How To

Joomla! is the Content Management System (CMS) that I used to build the genealogy website for the Caperton Society While this is a pretty complex site, may of the components used to build it are equally effective on smaller scale site. Below is an accumulation of components I used to build their site that I feel may be useful to others. In no way do I mean to infer that these are the only components that can be used, but they work well for me.

Disqus Commenting System

This week we're going to walk you through adding a commenting system to your site, the easy way!

We're going to be using the 'Disqus Plugin for Joomla' by JoomlaWorks. It's a free plugin that allows visitors to comment on your articles in designed categories and/or menu items using the popular Disqus Comment System.

Here's how set it up:

  • Step 1: Visit and sign up for a free account.
  • Step 2: Visit and download the Disqus for Joomla plugin.
  • Step 3: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file.
  • Step 4: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager >> Disqus Comment System for Joomla! (by JoomlaWorks), and add your Disqus subdomain name to the Plugin Paramters (this will be the name you added to the 'short name' field when you set up your Disqus account), assign the categories/menu items you would like to allow comments in, and enable the plugin.
  • Step 5: Start adding comments to your site!

There are quite a few other features you can enable, like shared login for Facebook and Twitter, and the ability for visitors to post their comment to their twitter feed, thus taking your commenting system to a 'social networking' level! These features and more can be enabled within the Disqus settings and managed in your account at


To build a basic Blog for Joomla! use Joomla! itself

  1. Go to Content -> Category Manager -> Add New Categor -> Name it Blog, enter a brief description of your blog and "Save and Close"
  2. Go To Content -> Article Manager -> Add New Category -> write your first article and be sure to select Blog in the Category pull down so that the article is displayed in your Blog

Next you need to set up your Blog in your Menu.

  1. Go to Menu you want to link your blog to Menu -> Menu Name -> Add new Menu Item, name the item something like "Family Blog" in Menu Title
  2. For Menu Item type select Category Blog
  3. Under Required Settings -> Choose a Category -> select the category name you chose above (Blog in the example above)
  4. Under Category Options -> To start with Select Category Title and Category description to show. you can modify these later to suit your preferences
  5. Under Article options -> set Publish date to show. Again this can be modified later
  6. "Save and Close"


Phoca Gallery is a image gallery for Joomla! CMS. It includes component, modules and plugins and allows users to display images or Youtube videos in many different styles. Phoca Gallery also includes a plugin that allows you to build a page with an icon in it linking to a photo or document that is in the main gallery. Jan over at Phoca has done a fantastic job building the Gallery component and it is free to use. for additonal information and links to a demo website check out

A Family History Website is about your family right? Having said that, you probably need to get an idea of exactly what you want to accomplish with your website before you set about building it. If you are looking for just a datadump then using the built in tools of your favourite genealogy program may be sufficient for your needs. Most genealogy programs include the abilityy to generate webpages based on your data, and if that is all you want then go for it, case closed, project complete, right? HOWEVER, if you seek more than that, there are many tools available to you, most of which are free or extremely inexpensive.



A basic website built on the Joomla! CMS could include:

  • Blog component
  • Comments Component
  • Genealogy component
  • Registration and membership capability
  • PhotoGallery
  • Newsletter
  • Backup component
  • Links page
  • Editor


Includes above components as well as:

  • Forum
  • Community Builder
  • Forms Builder


  • Database Links