner. Because Joomla helps you organize your ideas by assigning articles to categories, it is easy to turn these categories into chapters of your book. So as you write pages for your website, you are also creating the foundation for an Ebook. Joomla also helps you turn your book into a website to help promote your book. We show you how to tie these two knowledge sharing tools together.


Or you could choose to build your own video channel – with production anchored on your Joomla website. In our sixth course, Create Your Own Video Channel, we show you how to set up your own video network combining free open source video production tools with a free You Tube Channel.


Or you could choose to create your own online store – complete with inventory control, book keeping and check out tools. In our seventh course, , Create Your Own Online Store, we explain how to use a free Joomla tool called VirtueMart to set up an online store and Akeeba Subscriptions to set up an online club membership system.


Or you could choose to offer your own online courses. In our eighth and final course, Create Your Own Online Course, we show you how to set up your own online educational program using a free open source course creation program called Moodle which can be integrated with our Joomla website. In fact, the 8 to 10 categories on each of our Joomla website are intended to be converted into an 8 to 10 week course. Our goal in sharing knowledge is to combine the power of a Joomla website with an Ebook and a Moodle course for a complete knowledge sharing process!


Or you could choose to create any combination of the above programs. Once you have a Joomla interactive foundational website, the sky is the limit! So please, don't stop now. Check out our other courses and see how, combined with an interactive Joomla website, they can help you achieve your goals, dreams and ambitions!

For more information about all 8 of our courses, visit collegeintheclouds.org.

Thanks for taking the time to read this book. If you have any questions, feel free to post them on our course forum at College in the Clouds. You can also sign up for our free newsletter at collegeintheclouds.org to receive email updates of our upcoming articles, books and courses. Please help us promote this new way of sharing knowledge by recommending our books and courses to your friends!

David Spring M. Ed.
Director, College in the Clouds
Adding a Site Map to your website is essential if you want to maximize your Google Search Engine rankings. Site maps are a way to inform search engines about existing and new pages on your web site. A Site map is a special kind of file called an XML file that lists links for every page on your website along with additional metadata about each link (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other links on your site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl and rank each page on your website.

Go to the Joomla Extension Directory and click on Structure and Navigation. Then click on Site Maps. There are several options. Most do not allow for much control over what links are included with the site map. Only three include both a component and a plugin and produce an XML site map to submit to Google. Of these three, only one allows you to have up to 50,000 links (the Google Site Map Limit) plus has a way to hide selected menu items plus has plugins available for several important free Joomla tools we describe in this book and later books – including Acymailing, Phoca Download, IC Agenda, Kunena and VirtueMart. That option is OSMap. Here is a direct link to the OSMap page in the Joomla Extension Directory:

Click Download to download the latest version of OSMap. Then click OSMap Free. Enter your email address and a link to the download of OSMap will be sent to your email address. Click on the link and the component will be automatically downloaded. Transfer this file to your website Extensions folder. Next go to Extensions, Manager and upload OS Map to your website. Then installation page says that we need to go to to the Plugins page to enable the plugins. But all of the default plugins are enabled. Be aware that there are many more free plug ins for the site map. But they need to be downloaded and installed separately. Next, go to Components, OSMap.


OSMap comes with a default site map. We could create a new Site Map by clicking on New. But it is easier to simply edit the existing default site map. Click on it to open it and edit it.


Change the name of the site map from Default Sitemap to Site Map for (the name of your website). Uncheck any menus that you do not want indexed by Google. This page will allow you to display more than one menu. If you have administrative menus that you do not want to display, simply leave them unchecked. While we could change either the priority of the frequency of the crawling, this is a good compromise and also should be left alone. Then click Save and Close.

Create a Site Map Menu Item
To view our site map, we need to create a menu item for it. Go to Menus > Main Menu > Add New Menu Item. Then click on Menu Item Type. Then select OSMap > HTML site map for the Menu item type. For Choose a Site Map, click on Change and select the default site map. For Menu item title, type in Site Map. Then click on the Site Map Settings tab. By default, the Style is set for No. Leave it set to no. Change Show Menu Titles from Yes to No. Click Save and Close and View Site.

Everything seems OK. But as we will see in a moment, it is not OK. We could also create an XML site map. But this did not display any links. What we need to do is go back to Components, OS Map Free.


Then click on Edit Links. Scroll down the page to see that we have several duplicate links.


