Get Started with Templates
Templates allow you to create reusable content structures that you can use or apply to your assignments or tasks. They are blueprints that define how a specific assignment should be written. It outlines all the information and metadata needed for a task.
In this article, you're going to learn how to utilize EasyContent's templating system to create effective templates that you can use to speed up your content production without sacrificing quality.
Table of Contents
- The Default Template
- Creating Custom Templates
- Applying your Templates
- Changing and Deleting Templates
- Working with WordPress
The Default Template
All projects have a default template with two default tabs: Text and Meta data & Files. They belong to a special type of tab called system tabs.
The Text tab is where your assignment's main article content will reside. It has two fields: assignment title and default text editor content, both of which belong to a special type of field called system fields.
Customizing the Text Tab
You only have a limited amount of control and customization over system fields and system tabs, however, it can still tremendously help your writers.
But what are system fields and system tabs anyway?
System fields and system tabs are used by our API and webhooks to make a connection to a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, allowing for seamless content synchronization between EasyContent and the CMS.
Speaking of WordPress, did you know that we have a dedicated plugin for it? Check it out here! You'll learn more about how our templates work with WordPress later on in this guide.
The assignment title will be your article's <h1> tag. In WordPress, this will be the post's title.
You can tick the required field checkbox to make it required. When you do that, the writer or anyone assigned to or responsible for the assignment will not be able to submit it unless there's something written in here.
It also prevents anyone from publishing it to WordPress using the Publish to WP button, if you have your WordPress site connected.
Default text editor content
The default text editor content allows you to prefill the text editor with some text. It's commonly used to add guidelines, tips, or an entire article template or outline.
Keep in mind, however, that the text you add here will only fill the text editor when a task using the template is claimed by or assigned to someone for the first time.
Meta data & Files Tab
The metadata tab contains fields mostly used for SEO. Like in the Text tab, everything in the Metadata tab is system fields. However, unlike the ones in the latter tab, you have the option to disable some or even all fields in the Meta data & Files tab.
Right now, there are seven available fields in this tab. Disabling all of them will also disable the entire Metadata tab itself.
Let's take a look at all of them.
Featured Image Widget
The featured image widget allows assigned users to upload a featured image for the assignment. You must upload the featured image in the files widget in the Meta data & Files tab and then select it from here. Using an external image URL also works.
When you connect your project to a WordPress website, the image uploaded (or added via URL) here will be used as the post's featured image when synced. It will be uploaded to your site's media library as well. That means your images won't be loaded via external URLs (i.e. from our servers), instead, they will be served directly from your site's server.
When the "required field" option is checked, a featured image must be set before an assignment can be submitted to the next workflow status.
You can also add a "field guidelines" text which will show up underneath it to serve as a guideline or instruction.
Excerpt Field Widget
The excerpt field widget allows assigned users to add an excerpt text.
If connected to WordPress, this will be used as the post's excerpt.
Its available configuration options are identical to the featured image widget except for one: "Recommended length". This option allows you to define a recommended maximum number of words or symbols (characters) for the field.
Unlike the "required field" option, however, this option does not prevent users from submitting an assignment even if the text exceeds the recommendation.
The tags widget allows users to add tags to an assignment.
If connected to WordPress, this will become the post's tags when synced.
It has identical options to the featured image widget.
Reminder: individual tags must be separated by a comma (,).
Also, just in case you're wondering why your tags suddenly somewhat look different after syncing, but you can't exactly tell what the difference is, then remember that WordPress will re-arrange them alphabetically. The example above will be synced to WordPress in this order: go, here, tags, this is a tag with space, your.
Custom Post Slug Widget
The custom post slug widget lets you define a custom post URL (yourwebsite.com/this-is-the-custom-post-slug).
It's a good idea to make this a required field as this is extremely helpful, not only for SEO but also for UX (user experience), especially if you're syncing to WordPress, and if you do, be sure to enable custom permalinks via Settings > Permalinks on your site for this field to be applied properly.
Meta Title Widget
The meta title widget allows you to set a custom meta title for your posts. It's a good idea to set a 60 symbol recommended length for SEO purposes.
