Content is the heart of any website.  Content is a broad term, but for this topic, when we say content we are referring to the articles that are created to fill the pages of your web site.

For any article to be displayed in a web page on your site, it must first be linked to with a Menu Item of some sort. The Menu Item may be a Single Article, a Category Blog or a Category List, or be a Featured Article or an Archived Article. To display the article in a Category Blog or Category List, you need to create the Category and then associate the article with that Category.

When you are first starting out with Joomla, you should remember the acronym: C A M 

CAM  - Category-Article-Menu
Category: Create a category with Category Manager
Article: Create an article in Article Manager and assigning the category to it
Menu: Create a menu item that either uses that article individually or uses that category to either display all articles in that category or a list of all the articles in that category.

It is allowable to have an article without a category, Joomla will just assign it to "Unassigned", but having them sorted out lets you filter the list so you can find the articles more easily. Plus with categorization, there are a number of other things that you can do.

Having Categories also allows you to set up pages that automatically display any new article that is assigned to that Category. 

Learn by Example

Susie Catlover is creating a web site all about cats.  She has organized her Joomla web site into five areas, Choosing a cat, Taking Care of a Cat, Owning Multiple Cats, The World of Cats and a blog on the highjinx of Susie's three cats called My Own Three Cats. 

For now, she will just have a single article for Taking Care of a Cat and Owning Multiple Cats, but for the World of Cats, she plans on writing many articles and she wants an introduction to the section with a list of the articles to show up on that page.  For My Three Cats, Susie wants to do an ongoing blog with daily posts.  She wants the lastest Blog article to always show up on top, then two more blogs articles to sit side by side below.  She then wants the titles for all the other recent blog articles to show up in a list below that. She also wants her landing page to be an explanation of what the site is about.

What Susie will do is go into Category Manager and create six basic categories for each of these topics, which includes a category for the Home page content.  Later on as Susie's web site expands, she may find that she needs to have sub-categories because there is so much to say about cats, but for now we are keeping this simple.

Create Categories

Susie has logged into the Administrative side of Joomla.  She selects Content in the top dropdown menus and selects Category Manager.  She could also get to Category Manager from the Quick Icons on the right side of the Dashboard screen.

The default category is Uncategorised (Joomla is written by people in Great Britain - thus the spelling).  It is a good idea to leave that there, as sometimes you may create an article and not have a category ready for it.  It will be assigned to Uncategorised at first.

Susie needs to create a new category, so she selects the long green button with New on it.  This brings up a new screen where she can create a new category.

When you create a new category, you can just put a title in, click on Save & Close and be on your way. On the other hand there are many settings available that affect the display properties for that category.  joom3 has a technical page on all the settings for creating a Category, so we won't cover it all here. 

Susie wants to just set up the categories for now, she may change the other settings later.  She enters Home and she clicks on Save & New at the top.  Joomla then brings up a new screen that allows her to create another category,  here she creates a category called Choosing a Cat. Susie goes through this for the remaining four categories. After entering the last category, she selects Save & Close.

The screen changes back to Category Manager and there is the list of the new categories that Susie created.

Create Articles

Susie now wants to create her initial article for each category. From the Category Manager screen she can go straight to Articles from the menu on the left.  You can aslo get to the Add New Article from the Quick Icons on the dashboard or from the Content dropdown.

She is just beginning to set up her site, so there are no articles in the list as yet.

She selects New at the top and gets to the an Add New Article screen where she can create a new article.

She enters the Title of My Wonderful World of Cats, which will be the heading on her home page.  She assigns this page to the Home Category with the pull down selection box. 

Joomla won't let you save an article if you don't have text in the text editor box, so you must type something to be able to save the article.

Susie doesn't have all of her content ready but she could either put in some dummy text like Lorem Ipsum, or she could just put a line in saying "This is the home page for my new web site.".

She selctes Save & New and gets to a new Add New Article screen.

She types in Choosing a Cat for the Title.  Yes, the article name is the same as the category name.  That is OK.  Especially if you are going to have only one article in that category.

She then uses the pulldown selector to select the correct category for the article. She chooses Choosing a Cat

Again, there are other tabs with many options in the Article screen, but Susie just wants to get the framework of her site created and will take care of the content and settings later.

Susie goes through these steps to create articles for the other four categories.  For The World of Cats category, she creates four temporary articles so that she can format her page correctly.  She does the same thing for the Blog.

She will add the real content in later. From here, Susie will create Menu items for the five categories.  

Click next to see the joom3 page on Understanding Menus.