Unlike in WordPress, setting a custom url in Joomla is very cumbersome and non-intuitive. I’m running Joomla 2.5 but this may work in all versions of Joomla.
Step 1: New Article
Publish an article as you normally would. You can specify an “alias” but I’m not sure this actually translates to what your permalink will end up being.
Step 2: Add New Menu Item
Joomla relies heavily on its “menu” system. As a matter of fact, when describing Joomla to other people, I describe it as a “menu-based” CMS. Unlike WordPress which I think more of as an “article-based” CMS. For further contrast, Drupal is a “user-based” CMS.
Click “Add New Menu Item”
I don’t actually display the “Cusco Info” menu anywhere, I use it only to set permalinks for articles. Hidden menus like this are a side-effect of this menu-based CMS.
Step 3: Set Menu Item Type to “Single Article”
Since you are setting the URL for an article, set this menu item type to “Single Article.”
Step 4: Select the Article you wish to Permalink
In the previous step you told Joomla that you want to set a URL. Now you need to tell it which article you want to set a URL for.
A table of all your articles will pop up.
To find your most recent article, click twice on the “Date” column to order all your articles starting with the most recent.
Click the Article you wish to set a URL for.
Step 5: New Article
Now that we’ve told Joomla which article to permalink, we need to set the text of the link itself.
Fill in both the Menu Title and Alias boxes.
The Alias will end up being your URL, so make sure to not include any spaces or capital letters.
Once you are done, click Save and Close.
Step 6: Test your New URL
Navigate to YOURSITE.COM/new-url. As far as I know there is no easy way within Joomla to quickly navigate to this page. If the menu you added to is live, you can find your menu item there.
Next Step: Setting a Joomla Permalink more than 1 layer deep
The above techniques work great on a simple site without categories. But on a more complicated site you will want to nest URLs to keep things organized. These are a few examples of a fictional food site where nested URLs would be appropriate.
Nested URLs in Joomla – Step 1: Menu Items
As with setting single depth permalinks, nested permalinks are set in the Menu panel. Click the menu where you set your previous permalink. Do not click “add new menu item” this time, since you are editing an existing menu item.
Nested URLs in Joomla – Step 2: Find Permalink to Nest
Notice below you can see our parent permalink (cusco-guide) and child permalink (cusco-airport).
We want to nest our child permalink (cusco-airport) inside the parent (cusco-guide) so that our new permalink for cusco airport will look like this: Limaeasy.com/cusco-guide/cusco-airport
We do this by specifying a “parent” item within the child menu item.
Click the child menu item to edit it.
Nested URLs in Joomla – Step 3: Set Parent Item
Click the drop-down menu beside Parent Item, then click the appropriate parent item.
And click “save and close”
Nested URLs in Joomla – Step 4: Test
Navigate to your new nested URL as you did before. If you did everything correctly, your parent URL should be appended between your site URL and child URL.