After publishing your first Sitefinity web pages, next in the list of the most common tasks that Sitefinity users handle daily is creating and managing content itself.
In this video, you will learn how to master content – this includes working with content items of different types, setting up a publishing workflow, and granularly controlling the data structure and presentation of content.
With Sitefinity, out-of-the-box, you get several predefined content types that are most commonly used in a content management system. These include news, blogs, events, lists, forms and media libraries. With the user-friendly interface of Sitefinity, it is easy to navigate, browse, and manage even content-heavy libraries.
There may be a case when these predefined content types do not cover the specificities of your scenario. With the Module builder, you can easily build fully functional content types of exactly the types you need. To learn more about this useful tool, check out our video about Custom content types.
Before jumping into content creation, let’s talk about content workflow. By defining a workflow, you make sure content is not automatically published to live before passing the required approval process or editorial review by the right people in the organization. You define and manage workflows that are applied throughout the system in the Administration >> Workflow section of Sitefinity.
You can set a number of properties for each workflow but one of the most important ones is how many approval levels does your workflow process abide to – one, two, or three. In this video, we will define a one-step approval process. If you need a more complex process that includes sending the content item for review, then approval, and finally publishing, then you will need a three-step workflow.
Next, you decide who steps in in each approval step – that is, which users or set of users with specific roles approve or reject the content item. You can also specify who can skip part of the workflow and choose whether to notify the approvers via email that new content is available for approval.
In large organizations with more complex processes, workflows can be defined on a content type, language, or website level. You can thus define one workflow for all news in English in site A and then define a more complex workflow for pages in all languages in all sites.
Now that your workflow is all set, log in Sitefinity backend with the Author user to create your first News item. To do this, simply expand the Content menu, click News and you are good to go. Add your title, description, and summary, so that you and your content editors can easily find the item later. On the go, within this same screen, you can also add new or existing categories and tags for this piece of content, so that you keep it all organized and tidy. You see, as a content management system, Sitefinity has done a great job in providing an intuitive, modern, simple, yet functional design to help authors and content editors do their job more productively and efficiently.
Creating content is just the first step. Making this content discoverable for both people and search engines is the natural next step. Apart from the meta description you just added, Sitefinity provides you with built-in key SEO tools to improve search engine rankings and make your content easily findable. For example, the content URL – it is SEO-friendly, mirroring the title of the item itself, so that both people and bot understand what they will see when they click on the link. Additionally, you can tweak the OpenGraph properties, so that you can decide how Sitefinity content is displayed as rich objects via the MVC widgets on social networks.
After you’re done with creating content and setting its properties, you send the content piece for approval to another user – the administrator – who receives an email notification to log in and edit the content item. When the approver logs in the backend, they see just one item in the News section, waiting for their approval. Once the administrator is ready with modifying the content, they can either publish it, schedule a specific time and date for publishing or reject the item and send it back to the author with a reason for the rejection.
You just published a news item but usually news require images to enhance and enrich the content. To associate an image or other media, to a specific content type or page, you add a custom field of type Related media, so that the field is always there, in the backend, when you create and edit an item of the specific type. You can also add a Related data custom field to make relations to other content types, or just a simple short text custom field for including the author’s name, for example.
Creating a custom field is a straightforward and simple process. While in the News section, go to Settings and then click Add a field. Follow the steps and select the type of field, for example, Related media, and then what type of media you want to relate to this content type – image, videos, or documents. You can choose to make this field required, so that all authors need to use it when creating News, prepopulate instructional text, or choose whether to relate single or multiple media items. Click Save and go back to your News item.
There you go – the Related media section is right there, when you edit the content item. To relate a media item, you simply upload a new image or choose one from your libraries.
All set! It is time to let your readers enjoy your content. First, however, you need to make the content visible on your pages via content widgets. Once you place a content widget on your page, it automatically displays all published articles from the News module, including the News item you just created. Content widgets are link between content and its presentation. A page can display any number and types of widgets that you can configure with different settings and properties. Let’s try it out by configuring our News widget to only display news created in the last couple of weeks, sorted by date, and displaying only 5 news items at a time.
Now, before you publish your page, you can easily preview it and check out the look and feel of the content and the positioning of the widgets on the page.
Hope you enjoyed this video and you followed the steps to create your first content item and workflow! Head to the next video to learn more about the capabilities of the Sitefinity CMS.