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Standard Article Management

Overview

A Standard Article is the most widely used article format within the Wide Area content management application. A standard article will typically consist of words and pictures, and sometimes other assets such as audio or video content, or data contained in other file formats such as pdf, Word or Excel documents.

Other article types are used by the application when content needs to be presented and/or collected in a more rigid format, or the application needs to perform an action as well as just display the content. Within the Wide Area application there are three other article types that the CMS uses to deliver content;

  •  e-commerce articles that need to collect and present product options and pricing information and have the ability to collect and store payment information, 
  • questionniare articles that need to collect content from users in a structured way
  • custom articles that are used to collect content in a specific form (either from you or your website users) and present that content on a web page.

This document provides an overview of the functions within Standard Article management and describes how to use them to manage your content efficiently. 

Each function includes an example of how it is commonly used and the benefits that it delivers, however some features will need to be incorporated  in your site design and/or CMS set-up in order to affect the way your content is presented on your website.

Related User Guides

Image Editing  Short URL Mapping  InDesign Content Uploader

Navigation

To create or edit a Standard Article, select Content Manage from the CMS home page and then choose the content area that you want to work in.

If you manage more than one website from the CMS then as a minimum, you should see two Areas listed.  

If a website includes different types of content, such as editorial, marketing and e-commerce, then it will often be set up using more than one CMS Area. This structure allows each content type to be accessed by different groups of users.

Once you have selected the Area you want, then you can navigate your way through the content tree to the appropriate CMS section or folder that you want to work in.

In the example below we have chosen Widearea3 as the Area, expanded the Resources folder and selected User Guides.

Edit an existing article

To locate the article that you want to edit, you can either navigate down the content tree as described above, or use the keyword search option to find it. The search option is most useful when you are not sure where in the CMS your article is located.

Every article in the CMS has a unique ID number, so if you know the ID or can find the article on your website, you can quickly locate your article in the CMS using this method. The example URL below illustrates where the ID is located, alternatively you can copy and paste the whole URL into the search box.

http://www.widearea.co.uk/resources/118843/standard-article-management.thtml

Obviously you can search for other keywords that appear in you article, but searching for the ID will usually deliver only one result (other articles will appear if that number happens to appear anywhere in the article body).

Listing page

Assuming you have navigated your way to your article through the CMS tree, you will reach a list of articles that are stored within the CMS section that you want to work in. You will usually find the most recently added article at the top of the list, however any user can change the order by dragging and dropping an article into a different position (Display Order). As an alternative, you can re-order your listing by article headline using the menu provided. 

To locate a specific article you can either scroll through the list, or use the Filter by Headline box to find the article that you want to edit.

In most instances the Display Order option of this page reflects the order in which content will appear on you website. If this is the case then you can manage the order of content on your site by re-ordering articles in the CMS. To do this you simply click on the icon to the left of the article headline and drag it into a new position.

If however, your site uses the publication date of your article to determine order, then re-ordering content in the CMS will have no effect on the site. Publication date is most commonly used for pages that present lists of articles from multiple sections, such as a home page that presents the latest content on the site.

It is also possible that your website uses different ordering methods in different places on your site, so re-ordering articles here may change some pages and not others. 

Shortcuts

Once you are familiar with the CMS you can use the shortcut menu to access management operations. Each action will be explained through the remainder of this document.

Creating content

To create a new Standard article, click on the Standard button in the 'Create new article' bar at the top of the page. If enabled, you will see multiple buttons for different article types in this bar.

As a minimum, an article should consist of a headline and some words (content).

In addition to these fields, we have included three optional fields that are most commonly used in website designs; Byline, Listing page copy and Small listing page copy. Whether or not you need to populate these fields will depend entirely on the design of your site.

Style sheets

Included on the article management page is the option to select a style sheet that is used to display content on the front of your website. The purpose of this option is to make your editing page more closely resemble the published page, so that you can edit more accurately and create new content faster.

