How to Assure Content Consistency from your Authors and Yourself
A few days ago I found myself reviewing a series of draft posts written by three different authors for a project I’m working on. I was checking these posts for technical errors like broken links, images, etc. but I was also checking for consistency in the layout of the content. Did they all use the correct same size headings, etc?
Unfortunately, each author used different formatting for their content.
An additional need was that several (but not all) articles needed to have some default content included above and below the content for each article. I could have created a post with this default content, saved it as a draft, and then directed each author to open that draft and copy/paste the content into each new article they write, but that was hardly elegant.
How can I assure that each author on this WordPress multi-author site use the same default content and content layout? I set out to solve this problem.
The Search for a Plugin
My search led me to a few different options, but the key here was to search for “post template” plugins. The plugin I chose, and the one I’ll be showing you in this tutorial is named Article Templates and was released by binnyva. The description of the plugin is actually pretty vague…
This plugin lets you create templates that can be used when writing a new post or page. This will be very useful if you are writting many post with the same structure.
I run across this lack of detail often with plugins in the repository, but I’m not complaining. I’d rather have useful plugins full of surprises than plugin devs who are better at writing marketing copy than they are at writing code.
How to Use This Plugin
Once installed and activated, you’ll see an extra item under the Tools menu named Manage Templates.
Clicking that link will bring you to the management page where you’ll create and manage your templates.
Click Create New Template and you’ll see what looks like the standard editor complete with media buttons and your choice between the Visual and HTML editing modes. You’ll also see a few check-boxes under your new post template that allows you to set the status of this one individually.
Save this and now it’s available for use when you create a new post. You will see a new box appear under your editor named Article Template (be aware that it was placed below every other box on this screen, I edited my screen to show this box directly underneath the editor). This box allows you to chose the template you would like to apply to this new post you’re creating.
I chose the Test Template I created and it automatically inserted the content from that template into this new post. Are you starting to brainstorm the possibilities of just how useful this is!?
Pretty slick eh?
Here’s just another quick example of what is possible when creating and using the Article Templates WordPress plugin. Along with the default content I want to include above every article, I’ve also formatted the text size and have given the author instructions on where to put their content. I’ve also include a list of links to be at the bottom of every post that uses this template.
These are just a couple quick examples. You could include advertisements, links to your products, other posts on the same subject, etc.