There are duplicate menu items for every article. This is because our articles are listed both as separate menu items and inside of the category blog for each chapter category. Search engines do not link duplicate links. To hide duplicate links, we have two options. First, we can unpublish links from our site map by hovering over the green check marks and clicking unpublish.


This will place a red X next to this link. It does not take long to unpublish all duplicate links. This function also works well for any other links that you do not want indexed by Google. Just scroll down the page and hide any links you want. Then click Save and Close. If there is an item that is not on the list, but you want on the list, such as a component or a module, you should create a menu item for it. You can then add it to the list. Next from the OS Map Sitemaps screen, click on XML to see the XML site map.

There are now no duplicate links on this map. Copy this URL and save it as this is the URL of the XML site map that we want to submit to Google.

The XML Site Map is just a series of all the site links we want submitted to Google plus the date they were last updated. There are also options for a News Site Map and an images site map. But these are not really needed for Search Engine rankings and we will not include these. We are now ready to submit our site map to Google.

Submit in Google Web Master Dashboard.
Submit a Sitemap using Google Webmaster Tools. Google uses your Site map to learn about the structure of your site and to increase their coverage of your web pages. Click on Web master Tools. If you have a Gmail account, your will be taken to your web master tools page.


Copy and paste in the URL of the Home page of your website. Then click Add Property. This takes us to the Site Verification page.


There are several ways to verify ownership of your site. There are several ways to verify that you own your site. Most of these are pretty invasive and involve going to your Cpanel account to add special records to your website. Click on Alternate methods.


The least invasive method is to add an HTML meta tag to your website home page. This in the past was difficult to do with Joomla. Thankfully, there is a new free Joomla tool called Webmaster Site Verification that may help us with this task and eliminate the need to add records to our Cpanel account. Click on HTML tag. This will reveal a special code. This is your website verification ID number. It is a very long and complex number. Copy and paste this code to a document to help us remember it. Next, go to the Joomla Extension Directory and download Webmaster Site Verification. Here is a direct link to this free tool.

Then transfer this file to your website Extensions folder and install using Extensions, Manage, Install. Then go to Extensions, Plugins and click on the extension to open it. Copy and paste the ID number into the Google ID box. Then enable the plugin. Then click Save and Close.


Next, go back to the Google Search Console. Scroll down the page and click the Red VERIFY button.


This is way easier than adding records to our cpanel account. Click Continue to return to our Web Master Tools Dashboard. Then scroll down the page and click on the arrow to the right of Site Maps for this website.

Click on Messages to read the message from Google. If you have more than one version of your website, you can click Add a Site. Since we only have one version, we will click Submit a Site Map. Then click on Add/Test Site map.


This is where we paste the end of the XML site map url in (not the end of the HTML site map URL). This is the full URL:


This is what we paste into the Google box.


Then click Test Sitemap. Then click View Test Results. Hopefully, there are no errors. Then click Close Sitemap test. Then click Add Test Sitemap again. Enter the end of the URL in again and this time click on Submit Site Map. It will say Sitemap submitted. Then click Refresh the page. The index will say pending. Later it may say there is an error:


Google says that our site map appears to be an HTML page.


Apparently, we submitted the wrong link. Click on Resubmit. Then click on Refresh the page. Now Google says that there are no more errors. You have submitted your Site Map and verified ownership of your website. Google will now be checking your website out on a regular basis. You can also submit a revised Site Map to Google whenever you make major changes.

Wait, what about hiding the site map menu item?
You do not need to display the site map to your website. To hide it, just unpublish the menu item.

Do a Google search for your website

To see how Google currently views your site, type in your website name into the Google Search Engine.


Other Tips for Improving your Google Ranking
Add new content to your website as frequently as possible. Crawlers tend to ignore websites that do not change their content. Crawlers are very interested in websites that are different from the last time the crawler evaluated it.

Optimize your images to improve page loading speed. Crawlers do not like websites that take a long time to load. The most common problem slowing down loading is images which have not been optimized. Pay particular attention to optimizing images on your Home page. Ideally, each image should be no more than 50 KB and certainly not more than 100KB. For the whole page, try to keep the total of all images under 1000KB (1 MB) in size. At the same time, I have heard website instructors tell students to not use more than a couple of images as it slows down page loading. This is crazy talk. Images are the main thing driving visitors to your site. So if you need to use images to make a point, then use them. Good content is more important than page loading speed.

