In this video, I'll go over two key features of Ontraport’s Dynamic CMS: page types and how to publish your pages so they show up live on the web.
The two are pretty intertwined, so I’ll cover them both at the same time.
The point of these features is to give you lots of flexibility with your page layouts. In many content management systems, you’re limited to using one page template for each object. But that’s no good.
To use an example, let’s continue with the vet clinic example we’ve been using throughout this course.
We’ve created Pet profile pages for each of the pets that go to our clinic and our clients can log in to see their own pets profiles. Now, it’s pretty easy to imagine that you might want to have a different page design for a dog versus a bird, right? I don’t know much about being a vet, but I’ll bet there are different things that are important to show for each.
For example, showing a bird’s wingspan is probably important, so you’d want to include that information on the pet’s profile page. But dogs and cats don’t have wingspans, so you wouldn’t want to show that on their pages.
Also, you probably have special services and products that are relevant to birds that you’ll want to show on your bird pages versus your dog and cat pages.
In any business, there are going to be situations where having different templates that use the same data set will be important.
Another example may be when you’re selling a variety of products, you may want to have a different layout for pants versus sunglasses. Or, maybe you want to create a directory of people on your team but want to make different layouts for executives, board members and the rest of your team.
Setting up page types in Ontraport makes it possible to design your pages exactly the way you want for each. And, you only have to do it once for each page type and then you can create as many templates for that page type as you like.
In previous videos, you set up a page type for your pet details page and created a template for it. You called it “Pet Details.”
Now, imagine that you’re going to make a dog template and a bird template.
Let’s use the magic of the pause button here and jump forward in time a few minutes so you can see that the template’s been tweaked to make it clearly about dogs. There’s a nice dog background and links to some resources about your various dog training programs.
To make it clear that this is now a dog template, change the name of it to “Pet Details: Dogs.”
To make a bird template, simply copy the dog template, change the name of it to “Pet Details: Birds” and then edit it up and …voila, it’s a bird template.
Now you have two templates for the same page type. Of course, you could continue to make more templates for your cats, reptiles, fish and whatnot. But we’ll stop here for now.
But some questions remain: How do you get these pages published on the web, and how do you get your dog owners using the dog template and your bird owners using the bird one?
I’ll answer both these questions.
When you create a new page type, a new tab and section of fields will appear in the object that the page type is made for.
Go into a pet’s record and you’ll see there’s a new tab called “Pages” here. Inside, you’ll see a section called “Pet Details.” And inside that section, there are a bunch of fields.
You’ll see fields for “Pet Details URL,” “Pet Details Template” and a switch for whether it’s published or not. You’ll have a couple other fields that tell you about your page visits.
You probably immediately understand what most of these things are. The “Pet Details URL” is the URL where the page for this pet record is hosted, the “Pet Details Template” is the template it’s going to use, and the publish switch lets you know if the page is live or not.
To pick the template this record will use, just click and edit the “Pet Details Template” field. You’ll see the dog and the bird templates here, and the page will update instantly as you save your changes.
You can turn the page on or off completely using this toggle here to make it available — or not — on the web.
Now, this is all pretty simple but again, some questions remain!
First of all, where does that URL come from and how do you change it? And secondly, how do you automate all this stuff?
To answer the first question, let’s look at your URL situation. This was set up when you created your page type, so go check that out now.
You can find your page types in the page settings menu right here.
You’ll see your “Pet Details” page type and if you click on that, you’ll see all the settings in there. These are the same settings you’ll get when you create a new page type.
At the top, you’ll see the object that this page type is for. It says “Pets” and it’s grayed out because once it’s created, you can’t change it. That would basically break everything and you don’t want that.
Next, you have the name of your page type — “Pet Details” — which you can change as you like.
You must decide if you’re going to be smart and use your own domain, or be lazy and use one of ours. It’s up to you of course — no pressure.
The next bit is the interesting part — it’s where you’re going to build your URL structure.
What you’re creating here are the URLs for many pages — potentially thousands. And of course, they can’t all be hosted at the same URL. In fact, they all have to be different.
So, what this means is that you’ll need to use merge fields in your URL here, which will pull data from each record to create the final web address for each one.
What you’ll see here is the first field, your root domain, and in the next field here, you’ll see merge fields that indicate the actual location of the page. There are actually two merge fields in your URL, and I'll explain why.