By selecting a style sheet, your content will take on the fonts, heading styles and page width of your web page as you write it, giving you a better view of the finished product without having to preview the page on the staging site.

Below is a simple example of the article headline created above, but with a style sheet selected. Style sheets are presented in a drop-down menu format because an article may appear in more than one place on your website, so you may want to swap styles.

The remaining functions (box-outs, tags, extra fields, include fields) are all tools that allow us to control how your content will appear on your website and are explained in more detail later in this document.

Text editing

As you click into each text area, you will see a set of tools that let you style and format your content, paste in content from external sources such as Microsoft Word, add links and spell-check. The editor will vary depending on what you are doing and is regularly updated.

For more information about text editing, visit our Text Editor Features user guide.

Tools

Every CMS article page includes a Tools pallet that can be dragged around the page. The tools that appear in the pallet will vary depending on the article type that you are editing and the properties contained within the specific article, however the option to Save your article is always available. 

The Approved  check-box only appears for users with the appropriate CMS access privileges (see Create and Manage CMS Users), when checked, the Save option will switch to Publish and your article will appear on your website when you choose this option.

You can check the status of your article via the Information tool, where you will also see a log of every version of your article that has been saved by the CMS. You will soon be able to restore a previously saved version using this function, but for now, if you need to revert to an old version then you can send us a support ticket and we will do it for you. 

The Previews option provides you with a quick link to your staging website so that you can see exactly how your article will appear on your site before you publish it. The username and password for your staging site will also appear here.

The Images option will only appear in your Tools pallet if you have added images to your article. Image management will be covered later in this document.

Once you have saved your article, more management functions will appear within a set of tabs at the top of your article:

Edit

The Edit tab is your article home page.

Children

The only difference between a standard article and a child article is the association that the child has with another article (the parent article of the child). The most common use for child articles is to mange article comments. Each comment can be styled, staged and published independently, and the parent-child relationship is used to present all of the comments that are associated with each article in a particular way. 

Locations

The Locations tab lets you locate your article in more than one place on your website, or even locate it on a different website altogether. To add a location simply select the relevant CMS area and navigate your way to the  folder that you want it to appear in. Once you have found the location that you want to add, then check the box as illustrated below.

You can add as many locations to your article as you need but the most common use for this function is to locate a new article to a promotional slot such as a home page Top Story feature box.

If you want to move an article then you can either un-check the previous location whilst adding the new one, or use the Remove button in the 'Article's current location' summary box on the left of your screen.

For the 'Add a new location' function to work, the relevant article type must be available in the destination location. For example, you cannot make a questionnaire article a Top Story unless the Top Story box on your home page was designed to show questionnaire articles, and Questionnaire article type activated for that CMS section.  

So if you try to select a new location but the CMS will not allow you to check the box, then the most likely cause is that the article type for the article that you are attempting to relocate, is not active in the destination location.

This restriction prevents you from adding articles to places on your website that will not be displayed.

Primary location

As a rule, you should create each new article within the section that is  it's 'forever' home, or in CMS-speak, it's primary location. The primary location status is commonly used by the CMS to generate the URL for your article, so for articles that have multiple locations the Primary status acts like a canonical URL. 

Your URL structure may not necessarily mirror your content structure, but this structure will be used to form the logic behind the URL construction.

There are exceptions to this rule, but even then, this rule is still good practice for adding new content.

Assuming that you have created your article in its 'forever' home, then it is advisable not to change the Primary location of your article unless you have a specific reason to permanently move it. Changing the Primary location can break external links and, in some instances, break some pages on  your website. 

An example of this rule in practice is a breaking news story that lives in the News section of your website but that you also want to appear as your top story on your home page for a transient period.

By creating the article in News, the Primary location will automatically set. Adding the Top Story location will display your article in the top home page slot as well as on the News page.