Put your content into a single top level main menu and use only two levels in your main menu
Google gives higher ranking to pages which are in the top level of your main menu. There is a lower ranking for a secondary menu item and even lower ranking for a third level menu item. So you are better off with more top level menu items in the main menu even if it means two lines on the main menu.

Disable any modules, plugins or components you are not using
Google does not like content which is not linked to other content. Joomla comes with a boatload of stuff which most web owners never use. So disable and or delete anything you do not need and are not using. It only takes a few seconds to disable un-needed modules and plugins with the Joomla Module Manager and Plugin Manager.

Encourage visitors to refer their friends to your website.
Give users a reason to visit your website – and an incentive to invite their friends to visit your website. If your website has content which readers value, they will refer your website to their friends. This is the best way to get noticed.

Promote your website
Follow some of the site promotional tips offered throughout this book to increase your web traffic naturally. If folks are going to your site and linking to your site, the search engines will notice.

Backup your Website
Once your website initial set up has been completed, be sure to go to Cpanel. Click on Softaculous and make a back up of your website. Then download this backup to your home computer to save. This way if hackers ever bring down your site, you will quickly be able to restore it to this point.

This concludes our summary of managing a Joomla website. In the next section, we will review some options for learning more about expanding your Joomla Interactive website.
It is common that over time, broken links will occur on your website. For example, if you move the location of a page from under one menu item to under another menu item, the link to the page may get broken. If you do not reset your broken pages to a custom article, here is what a typical broken link, called a 404 page will look like:


There is a link the the Home page, but the Red Warning looks pretty bad. Thankfully, there is a way to make sure that your viewers never see this ugly and scary page simply by installing a free Broken Link Redirection tool called ReDJ Manager. To get this free tool, go to the JED Site Management, URL Redirection.

Download the tool. Here is the direct link to this tool in the JED:

Click Download to get the latest version. Then upload it to your website. Then click on Components, ReDJ Manager.

Go to the Plugin Manager to enable the plug in. Then click Save and Close.


Before we set up this page, we need to create our custom Redirect page.

How to create a custom Redirect URL for any error with ReDJ
First create a Custom Error Page. Keep the title short and simple such as Broken Link Page so that the generated URL is short.


For the text on the Broken Link Page, type in something like the following:

Unfortunately, the article you are looking for has been moved to a different part of our website or a new updated website we created. The best way to find the article you want is to go to our Home page and click on one of the topics in our main menu. Hopefully, you will find the article you want in one of the sub menu items. If not, try a different topic. Thank you for visiting our website!

Exclude your Custom 404 Error Page from Search Engines

In the Article Manager > Edit Article screen, click on the Publishing tab. Then change Robots from Use Global to No Index, No Follow.
Then click Save and Close.

Create a Hidden Menu for our Broken Links Menu Item
We will place our Broken Links page in a hidden menu and then copy the URL. To create a new menu, go to Menus, Manage. Then click New. For title, call it Hidden Menu. For Type, type in hiddenmenu (no spaces all lower case). For Description, type in Hidden Menu.


Then click Save and Close. We will not add a module for this menu. Instead, go to Menus, Hidden Menu. Then create a menu item for the Broken Links page in the hidden menu.


Click Save. Then copy the link from the link box.


Click Save and Close. Then go to our Plugins Manager and open the ReDJ Plugin. Then paste the link in the plugin Redirect URL box.

Set Redirect any error to Yes. Then enable plug in. Then save and close. Now clear the browser cache, open a new browser window and type in a non-existent link such as mywebsite.com/badlink

Here is what our Broken Link page now looks like:


Using the Joomla Redirect System
Joomla also comes with a Redirect System. Go to Components > Redirects. Then click on Enable it in the Plugin Manager. Joomla will now collect any broken links and display the number of hits to each. Too many broken links to your site can harm your SEO and frustrate your visitors. Therefore if you have a serious broken link, create a specific redirect for it so that your visitors are taken to the new correct link rather than to our Broken Link page. Test this redirect in a new browser tab. Copy the bad URL and paste it into the address bar to make sure it goes to the correct page. Now that we have our redirection system set up, we will next add a free tool to create a site map for our website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website by modifying web pages, article titles, menu titles, meta data and other website content to maximize your website’s ranking in search engines. In other words, SEO helps search engines notice and correctly rank your website. Joomla has a few SEO functions. But it is also missing a couple of crucial details. We will therefore show you how to add these missing elements and other simple methods to increase your search page ranking.


