On-Demand Sitefinity Training

Intro to Sitefinity

[7:22 minutes] Login, Sitefinity Licenses, and Navigating in the CMS Sitefinity

  • See how to log into Sitefinity, and understand the 'license' seats limitations
  • See how to navigate within Sitefinity

[5:49 minutes] Content Re-usability

  • See examples of how a content item is entered once, and is displayed on several lists
    • An Event is shown on the homepage, the events list, and on the Volunteer page.
    • News stories can be shown on separate audience lists.
    • In both instances, you create the item once and add categories to have it automatically show on the relevant pages.
  • Watch from the admin area of Sitefinity to create a content item by entering the information to fields and adding a category of 'volunteer'.

[9:25 minutes] Pages vs Content items

A. Pages typically make up the site's navigation. Each page can use any template and has the ability to adjust the layout and add widgets.There is much flexibility when creating pages.

B. Content items are typically listed on a page (you don't see news headlines in the navigation). Content items are created by filling in the content fields. And then the fields are stamped into their templates. There is typically a list view template and a content detail view template. Changes to the template views require work by one of Results Direct's site builders.

[14:48 minutes] A full overview of working with content items

  • Explanation of 'what are Content Types'
  • See a content type's list of fields in the admin area of Sitefinity, and compare that to the user's view how that is displayed on the website.
  • See how to search for a specific item.
  • Create a new item.
  • See an overview of all the different types of fields you may encounter.

[11:22 minutes] Manage Files and Images

  • Best Practices with naming files
  • Know your site's preferred folder structure
  • Compress images
  • Resize images
  • Upload files
  • Add alternative text to images *Important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)!

Create New Pages and Change the Navigation

[11:08] Create a page and use Title & Properties

  • Three ways to create a page:  'Create a Page', Create a child page, duplicate a page
  • Choose a Template
  • Page options: Show in navigation, create a group page, create a redirect
  • Overview of the Title & Property settings:
  • - - Edit the URL
  • - - Add an Additional URL
  • - - Add the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Title and Description
  • - - Set the page to be indexed for search (or not)

[9:31] Change the Website Navigation

  • Use Title & Properties to change the Parent page
  • Use ‘Reorder’ to refine the order of pages in a section

Style Content

[13:06] Apply Styles with the Formatting bar, aka as the WYSIWYG

  • Apply paragraph styles such as Heading 2
  • Apply bold and italics
  • Add bullets or numbered list
  • Insert links to pages and external sites
  • Insert links to files
  • Get familiar with HTML code

[10:31] Insert and Style Images using the Formatting bar

  • Insert an image
  • Use the Style-Guide to add a class to to format images so text wraps around the image

[3:35] Style Links as Buttons

  • Use the Style Guide to see the different buttons available
  • Use HTML to style your links as buttons

[8:35] Add or Update a URL Link on an Image or Icon

  • New sites have placeholder links of #0 on images, buttons, and social media icons
  • Watch our tip on how to update those links without messing up the HTML image reference

[14:04] Improve Page Layouts Using the Style Guide to add styled content blocks, accordions, and a pull quote

  • Your Style Guide includes RD-built elements that can be brought into any styled text area
  • From Layout, add a styled Content Block. Usually 3 options: standard, Action, Highlight. And add a content block into that layout widget.
  • From Layout, add an accordion. Learn the difference between Accordion Open and Accordion. Add content blocks into the label area and into the content area. (You can nest accordions; RD does not recommend nesting accordions.)
  • We explain how even without the layout widgets, you can use HTML to copy code from the Style Guide into a styled text area.
  • Add a Pull Quote. Watch the copy and paste of code from the Style Guide to create the Pull Quote.

Advanced Page Builder Tools

[4:10] Change the page template for any given page

  • Use Layout to Select another template
  • See how the title of the template indicates which elements are on that template
  • Drag all the elements (widgets and layout) down into where the content should be. Work from the bottom up.

