Documentation

Welcome to your custom NationBuilder theme, built by Van City Studios. Included below is some documentation and some best practice tips for using your new custom theme. If you have any questions about your custom theme, or require additional support, contact us by email at sayhello@vancitystudios.com or by phone at +1-604-229-5562.

One of the great things about NationBuilder is that they’ve developed an extensive library of resources that you can use to learn how to effectively use the NationBuilder platform. NationBuilder also offers free online workshops that are a great way to get more familiar with their platform or refresh your NationBuilder skills. You can check out their library of resources and workshop schedule here: nationbuilder.com/support.

Your custom NationBuilder website & theme has been built to work with NationBuilder's page template system, which is designed to make it easy to add and manage many different types of pages to your website via your NationBuilder Control Panel. You can learn all about NationBuilder's website features here: http://nationbuilder.com/ht_website

There are a number of special considerations to keep in mind when working with your custom website & theme:

1) Your website & theme includes a number of enhanced custom features, including a bespoke homepage, an optional sharebar that you can turn on/off for every page, an alternate "container" page layout for your basic page templates, and more. These features are describe in other sections of this guide.

2) Your theme requires a number of key pages to work properly. You can update and change the content on these pages as needed, but make sure that they don't get deleted and that the slug stays the same. Here's a list of the slugs for the key pages of your theme:

  • /home
  • /join
  • /footer (for the copyright, etc)

3) Your theme also uses page tags to control the placement of certain elements on your homepage and in your website's footer (see the What design elements are editable on my homepage, and how to I update them? and How do I add/manage links and content in my website's footer? questions in this guide for more info). You should make sure that you have at least one page on your website that uses each of the following tags:

  • learn more (for the footer)
  • get involved (for the footer)
  • what we do (for the home page)
  • test_results (for the home page)

Your custom homepage includes multiple elements that you can edit and update, including:

Intro section

The intro section of your homepage will display the headline and content from your homepage. To make changes/edits to this content, simply update the headline and content for your homepage.

The signup fields that display this content are automatically generated by your custom theme, and are connected to the /join page on your website. Be sure that the /join page is set up as a Signup page, and that it does not get deleted.

You can also customize the background image that is used for this section by uploading a new photo under Site settings > Header image. The recommended image dimensions are 1026px wide by 325px high. Remember that the text that displays on top of this image is white, so be sure to choose an image that is dark enough so that the text will still be readable.

What we do section

This section will display the content from any page on your website that is tagged with "what we do". This section uses a three column layout, and the content for a page is displayed in each column. We recommend having three pages on your website tagged with "what we do" so that all three columns are filled out. We've set up the following three pages and tagged them with "what we do" for the launch of your new custom theme:

  • /learn
  • /post
  • /investigate

Homepage Featured Content Slider

This design element on your homepage is controlled using the Featured Content Slider settings on your homepage. The recommended image dimensions for these sliders are 1300px wide by 745px tall. Remember that if you use the Headline/Action text option to add test to your images, that text will be white, so be sure to choose images that are dark enough that the text will still be readable.

Latest Tests

This section will display the four latest pages or posts from your website that are tagged with "test_results" in a tiled layout. The title text for each tile is generated by the content in the Headline field for each page or post, and the author and date are generated automatically by the settings for that page. To customize the thumbnail background image for a tile, simply add an image to that page or post named "thumbnail.png". If no thumbnail image is attached, a default thumbnail image will be used instead.

Latest Articles

This section will display the three latest posts or pages from your website tagged with "Articles". The title is generated by the Headline content for that post or page. If the page is a blog post and contains content "before the flip", it will also display below the headline. The author and publish date are generated by the settings for each page as well.

You can edit the content that appears below your site name in your website's footer using the "Footer" content settings found under Website > Site settings > Footer in your NationBuilder Control Panel.

The links in the Learn More and Get Involved columns are controlled via page tags. Any page tagged with "learn more" will appear in the Learn More column, and any page tagged with "get involved" will appear in the Get Involved column. The links will always appear in alphabetical order.

The facebook and twitter links in the Connect column are automatically populated with links to the facebook and twitter accounts of your website's primary broadcaster.

The disclaimer and copyright text that appears in your footer can be updated by modifying the content on your /footer page.

Sometimes you may want to use the pages in your top-level navigation menu as "containers" to organize related subpages on your website. You may however not have a lot of meaningful content available for these "container" pages

Landing on an empty page can create a poor navigation experience for your viewers. To help make sure your viewers have a great and intuitive viewing experience, we've developed a special feature that allows you to turn these types of "container" pages into a directory of the subpages below it. Simply add the tag "container" to any basic page, and a list of all subpages will appear on that page in a tiled layout.

Each tile has a default background image that will be applied automatically, but you can also add custom thumbnail images for a subpage. To add a custom thumbnail image for a given subpage, upload an image that's 360px wide by 196px tall and named "thumbnail.jpg" to the subpage in question.

Great question. The way the container page is organized is actually related to the menu settings, and can be adjusted under the Subpages > Sub nav pages tab in the settings for the Articles page. However, this is a bit of an unusual use case because most of the subpages of your Articles page don't have the "include in top nav" option checked, so they won't show up in this list. What I recommend doing is temporarily turning on the "include in top nav" option for all of the subpages under the "Articles" page, rearranging them in the order you want them to appear using the Subpages > Sub nav pages tab, and then turning off the "include in top nav" option again for any pages you don't want to have show up in the drop down of your website's primary navigation menu.
Let me know if you need any further clarification or assistance with this. Thanks!

A sharebar is a special feature that we've developed that allows you to add a prewritten tweet near the top of your pages, making it easy for your supporters to share your website and key messaging on Twitter and Facebook. To turn on the sharebar for a page, simply add the tag "sharebar" to that page. You can configure the prewritten tweet text by editing the Default post content found under the Social media settings tab for that page.

First, check and make sure that the changes you've made are published. If you're still having trouble, you may need to clear your website's cache. From your NationBuilder Control Panel, navigate to Website > Site settings > Clear cache.

Sometimes when making changes to a page or publishing a new page, the links in your site's top nav may automatically rearrange themselves. If this happens, you can change the order of the links in your navigation menu using the method described here.

NationBuilder includes some great tools you can use to make sure your website is search engine friendly. You can read about optimizing your website for search engines here: nationbuilder.com/organic_search_ranking_optimization

NationBuilder includes some great tools that allow your supporters to share your website via their social networks. You can read about how to optimize each page on your website for social sharing here: nationbuilder.com/optimizing_your_content_for_social_media

Your custom theme includes an expanded set of page-level sharing tools (we've added options to share by email, Pinterest, Linkedin, StumbleUpon, and Reddit.)

We've also added a feature that allows you to include a "sharebar", which promotes the prewritten tweet that is configured for that particular page at the top of the page. To turn on the sharebar, simply add the tag "sharebar" to that page.