SEO is important because the majority of visitors to nearly all websites get there after doing a Google search. In other words, good SEO can double the traffic on your website. This may not be that important for a personal website, but it can make or break a business or community website. Sadly, there is a tendency for site owners to get so wrapped up into trying to fool the Google Search Engine that they get ripped off by outfits promising a Number One ranking – or they invest in tools that are of little help in improving their ranking. Of course, every online business wants to be at the top of the Google rankings. But if it were that easy for businesses to fool search engines, then search engines would become worthless. Instead of trying to fool Google, you should try to think like Google.

Think like Google
Google uses several processes to rank a website. First, Google knows how many viewers have visited your website and where they came from and how long they spent on your website and whether they interacted with more than the Home page of your website. Google also knows how often you post to your website. All of these things matter in determining the quality of your website and therefore all of these things will affect your Google ranking. If you frequently post to your site and viewers value this information, your website will receive a high Google ranking no matter how long the page takes to load or whether your page has the proper links. As just one example, the website pinterest.com takes forever to load. Even with a high speed connection it is more than four seconds. Yet it is currently Number Three in the world in terms of social interaction – behind only Facebook and Twitter. In other words, it gets millions of hits every day. Do you think Google is going to care that it takes five seconds to load? The reason Pinterest takes so long to load is that it specializes in lots of images and images take a long time to load. But people love images and they are willing to wait for five seconds in order to get images. Google rewards Pinterest for having a lot of traffic and ignores the slow loading speed.

Let’s take another example. There are some who claim that Wordpress has better Search Engine Optimization than Joomla. This claim is absurd. It is like saying that Google prefers Green cars more than Blue cars. Google does not care what color of car you drive and it does not care whether you are using Wordpress or Joomla for your Content Management System. If you post valuable content and your articles result in a lot of traffic, then your website will get a high ranking. If you never post on your website and no one goes to your website, you will get a low ranking. Google has said this repeatedly on their blogs. Your content and images matter far more than any other factor. Nearly every tip in this book is about increasing traffic to your website.

There are as many ways to increase traffic as you have time to invest in your website. But increasing traffic will not occur by magic. Rather it takes study, effort and time. I have some friends who post to their website twice a day and they have thousands of visitors every day. I have other friends who post only once a month and then wonder why their page is ranked so low. I have friends who understand the power of images and have their posts shared by thousands of people. I have other friends who only use text which sadly no one ever reads. In addition to reading this book and the next, I recommend that you visit high traffic websites like Pinterest. Ask yourself, what is it about this website which attracts so many people. How can you do something similar with your website?


Why Joomla is better than Wordpress for Search Engine Optimization
Wordpress is like a newspaper. It organizes posts by date rather than by subject. Joomla is like a book. It organizes articles by subject rather than by date. But while there are not major differences between the two systems initially in terms of Search Engine Optimization, there are huge differences over time. First, it is much easier to create a blog with a Joomla website than it is to create a Table of Contents for a book on a Wordpress website.

This means that over time, Wordpress websites turn into a giant mess. You want to explain to someone how to do something? Good luck organizing the right series of articles and images on a Wordpress blog. Meanwhile, because Joomla organizes articles and images by category, it is easier for your viewers to navigate a content packed Joomla website than to navigate a content packed Wordpress website. Thus traffic for a Joomla site will increase over time while traffic for a Wordpress site will decrease.

There are certainly uses for blogs in terms of encouraging viewer interaction. But in the end, books are a far better method of teaching skills than blogs and at some point in the future, more folks are going to realize the limitations of Wordpress blogs and seek out Joomla multipurpose interactive websites for their businesses and social organizations. In short, Joomla is an ideal platform to optimize search engine rankings. However, there are some simple additional things you can do to make sure your site is noticed and correctly ranked. The most important is to use meta-tags and titles which convey information about your website’s topics and purpose.

Think Link like a Web Crawler
It is useful to understand how web crawlers see your website. Search engines rely on automated web crawlers to provide information about your website. These web crawlers scan your website’s coding. They are looking for H1 tags, meta-data such as a title and a description - and links to other pages. Having an existing high ranking page linking to your page is a good idea – especially if the link is to your Home page. Linking your page to another high ranking page (in other words, a page which already has a lot of traffic) is also a good idea. Linking from your Home page to other pages on your website is also a good idea.

Link to Popular Websites that discuss the same topic your site covers


Understand that all menu items are links and appear as links to web crawlers. So the titles you give to your menu items and articles matter. Make them descriptive.

