When we build Umbraco websites, one of the most powerful concepts that shapes our design is that a piece of content can be anything you want it to be, not just a page. This opens up possibilities to store and reuse content as self-contained data structures, build specifically to fit your business requirements, using your terminology.
This content is best stored in a central location on the root of your website structure.
The possibilities are endless, so in this article, I’ll just take you through four common scenarios where we make use of what we call ‘centralised content’.
Scenario 1. Bitesize content
Sometimes your website may consist of content that does not need its own page. An example of this could be a testimonial – it doesn’t warrant having its own page, but you want to show it as part of another page, maybe in a sidebar or rotating carousel. You will have more than one testimonial and the chances are you will get even more over time.
A clean and simple way to manage this in Umbraco is to create a centralised folder (or repository) of testimonials.
Having all testimonials in one central location makes them easy to find and quick to update.
You only need to edit the central testimonial once to update all instances of it, resulting in consistent content across pages where it appears.
Notice how the content is limited to the actual data you need for the testimonial. There’re no surplus fields left empty – only the data that makes up the testimonial.
Scenario 2. Reuse content
Taking our ‘bitesize content’ scenario a step further, we now have the advantage of being able to:
- Choose a testimonial to show on another page
- Not show the testimonial, just keep it saved it for a later date.
- Choose multiple instances of a testimonial across many pages
- Display a selection of testimonials at random
The content pickers in Umbraco can be configured to show the testimonials directly so you don’t have to navigate the content structure to find them. They can also be configured for single or multiple selection depending on your needs.
Random selection is a good choice for a carousel or if you just wanted to get a good sample of testimonials to show across all site pages without having the admin of selecting one for each page.
We can also configure this with a combination of options, such as show the selected testimonial and fall back to a random one if none is selected.
Scenario 3. Partially reuse content
Imagine a site where there is a Team section showing user profiles of employees, and another Events section which includes details of the speakers at each event.
The Event may include speakers who are also employees, so there is a potential duplication. We could put all user profiles into a central repository and then pick which ones we want as employees in the Team section and speakers in the Events section.
But what if we needed a different bio for each speaker customised to their relevance for each event?
This is where partial reuse can be utilised.
We would create a central repository of User Profiles with their name, photo, company and title. Then when picking the user as a speaker at an event, we add the ‘bio’ field alongside the user picker on the speaker.
This results in the User Profile being reused so updates to the photo and title are managed centrally, and the bio being specific to the event.
Scenario 4. Landing pages
A landing page is a standalone web page with a single goal or ‘call to action’ such as sign up for an event or provide your contact details in exchange for a white paper.
Typically created for a marketing campaign, landing pages are usually reached from external sources such as an email campaign, social media or even a printed flyer with a QR code.
A landing page will not usually fit into the main website structure. Most websites follow a hierarchical structure, such as the following:
In this case Services is a main section and Branding is a sub-page of the Services section.
The main website navigation menu usually follows this structure too (although there are rare cases where it doesn’t) and landing pages shouldn’t appear in the navigation.
Having the landing pages in a centralised repository:
- takes them out of the website structure
- excludes them from the main navigation
- gives a clean Url, such as https://www.icdesign.co.uk/register-for-christmas-2020/
In summary, by examining our site content and utilising centralised content in the design of the data structure, we can achieve:
- Faster content creation
- Consistent content across the site
- Quick and easy updates
As always, please get in touch with us if you would like to know more about this, or any other, Umbraco feature.