Just wanted to make sure you got a reply to your query...
Turning off the dates is pretty straightforward as are a LOT of the options in Joomla! The biggest thing to overcome is that it is not WordPress. It's a different animal and you should learn the "anatomy" of how it works so that it doesn't frustrate you. It's a great system that I personally WAY prefer to WordPress. For the number of people that I've heard say "Wordpress is so easy", I find it cumbersome and very code driven for anything you want to do that isn't out of the box, where there are a LOT of options in Joomla, they are there because you can do so many things with it before you have to resort to code.
Also, as you have noted in your request, getting the right extensions is key to making your Joomla! site work the way you want it to. Like the Apple Store, there are a ton of extensions available, but this doesn't mean they are all GOOD ones. There are a lot that are great and some that are just plain bad. Use the Joomla Extensions Directory and the reviews there to help guide you to the ones worth using.
As for your specific questions:
PrettyLinkPro - For cloaking affiliate links
- not sure on this one
NextScripts - For automatic social sharing
- I use Social Backlinks, which is available here (not free, but inexpensive and connects articles, K2, and Zoo components to Facebook (x2), Twitter, LinkedIn, and another I don't know of): http://www.joomunited.com/products/social-backlinks
Yoast SEO - For doing SEO
- I don't use an SEO plugin, just supply the appropriate metadata for the menu items that link to the content. Yoast still seems very keyword oriented, which the search engines are less interested in than they used to be.
Ultimate Nofollow - Allows you to put in nofollow attribute for links
- not sure on this one
Broken Link Checker - Check for broken links
- I use Google webmaster tools to get a view from the outside on this. There is another local install tool that works well, again looking at the links from the outside: http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html
- not a very fancy website, but the tool produces a complete report
Redirection - Helps manage 301 redirects
- I have used ReDJ for this (http://extensions.joomla.org/extension/redj
), though the sh404SEF tool seems to be the most popular option in the Joomla community for this and many other things like it: http://anything-digital.com/sh404sef/se ... oomla.html
I haven't used communitybuilder myself, but it is one of two that are popular on the Joomla side. In case you didn't see, there are three levels of CB - one is free with a limited feature-set: https://www.joomlapolis.com/memberships
. The other option there is Jomsocial: http://www.jomsocial.com/
- depending on who you ask, you will find pros and cons for each, though jomsocial has no free version
As for feeds, it depends on what you want to do. You can display RSS feeds in any "module position" on the page using the built in module called Feed Display.
Joomla 3 is much improved on the backend to Joomla < 3.x. I guess it depends on what you like, but K2 is not necessary for this unless there are specific things that you want from K2. K2 is, however, a decent Blogging component. We also use it for our WebSite Portfolio. YooTheme's Zoo is also good for a Blog. Both are free and both are CCK (content construction kits) where you can include things like extra fields and other more advanced things. Each one can be pretty deep too both from a capabilities perspective and learning curve. Worth the effort to learn, in my opinion.
I would recommend getting JCE for editing. It's free unless you want the additional plugins for it. Some people like JCK (or now called Arc editor I think). Both allow drag and drop of images directly into their editing window from your local computer, so no "media manager" required for this.
Most Joomla updates are simple. You go to the component, select the updates you want (like whether to use Long Term Support versions, Short Term Support versions, Test versions, or custom URLs for your updates. Then you select "Install the update". Then it's done. Pretty simple.
That said, you certainly want to back up the site before you do this and know your restore procedures because updates CAN break things sometimes. Use the free Akeeba backup component to get a zip file of the whole site and THEN do your upgrade.
There are also "magical" updates to some extensions that are "one click" though I usually steer clear of these because I like to control things a bit more. Also, if you customize a template (WordPress theme), you will want to make sure you know how to restore your customizations to that before you just update to a new version of a template, which might mow down your customizations.
If you are looking to use a template, I can recommend that you check out a few of the free options from JoomlArt. Their templates are built on their own T3 Framework, which definitely changes a few things about the admin, but adds a lot of functionality as well to the base Joomla.
I hope that this response has useful info in it and that maybe it will get spidered by the Search Engines for others looking for breakdown.
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