Help the Web Crawlers

Use Key Words: Crawlers look for keywords in your content. Keywords are words that people use to search with. Crawlers also look for key words in your meta tags. Thankfully, Joomla has a way to allow you to add key words to the meta tags for any article. It is worth going through articles you want to be ranked highly and add a few key words. The easiest way to determine the best key words for your website is to do a Google Search and watch the terms that Google brings up. For example, if we are interested in the key words most likely to be used by viewers interested in tutorials on building an interactive business website, we could type in the words build your own business website into the Google search engine and see what comes up. These are the most important key words:


We could add the key words design and layout to our metadata. But we are really interested in helping businesses which want to use Joomla. Beginning our search with the term Joomla brings up different keywords:


Based on this simple research, our keywords are Joomla, website, tutorials, templates, extensions, beginners, pdf, build, create and free. We will use these key words in our global metadata, meta descriptions and also in articles and menu items.

Set your meta tags by going to Site, Global Configurations, Site Tab
Below are the meta description and key words we use on our website:


Set Joomla Global Configurations for Search Engine Friendly URLs
A search engine friendly URL is one that uses a plain English description as the link. For example, mysite.com/why_I_like_google rather than category 27, article 9. To set up your Joomla Site for Search Engine Friendly URLs, SEO settings are under SITE, Global Configurations, Site Tab:


Setting Use URL rewrite to YES should remove the index.php from the end of your links (assuming mod_rewrite is enabled and your site has a .htaccess file. Doing this will:


This simple step will make Google and you much happier.

Add a Short Meta Description for each Article on your website
According the Google SEO Manual, the two most important parts of SEO are a descriptive title and an accurate meta description. Hopefully, you have written titles which describe what your articles and pages are about. But the meta description is a bigger problem. To see what the meta description is on any page, go to that page and right click. Then select Display Page Source.


Above is the page source for the article with the title Why Joomla is better than Wordpress. Assuming you have not typed a meta description or key words into your article with the article edit screen, Joomla will insert the global meta description and global key words on every article and every page. This is not very good as it means Google has no idea what this page actually describes!

Automatically create Meta Descriptions or Manually type them?
There are two options to solve this problem. First, if you have hundreds of pages and a limited amount of time, you can add a free Joomla extension to automatically add meta keywords and a meta description to all of your pages. If you have more time, you can add your own key words and meta descriptions for each of your articles. We will describe both methods.

Add an SEO Plugin to automatically create Meta Descriptions
If you do not have the time to create meta descriptions for each of your Joomla articles, or you just have a bad memory and forget to add the description, the best way to make sure each article gets a description is to use a Joomla extension which will automatically add a unique description to each page.

J Auto Meta Plugin is a simple free Joomla Plugin which automatically creates a meta description using the first sentence of your article. It also automatically generates key words based on the title. You can set the number of key words and the minimum number of characters in your key words. If you put in a custom description in the article, then the custom meta description overrides the plug in. Thus, you can put in your own or use the plugin. This works very well because it helps you focus on adding a good introductory sentence to every one of your articles. This is a good idea even if you do not care about SEO. To install this plugin, go to the JED and click on SITE MANAGEMENT, then SEO and Metadata, then metadata.


Click on Download. Then transfer it from your download folder to your website’s extension folder. Then upload it with the Joomla extension manager.
Then go to the Plug in Manager to configure it. Look for Content JAutometa. Enable the Plug in. Then set the Basic Settings:


Reduce the description from 400 to 300 characters (about the first 30 words).
Leave the Category ID blank add it will add meta data to all categories except the Home page (which has its own meta data set in Site Global Configurations).
Generate keywords by: Set this to title as the plugin is not very good at generating keywords from content.
Min keyword length: reduce from 5 to 4 to pick up nearly all words in the title.
Keyword number: Reduce from 20 to 15 to focus on more important key words.
Here is the View Page Source meta data with this plugin enabled:


This is better than the global meta description as at least Google now knows has a specific description for each of your web pages. The important thing with this plugin is to make sure the first 30 words on each article provide a good description for the entire article – using as many key words for your website as possible in your introductory sentence. But if you have the time, you should add specific key words and a more precise meta description to each of your pages.

Manually add a Meta Description and Key Words to each Article
Go to your Article Manager and click on an article to open it. Then click on the Publishing tab where you will find a section called Meta Description. There is space to add a one sentence description and a few key words.