However, when visitors click on the Top Story the article URL will look something like this: www.yourwebsite/news/123456/article_headline, and this is the link that will be picked up by search engines.

If you were to change the Primary location to Top Story, then the URL may change to something like www.yourwebsite/home/top_story/123456_article_headline, which as a website location does not exist. This means that  although the article would appear in your News section, clicking on the home page Top Story preview or a search link would give an error.

Instances where a Primary location is changed are usually associated with the permanent re-location of content, such as when we re-design a site. In this instance we would also create a series of URL re-directs to avoid any negative search results. 

Attributes

Attributes are used by the CMS to manage and display content on a web page. They are more flexible than Areas and Sections a method of organising your articles, but are less fluid than tags.

Used in conjunction with these other methods of organising content, they create a dynamic user experience.

Having the facility to add an attribute to an article gives you the ability to create a flag that can be read by the CMS. A flag can represent many different things but is typically used to manipulate what your content looks like, to create groups of articles, or to allow access to particular groups of users.

An attribute can have a simple yes/no value such as 'includes video' or 'display image', multiple values such as author names, or contain multiple values such as 'allow access to standard and premium subscribers. 

Attribute functionality is typically implemented as a part of your site build, but can be added as a part of a new feature request. In most instances, adding new attributes will require some corresponding changes to your website templates to make them work, however there  are some exceptions such as an author attribute that gives site visitors the ability to click on an author name and view all content attributed to that person, in this example you can add to your list of authors via the Attributes box on the home page of your CMS.

Below is an example of a typical set of attribute options:

 

To expand on these attribute settings:

DisplayImage - this is a yes/no value lets you decide whether an image is displayed on the home page on an ad-hoc basis

LightboxGallery - this value is to display images in a light box gallery for articles that have multiple images. It controls two style options so is controlled via a select menu.

VideoArticle - another yes/no value which changes the layout of a standard article to accommodate a video player

BoxOut type - a select menu to control front-end styling

Author - lets visitors find more articles by that author by clicking on their name. This attribute is set using a predictive search function. first click the Find button and then start to type the author name; the CMS will present a list of match names as you type.

 

Images

Images can be uploaded to your article either from your local PC or server or from an image gallery located within the CMS. [see Image Editing and Creating an Image Gallery articles]

In most instances, uploading an image to your article is all you have to do to make it appear on your website. The website template will select the size that it expects and position the image on the page in a structured way.

There are occasions however, when you want to add an image to the body of an article, or your site may include some promotional pages that do not confirm to a standard layout. 

In these instances you need to use the Tool Pallet to select the image size that you want to display and the size that you want to display it in, and then drag the image into position within the body of your article.

Below is an example of how the screenshot above was added to this article in the CMS using the Images Tool.

The image size is large and was selected from the drop-down menu. 

The relevant image was then selected from the scrolling list of images that have been added to the article and then dragged into position.

Assets

Assets are elements of content that are not words or images. You can upload elements such as video, WAV files, pdf documents MS Word or Excel files, to name but a few.

To add an asset to your article simply upload your chosen file via the Assets tab as shown below.

If every article in a particular section of your website includes the same format of asset, then all that is left to do is to click 'publish' to make the asset live. The article template should include the instructions to tell the web page where and how present the asset.

If however, you are adding an ad-hoc asset such as a pdf download to one feature article, then you will need to define the link that you want to display, and then position the link in the article body wherever you want that link to appear.

In the example below the link caption has been defined as 'Image Gallery user Guide' so this is the link text that appears on our website. 

The last step is to position the asset link within the body of your article and you do this by selecting Edit from menu bar to return you to the article edit page. Once there, you simply add the following placeholder in the position that you want the asset link caption to appear in your article 

The style of the link can be a simple line of text, a coloured link, an icon or an image and will have been determined by the design implementation for your site.

The placeholder reference is assigned at the point that the file is uploaded. If you want to change or update the file then you should use the Replace file option from the Asset menu.

