Guide to Organizing Your Joomla! Powered Website's Content Using Sections, Categories, and Articles

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Joomla!’s Content-Oriented Design

Joomla! is a Content Management System (CMS), so it makes sense that the very building block of a Joomla! website is content. What is content? It can be anything that you add to your website and arrange and manage using Joomla!, such as articles, photos, tools, gadgets, menus, etc. The list is unlimited. It seems reasonable, then, that the first thing you need to do when building your Joomla! powered website is add content! The amount and quality of your website’s content will drive its effectiveness, usability, and search engine placement. We will consider three types of content types and containers that encompass the majority of Joomla! powered websites: Sections, Categories, and Articles.


Sections are the main building-block container of Joomla! websites. Every bit of content that you add to your website will be filed in one Section or another, and it is up to you to decide what to call each section. To get a better understanding of how Sections work, imagine that you have a large file cabinet with several drawers, all filled will folders that in turn are all filled with pieces of paper. The cabinet is your website. Each drawer is a section. Every other bit of information in your cabinet (Website) is contained in one of these drawers (Sections). Similar to file cabinets, Joomla! websites normally do not contain an abundance of Sections. Generally everything that a website covers can be limited down to ten or less. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Sections should be used as very broad categories for classifying content. For example, if you ran an online flower shop, you would probably have sections for Flowers, Flower Arrangements, Potted Plants, and Accessories. If you ran an online book store, your sections would probably be something along the lines of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Reference, and Education, etc. The rule of thumb is: Each section needs to be broad enough to be broken down into smaller subheadings, which Joomla! calls Categories.


Returning to our file cabinet illustration, a Joomla! Category is the equivalent to the folders inside the drawers. These folders contain individual pieces of paper. They are, effectively, the sub-headings of Sections, and therefore must be related to the Section they are under, as well as more specific and detailed. For the flower shop example, the categories could be: Flower Arrangements —> Bouquets, Standing Arrangements, Centerpieces, etc. For the book store: Fiction —> Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi, Horror, etc. Using sections and categories is key to organizing your site’s content effectively and increasing traffic. Remember, Categories should always be able to contain more than one piece of content, so don’t make them too specific. You should be able to fill each Category with several Articles.


Now we get to the real meat of Joomla! content. In our file cabinet illustration, Articles are represented by the individual pieces of paper inside the folders inside the drawers. Articles do not necessarily have to be written documents, or even contain words. They can also contain images, videos, sound files, tables, calendars, and much more. Remember, the majority of your website will be oriented around the content of your Articles. You can then use Joomla!’s tools to publish and display the content of your articles on the front page, subpages, or not at all, if you so choose. With Joomla!, the possibilities are endless.

This post is part of the series: Adding, Organizing, and Managing Content with Joomla!

Tutorial on adding content to your Joomla! powered website, as well as managing it using Sections, Categories, and Articles.

  1. Joomla! Content Types Overview
  2. Creating, Using, and Managing Joomla! Sections