[6:14] Improve the Page Layout by Adding Columns

  • Columns are best on responsive websites; use columns instead of tables
  • Use Layout to choose 2, 3, or 4 columns.
  • Add widgets to the column areas
  • Use Edit on your column widget to change the fractions to resize the columns. They do not have to be equal width.
  • Use Edit on your column widget to add labels to let other staff know what to place in that column.

[11:41] Add lists of content items to a page

  • From Content or RD: Choose the type of content you want to list (News, Events, Resources – any Content Type created for your site.) and drag in that widget.
  • Edit the three tabs of settings:
    • Content. Events should be set to future events. And you can filter by any category
    • List Settings. How many to list? Sort order? Which list template?
    • Single Item Settings. Choose the detail page that RD built for you
  • Tips: add a header above your list. Add a ‘view all’ button after short lists.

[5:24] Create a Shared Content Block 

  • Shared Content Blocks make it easy to update content on multiple pages
  • Create a Shared Content Block: From any Content Block, use More > Share.  Give this block a name – this is an internal name for the site admins to find this easily.
    • See the visual indicator on any Shared Content Block
    • Notice the warning that changes will be applied to all instances of that shared block.
  • To Use a Shared Content Block on another page, drag in a Content Block. Click on More, and choose ‘Use Shared’. And select the Shared Content Block.
  • To see all the Shared Content Blocks, go to Content > Content Blocks. From that list, you can edit the blocks, create new Shared Blocks, see the pages using that block.

[15:31 minutes] Create Forms for users to submit information

  • Sitefinity’s Forms are not allowed to capture Credit Card information or other sensitive data. The data is not sent securely.
  • Create the form in Content > Forms. The title is an internal name only.
    • Add the fields desired. Use edit on each form to change its properties
    • Add ‘Captcha’ to keep spam out. (If your site has Single Sign On, use Edit to set Captcha only for unauthenticated users only.)
    • Edit the Submit button, and use More options to add a button class to your form.
    • In Settings, set the confirmation action (message or redirect to a page)
    • In Settings, set the notification email address
  • Warning! Do not use Preview or view from the Forms area. The page styles won’t be applied.
  • Add the 'Form' widget to the page. Select the form to use. Wait for the form to load. Preview/publish the page.
  • Watch the form being filled in and submitted. See the confirmation note. See the email notification.
  • Go back to Content > Forms, and Review responses.
    • Admins can create a response directly.
    • Export as Excel

[14:06] Restrict Content using Permissions and Roles

  • Use this for Member-Only content
  • The Roles available come from your AMS as part of the Single Sign On. Roles are created automatically in Sitefinity
  • Watch how we use multiple content blocks for different messages based on the viewer
    • Members-Only content
    • Content to show for someone who isn’t logged in
    • Content to show for someone who is logged in, but isn’t a member
  • Set Permissions on an entire page. When a page is restricted, a non-logged in user will not even see the page in the navigation. The user won’t know they need to log in to see the restricted content.
  • Set Permissions on Files

Advanced Settings for Pages and for Content Items

[5:55 minutes] Use the Revision History on pages and on Content items

  • See Page Revision History to view older versions of any page. You can also revert to any older version.
  • See Revision History on a content item. Compare two versions.
  • Files and Images have Revision History, too. 

[13:08] Publish or Unpublish on a specific date

  • Set a Content Item to publish in the future
  • Set a Content item to unpublish on a specific date
  • Edit a Content item to publish in the past
  • Edit a Page, save the changes, and set it to publish in the future
  • Set an unpublish date for a page to be unpublished on a specific date in the future

Search Indexing and Search Tools

[4:49 minutes] Search Indexing settings and Excluding file libraries

  • Set which Content Types should be indexed for search (controls all searches). Administration > Search Index
  • Set specific file libraries to not be indexed for search results. Administration > Settings > Advanced > ResultsDirect > Sections > RDEnvironment. Field ‘Search excluded directories’

[10:19 minutes] Change the settings on a specific Search Results page

  • Set the number of items per page
  • Change which Category filter options are on the search results
  • Change which content types are included on this search page (Tip: Hold control or command to multi-select)
  • Choose which search view to use
  • Watch a custom search page get created by duplicating an existing search page

