Blog

Publishing a new blog post

Watch Publishing a new blog post on Vimeo

In this tutorial, we’ll go through how to write and publish a new blog post. To get caught up on Familiarizing yourself with Siteleaf watch our previous video in Siteleaf for Content Managers and Creators.

Writing a new blog post

Head up to the sidebar and click on Posts, located in the content section of the sidebar. When you click on posts, you’ll see something like this.

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To create a new post press the plus icon on the right side and it’ll take you to a screen that looks like this.

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Start by typing your title up at the top.

If you want to specify your URL, you can do that underneath the title, but if you leave it blank Siteleaf will do all the hard work for you and the slug (that’s the end of the URL) will be the title of the blogpost separated by hyphens.

Having slugs that are readable by both humans and machines is good for SEO because it encourages users to click on the link as they already understand the content of the post. It also tells the web crawlers hanging out online what the main subject of the post is about, which will help generate traffic to your site. Read more about SEO with Jekyll and Siteleaf here.

Underneath the URL in the big box is where you write the content for your post.

Visual Mode

For the moment we will start in visual mode, and I’ll go into detail later on about Markdown. Visual mode is currently in beta so sometimes it isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty smart and gets there 90% of the time.

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If you are used to seeing changes immediately in Microsoft Word and other similar programs this will be helpful for you.

Formatting

The default setting for the text is paragraph, but you can use the toolbar at the top to style the text.

Headings

There is a hierarchy of headings built in by your website’s designer. You may want to check with them for usage guidance. But in general, Heading 1 will be the biggest and most eye-catching, Heading 2 will be a bit smaller, a bit less eye-catching and Heading 3 will be smaller still and so on.

To insert a heading, highlight the text that you want to become a heading, then choose from the drop down which type of heading you would like to apply to the text.

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Bold

You can add bold styling do this by highlighting and pressing the bold icon.

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Italics

To use italics highlight the text that you want to make italic, then choose the italic from the drop-down menu.

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Quotes

You can style a quote by highlighting the quotation and then pressing the quote icon.

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Code snippet

If you wanted to share a code snippet; style it by highlighting the text and then choose the code option from the drop-down.

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Code snippets can be helpful for technical blogs, and we use it a lot on our blog. But if you’re writing about gardening, you can ignore this option.

Lists

You can make a bullet point (or “unordered”) list by clicking on the bullet list icon, and a numbered (or “ordered”) list by clicking on the numbered list icon next to it.

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You can add hyperlinks by highlighting the text that you want to become a link then clicking the link button in the toolbar.

Then you’ll see this input where you can add the URL to the website you’d like to direct people to. Once you have pasted that URL in and pressed ‘ok’ the hyperlink will be created.

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Adding Images

Finally, you will want to add some images to this post, so it’s not a big wall of text. First tap the image icon and this pop-up will appear.

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You can drag and drop your images to upload or choose the files from your computer. Also, you can click over to the ‘existing uploads’ tab to discover all the images previously uploaded to Siteleaf.

The first thing you will want to do is place your cursor where you’d like the image to be in your post. Then click on the image button again, and the pop-up will reappear. Then click over to the ‘existing uploads’ tab and select the image you want to input by pressing insert underneath the image. Then you will see the image in the text.

Adding Emojis

Siteleaf will accept emojis in the same way that any other input field would. If you’re on Windows, you can choose the desired emoji from your touch keyboard. Or you can bring up an emoji keyboard on your mac by pressing command, control and the space bar at the same time and clicking on the desired emoji 🚀

Markdown

If you change the view to Markdown from the drop-down in the toolbar, you’ll see that instead of generating a preview of the text styling we saw before there’s a lot of symbols.

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Markdown was created as a simple way for non-programmers to write in an easy-to-read format that could be converted directly into HTML. It uses very simple formatting to accomplish the same thing that HTML or Rich Text Formatting does, but thankfully it’s simpler than HTML because you don’t have to worry about opening and closing tags.

One benefit of Markdown is that the formatting is embedded in the text, so when you copy the text from different programs the styling comes too. There’s nothing more frustrating than formatting something perfectly in a program like Word or Pages, just to lose all the formatting that you’ve added when you copy and paste the text elsewhere.

Another advantage for me is that Markdown uses punctuation and characters that I already know and use. Which means I’m not hunting around on the keyboard to try to remember where an umlaut is.

There are lots of programs out there which help you write in Markdown as it’s such a versatile way of writing, you should check out Bear because it’s bear-y good or iA Writer which also works on Android as well as iOS.

Formatting

Headings

With markdown headings are done with the hash key, or as some of you might know it the pound key.