To re-order assets within your document you should either drag and drop the Asset boxes that appear within the Assets area of your article, or re-order the placeholders within your article body; ...

Externally hosted content

If you want to add content to your article that is hosted elsewhere such as a YouTube video or Flash movie, then you should use the rich media options that are available in the Text Editing toolbar. Read our Text Editor Features user guide to find out more.

Properties

The article Publication Date is the date that the article was created. The Valid From and Valid to dates allow you to control when your article is displayed on your website. For example, you many have an editorial embargo that is released at midnight on Sunday. As an alternative to setting your alarm clock and publishing your article in real time, you can set this time and date within the Valid From field and make your article live today. Your article will then appear on your site at the designated time without you having to be logged into the CMS at midnight on Sunday.

Similarly, you may want to run a competition that has a designated close date. If you set this date as the Valid To property then you will not have to go back and edit the article to remove it from the site.

SEO

SEO properties are generated automatically by the CMS, so unless you want to make a particular change or add extra meta information, there is no need for you to edit this page.

The SEO content is updated each time the article is made live.

Keywords and phrases are not used by search engines but are sometimes used by the CMS to identify related articles.

The Extra Meta Information section of this page is for SEO specialists to manage custom values.

Manage

The Manage tab gives you fine control over the publishing process.

You can perform the most frequently used tasks such as save, submit for approval (for users who do not have approval permissions) and publish, straight from the article edit page. To carry out other tasks such as approve content, stage or delete, you need to select the Manage tab.

From here you can also see the status of your article from the summary and view it's editorial history. Included in the history is a log of who did what to the article and when. Each version of your article is saved by the CMS where it is possible for us to retrieve past versions if required.

MANAGE
 
The Manage tab give you fine control over the publishing process. You can save, submit for approval and publish your article straight from the article edit page. To approve content, stage or delete, you need to select the Manage tab.
 
From here you can see the status of your article from the summary and view it's editorial history. Included in the history is a log of who did what to the article and when. Each version of your article is saved by the CMS where it is possible for us to retrieve past versions if required.
 
The remaining tools and tabs allow you to enhance your content by adding images, video and other assets and let you control where and how your article is accessed from the web. You can also access the auto-generated meta information so that you can manage your SEO activity.
 
The rest of this article outlines how to use each function, with examples of how they have been used, however most of these features need to be incorporated  in your site design and implemented within the site  templating system in order to change the way your content is presented.

Box-outs 

Box-outs are used to display small blocks of content in a particular way. The concept is based on a traditional pull-quote that you often see in printed newspaper or magazine articles. Below is an example of  a traditional pull-quote that appears within a review article, however box-outs can contain all sorts of information and can link off to other articles such as an e-commerce item or an event booking form.

And this is how the pull-quote looks in the CMS

The quote is positioned within the article like this:

  ... but it feels much smaller

[extra:pullquote:boxout=1] The accommodation is divided...

Just like images and assets, you will only need to position the boxout on your page by hand when you want to control where it goes. Boxouts that sit in a fixed position will be managed by the template and displayed according to the boxout type that you allocate to it.

Extra fields

As a default, the Extra Fields option contains an External Link option. This is used where a page design includes a link in a fixed position, that is then styled in a particular way. Ad-hoc links are added using the Link option in the Text Editor menu.

Custom fields can also be added to accommodate client-specific requirements.

Tags

Tags allow you to organise your content semantically.

How you use them within your design is entirely up to you. We can implement a traditional tag cloud or use them as a simple navigation tool. The options are endless.

In the example below, this page displays tags in two formats. The articles listings on the left include the tags that are associated with each article and the cloud on the right gives visitors a snapshot of popular topics across the site. Each tag is scored by frequency and recency and the results represented by scaled font size within a tag cloud.

You should now be familiar with the range of options available to you to create and manage Standard article content. Most of these features are standard across all article types, so you are well on your way to mastering the Wide Area content management application.

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