A blog can take one of two roles: part of a website, or a whole website. Now, Sitefinity can devote an entire website to a blog. But doing so limits the usability of its other web tools.
With Sitefinity, a blog works best as part of the website. www.domain.com/blog sort of thing. Great for SEO and for conversations with your audience.
Whatever form your blog takes, it’ll need a template. That’s what we’re talking about today.
Definition of a Blog Template
A Blog Template in Sitefinity acts just like a page template – mostly because it is. It’s a Page Template you’ve dedicated to use for a Blog.
You can use one template for all blogs, or one template for each blog.
Using Blog Templates in Sitefinity
Sitefinity allows the creation of multiple blogs within its backend. Most businesses only use one blog. But the functionality is there for as many as you want.
In our July 2015 post on creating blogs, we began the process by creating a “blog homepage”. This page must use a Page Template, like all other pages. The actual blog posts are organized like News items in their own section. (It’s under Content, below News.)
However, since this is for a blog, you can (and should) create a new Page Template, and designate it for the blog. What we usually do is take one of the existing Page Templates and modify it to display blog posts.
Here’s an example of a blog homepage template:
And how the “live” blog page looks:
Obviously the template looks “unfinished”. Open spaces where content will be. That’s how Sitefinity identifies areas where you can put content blocks. Like a list of blog posts.
Customizing Blog Templates
If you’re using a custom Page Template, additional modifications are easy. Since Page Templates are designed to display content according to the company’s brand, changing it to display blog posts is no big stretch.
Refer to the previous post, “Sitefinity Templates: What is a Page Template?”, for how to customize a page template. With one notable difference.
Blog List View vs. Blog Post View: Most blogs we’ve created for customers use the same template for the blog list view, and the blog post view. This results in the blog post displaying in a central block on the page. The same spot they saw the list of blog post titles, one click beforehand.
Here’s another example:
List of Blog Posts
Individual Blog Post
Like you’d find in a WordPress blog, the blog post itself takes on the CSS styling of the blog homepage. You can of course customize styling within the post itself, using HTML and inline CSS. Otherwise, it will look the same as other content on the website.
Caveats & Cautions
If you do use a Page Template used by other pages, the blog will display any changes you make to that Page Template. For this reason we recommend using a separate template ONLY for the blog. No other pages. It can look almost identical to those other page templates…but it’s still separate.
Pay attention to mobile rendering with blogs. Since many blogs will display a list of recent posts alongside the post you’re reading, the template needs to decide where those lists go on mobile. Most websites will wrap post lists underneath a blog post on phones & tablets.
Sitefinity does have Responsive Design built into its latest versions. But you’ll still have to test. After all, blog posts appear differently than regular webpages. If someone wants to read your blog on an iPhone and it has an image which stretches off the phone screen…well, you’d rather fix that before anyone sees it, right?
Next up we’ll discuss Widget Templates.
Does your Sitefinity website run a blog? What’s the topic? Please comment with the URL; I’d love to take a look.