We start off 2016 with a question from a customer!
The question was:
“We need a new Sitefinity website fast. What can we do to speed up the normal design and development process?”
The first idea that came to mind was, “Work with Sitefinity experts who can rapidly design and build your Sitefinity instance and help you populate it.”
The next idea was, “Try a Sitefinity Theme.”
It’s the second idea we’ll discuss in today’s Sitefinity Insider post.
A Refresher on Themes
A theme provides the look/feel and page templates for a Sitefinity website.
Theme elements include images, layout elements like icons and bars, and stylesheets. Themes determine things like:
- What colors you’ll use
- The styling for page layouts
- Page element styles & positions (headlines, navigation bars, etc.)
- How images are displayed
- How lines, boxes, etc. are displayed
- What display changes to make when viewed on a phone or tablet (Responsive Design). This is shared with the templates as well; you may have phone-specific stylesheets, for example.
Where Do I Get a Theme?
Sitefinity does include a basic theme by default. But it is very basic. That way you can create your own look for your own site.
You can get themes two ways: Download pre-existing themes or have a custom one designed for you.
With a pre-existing Sitefinity theme, you will reduce your web design costs by a great deal and speed up your development process. The drawback is that in most cases, it’s fairly evident that it’s a template site. Plus the themes have varying degrees of responsive design for mobile and tablets so you may spend additional money making your site responsive.
Here are some websites where you can review and download Sitefinity themes:
Some themes are free; others you’ll pay for. We recommend the paid themes, as they’re generally better quality and you can get some support from the maker.
Please Note: Sitefinity’s continuous advancement can render some themes out-of-date. You should check a theme’s compatibility with your version of Sitefinity, and the date of its last update, before you choose it. Otherwise the theme may cause trouble in building the site.
How to Apply a Theme
Once you have a theme downloaded or created, it’s rather easy to apply it to your website.
- Place your theme’s files inside any of Sitefinity’s “App_Themes” folders. For example: “/App_Data/Sitefinity/WebsiteTemplates/YourTemplate/App_Themes/Theme1”. You can do this via FTP or within Sitefinity, under Administration/File Manager.
- If you haven’t already, log into Sitefinity’s backend (http://www.yourwebsite.com/sitefinity).
- In the main menu, click Administration/Settings.
- Click “Advanced” on the right of the page name. The full Settings page will appear.
- In the left menu, expand the “Appearance” section.
- Click “Frontend Themes”.
- Click the “Create New” button on the right. A form will appear.
- In the “Name” field, enter a name for the theme. Whatever name will identify it to you works best.
- In the “Path” field, enter the path to your theme we made in Step 1 (~/App_Data/Sitefinity/WebsiteTemplates/YourTemplate/App_Themes/Theme1). Don’t forget the tilde (~) at the beginning.
- Click “Save Changes” to finish.
One theme registered! Now Sitefinity knows it’s there. Next, you’ll apply this theme to the Page Templates you’re using (or plan to use).
- On the main menu, click Design/Page Templates.
- Click the name of the template to which you want to apply the theme.
- In the upper-right corner, click the “Theme” button.
- You’ll see a dropdown menu. In the menu, select the new theme.
- Click “Publish” to save the changes. The new theme will now apply to all pages using this template.
Save Time on a New Sitefinity Website with a Theme
Here are two examples of customers’ websites built using a Sitefinity theme.
Again, if you want a truly unique-to-you website, you’ll want a Sitefinity design and development team to create a custom theme for you. Some businesses need a custom website; others can get away with a pre-existing theme—it’s all industry and company specific.
I asked last month, but it’s worth repeating: Is there anything you’d like to read about on the Sitefinity Insider for 2016? If so, please leave a comment or email us.
Join us back here next month for more Sitefinity how-to!