Give each of your articles a brief description (no more than 30 words) and a few key words (less than ten words, separate each word with a comma).
Here is what View Page Source looks like with the above meta data:


Meta description should be less than 300 characters in length. Avoid tag stuffing your meta box. Especially avoid placing more than a few key words in the Joomla Global Meta Description (Global Configurations, Site) as – if you fail to include descriptions for each page or fail to use a plugin to place unique description for each page - these words will be added to nearly every page on your website and may possibly confuse the search engines. Rather than using a long global tag, keep key words and meta tags on the same page as the actual content. Avoid adding more than 30 words in either the global meta data or your article meta data. At an average of 6 characters per word, using 30 or fewer words will keep your total characters under 300 characters. If you have a lot of articles on your website, it is useful to develop a table of meta descriptions and key words.

Change the Meta Generator with Set Generator Tag
Unfortunately, while we improved the Meta Description, the meta generator above still reads “Joomla... Open Source Content Management.” To insert a better generator, we need to add yet another free tool called Set Generator tag: https://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/extension/site-management/seo-a-metadata/set-generator-tag

Click on Download. Then upload the extension to your website with the Joomla Extension Manager. Then go to the Plugin Manager and click on this extension to open it.


Type in the sentence you want to use in the tag box. Then enable the plugin. Then click Save and Close. Then view any website page and right click on the page source to verify that a better tag has been inserted.


Now that we have the basic meta data set up, we will add a header tag and site map extension to help Search Engine find our website and web pages. The Google SEO Manual says that number one is a descriptive title and number two is an accurate meta description. Number three is header tags and number four is good navigation and a submitted site map. We will discuss Header tags next and submitting a Site Map in our next section.

Add the Header Tags Plugin to make sure that every page has an h1 tag
An H1 Tag is the first major title of each page your website. It looks like this:

<h1>This is the Title of my Article</h1>.

Google uses this title tag to categorize your website. Google looks for an H1 header tag on every page to recognize the article and determine what the page is about. Unfortunately, Joomla fails to provide H1 tags. Instead Joomla uses an H2 tag for the title of articles. We will therefore add a header tag generator tool. Another important tool to improve search engine rankings is the presence of a site map which can be submitted to search engines. We will therefore also add a site map tool and review how to submit your site map to search engines.

Thankfully, there is a simple way to fix the Joomla missing header tag problem. Go to the JED (Site Management, SEO, Metadata) and click on the number one ranked extension called Header Tags:

Click Download. Then click Download the Header Tag Plugin. Then upload with the Extension Manager. Then go to the Plug in Manger and enable and configure the plugin. Go to System, Header Tags: Basic Options change from Component Output to entire page:


Then click on the Control the H1 tag tab.


Default is what we want. Click Enable. Then Save and Close. Then View Site, select an article and view page source. Scroll down the bottom of the page to the first H tag. This is what the article title looks like with the plugin turned off:


And this is what the article title looks like with the plugin enabled:


Why doesn't Joomla insert an H1 tag into the beginning of every article?Joomla reserves the H1 tag for the Menu Item “Page Display Options.” To use this, you would set “Show Page Heading” to Yes and enter a page heading in the Page Heading field. You would need to do this for every menu item. Since few people do this, adding this automatic tool is a useful alternative. This change from an H2 tag to an H1 tag may seem minor. But it is very important to help search engines find and properly classify you pages.

Use short but descriptive Titles for your articles
A title should be under 100 characters in length and should include relevant key words. Use only one H1 tag per page or article. For the rest of the headings in your article, use h2 and h3 tags.
We are living in a knowledge based economy. Word can spread quickly if you are offering important information for download on your website. One way to increase traffic to your website is to offer your customers the ability to download informative documents from your website. They can then read these documents when they are not online and even print them out to read when they are not on their computer. In this article, we will show you how to create a well organized Download Manager to help you display and track these download files.

A download manager is an important part of any interactive business or organizational website. Downloaders are a way to offer virtual products such as PDF slide shows and PDF tutorials to your readers. These downloads can be offered on three kinds of pages – those open to the public, those open only to registered users and those pages only open to registered users who have paid a fee and joined a subscription based club. Even if you are offering document downloads to your customers for free, you will still want to track how many times each document has been downloaded and where these special documents are on your website.

