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Computer Security

Before you can work effectively with computers, you need to take measures to protect yourself and your data
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Learn Joomla 3

New eBook for learning one of the best 
Content Management Systems for building
any kind of website you need.
Free Download

Get Free Images

Bring your projects to life with images from from a leading image library.  Here is a review of my favorite image libraries proving free high-quaity images.

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Learn Basic CSS 

Free short eBook covering basic  CSS.  Course assignments  provided to practice the concepts covered. 

PDF Version


Best-of-the-best Joomla Extensions

Joomla Site Admin Tools

Media Editors

JCE Editor
JCE Editor ia an award-winning, configurable WYSIWYG content editor for Joomla based on Moxiecode's TinyMCE. It includes advanced Image/Media, File and Link handling, plugin support, and an Administration interface for editor configuration. This is the one I have used for years and is usually one of the first extensions I add for all my Joomla projects.

ARK (Formerly JCK) Editor
The ARK Joomla media editor is designed to simplify your content creation by incorporating a new technology called Inline Editing that allows users to edit page elements directly without the need to use a special editing screen.
Screenshot of Joomla ARK Editor



Akeeba Backup
Akeeba Backup Core
This is the only backup utility you will probably ever need for Joomla. In terms of teaching or learning Joomla, if I was stranded on a desert isle .... well you know the rest. Let me make this short. Get this Joomla Component extension. It's awesome. Use it regularly and learn its many features inside and out. You will thank me later

File Management

This is a better file management tool than what that which comes with your Host's CPanel application, which are all  pretty weak and can really slow down your work. This tool supports drag and drop file uploads for modern browsers. Just mark your files on your desktop and drag them to the folder listing of ProFiles. Each file will be uploaded with a progress bar. This is a great time-saver. T. Find and use a dedicated file management tool.

Drop Files
Dropfiles, one of the the easiest and most powerful files manager for Joomla. The AJAX interface save you a lot of time and allows you to manage a massive amount of files. The extension comes with a Google Drive and Dropbox integration.
Screenshot of the Drop Files UI


Google Analytics for Joomla
Another tool you should include in every one of your websites. If you are not monitoring your website, you are damaging the potential for its success. Start your monitoring work right here by installing this plugin and learning how to use it. This Google Analytics plugin helps you easily add in Google Analytics to your Joomla website and allows for both Universal Google Analytics and Asynchronous Google Analytics. 

Easy Google Analytics
This is a more simple-to-use system plugin for adding Google Analytics Tracking (asynchronous)to a Joomla site. It adds your Google tracking code to the head tag of each page owithout having to edit any template code and can track a single domain, one domain with multiple subdomains, or multiple TLD domains.

Nice Google Analytics
Nice Google Analytics is the easiest way to add Analytics tracking to your Joomla site! This may be the best Google analytics plugin I have tried for Joomla. None is as friendly and smooth as this one. Highly recommended. Quickly and easily add asynchronous Google Analytics tracking code to the head tag of your Joomla website pages. Getting started with Google Analytics has never been faster. Simply install the plugin, provide your Google Analytics Tracking ID, and enable the plugin!Analytics Dashboard and your done!

Google Analytics Dashboard
Google Analytics Dashboard is a Joomla! module that will display Google Analytics data in a simple-to-use module visible in your Joomla backend. Analytics data is provided through the Google API.

Screenshot of Google Analytics Dashboard Interface


Site Performance
Joomla is great but many Joomla sites are very slow and slugish. You will need to optimize your site using the optimization tools described here.

JCH Optimize
Speed up your Joomla website instantly with this plugin which combines your external JavaScript and CSS files into one to minimize expensive HTTP requests. These files can be minified and gzipped to reduce bandwidth and further optimize download times for your visitors.

Cache Cleaner
Clean your cache fast and easily via a link in your Joomla Administrator panel. If you are editing an article - for instance - and want to see the changes in the frontend, you see your changes instantly by clearing your browser cache with this tool.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the art and science of getting a website to appear prominently in the free section of the search results of a search engine, when a search is conducted using terms relevant to the content of that website.

JSitemap is a top Joomla sitemap generator extension and a complete SEO solution. It offers a way to manage all types of sitemap contents without need of additional plugins!

This extension creates XML sitemaps of your website using your menu structure. Sitemaps are critically important for improving your site's SEO and are used by search engines to crawl and analyze your website. An XML sitemap contains all the URLs of the site along with its additional metadata (such as when it was last updated, how often it changes, etc.) Xmap is regarded as the best sitemap generator for Joomla and installation and creation processes are dead easy. Sitemaps are another must-have for all your Joomla sites.

SEF stands for "Search Engine Friendly". Websites are considered search engine friendly if the pages can easily be found by search engines. You have probably notice the crazy URLs that some sites generate at the top of your web browser. Create search engine friendly links to improve your search rankings. SEF tools help you add relevant keywords to your site URLS, and also keep them, short, descriptive, and easier to read. 

