Jul 29, 2010

NetSource’s SiteSource CMS: Glossary of Terms

To help you navigate your way through your new SiteSource Content Management System from NetSource, here is a basic guide of the terms and elements you’ll need to know.

Content Management System (CMS) – A Content Management System (CMS) is a web-based development platform that allows a website’s owner to manage their website without any programming or web design knowledge.  Typically, a CMS will allow you to add, edit, and delete pages on your site, upload photos, and add downloadable documents.  Some systems might have additional functionality, like allowing you to create and manage Flash slideshows, Blogs, Calendars, and more.

Menu or Navigation – A website’s main method of presenting and organizing the pages available for browsing is through a menu or navigation.  The menu is typically a block of buttons that spans horizontally across the top of a website or is stacked vertically down the left- or right-hand side.  A menu can also include fly-out or drop-down navigation that presents secondary pages under a main tab or button.  For the most flexibility, and so you can add as many pages as you like to your new SiteSource website, we recommend a vertical (up and down) menu.

Main Level – In reference to a website’s menu, the main level menu buttons are those visible immediately when the  website loads.  The main level can host sub-menu items in the form of fly-out or drop-down menus that appear when the main level button is hovered over.

Sub-Menu – a sub-menu is a secondary menu or pages organized under a main level page. For instance, the About Us page might be the main level menu item, while Our History, Our Locations, and Our Staff might be sub-menu pages displayed in a fly-out or drop-down menu under About Us.

Types of Pages in SiteSource

Home Page – The Home page of your site is the main or “first” page of your site found at www.yourdomain.com.  In SiteSource, the Home page can contain several specialized and/or custom features including a Flash Slideshow of photos, featured news, calendar, or blog posts, and specialized Content Boxes.  See below for more info on each of these special features.

Content Page – Content pages will likely make up the bulk of your website’s pages.  They contain text and photos presented and edited by you in a system very similar to a word processor like Microsoft Word.  You can add text, images, links, downloadable documents, formatted tables, and more to your content pages.

Photo Gallery – A SiteSource photo gallery allows you to present collections of related photos in thumbnail format that visitors can click on for enlargements.  You can add as many photo galleries as you like to your site, limited only by your hosting disc space.  You can also add introductory text and images to the Photo Gallery page through an interface similar to content pages. Each photo gallery can have either a single photo album or multiple albums. For instance, you might have an Events photo gallery that has individual albums for Holiday Dinner, Summer Picnic, and Day of Service.

Photo Albums – A photo album is the actual collection within a photo gallery of related photos presented with captions. As with the parent photo gallery, you can choose to include an introduction to your album, and you can define an “album cover” photo.

Calendar – SiteSource’s Calendar is presented in a traditional tabular format that resembles the familiar, print-style calendar grid.  Website visitors can scroll forward and backward through the months.  You can choose to have a single calendar or multiple, themed calendars that work together (for instance, each department might have its own calendar). Each calendar event shows up as a text link on the specified day’s calendar block.

Calendar Events – Clicking on each calendar event listing (displayed on the calendar grid as a text link) will bring visitors to a detailed description of that event. You can add links, formatted text, and photos to your calendar event description page.

Blog – SiteSource’s blog component is a simplified blogging system that allows you to get up and running making regular posts without having to learn a complicated system.  You can use your blog to post articles, make announcements, solicit customer feedback, post news and media, and so much more. You can add as many blogs to your site as you like.

Blog Comments – Visitors to your blog can post comments.  You can decide if comments get automatically posted to your site, or if comments require approval before being displayed.  The blog also has a SPAM filtering system to help cut down on illegitimate comment posts.

Page Elements

As you edit the content on your page, you will find the following main buttons and tools in the page editor’s toolbars.

linkLinks – Links are the most basic element of the internet.  Clicking on a link takes you to a webpage by directing your browser to that page’s address, or URL. Links can be added to text or to images, and they can link you to other pages on the same site (interior links) or to pages on a different website (exterior links).  Every page on the internet has a unique address.  To find a page’s link address so you can link to it, simply look at the Address Bar at the top of your browser.

block2Blockquote – A blockquote is a section of text that is indented both on the left and the right.

numberedNumbered List – A numbered list (also known in the web world as an ordered list) is an indented list of numbered items. SEO Tip: for better search engine ranking for your most important keywords, be sure to have the keyword you are trying to optimize for in a numbered or bulleted list.

blockquoteBulleted List – A bulleted list (also known as an unordered list) in an indented bullet point list. SEO Tip: for better search engine ranking for your most important keywords, be sure to have the keyword you are trying to optimize for in a numbered or bulleted list.

formatHeadings – Headings are the bold headlines on your web pages that help you organize and present your content.  Headings are usually available for use from Heading 1 through Heading 6 (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6), with Heading 1 as the main headline for your page and the smaller headings used for sub-categories on the page.  SEO Tip: You can rank better for your most important keywords if they can be found in your headings, in particular your H1.

imageImages – Images on a web page can refer to both photos or other graphic elements like logos, promotional graphics, product diagrams, banners and more.  You can add images to Content Pages quickly and easily.  You can also upload photos to your photo albums.

tableTables – Tables are a useful element for presenting data sets in a tabular format.  SiteSource has an easy tool that helps you add tables and format them (borders, shading, padding, etc.).

horizontalHorizontal Lines – Horizontal lines can be used to separate two areas of a page.  They are lines that stretch from the left to the right side of the page, and you can control the color, size, and shading.

Page Properties

Each of these items can be updated and managed by you under the “Page Properties” tab of each page.

Page URL – The term URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and refers to the “address” of a web page. For example, the URL for the Our History page on this blog is: http://www.netsourceinc.com/about-us/history.aspx.  You can find the URL of any page by looking at the address bar located at the top center of your browser window.