If you go to the Joomla Extension Directory, and click on Directories, Downloads, you will see that there are many free Download Managers to choose from. However, most of these do not keep track of the number of times a document has been downloaded and others are quite difficult to install. Some are also complex and can make it difficult for your customers to use. One of the best download managers is Phoca Download. It is a little complex for the average business owner to install. But it is very easy to use once it is installed and it is very easy for customers to use because it has a nice appearance which can be easily customized for your business website. It also has a batch uploader for adding several documents at the same time. As a final bonus, it comes in all kinds of languages making it ideal for an international business website.
To get Phoca Download, go to the Joomla Extension Directory and click Directories, Downloads. Then click Phoca Downloads.

There is extensive documentation on how to use this extension. But it is a little overwhelming as most businesses will only use 10% of the actual features. So we will provide a simpler set of Instructions here. Click on Download.

Then click on the Joomla 3 version Download. Transfer this folder to your website Extensions folder. Then install Phoca Download with your website Extension Manager. This takes you to the Phoca Control Panel where you will see a screen with 12 icons.


Add PDF Icons to the Phocadownload folder in your Media Manager
It is a good idea to include a PDF icon to let viewers know that they are downloading a PDF. You can get many free icons on the Internet. You can use the following image to create your own PDF icons and place them in an icons folder on your Home computer. Just create a JPEG copy of this image and use Fotoxx to create versions of it that are 40x40, 50x50, and 60x60:


Then go to your Media Manager and open the Phocadownload folder. Click Browse and find your Home computer icons folders and add these PDF icons one to this special folder.

Create your downloads category folder structure on your home computer
If you have more than a couple of files that you want to allow viewers to download, you should create a category folder structure – similar to how we organized our Joomla articles into an articles category folder structure and how we organized our images into an images folder structure. This is done first by organizing all of your PDFs and other downloads into folders on your Home computer. This will allow us to offer four different downloads to different groups of users. The Public folder will be for free downloads that do not require registration. The Bronze Level folder will be for free downloads for registered users. The Silver and Gold folders will be for more detailed downloads which require a payment in addition to registration.


Create PDF documents to place in our folders
In order to minimize the PDF file size, create documents with optimized images and then use the optimized document to create PDF documents that you want to make available for download. From Libre Writer, select Export as PDF. Save the PDFs in a folder on your Home computer called downloads. We will create PDFs of all 10 chapters of our book plus the Preface. The Preface and first two chapters will be available for Public download. Chapters 3 and 4 will be available for free download to registered members (Bronze Club members). Chapters 5 through 10 will be available for Silver Club Members (with Gold Club member documents saved for our next book in this series):


It is a good idea to keep file sizes under 3 MB as some Internet providers do not allow users to upload or transfer files larger than 3 MB. Phoca Downloads limits the file size of downloads to 3 MB (it is possible to reset this to a larger file size). If you PDF files exceed 3 MB, you should either split them into more files with smaller sizes or use a software program to reduce the file size of your PDFs.

Create four new user groups and access levels
First, go to Users, Groups and create three new user groups, Bronze, Silver and Gold Members. (we already have a public members access level). The parent group for each new group is Public.


Then go to Users, Access Levels to create three new access levels. and assign each of them to their user groups and to the super user group to give super users access to these special pages.


Create an identical category folder structure in Phoca Downloads
We next need to set up these same four category folders in the Phoca Download Component. So go to Components and click on Phoca Download:


Then click on Categories:


Click New.


Give the category a title and assign it to an access level. For Description, type in:
These files are available for public download. There is no need to register to download the Preface and Chapters 1 and 2 of Create Your Own Interactive Website. Chapters 3 and 4 are also available for free simply by registering at our main course website, CollegeInTheClouds.org. The remaining chapters 5 through 10 are available for $10 for a PDF or Kindle or $20 for our Print Book. If you have any questions, feel free to post them on our forum.
Regards, David Spring M. Ed. Director, College in the Clouds

You can add an image below the Description if you wish.
Then click on the Meta Data Options tab and fill it in.


Then click Save and Close. Repeat to create the other three categories.

Add your PDF Files to the Phoca Download folder
Once we have our four categories, we are ready to add our files. To add PDF’s, go to Components, Phocadownload, Files. Then click New. First, click Select Category and choose the category you want to put the PDF in.


Then to the right of the Filename box, click on Select Filename.


If you have a lot of files, before you upload any files, it is important to create a folder structure here which matches the folder structure on your home computer. Alternately, you can have different folders of files for different groups. We will create a folder called public_downloads. To do this, click the Create Folder tab.


