Establishing a sound business communication with your existing customers and targeted clients is considered key to business strategy. The more you get a chance to communicate with the audience, the more you feel what they expect from you. Now the question is. What is the effective way to reach to customers easily? The answer is managing an interactive forum on your website.
You might be thinking, why to manage a forum in a separate website instead of using social channels. Though social media are easier ways to reach existing and target customer, but the problem is the user created issues are unorganized. Even they are difficult to find out quickly. So if you want to foster real discussion and want to manage them easily on your site, your best bet is to add a forum.
Before bouncing from this post cowering in fear, allow me to ease your mind. You don’t need to know a single line of code to add a forum to your Joomla site. You might think, I’m kidding. No, I am not. The only thing you have to install the extension and configure them to your specification.
From my experience I found two awesome discussion extension in Joomla JCE (Joomla Extension Directory), the first in Kunena (Free) and another is EasyDiscuss (Premium).
Forum with Kunena
To install a blog in your Joomla website, you have to download Kunena first from Kunena official website. and then install the extension via Extension > Extension Manager > Install > Upload Package File link from the Joomla Back-end.
Now, We have successfully installed the Kunena forum extension, but forum could not access from the website front-end. To access the forum from front-end, we have to add a new item in the main menu. To add a new item in main menu, click on Add New Menu Item via Menus > Main Menu link.
Now add Menu Title (I titled Discussion), and click on select button from Menu Item Type. Unfold Kunena Forum tab. It will open up some options, select Home Page from the options and click Save and Close.
Now head to the front-end of your website, I am using Appy (Responsive Joomla Template for App & Business) template. You can see an item titled Discussion added to the main menu. Under the Discussion menu item you can see, a full-fledged forum system has been added.
I installed Kunena with its default feature and haven’t changed any single settings. If you want to know further settings of Kunena, get into Kunena Dashboard via Components > Kunena-Forum. From the Dashboard, you can manage your user, rank, file, template plugins and many more.
Forum with EasyDiscuss
EasyDiscuss is a great premium forum extension for Joomla websites developed by Stackideas. If you want to buy EasyDiscuss, Stackideas provides a 20% discount for any of their extensions of ThemeXpert account holders (coupon: BLOGXPERT20). To install EasyDiscuss, download the extension from their website and install it as we installed kunena. When you successfully install Easydiscuss the following screen will appears.
Now, We’ll add a menu item in the main menu to access Easydiscuss from the front-end. The process is the same as we did Kunena Installation. Click on Add New Menu Item via Menus > Main Menu link.
We titled menu item Discussion for Kunena, in this turn, we'll title Forum for Easydiscuss. And click on the Select button from Menu Item Type. Unfold EasyDiscuss tab, It will again open up some options, select Frontpage Layout from the option and click Save and Close.
Now back to the font-end, you can see a new menu item has been added titled Forum in the main menubar. Don’t forget click on Fourm, now have a look EasyDiscuss is rocking on your website.
EasyDiscuss comes with total forum management system with extensive control handles, such as Auto Posting, Tags Manager, Category Manager, Role Manager, Blog Moderation, Custom Field, Moderation and many more. If you want to pay with the options, head over to Components and click on EasyDiscuss. and you will be taken to the EasyDiscuss Dashboard.
In this tutorial we shared our experience of Blog with Kunena and EasyDiscuss, but before you embark on your forum-creating journey. I want to hear from. What extension do you use for forum that i missed here? As always, I'll be glad to have your thoughts in comments.