Major new feature: launch of our blog platform

Major new feature: launch of our blog platform

23rd October 2018

 

A Sketchanet user designing a blog layout on their laptop

 

We are really excited to announce the general release of a major new feature within the Sketchanet toolbox – dedicated blog functionality. This feature is immediately available to all Sketchanet customers at no extra cost.

 

For detailed documentation of getting set up to create or blog, or to add a blog to your existing Sketchanet site, check out our docs on how to build a blog within Sketchanet.

 

For some more general information, please read on.

 

Why does Sketchanet need a dedicated blog feature, and why should I use this new feature?

Sketchanet has always provided the tools to create whatever page designs you like – you are in control of the layout, design, colours, everything in fact. Many customers have for some time used this general functionality to create articles or news pages, or a 'blog'. So why have we built this new feature?

 

The simple answer is that with this new feature you get tremendous power to do things quickly and easily. Multiple parts of your website can be automatically updated just by publishing a new post.

 

In the vast majority of cases, all blog posts on a website will use the same general page layout. The difference between blog post pages is just the content of each post. So, it stands to reason that creating a new post should be no harder than just entering the content – you shouldn't have the mess about with page design, layout, or text styling or anything like that. It should be really quick and really easy. Ta-da! That is exactly what we have done. Once you have your blog set up, creating a new post is as simple as entering the new content.

 

To make this so simple, whilst also making sure you have the design flexibility that you need, we have given you a way to easily create your own blog post template. This is very similar to creating a normal page, with the small addition that you add placeholders that will be populated with your blog post content. So, you create the blog post template once, then you are set and moving forwards you only ever have to write the new post content, which will automatically render using the blog post template you created. This is a big time-saver, but there are still more power features to tell you about.

 

Post widgets

Post widgets are lists of links to blog posts. Each item might display a title and image, with the option to include a date and perhaps a shortened version of the post content. A visitor clicks on an item to view that post. A post widget can be inserted anywhere on any page on your site, and it gets its content from the posts that you have published. If you publish a new post, your post widget gets new content automatically.

 

So a very simple example would be if you wanted to display your latest news on your home page. You could insert a post widget that displayed your 3 most recent news stories. Moving forwards, any time you publish a new news story, that widget on the home page gets updated, but you don't have to touch the new page at all. This really simplifies things.

 

Here are some examples of how you might use a post widget:

 

A blog template with a  sidebar

In the example above, the post template page has a post widget in the sidebar. providing quick links to other recent posts.

 

A blog widget grid example

In this example, we have a cover page, with a post widget using a grid layout to provide links to the 4 most recent posts

 

 

Tags

Each post you create can be assigned one or more Tags. A tag is a way of grouping posts. For example, if you were writing a lifestyle blog, you might decide to have the tags “Travel”, “Home & Garden”, “Cooking” and assign those tags appropriately depending on what a specific post is about. Then you can create a post widget that only lists posts that have a specific tag assigned, and that widget will only list those posts.

 

Social Media Sharing

When you create a post in Sketchanet, we automatically generate the markup required to ensure your post displays looking its best in social media feeds. When you or someone else share the url of your post, the preview in the feed will look something like this:

 

A preview of how a post would be displayed in a social media feed

 

Search Engine Optimisation

Creating regular fresh content for your website will help to engage customers and will likely improve your search engine rankings. Write about things that will be interesting to your readers or useful to your customers and Google will reward you with a higher position in their listings. And you don't have to pay them for that.

 

Summary

The Sketchanet blog system is a really powerful new feature that will make it quick and simple to add regular updates to your website, and in doing so, improve your customer engagement and search engine ranking. We would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions on how we can improve this feature, and we look forward to seeing the creative ways you use this feature on your website.

 

To get started, check out our tutorial on how to build a blog

 

 

 

 

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