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Enabling and Configuring the Blog feature

Summary:

This article will help you understand how to enable and use the Blog feature that is built into all NCR Retail Online sites. Blogging is a great way to communicate information about the industry, store, or thoughts in general about any topic that your audience may find helpful, entertaining, or instructional.

Solution:

Blog Settings

To enable the blog feature on the site, browse to System / Configuration in the NRO Admin Panel. In the Aheadworks Extensions section click on Blog. Under Blog Settings use the Enable drop-down and select Yes.

The Route to Blog field can be used to specify a different URL key for the blog. For instance, if the name of the blog under Blog Title is "Cathy's Corner" you could set the Route to Blog to be CathysCorner. This will allow a user to access the blog by entering the URL as www.domain.com/CathysCorner. Leaving this field blank means that the site will use the default path of /blog.

Use the Page Layout drop-down to change how the blog is displayed. There are 5 options that can be chosen:

  • Empty - Blog entries are shown on the full page with no menus and will expand to fill the entire browser window.
  • 1 Column - Blog is displayed in the main site layout with no menus or links.
  • 2 Column with Left Bar - Blog is displayed with space on the left side of the index and posts with room for the left menu (this is set using the Enable Left Menu option in the Menus and Links section). Index and posts take up the rest of the space.
  • 2 Column with Right Bar - Blog is displayed with space on the right side of the index and posts with room for the right menu (this is set using the Enable Right Menu option in the Menus and Links section). Index and posts take up the space on the left.
  • 3 Column - Blog is displayed with space on the left and right side of the index and posts for the Left and Right menu. (these are set using the Enable Left Menu and Enable Right Menu options in the Menus and Links section)

The index list of blog entries can be configured to use a short description or preview of the article. There are two different settings that can be used to set how this is displayed.



The Summary Character Count field is only used if the Use Short Content Field is set to No. This is where the number of characters can be set before the Read More link will appear taking the user to the full article. If this value is set to 0 then the entire article will display in the Index list.

If the Use Short Content Field is set to Yes, then a second content field will display when entering blog articles where a summary or description of the article can be entered. This will be displayed in place of the first X number of characters or the entire post. The user can click the title of the entry to be taken to the full article.



Menus and Links

The Enable Left Menu and Enable Right Menu options have 3 settings that can be defined:

No - Displays no menus and the blog index or post is expanded to fill the area where the menu would display.
Yes, all pages - Displays the menu on the Index page and all Post pages.
Yes, only blog page - Displays the menu on the blog Post pages only and omits it from the Index page.

These settings are dependent on the Page Layout settings in the Blog Settings section above. If the Layout is set to 2 columns with Left or Right bar or 3 Columns and the Left and Right menu options are set to No, there will be a blank space displayed on either the left, right, or both of the index and/or blog posts pages.

If the Enable Top Link value is set to Yes, a link to the blog will display in the top links of the storefront:



Note: The Enable Footer Link option does not currently work with the Celebrity theme. To enable a link to the blog in the footer, add the link to the footer, edit the Celebrity Theme - Footer Links (Informative) or Celebrity Theme - Footer Links (Simple) static block and add a link to the blog there depending on which footer you are using in the Theme settings under System / Configuration.

The Recent Posts field allows a certain number of posts to be displayed in the left or right menu. If this is set to 0 then the Recent Posts section will not display in the menu.

The Enable Categories Menu option can be set to either Yes or No to display a list of the blog categories in the left or right menu.

Comments

Comments are responses that customers or readers can leave regarding the blog posts. These can be set to Auto Approve, using the Auto Approve Comments setting, so that they appear when the reader submits them or they can be manually approved from the NRO Admin Panel under Blog / Comments. Some blog editors prefer to moderate and manually approve contents in order to control what appears to other viewers.

The Login Required to Comment option should be set to Yes to force users to create an account to post comments on the blog. This helps to ensure that spam comments do not appear and that the users information can be captured if there is need for follow up.

Content Blocks

If a content or static block is needed at the top of the Blog, please contact professional services for assistance.


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