Happy Birthday Joomla! Hasn't 10 years gone fast. By the way, the picture of the cake is one I've just made for the Sydney Joomla User Group to mark this occassion, if you want to taste it, we will be eating it at the meeting on Tuesday 18th August 2015.

It all began on August 17th 2005, when the Core Development Team of Mambo responded to Miro's creation of the Mambo Foundation by wishing them well, but deciding to exercise the rights of the GNU GPL and continue to develop and improve the software in their own project. Of course they had to remove the Mambo logos and the Mambo name. At that point in time, the new project had no name, the Joomla name and first release was on September 15th 2005, which is the other date often celebrated for Joomla's birthday (and also my Nephew's birthday).

In Australia, Google is the King of search engines handling approximately 92.82% of Australian online searches. Back in 2004, SEO was simple, you just had to have lots of keywords on your site, and lots of sites linking to you. Since then, Google has made their search algorithms so much more sophisitcated, so in 2015 you have to consider many more factors to get your site to rank well.

Below is my presentation at the Sydney Joomla User Group which covers some recommendations on how you can optimise your site for Google and some of the factors they are now taking into consideration when ranking sites. It also gives a number of tips for Joomla users on how you can improve the SEO on your site, and some free tools to use to help with organic SEO.

 

Last year I wrote about using JMapMyLDAP v1 to integrate Joomla 3 with Active Directory, however more recently I've been using JMapMyLDAP version 2.

The basics are still the same, essentially we want to improve the user experience of Joomla and allow the windows username and password to be automatically passed to the browser, and the user is automatically logged in.

The active directory integration is achieved with a free extensions provided by JMapMyLDAP. You can download the plugins from their website.
http://shmanic.com/tools/jmapmyldap/download.htm
The documentation is located at:
http://shmanic.com/tools/jmapmyldap/guide.htm#configuser

 Myself and 3 other members of the Joomla User Group Sydney got together to have some fun and build a useful Joomla extension. We came up with User Enhancement Manager (UE Man), which has a number of cool features centered around Joomla user accounts. This presentation gives you an overview of some of the new features, and for those reading this before 31st March 2015 there is a coupon code to get 1 month free subscription. Let me know what you think, looking forward to hearing your feedback.

There are many third party Joomla extensions that take advantage of the email functionality in the Joomla core, however if it's not configured properly then you may have issues sending emails from your website.

Your site's email settings are located in your global configuration
site->global configuration
server tab
mail settings

 

I find SMTP to be the most reliable mailer type. If the email fails, you should get a delivery failure message to tell you why, unlike if you use PHP Mail which will attempt to send the email, but if it fails then it doesn't bother trying again. Your SMTP host will also attempt to retry sending the email if it initially fails.

You can test the email settings by doing the following:
components->messaging
my settings button
email new messages = yes
log in as a different administrator
components->messaging->new private message
select the original user account as the recipient, and send a test message.

 

Your email host should be able to provide the appropriate SMTP details. Alternatively, you could use a third party SMTP service such as SendGrid. You can sign up for a free account which lets you send up to 400 emails per day, or you can purchase a subscription if your email volume is higher.

Configuring SendGrid is easy, just put in the following in your global config in the mail settings.

 SMTP Auth - Yes
 SMTP User - sendgrid_username
 SMTP Pass - sendgrid_password
 SMTP Host - smtp.sendgrid.net