SharePoint 2010 Theme Relevant Content

(c) Sean Bordner

(c) Sean Bordner

It’s worth mentioning that we are not talking about the SharePoint 2010 theme which allows you to control the look/feel of your site via styling. We are talking about the overall subject matter of your site. In terms of a SharePoint 2010 WCM site, theme relevant content refers to ensuring your text is in some way clearly supporting the essence (or point) of the page it resides on. The page itself in-turn needs to reinforce the point of the site. Your content should be targeting a human audience, not search engines. This is important because every time somebody clicks on your URL from a search engine results page, they have just cast a vote for your site. If they like what they see they will hopefully return to the search engine, re-enter their search criteria and click your URL again – casting yet another vote for your site.
A SharePoint 2010 WCM site gives you a great deal of flexibility in terms of Information Architecture (IA). To this end, it might be a good time to revisit your IA while keeping content relevancy in mind. A very easy way to view your existing IA in SharePoint 2010 is to click on “Site Actions” and then “View Content and Structure”. This will display an expandable view of your site collection which you can then easily use to reorganize your content. For example, if you want to move an entire section (or sub site) out of the main stream of the site and into your “Archive” site as its own sub site: Simply place a check in the box next to the site you want to move, drop down the “Actions” tab and click “Move”. This will bring up a locations box which you use to identify where you wish to move the site, in this example its “Archives”. Place a check next to “Archives” and click “Move”. SharePoint 2010 will do the rest. This approach gives you the ability to move dated content out of the main flow of things, while simultaneously retaining its existence in an appropriate location. You can configure your SharePoint 2010 WCM site’s search engine to crawl or not crawl this archived content. If you want to crawl it yet keep it separated, simply configure a separate search scope called “Archive”. This will allow your site users to decide if they want search results pulling from your archived content. More on the cool things you can do with the SharePoint 2010 search engine later.
 
With SharePoint 2010 Web Content Management (WCM) also comes enterprise grade content classification functionality. Arranging content on a page is handled using page layouts. A page layout dictates what type of content goes on a page, and how it is arranged on the page. Page layouts help content authors keep the page focused and clean. The page presentation is the combination of the sites master page (which dictates the structure of the sites underlining framework, including navigation and other entities which are common across the site); and the page layout (which dictates the structure of content on a page).
 
Theme relevant content can be carefully managed using these WCM components to your advantage, but first you will need to fully understand how all this works. A SharePoint WCM site offers another huge advantage called a “site column”. Site columns can be thought of as fields in a database. You can create a site column called “Environmental Issue” and set it as a “choice” data type. Then provide the options for authors to select (example, Global Warming, Greenhouse Gases, Erosion, etc…). This also provides the mechanism of tagging your content. This can be a dropdown or a multi-select using checkboxes. Create as many site columns as needed.
 
Now that we have our site columns created, we need to exploit another powerful component of a SharePoint WCM site called “content types”. Content types are simply a collection of site columns. Content types can be used for many things in SharePoint 2010, including page layouts (see above). You can create a content type called “Environmental Article” and add the appropriate site columns. For example, the “Environmental Article Content” content type might contain the following site columns: Title, Author, Date, Environmental Issue, and Article Body. These are the basic ingredients you wish for all articles published on your WCM site to contain.
Now it’s time to bring it all together. Remember, a page layout dictates the type of content that goes on a page. This is accomplished by basing the page layout on… you guessed it… a “content type”. So keeping with this example, you would now create a new page layout called “Environmental Article Page”. You base the page layout on the content type called “Environment Article Content”.
 
WCM authors can now spent more time publishing environmental articles to your site and less time bogging down IT with requests. Even better, these articles are all formatted and displayed in a consistent, organized, and theme relevant fashion.

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About Sean Bordner

CEO, Solution Architect, Co-Author of SharePoint for Nonprofits, Contributing Author NothingButSharePoint.com MCT, MCTS, MCSD, MCP, MCAD
This entry was posted in CMS, Content Management, IA, Information Architecture, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SharePoint, WCM. Bookmark the permalink.

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