This plug-in will also increase site security, but can be hard to configure and can slow your site (or even break it!) if not configured correctly.


Title Manager
Title Manager is a popular Joomla plugin to manage your page titles for better SEO. With this plugin, you can display your site name in page titles with a lot of additional features for different needs.

Style & Design Tools

Advanced Module Manager
The key to getting the layouts and designs you want with Joomla is to manage your MODULES. Some Joomla templates have a lot of module options, but many are pretty limited and this is one reason a lot of Joomla sites look the same. To take your Joomla design to the next level download and learn a tool to manage your module placements.

JSN PageBuilder Pro
JSN PageBuilder is an easy way to build and manage pages without having to write any code. Just drag and drop suitable elements on a page to  construct content visually without any lines of code.  Get an instant view of what is going on with live preview.

Modules Anywhere
Modules Anywhere - place modules anywhere you can enter text. Awesome!

Control modules by date, time, recurring time, GeoIP (country of viewer), browser type and language, user name, group, page within other components (e.g. Virtuemart, K2), on-page text, article keywords, by article, section/category, and more.


Universal Live AJAX Search
This is a flexible and powerful Joomla Search component with an easy-to-use interface that can be used with different extensions and provides better search functionality than the default Joomla search module.

Communication Tools


I have never used this but comes highly recommended from the LinkedIn Joomla Users group.


Kuena Forums
This is not the prettiest forum solution but it by far the leading Joomla forum software.

Easy Discuss
The most versatile extension to start a forum, spark user conversations and exchange ideas in your Joomla site.
EasyDiscuss is a questions and answer extension that works like a forum or a discussions portal for Joomla and includes features that support social media sharing, optimized for search engines, integrates with third-party apps and lots more.

Contact Forms

This is a very popoular extension for adding custom forms to your Joomla site. It is easy to use and has a Drag-and-drop operation making it extremely easy to create new forms with zero knowledge of coding. Chronoforms comes with all of the things you would expect such as field creation, processing emails, and captcha support. This extension can be used to create user registration/login forms, article submission forms, and pretty much any other type of form you could need.


AcyMailing Starter

AcyMailing is a reliable and powerful Newsletter and email marketing extension for Joomla.ccNewsletter and is a favorite with many in the LinkedIn Joomla Users group. Building an email list of your website’s visitors is extremely important because it’s one of the best ways to ensure you get repeat traffic. This extension allows you to completely manage your own newsletter right inside Joomla instead of a 3rd party tool. It’s extremely user-friendly so that anyone with or without technical skills can jump in and develop their first list.

Polls & Surveys



Vertical Menu
Vertical Menu is a user-friendly, highly customizable, multi-purpose menu solution for Joomla. It easily fits with most templates and looks amazing on any device while providing excellent performance. At the time of this writing, this was also the top rated menu extension in the JED.

Joomla Megamenu
nother highly-rated extension in the JED. I have used this before in several Joomla themes and was always happy witih the way it displayed deep and complex menus with many links and even can include images in your menus!

Art Sexy Lightbox
This is a Joomla! popup module for photos, galleries, articles, Picasa albums, Flickr photos, Photobucket albums, Virtue Mart, Amazon S3, external pages, Youtube, Vimeo, inline content.



K2 is on every single Joomla extensions "best-of"list" I researched for this document. It extends your options for adding and presenting content (think of Joomla! articles with additional fields for article images, videos, image galleries, and attachments). and is one way to easily add blog features to your Joomla websites. Perhaps the best reason to use K2 is to get access to the rich collection of extensions that work with it that can improve your page layouts or automate the creation of page content.

EasyBlog is an all-in-one tool that includes all the main tools for blogging including team blogging, social media sharing, comments system, trackbacks, featured blogs and more. Photos & Images - Animated Slideshow / Carousel Generators


Photos & Images - Galleries

Wow Slider
The most popular web design trend over the  last couple of years is a sliding horizontal panels also known as Sliders or Carousels. It's a very effective method to increase the web site usability and engage the user.

WOW Slider is one of the easiest slideshow creators I have run across and the the price (free), ease of use, and availability on a range of platforms and CMS software (Mac, Windows, WordPress,Joomla) has made it one of the most popular extensions for my students. jQuery image slider with amazing visual effects (Rotate, Blur, Flip, Blast, Fly, Blinds, Squares, Slices, Basic, Fade, Ken Burns, Stack, Stack vertical and Basic linear) and tons of professionally made templates. WOW Slider is packed with a point-and-click wizard to create fantastic sliders in a matter of seconds without coding and image editing. Wordpress slider plugin and Joomla slider module are available also.


This is the extension I am using on this site to display my video tutorials in a nice JQuery Lightbox. It works with all the major video servers including YouTube, Vimeo, and others. This is not free but works great and will save you a ton of time creating your pages if you have many videos like me.



Classifieds Redux
A complete Classified Ads Manager component with versatile classifieds component to allow modification of list display and ad detail display.



