Unlike its content management system rival WordPress, Joomla doesn’t come with many core blogging features. But that doesn’t mean it can’t make a great blogging platform. You just need to make some modifications first.
This post will highlight some of the free extensions that can help you turn your Joomla website into a fully functioning blog.
Adding comment functionality
The most obvious blogging feature that Joomla lacks is the ability for visitors to comment on your posts. Thankfully, there are a variety of comment extensions available via the Joomla Extension Directory (JED).
Within the extension directory, there are two categories of comment extensions: article comments and social comments. Extensions listed under “article comments” are components and plugins that build comment functionality into Joomla. Extensions listed under “social comments” integrate with third party websites and bring their commenting capabilities into Joomla.
There are nearly two dozen article comment extensions available at present. Some are commercial extensions that you have to pay for, others are free. Two of the top rated comment extensions that you can get for free are JComments and Komento.
Both JComments and Komento are compatible with Joomla 2.5 and have received the illustrious “community choice” designation given by the Joomla Magazine team.
Social comments allow you to bring in outside functionality like Facebook, IntenseDebate, and Disqus. Some of the extensions in this category provide multiple ways to add comments.
For example, with SocComments, a free plugin that is compatible with Joomla 2.5, your users can leave comments using Disqus, Facebook, Vkontakte (European social network), and JComments.
Adding author profile information
Another standard blog function that Joomla lacks is the ability to display author information within articles. All that you can show by default is the author’s name. This capability is built into WordPress, but whether it shows or not is dependent on your theme.
To add this capability in Joomla, check out the Author Info Box plugin. It’s free and compatible with Joomla 2.5. With this plugin, you can display a name, email address, image, and description for each author. I haven’t personally tried this plugin yet, but it has received good reviews thus far.
Adding social sharing functionality
A final piece that’s important for a successful blog setup is social sharing, which allows readers to easily share your articles via social media. This is something that a standard WordPress install lacks as well.
As of this writing, two of the highest rated social sharing extensions in the JED are AddThis for Joomla and Facebook-Twitter-Google+1. Both are compatible with Joomla 2.5 and bring in the ability to share your articles via the most popular social channels.
Joomla all-in-one blogging extensions
If you’re looking to turn Joomla into a blog without installing a bunch of separate plugins and extensions, there are a few products that will do the job. There is a blog category in the Joomla Extensions Directory where you can find most of them, but the best ones are commercial extensions that will cost money to purchase and install.
The best free all-in-one extension for blogging with Joomla is K2, which is an extremely powerful content construction component that gives you absolute control over your Joomla content. Not only does it do everything discussed in this post, it adds even more functionality like tags, item images, image galleries, user pages, and more.
The only downside to K2 is that there’s slightly more work involved to configure everything (nothing too difficult, just more time intensive). However, if you’re looking to do a lot of publishing on your site and need more flexibility with your content, K2 is definitely worth the extra effort.
And there you have it: A list of great extensions for turning your Joomla website into a blog! Are there any noteworthy extensions that I am missing? Feel free to let me know in the comments!