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Content templates eliminate repetition

By Loren Nelson, 07/30/15, 1:30PM CDT


Avoid tedious work, save time by creating templates for specific types of pages

Building the same page from scratch - with the same aggregators, ads, widgets, calendars or any other mix of page elements - quickly can become beyond cumbersome.

The good news for Sport Ngin webmasters, thanks to content templates, is there’s no reason to live out that sort of painstaking "Groundhog Day" scenario.

A content template is simply a custom set of page elements that can be used throughout a Sport Ngin site. We use them all the time here with our Community article pages. We’ve created templates for each type of article, eliminating the all the initial page setup work and allowing us to focus solely on dropping in text, graphics and photos.

Content templates also are commonly used when building team pages, a huge time saver for webmasters wanting a uniform look for dozens or even hundreds of teams.

How it works

For those previously familiar with content templates and how they work, it's worth noting that several subtle modifications and upgrades have been made in recent weeks. We'll try to address all of those in this tutorial. 

Getting started

Make sure you are logged in and in Edit mode, then navigate to the Admin Control panel. Click on Website Tools in the top navigation, then Templates in the sub-navigation (see image). 

Click on Website Tools and then Templates in the Admin Control Panel

View existing templates or create a new one

Once you are on the Templates page you can view a list of your existing templates. The view shows what type of page the template was built for (Resource Type), how many pages it is connected to without being unlinked, a brief description, status (enabled or disabled) and who has access to the template. You can also hit the Create New Template to add another to the list.

View existing templates and create new ones on the Templates page

Create new content template

Give your content template a name and a brief description. Click the Enabled checkbox to make it available when creating pages. Choose who has access to Edit/Delete the template. You must also select on which page type the template is going to be used (Email, Event, General Page, News Article, Player/Coach, Team Page). Click the Save Template button when you are done.

Fill in the Field (required) and, if so desired, add a brief Description. Click the Enabled checkbox to make the template available. Chose who has permission to Edit/Delete the Template.

Determine on which page type your template will be used.

Add page elements to the new content template

The page template begins as a clean slate with a single layout container. You can now build your template just as you would any Sport Ngin page, bringing in the elements you know you will want to use each time. In the example in the bottom photo at right, we brought in text elements, code elements and an event aggregator.

Chose your template when creating a new page

Now, when you go to create a page (in this example an article page), you will have the option of choosing from the template or templates you have created specifically for article pages. You can have templates appear at the top or bottom of your page, or in both locations, by selecting templates from the Top News Article Template and Bottom News Article Template dropdowns.

Unlink the template page to add text

Our article page is set up with text block page elements. We can only place our text in those blocks by unlinking the content template. Click the Unlink tab in the upper right corner of the layout container. After you click Unlink, be sure to refresh your browser. You now have the ability to edit any element on your page. Remember, it is no longer linked, so any changes made to the content template will not be reflected on an unlinked page.

Bonus Tip: One of the big benefits of the Top and Bottom template options is the ability to avoid unlinking a layout container whenever possible. If a specific template's layout container consistently will need to be unlinked, you can - depending on the design of the page - put the elements that won't need to be unlinked in a separate layout container. That way you can mass update the elements in that top or bottom layout container that remains linked at any time.

Click the Unlink tab to have the ability to edit page elements

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About Loren Nelson

Loren Nelson is Community Manager at SportsEngine. He is also the National Media Editor and has served in a variety of other customer facing and media roles since 2009.

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