Note to reader: This is the second in a series about how we used Craft CMS to develop Trifecta Technologies’ website. Check out the first part here.
In order for a content management system to be really great, it needs to focus on one thing – content. After all, a business’ website is one of the top ways to reach customers, so content management must be organized and efficient.
That’s one of the reasons we decided to use Craft CMS when we redesigned Trifecta Technologies’ website earlier this year – it has a simple, elegant interface that puts the focus directly on content. And because it is fully customizable, the configuration is specific to Trifecta’s needs, and it can be customized for our clients, as well.
How Craft CMS Works
Craft handles content using a hierarchy of sections, entries, and fields. Sections represent the typical pages of a website, such as the homepage or blog.
At the next level, there are entries within each section. To allow for customizability, Craft offers three types of entries:
- Single: a one-time-use webpage, like the About page
- Channel: A series of similar pages, such as blog posts or news articles. Channel entries uses the same HTML template, so the design is the same for each entry.
- Structure: Similar to a channel, but can be organized into a hierarchy
Fields are the actual containers for content, such as a “Header” field in which you type the headline of a blog post, or a “Description” field that summarizes the post. There are a range of useful field types built into Craft, like rich text, dropdown, and color picker.
In our first article on using Craft CMS, we pointed out how Craft is a blank slate – it gives you a few useful HTML templates, and that’s it – no preset themes that junk up your code.
The CMS control panel for admins is the same – a clean slate. You create the fields that you need – and only the fields you need – to match your website’s design.
For example, let’s say a blog entry includes a headline, summary, body text, and image. You can create two plain text fields called “Header” and “Summary,” a rich text field called “Body,” and an asset field for jpg uploads. A developer then uses the names of those fields in the HTML template to pull the appropriate content data.
Craft CMS is Easy to Use
We want the control panel of any content management system to be user-friendly, not just for ourselves but for our clients. Craft’s clean interface and emphasis on hierarchy fits the bill.
Plus, as your content needs grow, the fields can be organized into tabs. For example, Trifecta uses a Content tab for a news post’s main content, then a separate Meta tab for SEO-focused metatag content (see below). The order of the tabs can also be easily adjusted.
There is also a time-saving Live Preview feature that allows content creators to view what their webpage will look like as they are placing content – without having to publish and without having to switch between multiple tabs.
Since an admin has control over field configuration, the names of the fields can also be customized. So, instead of using vague names like “Long Description,” we titled a field, “News Landing Page Summary,” shown in the above image. You also have the opportunity to add a description to the field, which can be used to pinpoint exactly which section of content corresponds with each field.
While there is some up-front planning required, this level of customization ultimately makes Craft easy to use – and easy to teach. The control panel can be organized in an easy-to-understand way that takes much less time to learn than an average CMS.