VirtueMart is an open source e-commerce extension adopted by over 269,000 online retailers. It is best suited for low to medium level traffic web-sites. It supports an unlimited number of products and categories, with products able to be assigned to multiple categories. It also permits the sale of downloadable products, and offers a catalog mode where the shopping cart features are turned off. VirtueMart supports multiple prices for a single product, based on shopper groups or a quantity range, and permits the use of a variety of different payment gateways.

MijoShop is a powerful shopping cart component that is designed feature rich and user friendly. It has an intuitive admin interface that allows you to have complete control over your store.


Joom Donation
Allows you to get one time and recurring donation from visitors of your site via Paypal, and MoneyBooker payment gateway. Other payment gateways are supported as well.

Affiliate Tools

Affiliate Feeds
This component integrates data feeds ( xml/csv) from affiliate programs like Zanox, Tradetracker,Webgains and TradeDoubler,Affiliatewindow,Shareasale, Netaffiliation, Commission Junction or any other CSV product file into a Joomla site, to create a product browsing or price comparison website.VIP Amazon Associates

Subscription Tools

Membership Pro
Membership Pro is a membership/subscription extension that allows you to create and sell subscription plans, let members subscribe for these plans, and give them access to restricted resources.

Billing and Invoicing

Joomla Invoices!
If you run a small online business or a real store, you probably want to have all your client's invoices stored in your Joomla website. Joomla Invoices is a simple and useful Invoice Creator and Manager System. Use it to not only create your invoices but also receive PayPal payments, right from your website.

This is a user-friendly Joomla invoicing extension for creating and managing PDF invoices directly from the administrator of any Joomla website. No complicated invoice systems, spreadsheets, monthly costs or annoying accountants. Just complete control in an easy and familiar interface.

Social Media

It’s not enough to have a popular website with good content anymore. If you want more visitors you will need to both optimize your site for top placements in search engines (SEO) and employ social media. It used to be that SEO revolved only around using the right keywords and the number of authoritative sites that linked back to your content via inbound links. Then social media came along and changed everything. Search engines have begun to incorporate social signals such as Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, and so on to inform their search results.

Because these changes and the raw power of sites like Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Pinterest, and others to drive traffic fo your websites, Social media will need to be a part of your website marketing and SEO strategy for years to come. Again, the amount and quality of the tools available to help you with this work is astounding. It is going to take some time to find your way around all the options. Here are my favorites:

JomSocial is an award-winning, powerful, social networking component for Joomla! It allows you to create your own Social Network with Photo and Video Gallery, Event Management, Activity Stream and other features that work out of the box.It is a large and complex Joomla Component with dozens of pluigns and ten or so modules. As such it will take some time to learn and configure but the effort is well worth the time. This is not only a powerful social media tool but it looks better than most of its competition.

Community Builder

This is a free alternaitve to JomSocial for building social netowrks on Joomla although they charge for the documentation which you will need to make best use of this large Joomla Component.. This tool has a large and active developer community so there are a number of extensions available for this extension.

Membership Pro

This is a membership/subscription extension for Joomla. It allows you to create and sell subscription plans, let members subscribe for these plans and give them access to restricted resource including documents, menus, modules, or articles.



Mobile Joomla!
Mobilize your Joomla! site so it displays beautifully on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone and all other phones. This uses custom mobile templates using JQuery Mobile.

Simple Mobile Detection
The Simple Mobile Detection plugin does a simple check if the client is on a mobile device. The Mobile Detection plugin uses the default Joomla Browser class and extends it with detection for iPad, iPhone, iPod and Android if the client currently is viewing the website. The Joomla Android detection is a little more advanced and also tries to collect more information about the device, like the model and the Android build.Weever Apps 

The Very Best WordPress Plugins

WordPress is blessed with many thousdands of plugins to extend the functionality of the core sofrware, which is really pretty basic and limited. The problem is how to weed out the clunkers and  find the best of these plugins to use on your important websites?  Well, I have done the hard work for you and collected here the very best of the best WordPress plugins.  I compiled this list based on my work with many, many students over the years and by researching all the "Best-of" lists I could find online and only considering plugins that kept popping up over and over again on many lists.

Here is my list by category.

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Design rules for text: Basic Typography

"It is everywhere."
Opening sentence, the Web Designers Guide to Typography

Typography refers to the visual appearance of type. How you use type subtly or not so subtly influences the flavor and impression of your website. The way you use type can give your site a clean modern look, a classic look, or a whimsical one.

Typography is a huge field that can’t properly be introduced in the space available here. However, there are many fine books and online resources on this topic if you want to learn more (see my reference list below). But if you learn and follow the simple typography rules presented here, it is easy to get your type looking better than the most other websites.

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What students are saying

“James, I've been listening to your online training videos and I feel so fortunate to have your information in my box of tricks.

Thanks. Where can I find more of your training materials for WordPress?"

Melisa Lind, Web Designer at