But first, I just want to make sure it’s clear what’s going to happen here.
These merge fields are going to get filled out based on the record that is used to create each page. So as you can see, there’s a merge field here for the Unique ID, and another one for “Pet Name,” separated by a slash.
These fields pull data from the record to create the final URL for each page. For example, in Fluffy’s case, it’ll look like this:
And Rex’s record will look like this.
Hopefully that makes sense. But now maybe you’re asking yourself, “But why is there a bunch of random stuff in the middle?”
Well, you don’t have to put that there, but there are two things that you might consider.
If you don’t add that Unique ID in there, your URL for Fluffy would look like this.
It looks nice and clean. However, Fluffy is a pretty common pet name, and it’s likely that you’ll have more than one pet in your practice named Fluffy.
That’s not the end of the world, because Ontraport is smart enough not to break things when that happens. What it’s going to do instead is add numbers, so the second Fluffy in your account will have a URL that looks something like this.
And the next one will have a dash and the number two at the end and so on. It’s just something to be aware of. In fact, we make you aware of it when you put a merge field that isn’t unique in your URL structure by warning you with this pop-up. The system can’t make “Pet Name” a unique field because there may be a bunch of Fluffys, so you’ll have to live with that problem if you want Fluffy's name in the URL. But, we were smart and put this Unique ID before fluffly’s name in the URL and that’s never the same for two records. So, even if we have two fluffy’s, the URL will never be duplicated and so we won’t get that “dash 1” situation.
The other reason we put that Unique ID in there is because you may not want your contacts to start guessing about pet names and changing the URL to see if they can find a random page about Max, or Charlie or Buddy. You want to limit your contacts’ access to just the pages with their pets’ information. So by adding that Unique ID in there, it makes these URLs unguessable. So, that’s why we added that.
But really, you can do pretty much whatever you want here, as long as you put at least one merge field in your URL structure somewhere.
Ontraport also lets you decide what to do with certain characters that aren’t allowed in URLs, like spaces.
For example, if your dog’s official name is The Pooch — well, that’s a pretty cool name. But it has a space in it and spaces aren’t allowed in URLs. So, you’d replace that space with something else — like a dash or underscore — so it becomes The dash Pooch.
The last setting just makes it easy and automatic to instantly publish a page every time a new record is created. In this vet example, that’s probably a great idea because you always want a page for every pet.
If you were building a blog though, you wouldn't want to enable this setting because you might work on your blog post for a while and review it to make sure it’s perfect before you publish it. So you won’t use this automatic publishing feature; you’ll just publish blog posts manually.
So all of that should answer the question about where the URL comes from.
But we still have one last question — how to automate some of this stuff.
For example, you know that you’ll always use the dog template for dogs and the bird template for birds, right? You don’t need your team to remember to set that up manually each time. It should just happen automatically.
How will you do that? Well naturally, with an automation.
That’s because those new fields - the published status and the page template - are just like any other fields and they can be updated automatically just like anything else using automations.
Go back to your “Pets” object and click on automations. You’ll create a new one and start from scratch.
Your trigger will be anytime the pet type field is updated, and you’ll make sure to move any pet record here when this is triggered whether they’re on the map or not. And you’ll add a condition here so that this one only triggers if the pet type is a dog.
Next, you’ll add an “Update Pet” element and what you’ll see is that your page type fields, including both the template and the publication toggle, are fields that you can update using automations.
Since only dog records are going to end up here, you can flip th e template to use the one for dogs. It’s that simple.
And then add an “End” step here to finish off this thread.
Next, you’ll grab this whole thread and copy it for your birds. You’ll just update the condition in this trigger for birds, and update the template you selected to use the bird template and that’s it, you’re done! Just publish this, and I’ll show you how it works.
When you go and change Fluffy’s pet type to dog and visit Fluffy’s page, you can see that you’re using the dog template. And when you flip this back to bird and visit the page again, you’re looking at the bird template.
This kind of automation can be used to publish or unpublish pages at the right time or change templates automatically, as you’ve done here. Pretty cool stuff.
For example, if you’re selling tickets, you might set up some automations to change the event template to a “Sold Out” version when you’re all booked up.
And with that, we’ve wrapped up our discussion of page types and publishing options.
You’re making great progress, so let’s keep going!