So, # HEADLINE is a large header. ## HEADLINE would be a header that was a little smaller than the first, and ### HEADLINE would be a smaller header still.

Italics

For italics, you want to put an asterisk or star either side of the word or phrase that you want to become *italic*.

Bold

To make text bold put two asterisks or stars either side of the word or phrase you want to **bold**.

Quote

To turn your quotation into quote formatting put a > greater than symbol at the start of the new line with the quote.

Code snippet

To add a code snippet simply add a ` backtick either side of the text.

Lists

If you want to make a numbered list (also known as an ordered list) simply start a new line and type 1. and then on the next line type 2.

If you’d prefer to make a bullet point list (also known as an unordered list) just pop a dash on a new line each time you want a new bullet point.

To add a link surround the word or phase in square brackets and then paste the link in parenthesis after, and boom you have a link.

[text](www.intendedhyperlink.com)

You can still use the link button in the toolbar for any of these functions if it’s easier for you, it isn’t one or the other.

Adding Images

Inserting an image purely in Markdown is a little more tricky. Typically if I’m writing a draft somewhere outside of Siteleaf, I’ll put something like ‘INSERT IMAGE HERE’ in the text and then input the image the same way as described earlier on.

However, it is achievable in Markdown and inserting an image works in the same way as adding a hyperlink. But you have to know the title that the image had when you uploaded it to Siteleaf. To insert an image in Markdown on a new line put:

![](link to where the image lives on Siteleaf)

The location of the image will be along the lines of /uploads/filename

Between the square brackets, you need to add the image’s alt tag. Alt tags are used by screen readers, the browsers used by blind and visually impaired people, to tell them what the image shows. Also, bots use alt tags to understand the image, and this helps your SEO.

There’s more on our blog about SEO with Jekyll and Siteleaf, which you should read for further SEO tips and best practices.

Before you publish

There are a few last steps you’ll want to do before making your post visible, and these will vary depending on how your site is set up.

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You may find metadata fields beneath the main text input. On our site, there’s a field where you can upload an image that will be displayed when you share the link online, which makes people more inclined to click on the link. Also, there is a field where you can post a description of the blog post. These act like a preview in the same way.

These are called ‘rich previews’ and are particularly useful when posting links on social media like Facebook or in Slack channels as it gives your readers a flavor of what they will see before they click on the link, making them more inclined to click on and read further.

I’d advise speaking to your Admin or Developer about the metadata fields on your site and the best way to use them. You can find more technical information on metadata here.

Flight Panel

On the right on the main text input, you can see the flight panel.

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Save

This button is where you save your changes. Should you forget to save the changes you’ve made and click away from what you’re editing, Siteleaf will prompt you with a pop up to check if you want to leave these unsaved changes.

Underneath there are three options for your post, either ‘Draft’, ‘Hidden’ or ‘Visible’.

Draft

Draft status is for posts that you are currently working on and shouldn’t yet be made public - or if your role is Writer, then this is how all of your posts will be saved before an Admin or Publisher makes them Visible. Learn more about roles on Siteleaf.

Hidden

Hidden posts are exactly that - hidden. These can be useful if you’ve written about your undying love for Chicago style pizza only to discover that you prefer New York style pizza and can’t have your previous opinion all over the internet. As a side note, all pizza is great.

Visible

All the posts that you’ve written that you want the whole world to read should be set to visible.

Tags

We like to use tags on our blog posts so that users can go through the tags to connect with other posts you tagged with the same tag in the past. For example, under the tag ‘pizza’ your readers can click through to see all your past pizza blog posts.

This is great for UX because then someone can press on the tag, like ‘announcements’ or ‘pizza’, and see all the pizza posts on your site. This is also great for SEO. The more thoroughly you use tags, the easier it is for your readers and web crawlers to engage with your content across years of blog posts.

Categories

These are very similar to tags, but with broader groupings. Tags and categories are similar, and their purpose is to sort your content to improve the usability of your site. Meaning when a user comes to your site, they can easily browse through your content by category or by tag rather than browsing chronologically, which is how blogs were initially set up.

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These work in much the same way as tags, and you can use them together. For example, you can use the category ‘recipe’ whenever you talk about something you tried to cook, but you can use much more specific tags like ‘pizza’, ‘tacos’, or ‘salad’ too.

You should talk with your developer or site admin to see what is best for your website.

Date

This is the date which the post was published. If you set it to a date in the future, it won’t automatically publish on that date unless you set up a scheduled or automatic publishing schedule.

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We recommend using Zapier for this task. With Zapier, and you can use it to integrate your Siteleaf site with lots of different applications like Trello, Twitter, Typeform and other apps not beginning with the letter T. Head to Zapier for more information.

