Creating custom content modules are a great way to sort content and display information in a more consistent and visual format. They can be utilized to drive traffic, better organize content, and help make page layouts consistent, but what is a module?
What is a Content Module?
A content module a singular piece of content that a website’s administrator can create and maintain throughout the website. Good examples of content modules that we often see are news, blogs, and events. Each of those examples are unique content modules that store specific information that is separate from one another.
Not all CMSs have this ability, but Sitefinity comes with a feature called: “Module Builder” which allows us at Vanguard to easily implement custom modules to help better sort and organize content. The benefits of using a module is that you do not need to know any code to easily create robust layouts that display your content.
Basically, a module is a “form” that content authors can complete to add content. This content can be added to any page of your site and it is globally updated across all pages where that module is placed, allowing consistency across your website.
Once a module is created, we can assign different views to that module. For example, you might want to display a list of content on your homepage, however, you might want to display that same content differently on a landing page. By creating different views, we can display that same content in different formats as well as use a sort feature to display a specific category of content from one page to another. Why Make a Custom Content Module and What Are the Benefits?
As the administrator of your website you may ask, “Why would I need a custom module if I already have news, events, and blogs?” The answer is you might have certain information that deviates away from what those content modules they already have. For example, you may want to create a webinar schedule that displays time slots for the webinar and a related field for speakers. Sure, we could accomplish this using text on a page, but that becomes a much more manual process to update and distribute across your website. Instead, we can create a module that has all of those fields populated. You can enter in the information in the backend, much like a news item, and it will automatically be formatted consistently and dynamically – meaning it will sort itself based on the setting you provide (by date, alphabetically, last published item, etc.)
Another benefit would be presentation. Sitefinity offers you the ability to format content in an appealing way using layout blocks and CSS classes, however, there are some instances where the presentation can become complex and in order to get everything to look perfect, it takes a lot of formatting. This can be cumbersome to arrange.
The solution would be having different module views that are preformatted, taking care of the formatting programmatically and ensuring that every item has the correct look and feel. This includes imagery, dynamic text that is over background images, displaying categories that are related to each item, as well as being able to limit the amount of text a summary has in order to make certain elements symmetrical.