Then enter a folder name in the box. Use lower case text with no spaces for your folder names. Then click CREATE FOLDER. To open a folder, just click on it. Repeat to create four folders.

Two ways to upload files
Select the public_downloads folder. To enter files into this folder one at a time, click Choose File. Then browse to the PDF file you want to upload on your computer. Then click on Start Upload. Repeat this upload process for all of the PDFs you want to display.

If you have a lot of files to load and/or you have files larger than 3 MB that you want to load, then go to the Phoca Download Control Panel and click Options in the upper right corner. Then click the Uploads tab. By default, Maximum Upload Size (Administrator) is set for 3.14 MB. Add a 0 after the 3 to raise this to 30.14 MB. Also set Enable Multiple Uploads (Administrator) to Yes. Then click Save and Close. You may also need to change the upload settings on your web host server account. Now go back to the File Upload screen and you will see the limit raised and a Multiple Uploads tab. Click on the Multiple Upload tab. You can now add files up to ten at a time by clicking on Add Files. You will need a high speed connection to load large files. Your customers will need a high speed Internet connection to download them!

After loading the first three PDFs into the Public Folder, click on the blue up arrow in the upper left corner of this screen to go back to the folders screen. Pick the Bronze folder and load 2 more PDFs to it. Then load the remaining Chapter PDFs in the Silver folder.

Connect your Uploaded Files with Phoca Download

Once all of the PDF files are loaded, we still need to add them to the Phoca Files one at a time. So open the Public folder. Then click on your first file file to select it. This will place this file in the File Edit screen Filename box:


It is a good idea to include a PDF icon to let viewers know that they are downloading a PDF. We can insert a PDF icon to display to the left of this file by clicking on Icon, Select Icon. This takes us to the phocadownloads folder in our Media Manager. Click on the pdf50 icon to insert it. Then give the file a Title. For Direct Link, click Yes. This will give them a direct link to the PDF file in case they want to copy the link to the PDF or preview it in a browser window.

Then enter a description for the file if needed. Here is our Description for the Preface:

This is the Preface for our book, Create Your Own Interactive Website. The complete book is available for $10 for a PDF or Kindle or $20 for our Print Book at Amazon.com. If you have any questions, feel free to post them on our forum.
David Spring M. Ed. Director, College in the Clouds

You can also enter an image here if you want. Then Click SAVE and CLOSE. Repeat this process for your remaining files. Things will go much quicker as the folders have already been created and the files have already been uploaded. Each file can be added in under one minute. We now have a long list of PDFs.


Note that there is a column to keep track of the number of times each document is downloaded. In the next article, we will create a page to display all of our PDF downloads.

Create a Web Page to Display your PDF Downloads

Website visitors are more likely to download PDF files if they are displayed in an organized manner. In this article, we will show you one of the best ways to display your PDF downloads.

Create a Phoca Download Menu item to Display Downloads
There are two completely different ways to display downloads with Phoca Download. The first is to use a Phoca Downloads special plugin to insert the download(s) in an article. This only allows a very simple display. It also does not allow you to display the description of the PDF or its file size or any special images or features about the PDF. Because of these problems, we will nearly always display our downloads by creating a menu item for them. This allows a much more detailed appearance of downloads. We will therefore cover this second method which is much better for displaying an entire page of Downloads.

To create a menu item, go to the Main Menu and click NEW. Then click SELECT:


There are three different ways to display downloads with the Phoca Download component. Because our access levels are defined by categories, we want to use the List of Files, Category View. For category, select the Public Downloads. Give the Menu Item a title such as FREE PDFS. Then click save and close.


Then click on the menu item in the front end of your website to view the file table.


The PDFs download okay. But the PDF icons are messed up. Let's fix this.

Adjust the appearance of your menu item:
To improve the appearance of our download page, go to the Phoca Download Control Panel and click on Options in the Upper Right corner:


This takes you to the appearance settings for the component:


All of the important settings are in the Display Tab. When you scroll down the page, it appears that there are a lot of settings. But in fact, there are only a few we need to deal with.

First, let's hide the Detail button and instead place the File Description with each file. Change the Display Description from Overlib to TOP. Then change Display Detail Button from Yes Overlib to No.

Next, scroll down to the Theme Settings. Increase the File Icon Size to 48.


Then click Save and Close and View Site.


We can next add Download menu items accessible for the Bronze level and Silver level members.

Now that we have a Free PDFS download page, we are ready to work on improving our Search Engine rankings. That is the subject of the next article.