If you're using WordPress, you will need to have either Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO Pack installed and activated for this to work and sync properly.
Meta Description Widget
The meta description widget allows you to set a custom meta description for your posts. It's a good idea to set a 160 symbol recommended length for SEO purposes.
Like the preceding widget, this also requires either Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO Pack installed and activated to work and sync properly.
If these tabs and fields are not enough for you, you can create custom tabs that you can populate with custom fields based on your needs.
You can create as many custom tabs and add as many custom fields as you wish.
Currently, there are eight custom fields available for you to choose from. Let's take a look at them.
The heading widget is used for organizing your custom tab. You can use this to mark sections of your tab especially if it contains a lot of other fields. Think of it as a header text, just like the ones you use to separate sections of your articles.
The guidelines widget adds a global-level guideline text that you can use to add guidelines for your entire custom tab or parts of it. You can use this to describe what your tab is for or what a certain section is for. This is usually placed right after a heading widget when used as a section guideline.
Text Field Widget
The text field widget adds a single-line text input field to your custom tab. Just like other system fields, you can customize this by setting a recommended length (either by words or symbols) and making it required.
Text Area Widget
The text area widget adds a multiline text input field to your custom tab. Its customization options are identical to the text field widget.
The checkboxes widget adds a checkbox field to your custom tab. To add choices, simply click the add option link. You can add as many options as you want.
Radio Buttons Widget
The radio buttons widget adds a radio button field to your custom tab. You can add choices by clicking the add option link.
The date widget adds a date picker to your custom tab.
Select (Dropdown Select) Widget
The select widget adds a dropdown selection field to your custom tab. Add selectable items by clicking the add option link. You can set a limit to how many items a user can select from the pool of available choices.
Custom Fields Appearance Example
The image below shows you how all available custom fields look like when implemented.
Below is what the date picker looks like when selecting a date.
Below is what the select widget looks like when a user clicks on it to select an item.
Reordering and Deleting Custom Fields
Unlike the two default system tabs where you can't alter the field's order, the opposite is true for a custom tab's custom fields.
Simply click and drag the hamburger button next to a field to reorder it. You can also use the up and down arrows to move them one step upwards or downwards.
You can delete a custom field by clicking its corresponding trash icon.
Creating Custom Templates
If you're on a Standard Plan or higher, you can create extra custom templates for your project. All custom templates will automatically have the Text & Files and Metadata tabs. You can disable the metadata tab by disabling all its fields if you need to.
Creating a custom template is done by clicking the template selection menu and clicking the create new template link.
You can then make your new template the default one, rename it, or delete it by clicking the three dots next to the template selection menu.
Keep in mind that when you set a template as the default, you won't be able to delete it. You will need to select a different template, make it the new default one and only then you can delete the previous template.
Applying your Templates
There are several ways to apply your template to an assignment or task (or to a group of them).
- Via actions - you use this if you want to apply a template to multiple items at once.
- Via the template name link - clicking this pops out a template selection modal.
- Via actions tab - same as #1, but for single items.
Changing and Deleting Templates
Changing a template is done in the same way as applying a template. However, there are certain things you need to know when doing this.
Let's say you have two templates.
One template is the default template. Let's call this Template A.
The second template has a custom tab, and most fields in the metadata tabs for this template are disabled, save for the featured image, and tags. Let's call this Template B.
At first, you decided to use Template A for an assignment. You finished working on it and everything in the metadata tab is filled with data.
However, you then decided to use Template B, so you switched to it. You can now see that the metadata tab only has two fields: the featured image and tags. This is because all other metadata fields are disabled in Template B. You now also a custom tab with two custom fields: a text field and a text area field.
You went ahead and filled everything in the custom tab with data as well.
But then you decided to go back to Template A.
What's going to happen?
Will the disabled metadata fields be re-enabled and then repopulated with the previous data it had?
The answer is no.
If a field in the metadata tab contains data and then you switch to a different template with said field disabled, the data it contains will be discarded upon switching.
So when you switch back to the template with the field enabled once again, it no longer contains anything since when it got disabled, the data it carries got thrown away.