Administration Tools

[8:37] Manage Categories, aka Taxonomy or Classification

  • Add and edit Categories
  • Use the more actions to bulk move all the items from one category to another

[6:56] Use the 404/Redirect tool to set URLs as 301 permanent redirects

  • Every page already has an ‘Additional URL’ area to set redirects.
  • The 404 Redirect tool captures all the times a user received the 404 ‘page not found’.
  • Watch how we try a URL that doesn’t exist and see the 404 page.
  • Go to Administration > 404 / Redirect Tool
  • See the list of all captured not found URLs.
  • Use the search options, hit count, Last Date columns.
  • Learn about not found URLs that you can ignore (typos, wordpress admin login, etc.)
  • Watch how to set a redirect for a not found URL.
  • Warning – when setting the content, click “Search”, instead of using the keyboard return.

[4:18] Create / edit back-end users

  • Go to Administration > Users
  • Fill in first name, last name, email, and password.
  • Set the back-end role for that staff member (Typically Administrator or Editor)
  • See how to edit back-end users
  • See how to delete back-end users

[7:32] Understand Admin Roles and Permissions

  • These are the back-office roles, the roles for the people working on the website
  • Learn about the default roles
  • Look at permissions per role to see what each role can do
  • You can create custom roles and permissions
  • Roles can be added for managing specific content types
  • Roles can be added to groups of pages, but that is tedious to set up and upkeep. RD recommends instead add an approval workflow or make that a training issue instead of adding restrictions per pages.

[8:47] Set a Content / Page Approval Workflow

  • Workflow controls who can publish specific types of content
  • Where to find workflows
  • Watch how to create a workflow
  • Reminder! Always set notifications to specific email addresses (otherwise, all of RD staff receive notifications if this is left to ‘admin’).


Prod URLs, Relative URLs, and Absolute URLs

Very Important: Use Relative URLs for links to content on your website.

  • A Relative URL begins with the forward slash after your domain.
  • An Absolute URL includes the https://domain.org


For a link going to a page:

use: /success-story/auto-care-website-success-story

This is especially important while your website is still in pre-production and the Absolute URL includes 'prod', something like https://prod-resultsdirect.com

What happens if I use 'Prod' in my URLs?

It is possible that those links will be broken.

As part of the Launch Process, Results Direct uses 'search and replace' to find instances of Absolute URLs and replaces the link code with Relative URLs. BUT the search and replace cannot search in certain areas: URL fields in your content items, style sheets, and code in page templates. It is very important for your links to be relative.

Additional Tips for Files and Images

Alternative Text

Every image should have alternative text. This is for usability and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Alternative text should:

  • specifically describe the image
  • use fewer than 125 characters
  • not include 'image of' or 'picture of' since it is already assumed it is an image.

Reference: Article on good Alternative Text


File Name Best Practices

File names should:

  • be short and descriptive, no more than 4 words
  • use 1-2 keywords
  • not include version numbers or version dates (replace files instead of keeping all versions)
  • not use special characters
  • separate words with hyphens, not spaces or underscores

Reference: Article on good file names for SEO


Folder Structure Best Practices

Limit the depth of your folders and subfolders.

A deep structure has negative effects:

  • The more clicks it takes to get from the home page to the target page, the less important it is deemed by the search engines
  • Users avoid clicking long URLs on a search results page
  • Long URLs are more prone to typos

Strive for two levels deep in a folder structure. Allow good file names and search to aid you in finding specific files.

Reference: Article on File Structure for better SEO


Compressing images

Large images increase page load times, which in turn decreases your SEO score.

Here are some tips to reduce the file size:

  • Use JPG format when possible. Use PNG if it is necessary for transparency or high quality.
  • In Photoshop, change the number of colors being used. Most logos can be 32 colors. (Bump that up to 64 or 128 if necessary).
  • In Photoshop, save JPEG as medium quality / 60K. Or use Save for Web (Legacy) – PNG

Advanced designers can use these 2 tools to reduce png file sizes:

  • First: ImageAlpha – compress the color palette.
  • Then: ImageOptim – crunches further and removes metadata.