EasyBlog: Fast, Nice & Easy
I sometimes come across Joomla sites that are built only for blogging. There are a lot of possibilities: you can use Joomla native , K2, and all sorts of CCKs. Today I decided to test an extension from the community choice extensions poll from several months back. Let's put EasyBlog from Stackideas on the bench...
As soon as I did some research on the functionalities, my first problem was wondering how could I even come close to describing all of the features and the "why didn't I meet you before" extras of this extension.
I installed a new Joomla 3 site and uploaded the latest EasyBlog. By the way, when I was finished I started looking at my own site and decided to redo it with this component, and trust me that doesn't happen often!
So after you have selected your EasyBlog plan you can download the installation file and get started. At first the price might seem a bit high for a blogging component, but having tested it, I think it is money well spent.
In the backend we go to the component and open up the configuration file (settings). To keep it plain and simple I just changed the Blog info setting, changed the name and description, and left all the other settings untouched. Save & Close.
When I wanted to go to 'Blog Entries' in the backend, I stumbled upon a button in between which got me fairly excited: 'Autoposting'. Can it be? Yes! All blog posts that you make can be pushed towards Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with a simple click. Most of the time you have to do some really hard research to get all the correct credentials and ID's, but Stackideas made a beautiful walkthrough which makes everything really easy to configure.
Ok, back on track, using 'Blog Entries' in the dashboard, it gives you a clear view of all the entries you (or other bloggers) made with some nice extra information in the standard view. When you open an entry, all information shows up really clearly. Adding links (to older blog posts), images or embedding videos is a piece of cake, thanks to the three big buttons at the top of your editor.
But I'm not going to write a blog post only from the backend. I'm going to switch to the front end and post it there. When one of my clients uses this it's better to have them submitting new entries in the frontend and keeping them out of the backend.
So I login to the frontend and go to the EasyBlog section for submitting a new blog and it hits me, what if I would use my iPad mini? So I grab my iPad and go to the local installation, log in, and... correct, it it's simple and it works! But unfortunately because of the configuration of my MAMP (local Joomla installation), the upload of pictures is not allowed.
So I switch back to my notebook. Entering the text is actually the same as you would do with a standard article, choosing the image etc. is easy thanks to the built in mediamanager (photos can be resized, organized into folders and it will pull photos from Flickr, too), even embedding a video is easy! You just have to copy the url and the manager takes care of everything, not only is YouTube supported, but Vimeo, Revver, Daily Motion, and Google Videos, etc. are also supported. If you would like to publish a link towards some of your older posts, there's an easy search function for that as well. The built in tag system is a great feature and is pretty easy to maintain.
The extra publishing options are really nice: you can protect some posts with a password for example, add your location (or cheat with it ;-) ) and add some SEO for each post.
After I published my post, I logged out and in again to check the comment and registration process, and was pretty amazed that the comment option included the registration form so that you can do it all at once, but it's not mandatory. As an admin you can set the comments to show directly or set them to first pass your moderation.
I'm almost at the limit of my maximum words on this article, but not even close to describing all the features this extension has to offer... So a quick overview of some features: multiple bloggers and multiple blogs, configurable toolbar, template support, a lot of integrations, feed import (RSS), blogging by email, anti spam, subscriptions, social sharing (next to Autoposting), Mailchimp integration, microblogging (quick status updates), Google Ads integration, AcyMailing integration and so much more...
One last item, support is given by forums and tickets (subscribers only).