On the other hand, data held by custom fields persist no matter how many times you switch templates. The only time data associated with a custom field is deleted is when you delete the assignment or delete the template using the custom field itself.
Working with WordPress
Earlier, you learned that system fields are essential to our API and CMS integrations, especially to WordPress. You're going to learn why in this section.
These system fields contain data that is used to sync an article to your WordPress website with impeccable accuracy so that you can focus on creating content instead of having to log in to your site and then manually copying, pasting, and formatting your content.
With a click of a button, your article will be perfectly replicated to your WordPress site in an instant!
We may add explicit support to other CMS in the future, but at the moment, we're focusing on making it easy and seamless to sync your project to a WordPress based site. If you're not using WordPress, don't worry! You can utilize our API to sync your project to the CMS of your choice.
Gutenberg (Block Editor) vs Classic Editor
EasyContent works seamlessly with both Gutenberg (block editor) and the Classic Editor. However, since our text editor is based on TinyMCE, your content may have some layout incompatibilities and inconsistencies with the block editor, especially if your articles contain some complex formatting.
Therefore, we recommend using the classic editor over the block editor if you don't have any specific preference, or if you intend to frequently use complex layout for your articles.
Alternately, you can install the Classic Editor plugin and activate it to keep both the block editor and classic editor enabled for your site. This will allow you to freely switch between the two editors on the fly and on a per post basis.
If you have the plugin installed, EasyContent will automatically sync your articles using the classic editor by default. You can then "convert" your article to use the block editor and check if there are any layout inconsistencies.
We're constantly working on ensuring that our text editor and WordPress's block editor sync perfectly. If you find something that doesn't look right after importing your article to WordPress (it doesn't matter whether you use the classic or block editor), please let us know by submitting a report here.
System Fields and WordPress
You earlier learned that system fields are important for making sure that the information between EasyContent and your WordPress site syncs perfectly. Here's how each system field syncs to WordPress (and vice versa):
- Assignment Title <=> Post Title
- Text Editor Content <=> Post Body
- Featured Image Widget <=> Featured Image
- Excerpt <=> Post Excerpt
- Tags <=> Post Tags
- Custom Post Slug <=> Custom Permalink
- Meta Title <=> Compatible plugin's meta title field (Discarded if none found)
- Meta Description <=> Compatible plugin's meta description field (Discarded if none found)
What about custom fields?
Currently, custom fields are not synced to WordPress at all, so if you have custom fields, you will need to manually copy them to your site.
You can also hire a developer and have them make a companion plugin for WordPress to grab your custom fields and sync them to your website if you want. Please direct your developers to our API.
If you're not using WordPress, you can also use our webhooks to allow you to grab everything about your projects, even custom fields, and sync them to your CMS.
Working with Yoast SEO
You've learned that the meta title and meta description fields only work when you have a compatible SEO plugin installed. Right now, EasyContent supports both Yoast SEO and All-in-One SEO pack out of the box. You'll learn how to work with both plugins, starting with Yoast SEO.
When you have Yoast SEO installed, activated, and configured, anything you put in the meta title and meta description fields will automatically be synced to Yoast SEO's equivalent fields.
You can use snippet variables to produce dynamic meta titles and descriptions. You can find the complete list of all available snippets on Yoast SEO's website.
Below is an example usage of snippet variables:
When you sync this to WordPress, the result will be like this:
Putting something like "%%title%% - Some Text" in the meta title or meta description fields also works since Yoast SEO accepts snippet variable mixed with static text.
Working with All in One SEO Pack
When you have the All in One SEO Pack installed, activated, and configured, anything you put in the meta title and meta description fields will automatically be synced to its equivalent fields.
Unlike Yoast SEO, however, you can't directly use snippet variables or their equivalent on the meta title and description fields. The reason behind this is that All in One SEO pack's snippet variables, or in the plugin's language, format fields a.k.a. macros, can only be configured in its settings (All in One SEO > General Settings).
Therefore, you should manually configure these settings or you should always fill the meta title and description fields in EasyContent to make sure you have proper SEO tags for your posts. In this case, we recommend that you enable the Required option for both the meta title and meta description fields to prevent you or your writers from forgetting to add these important snippets.