Publishing your post

Publish this post by changing the post’s status to ‘visible’ and hit save.

As I mentioned in our last tutorial, I like to generate item preview before I publish a page, just to check that everything looks as I expected and that I haven’t accidentally added the wrong image or misspelled anything.

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Siteleaf generates a preview in this new tab. Once it’s ready you can check it over. If you’re happy with how it looks head back to Siteleaf’s tab to publish the post. Once you are confident everything looks great you can press ‘publish changes’ in the top right corner.

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You will see that a loading animation takes over the blue bar at the top of Siteleaf. Once it’s published you can see the changes that you’ve made on your website.

Sometimes a new post might take a few minutes to show up because your website uses a cache. If this is the case you can access the direct URL and go ahead with sharing the post online.

Stay Tuned

Our next video will explain step by step how to embed videos in Siteleaf - stay tuned to the blog for that soon!

If there’s anything you would like for us to cover in our tutorials please get in touch on Twitter.

Siteleaf for Content Managers and Creators

Watch Siteleaf for Content Managers and Creators on Vimeo

Our new series of tutorials will walk you through everything you need to know about adding content to your Siteleaf site. There’s no code involved, so you can feel confident using Siteleaf.

Familiarizing yourself with Siteleaf

When you log in to your account you’ll see something like this.

Screen Shot Dashboard.png

This is the Siteleaf Dashboard. The first thing you’ll notice is the sidebar. Here are the elements of your website broken down into four sections.

Content

This section is organized by collections — think of these as your main content buckets.

This site has several collections, but you may only have a few options on yours. It depends on how your site has been set up.

When looking at a new website I always click on each collection to familiarise myself with the content and then look at the published website to see how they relate.

Pages

A page is the most basic content type in Siteleaf - these might include your ‘about’ page, or a ‘contact’ page. See more about how to edit existing pages here.

Posts

As a content creator, you’re most likely to want to know about the blog. Posts are connected to the blog page on your website.

Screen Shot Posts.png

If your site does not have a blog, then feel free to ignore this section. You can click on the title of the post to edit.

Read more

SEO with Jekyll and Siteleaf

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps your website stand a chance of appearing in search engine results and get people organically discovering your site.

Here are our top tips to consider when optomizing your Siteleaf site’s SEO:

Sitemap

Sitemaps can help search engines find information and content on your site, especially if your website is particularly big. Sitemaps can be generated with a whitelisted Jekyll plugin jekyll-sitemap.

To enable the jekyll-sitemap plugin add the following to your site’s Gemfile:

gem 'jekyll-sitemap'

And run bundle. Then add this to your site’s _config.yml file:

url: "http://example.com" # the hostname & protocol for site
plugins:
   - jekyll-sitemap

Save, publish, and you’re done! This will automatically create a /sitemap.xml for you.

Read more

Making your first Jekyll theme: Part 2

This is a guest post by David Darnes, creator of the Alembic theme.

In Part 1, I gave an overview of creating themes for Jekyll and a few tips for when you’re developing your own theme. In this second part, I’m going to give a full step-by-step guide to developing your own Jekyll theme gem.

Getting Setup

Before we get stuck in, you’re going to need a couple of things. It’s good to have at least a basic understanding of Jekyll; the file structure is very similar to making a Jekyll site, as is the development process. Unsurprisingly, you’ll actually need Jekyll as well, which can be installed using Ruby. For Mac users, this will be quite straightforward, as Ruby comes preinstalled. This means you can just use the following command in your command line tool of choice:

$ gem install jekyll

You can use the following article if you’re trying to install Jekyll on a Windows machine.

If you’re planning for your user base to use Siteleaf or GitHub Pages, you can install the official GitHub pages-gem, but make a note of the specific gems you’re using, as you’re going to need them later in the development process. You should also install Bundler, which will help you to manage all the gems you are using in your gem theme.

Finally, create an account on RubyGems.org - you’ll need this account later on when you want to submit your theme gem so others can install it easily.

Read more

Connect Siteleaf To 1000 Other Apps With Zapier

siteleaf-banner-blue.png

Zapier connect’s the apps you use every day to automate your work, so you can concentrate on the bigger creative tasks. Zapier makes it possible for your emails to trigger a new task in your time management tool, or your social media output to be saved in your cloud storage system.

Before it was a struggle to get them all working in tandem. Now that Zapier has 1,000 integrations, you can choose your favorite tools and easily integrate them with Siteleaf.

Read more

Holiday gifts #builtwithsiteleaf

At Siteleaf we are really behind on our Holiday shopping, so we turned to websites that use Siteleaf for some holiday inspiration and they delivered.