Page Target – When someone clicks on a link on your site, you can decide to open a new window or tab instead of opening the new page in the same browser window.  This is a good idea when you are sending someone off of your website or linking to a PDF.  In order to acheive this effect, you would set the page target of your new link to _blank.

Menu Title – This is the text displayed on the menu button for your page.  For instance, in the interest of brevity and space use you might make the menu title “About Us” while your page title is “About XYZ Widgets in California”. Please note that your menu title will also be used as the H1 heading for your page as well.

Page Title -Your page title is usually displayed at the very top of your browser or on your browser tab.  Page titles are used for SEO purposes, and they will be displayed as your bolded link on search engine results pages. SEO Tip: Be sure the main keyword or phrase you are trying to optimize for on your page is present in your page title, at or very near the beginning. Page titles should be between 66 characters (Google limit) and 120 characters (Yahoo! limit). Finally, make sure each of your pages has a unique page title.

Meta Keywords – Meta keywords are invisible code only seen by search engines.  When you enter keywords, simply enter comma separated words and phrases.  Capitalization is not necessary.  SEO Tip: Meta keywords are ignored by Google, while Bing and Yahoo! still take them into account (sometimes).  However in all cases, your meta keywords will be useless if the words or phrases you list are not present in the actual, readable text of your page.  You should limit your meta keywords to the 6 – 10 words or phrases that are most relevant to the page you are placing them on.

Meta Description – The meta description is another invisible code on your page primarily used for search engine ranking.  However, some search engines might display your meta description as the intro paragraph for your link on search engine results pages.  Your description should be a short summary of your page’s contents.  SEO Tip: The most effective meta descriptions are 150 characters or 25 words, and they contain all or most of the keywords you are trying to optimize your page for. Your meta description should not simply be a comma separated list.

Actions

addpageAdd Page –  When you are ready to add a page to your website, click on the “Add Page” button found in the upper left-hand side of the management screen.  This will bring you to the Add Page screen.  First you’ll need to choose your Page Type from the drop-down: Content Page, Photo Gallery, Blog or Calendar. Then choose your Parent Page – if you want your new page to be on the Main Level of your menu, choose “No Parent,” if you want your new page to be part of a sub-menu, click on the radio button beside the parent page you want it to reside beneath. Then choose your Page Target (in most cases you’ll choose “Open in Same Window”). Decide if you want the new page to be shown on your menu – keep the checkbox next to Show on Menu unchecked if you want to keep the new page out of the menu. Finally, type in the Menu Title you want for you new page and click “Save Changes”.

Show on Menu – Sometimes you might not want to have a page displayed on the Main Level or even the Sub-Menus of your Navigation – perhaps you want to send a private link to a client or board members, or maybe you want to create a graphic on an existing page that links directly to the new page in order to control the flow of traffic to the page. Whatever your reason, you can click the checkbox next to “Show on Menu” during the creation of the new page. Or, you can update this setting by clicking on the “Page Properties” tab and checking or unchecking as needed.

publishPublish Page – New pages are not automatically published to your website, so you can have time to add, edit, and finalize your new page’s content before the rest of the world sees it.  When you are ready to make your new page available to your website visitors, click on the page’s menu title in the page tree on the left, then click on the “Publish Page” button at the bottom of the page editor window.

unpublishUnpublish Page – If you wish to remove a page from your website temporarily, you can click on the “Unpublish Page” button at the bottom of the page editor window. This action removes the page from website visitors’ view without deleting it permanently. You can choose to “Publish” the page again at a later date (handy for seasonal pages like Holiday Sales), or you can simply save the content for historical purposes.

deleteDelete Page – If you are sure you will no longer need a page that you wish to remove from your website, you can click the “Delete Page” button found at the bottom of the page editor window.  Please note that in order to retrieve date from a deleted page, a programmer would have to manually restore your database from a previous back-up.  This is time consuming and costly, so be sure to use this button with care!

saveSave Changes – This is the most important button on your page editor window.  Whenever you make a change to the “Page Content” or “Page Properties” of your website’s pages, be sure to click on the “Save Changes” button near the bottom of the page screen, otherwise you will lose your changes!

Advanced Features

Photo Slideshow – SiteSource sites come with a Flash slideshow on the Home Page that displays an unlimited number of photos or graphics with stylized transitions, optional captions, and optional links.  Your lead designer will help you develop the best strategy for the size, placement, content and presentation of this element.  In order to add slides, edit captions and links, reorder slides, and delete slides entirely, simply click on the “Home” link in the Page Tree on the left-hand side of your management console.  Next, click on the “Photo Slideshow” tab at the top of the page editor window.

Site Map – A site map will be automatically generated and updated for you and will include links in a bulleted list to all of the pages on your website that are Published and are set to “Show on Menu”. Any changes you make to your menu are immediately reflected on the Site Map as soon as you “Save Changes”.

Content Box – Sometimes the display of your Home Page will be highly specialized, and instead of a single text area, you might have several block elements where text and photos can be added and edited.  In this case, you “Page Content” tab for the Home Page will have 2 or more editor boxes (one for each of the defined areas on the page).

Video – Video is an optional addition to SiteSource websites that can be customized to your needs and vision.  One popular option includes a single “Featured Video” on your Home Page.  Another option is the ability to add a video to every Content Page of your site. Yet another option creates a Video Gallery on your website, similar to the Photo Gallery page type. These additional features can be added on during website development or at any time after launch.

Site Search – Every new SiteSource site comes with the ability to add a site-wide search element. The site search will index all of your pages and files (like PDFs) on a daily basis so that site visitors can type in a keyword or phrase and get relevant page and file results.

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