How To Add a Free Blog To Your Website

joomla-blog-guide-thumbnailHaving your own blog is a popular way of keeping your friends, clients or website visitors up to date with your latest news.For this guide we will show you how to install and setup your own blog, and even how to start blogging today.



How to add a blog to your website


A great way of keeping your website visitors up to date

A blog is a great way of keeping your website visitors up to date with your latest news. Whether it is a personal blog which will contain your thoughts, opinions, diary etc or a business blog which can be greatly used for communicating with customers or employees, either way a blog is the ideal way to quickly write and publish new info at the touch of a button. Blogging is a great way of connecting with your website visitors and also great for building website traffic too. Blogs are also a great way of keeping your website content fresh and we all know how much the search engines love fresh website content, afterall nobody likes a website that has content that hasn't changed much for the last couple of years.

For this guide we will be demonstrating how to setup a blog on Joomla, which is our recommended and certainly one of the best Content Management Systems available. If you don't yet have Joomla, then take a quick look at our Joomla Website Starter Kit, a quick start website package that helps you get up and running quickly and easily with a free website full of features like this blog extension and more, all ready to go.



Installing the free Joomla blog extension

Our favorite free blog extension for Joomla is LyftenBloggie. Once you have downloaded LyftenBloggie simply log in to your Joomla website admin panel, i.e and click on the "Extensions" menu and select "Install/Uninstall". On the install page click browse your computer for the LyftenBloggie extension which you just downloaded. Once selected simply click install and your done. For more detailed steps on installing Joomla extensions, see our guide to installing Joomla extensions.


Configuring your new website blog

Now that you have installed your new blog (or if you are using the Website Starter Kit from GuidedHelp it is already pre-installed) we now need to configure it to get it to work the way we need. Within the administration panel, select the "Components" menu and look for "LyftenBloggie".


A quick overview of each section:

Dashboard: The dashboard is like the main control panel of LyftenBloggie, featuring quick icon shortcuts to most areas and where most information is centralized.

Entries: Shows any existing entries and also allows you to create new blog post entries, edit existing entries or unpublish or delete entries.

Categories: Are where you create categories where your blog posts will form part of, as you may wish to blog about different subjects which helps your website visitors narrow in on just the categories that they may be interested in.

Tags: Tags are similar in some ways to categories, but that you can add tags to blog entries, which help form the basis of certain topics.  For instance you may add a new blog post to your Latest News blog category, but add tags such as San Francisco Store if the news also related to your San Francisco store.

Bookmarks: Simply allow you to add Social Bookmarks to your blog posts, from popular services such as Digg, etc.

Comments: Allows you to see any comments left on your blog posts, allowing you to administer them through actions such as editing, unpublishing or deleting these comments.

Profiles: The different users of your blog can have their own profiles, complete with their own brief info and Social Networking URL's.

Settings: The Settings page has a great deal of configuration options which allow you to have complete configuration control over your blogs look through Themes, access groups, plugin addons to help extend LyftenBloggie even further and more.

Now that LyftenBloggie is installed we will next demonstrate how to create a new blog category, create a new blog entry, assign some tags to it and publish this new blog post as an introduction to blogging via your website. For more detailed help on various aspects of LyftenBloggie including the Settings page in more detail, visit the LyftenBloggie support page.

Creating your first blog category

In order to be able to post new blog entries you first need a category to post them into. So start by clicking the Categories link to open up the LyftenBloggies category page and click the "New" button at the top.


Next we need to give the category a name, a slug (which doesnt really have a definition but it's just a little brief caption of what the category is) set it to published, make it default (if it's going to be the default category, otherwise leave default set to no) and lastly give it a description.

Creating your first blog entry

Now that we have a category set up, we are now able to create a new blog entry. So click on "Entries" and then the "New" button at the top.  We first need to give this new entry a title, so we add that into the title field i.e. "Welcome to our new blog!", leave alias left blank as this will be filled in automatically, Set it to published, also set it to your newly created category (or any category of your choice that has been previously created) and lastly, start adding your actual blog entry into the main box.


On the right you will see the "Entry Options" which allows you to set a specific date to publish this entry on. This can be left at its default which will post the blog entry at your time of submission, or alternatively you can post the blog in the future where it will only be published on the date that you set it to here.  You can also set it to a date in the past which will automatically publish the blog entry, but will time stamp it with the date of your choosing.

"Entry Settings" allows you to enable/disable comments for this blog entry.

"Tags" allow you to add in any tags that relate to this entry and may relate to other entries, allowing visitors to see any other entries that have been tagged the same.

"Metadata Information" allows you to setup meta details which help (although only minimally) with SEO.

"Trackbacks" allow you to add URL's of the original source or sites that relate to what you are posting about.

Once you are happy with your entry and it's settings, simply click the "Save" button at the top and your new blog entry will be published on the date of your choice as set previously, or by default will be published instantly.

Showing your new blog to the world

Now that you have setup your new blog and added your first post, we next need to make sure people can actually see your blog and to do so we need to create a menu link to link to your blog. This can be done from within the "Menus" administrator link at the top of Joomla, choose the menu where you wish to add this link, in our case we are going to add it to "Top Menu". Next click the "New" button to add a new link and for "Menu type" we are going to choose "LyftenBloggie" and choose "Front Page" from LyftenBloggies available options here. This will allow us to link directly to the blog itself, which will show all blog entries.  Give the new menu a title, choose the parent item, in our case we leave it to default as we don't want it to be in a drop down. From the options on the right we leave it set to "All Categories" but you can choose to show just the blog entries from a category of your choice. Set it to published, click the "Save" button which will make the new link live and your blog instantly available.


Well that's it. You will now have a professional looking blog for your website and are now ready to start publishing content. 


Get a free blog in a ready to go website for free right now

We have already added this blog extension right into our Website Starter Kit along with many other features including slide shows, interactive maps, social networking and much more to enable you to have a complete professional website, for free. If you are looking to make your own professional looking website then why not start the easiest way possible and download our free website starter kit.


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