Contents

Blog

The Blog solution is a custom blog platform that can integrate directly into your site.  It has a streamlined interface with simple administration and editing.

Blog Administration

The Blog administration is available to a logged-in Administrator by navigating to the Blog page and clicking on the Administration button in the tool bar that is always docked at the bottom of the browser window, for ease of access:

On the Administration page, an Administrator can manage:

  • Categories, which can be assigned to blog posts to allow for sorting.  
  • Authors, adding or removing posting access for the blog
  • Post editing or removal.
  • Comments can be edited, removed, duplicated or approved.
  • Posts can be imported directly, to save time when updating the blog
  • Settings can be adjusted to direct how the blog will function
  • The blog itself can be viewed to see how the Solution is set up on the live site.

Data Management

Manage Categories 

Categories can be assigned to blog posts, to help blog authors organize their entries, and to help blog readers find the information they're looking for.  Blog categories are automatically imported from AM.NET, and are the same as Web Experiences.  However, they can be added to in this interface, as well as removed.

Categories can be added or edited, with an icon to be displayed if the category is used, a name to be used in the blog for the category, and whether or not the category is online. 

Manage Authors

To ensure that the content of your blog remains well-moderated and topical, you can designate specific authors.  Each author can have a picture as their icon, and can have an e-mail designated for contacting them.

Authors can be added or edited to ensure their information is up-to-date.

Manage Posts

This portion of the Blog Administration exists mostly as a data source for all the information on the posts within the blog.  Editing blog posts is easiest within the actual blog interface, but this administration tool can be used for downloading the posts, editing small details, or simply reviewing the details of the posts.

Manage Settings

This portion of the Administration determines how the Blog is configured.  It includes the Feedburner Blog relative URL, the name of the blog, the "from" e-mail for any mailings related to the blog, the settings for e-mail notifications, and the reply-to e-mail for receiving e-mails regarding the blog.

Blog posts by the same Author, or in the same Category, can be selected by a blog reader, and this settings portion allows you to set the text of the buttons that blog readers use to view those grouped posts.  When multiple authors or multiple categories are used, the link combination symbol will be between them as a conjunction.  An administrator can also decide on the text for the "next post" and "previous post" buttons.

Icon sizes and content summary length can also be determined in the settings portion of the Blog Administration, as well as the post list page size (number of posts per post list page), and the size of the link icons for the WYSIWYG snippets.

For the administration of comments (i.e. the approval process), an e-mail of an administrator can be set.  Notifications for the comments can be determined, as well as when the comments will be approved (before they're shown on the live site, after they're shown on the live site, never approved).  The message shown when users try to comment when not logged in can be set, as well as whether a user must be logged in to comment.  Messages for when there are no comments, or after a user comments, can also be set.

Import Posts 

Blog posts can be imported as .txt files; importing text can save time in terms of constructing a blog post, and can allow you to ask guest bloggers to provide content, while allowing administrators to monitor the content.

Manage Comments

Commenting on blogs can be a great way to build a community feeling among your readers, as well as to foster discussion and the sharing of information.  However, blogs often attract spam comments, or can get commenters that provide inappropriate or off-topic content.  Approval and removal of comments is an important part of blog administration.  Whoever is set as the blog administrator will receive e-mails when anyone comments on the blog, and will be able to approve or reject comments from that e-mail, as well as from this administrative interface.

The Blog Interface

A logged-in Administrator can do a lot in the blog interface itself.  Aside from seeing what the blog actually looks like, blog posts can be added or edited using the docked toolbar that will always remain at the bottom of the browser window.  When the Blog home page is accessed, it will show a listing of the most recent posts.  Each post can be clicked on to view more content, using the "Continue Reading" link.

New Posts

To add new posts, click the "New Post" button.  This will bring up the New Post interface.  There, you can name the post, provide a long name (that will show up when the blog reader clicks on the specific post), and set a blog post icon.  The author can set a post date, in case the date should not be the current day.  The author can select categories, and add new categories through the manage categories link.  A page summary can also be added, to serve as the content in the blog posting list.

Comments and Trackbacks

For each blog post, an Author can set whether the comments are open, closed or hidden (they will only be available to the comments administrator, not for view on the live site). 

 Trackbacks can be set for the blog to allow your blog to ping other blogs and blog posts, and a trackback url will be assigned to each blog post for other bloggers to utilize.  Trackbacks can be disabled for a post as well.

Keywords and Technorati Tags

Keywords to aid in searching for specific blog posts can be added, and Technorati tags can also be added, to help group your blog offerings with other relevant other blog posts through Technorati, expanding your blog's reach.

Authors

The author of the post can be set, with an autofill option that can save time.  A guest author can also be added, including their name and e-mail.  The authors that are entered in the system can also be managed using the "Manage Authors" link, so a new major blog contributor can be added right from the new post interface. 

Upload or Manage Files

Files can be associated with your post, using the CMS file uploader.  

Manage Post

Your post can be Featured, meaning it will remain at the top of the blog.  This can be useful for an introductory post that tells your readers what your blog is all about.  Pages can be set as Published, and can also be deleted here.

WYSIWYG Content Area

The blog post content can be added in the WYSIWYG editing area.  

The WYSIWYG editor has 2 Code Snippets built in, a quote and a link.  Code Snippets are insertable portions of html that help keep the formatting of your posts uniform.  

The Code Snippets insert as the following default html, and can be edited to include whatever content makes the most sense for your blog post.

Preview Area

The blog editor provides you with a real-time preview of your blog post as you type; you're able to see exactly what your readers will see.  

Auto-Save Feature

Drafts are automatically saved every few minutes, allowing you to reload versions of the page.  This can be useful if you accidentally log out or navigate away from the page.

The Blog Home

The blog home includes a listing of the blog entries, a blurb about the blog itself, a search feature, a small bio for the blog authors, and a listing of the blog categories.

Blog Search, Archive and Categories

The blog front page contains a search feature to allow your readers to find entries by keyword, a Blog Topics sidebar that lists the categories and number of posts using the categories, allowing your readers to find entries by category.  The archive sidebar also allows your users to view posts by year.  Each of these setups allows your readers to find the content they're most interested in on your blog.

Individual Blog Posts

When a reader clicks on an individual blog post, they're taken to more content.  They're able to read the entire post content, and can share the post via social media.

At the bottom of each post, readers are prompted to look at related posts based on blog categories, can navigate to previous and next posts, and can read and leave comments.

Leaving Comments

When a user leaves comments, they are required to fill out a captcha to ensure they are not a bot.  Depending on how your comments are administrated, they may be prompted to log in to comment, or their comment may require approval before it is shown on the site.

Final Thoughts

The Blog solution easily integrates with your site, and gives your Association the opportunity to connect with your users, providing them with an opportunity to read news you provide and to discuss posts with their fellow readers.