Here are a few things that we would love to wake up and find under the tree:

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Girl’s Night In have a selection of goodies for any homebody on your list. We love their going home after this keychain, because it lets everyone know exactly where you would rather be for just $15.

Read more

Introducing remote themes

Some exciting news! GitHub Pages has announced support for loading remote themes from any GitHub-hosted repository. This is also supported on Siteleaf as of today, whether you publish to GitHub or anywhere else.

Remote themes are similar to Gem-based themes, but do not require Gemfile changes or whitelisting. This means you can now use any of the hundreds of community-curated themes available on GitHub.com, or create your own without having to publish a Gem.

Jekyll themes package layouts, includes, and stylesheets in a way that can be overridden by your site’s content. It’s a great way to maintain a separation of content and code, and makes it possible to share themes across multiple sites.

Read more

Making your first Jekyll theme: Part 1

This is a guest post by David Darnes, creator of the Alembic theme.

By nature, any well structured site that has easily editable content is ‘themeable’ — a layer, or skin, that presents content in the way the owner or creator intended; Jekyll is no different. Pages, posts and any other form of formatted content can be segregated from the templating files.

Themes for Jekyll have been around for a while, but the process of installing a theme was a bit clunky. Content files and templating files would have to be carefully copied over. But, with the introduction of Gem-based themes, themes can now be installed with a couple of lines of code.

Read more

See you at GitHub Universe

Next week the Siteleaf team is heading west for the GitHub Universe conference, October 11th and 12th in San Francisco.

If you are attending the conference or in the nearby area, hit us up! We’d love to meet up and chat with as many Siteleaf users as possible.

A few talks we’re excited to see at GitHub Universe:

  • Real-time collaborative editing: the science behind the magic
  • Caring for your fellow developers
  • Tools as a catalyst for culture change
  • Accessibility: it’s more than just screen readers
  • Balancing identity & privacy: building tools to help users

As a proud sponsor of the conference, we’re excited to offer 15% discount on tickets. Use the promo code COMMUNITYU1715 and come hang with us!

Jekyll 3.5.2 is here

Recently GitHub Pages upgraded to Jekyll 3.5.2, and we’ve now made it our default to match.

This update includes a few enhancements and bug fixes, most notably one which should dramatically speed up generation of your site! In testing jekyllrb.com, generation went from 18 seconds down to 8.

For a full list of revisions check out the release notes.

If you are still using Jekyll 3.4, here’s everything that’s new in 3.5 so far:

  • Jekyll now uses Liquid 4, the latest! It comes with whitespace control, new filters concat and compact, loop performance improvements and many fixes.
  • Themes can specify dependencies and Jekyll will require those. This makes it easier for theme writers to use plugins.
  • The gems key in the _config.yml is now plugins. This is backwards-compatible, as Jekyll will gracefully upgrade gems to plugins if you use the former.
  • Filters like sort now allow you to sort based on a subvalue, e.g. {% assign sorted = site.posts | sort: "image.alt_text" %}.
  • You can now use tab-separated data files.
  • Using layout: none will now produce a file with no layout. Equivalent to layout: null, with the exception that none is a truthy value and won’t be overwritten by front matter defaults.
  • Dramatically faster site generation!
  • Lots more bug fixes.
Read more

Add SSL to your site for free

Add SSL to your site free

Is your website encrypted?

Back in 2014, Google announced it would begin using HTTPS encryption as search ranking signal. If you are still serving your site over basic HTTP in 2017, you may be missing a key part in your SEO strategy.

The good news? It’s never been easier to jump aboard the HTTPS train and secure your traffic.

HTTPS (also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security) uses SSL/TLS certificates to identify your website and encrypt data in transit to your website’s visitors.

Google will be pushing further with the release of Chrome 56 later this month, announcing it will mark all non-HTTPS pages containing password and credit card input fields as “Not Secure”. Eventually, Chrome plans to show a Not Secure warning for all pages served over HTTP, regardless of whether or not the page contains sensitive input fields. Here’s what visitors will see in the new version:

Treatment of HTTP pages with password or credit card form fields in Chrome 56

There are several ways obtain an SSL certificate for your site — many of them are completely free, and only take a few minutes to set up. Since Siteleaf supports publishing to any web host, you can choose the option that best fits your needs.

We’ll review our favorites in this blog post, starting with CloudFront (which we use ourselves for this blog).

Read more

More whitelisted plugins

Hot on the heels of the Jekyll 3.3.1 update earlier this week, four additional plugins have been whitelisted for GitHub Pages.

These plugins are specifically geared toward software documentation and open source code projects on GitHub, but may come in handy for any type of website.

Read more
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