Ontraport’s Dynamic Content Management System is an incredibly powerful set of features that allow you to use all the data in your Ontraport account to design personalized, interactive online experiences that serve your customers well.
Whether it’s as simple as a blog or an online course, or something more complicated like a customer-facing project portal or searchable online database, Ontraport’s tools make it possible for you to design beautiful, online web applications — without writing a single line of code.
In fact, this OPU website was built by our marketing team using Ontraport’s Dynamic CMS, without any engineers involved.
If you haven’t watched our “What is a web application?” video in this course, do that now. It’ll give you context for a lot of what comes next. If you’re not familiar with custom objects in Ontraport, it’s worth looking at the videos in the previous section because your data and how it’s organized is the foundation for the web applications you’re going to build.
In this video, I’m going to start with a big-picture overview of how this system works. Then, over the rest of this course, we’ll dive into each of the main features.
So let’s get started.
As you know, you can store a lot of different data in Ontraport. Sometimes you’ll want to keep your data private, but there are times it’ll be really useful to display that data on the web to your visitors and customers.
So let’s go back to that vet example we talked about earlier in this course.
If you were a vet, it would be pretty cool if you could create a customer portal that allows your customers to see a list of all their pets, register new pets, make appointments for each one, see their clinic visit history and notes about each one, view a list of prescriptions for each pet and maybe even send a note to the vet with questions, all from the customer portal.
In fact, I’ll be using this example throughout this course and put something like that together.
The first thing to notice is all the different types of data I just mentioned: pets, appointments, visit history, notes, prescriptions and messages.
Each one of these things is going to be a custom object and they’ll all be related to pets. You’ll also create a few other relationships, but I’ll get to that later.
Using Ontraport’s Dynamic CMS, you’ll create page templates that get filled in with data from these objects.
If you’re familiar with blogging software like WordPress, you know that when you create a new blog post, you don’t have to design the page from scratch like you would a typical landing page. You don’t have to type your content directly on the page or drag images into place and so on.
Instead, you have a blog post template. When you want to create a new post, you click a button that says “New Post,” and you fill out a form with just a few bits of information about your post, like the title, URL, category, main image, the post content itself, etc.
Then when you publish your post, your blog post template is automatically filled out using all that info you added. If you want to change the layout of your blog post, you don’t edit the post itself; you change the template and that will automatically update all your blog posts at once.
Ontraport’s Dynamic CMS works similarly to WordPress, but it’s quite a bit more powerful.
For starters, you can build templates for any object in Ontraport.
For an example, I’ll create a page template for pets, which allows you to automatically create a page for each pet in your account. We call these dynamic pages, and I’ll show you all about how they work in the next video.
In other cases, you might not want to create a whole page for each record. Instead you want to list your data on a single page. If you wanted to show your clients a history of notes about a particular pet, you wouldn’t want a single page for each note. You’d want a list of notes on a single page. And, you’d probably want a list of notes for each pet to appear on that pet’s dynamic page, right?
These lists are called dynamic blocks, and I’ll show you how to put together something like them in our “Dynamic Blocks” video.
So far, what I’ve talked about is pretty typical content management stuff. But here’s where the “dynamic” part comes in.
With Ontraport, the system often knows exactly who is visiting your site. It knows that either because they’ve been tracked with cookies or they’ve logged in to your site using a username and password.
And when you know who your visitors are, you can personalize what they see when they check out your site.
That’s important. When clients log in to your pets portal, you don’t want them seeing all the pets in your account; just theirs. This kind of personalization opens up all sorts of incredible possibilities for what you can do with this platform.
In the upcoming videos, I’ll show you exactly what I mean. We’ll start by going over dynamic pages in the next video.