Now that Sitefinity 10 is out, we have a menu of new features to enjoy!

If I went through all the new features, this would be a VERY long post. Sitefinity’s major updates (7 to 8, 8 to 9…) always include big changes. Instead, I’d like to focus on 4 of the new 10 features.

Why? Because these four all have one thing in common: they make Sitefinity easier to use.

Improving usability in a CMS already known for ease of use? Tall order. But Sitefinity pulled it off with 10. The updates help with website management, development, and marketing. Like most updates, they shored up little frustrations in prior versions and smoothed out existing processes.

Let’s take a look, shall we? I’ve documented the four new features in terms of what they do, how they help, and how to use them (which often involves setup time).

We’ll run one post per new feature. That way you have a nice short post to read now and come back to later.

Feature 1: Site Shield

What It Does:

Keeps a website invite-only while it’s under development. Only invited users can view the secured under-construction website.

How it Helps:

Site Shield conveys three benefits while you’re building a new website.

  1. Protects the information on the under-construction website.
  2. Minimizes cyberattack risk. Hackers are not above slipping a little exploit into an under-development website, for later triggering.
  3. Avoids the problem of accidental search indexing. This is a bit complex (and mostly invisible) so I’ll illustrate it via example.

Let’s say you have a live website running at http://www.domain1.com. You’re building a new website at http://staging.domain1.com. Eventually, the website at staging.domain1.com will replace the website at www.domain1.com.

Each website is on a different server. The server hosting www.domain1.com is open to search engine spiders. However, the server hosting staging.domain1.com is also open to search engine spiders.

If you have Site Shield running, Google looks at the staging.domain1.com server…and moves on.
If you don’t have Site Shield running, Google looks at the staging.domain1.com server…and starts indexing its pages.

This can disrupt your live website’s SEO. Are you targeting all of the exact same keywords? Uh oh, you may get a Duplicate Content warning. Is staging.domain1.com targeting different keywords? Google may try to apply those to the live website instead, messing up its rankings.

(I’ve seen this happen. It’s an annoying problem to untangle.)Sitefinity System Menu

How to Use It:

To use Site Shield, you must have a Sitefinity license with the Multisite add-on. (That means Professional Edition on up.)

  • In Sitefinity, click the Administration tab. Select “Modules & Services.”
  • Locate the Site Shield module. Under its Actions tab, click Activate.
  • Go back to the Dashboard. Click Administration again…you should see a “Site Shield” link. Click it.
  • Click the Activate for this Site button.
  • Site Shield is now active. You’ll need to invite users to grant them access.
  • Click the Invite User button on the same page. A popup window will appear.
  • Type in email addresses of the users you want to have access. Click the Send Invitation button.
  • Each user will receive an email with a special link. Clicking this link brings up the site again, but authenticated, so the user can access & work on the site.

Site Shield Window

Don’t forget…when it’s time for the site to go live, return to the Site Shield page under Administration, and click the Deactivate User button. Otherwise, nobody will see it!

Next time we’ll cover the Import/Export function. Join us back here in 2 weeks to see!

How to Use 4 Usability-Improving Sitefinity 10 Features – #1, Site Shield
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