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Sitecore Editing Experience

During my 6+ years as a content author using the Sitecore platform, I often get the question; how user-friendly is the content editing experience in Sitecore? We all know that Sitecore is praised for its advanced personalization and analytics capabilities, but we often forget that at its core, it is still one of the best content management systems around.

Let me start by listing some of the key elements that make Sitecore such a great enterprise level CMS:

  • Supports Multiple Sites - marketers can manage all of their websites under one platform. This allows users to share content across multiple sites instantly keeping the experience consistent.
  • Manage Multiple Languages - With translation services such as ClayTablet authors can handle multiple languages with ease and save time and effort.
  • Versioning – authors can version any piece of content allowing them to review and compare different versions of a specific piece of content whether it be a landing page or image.
  • Workflow – enables users to have control over the content approval and publishing process, ensuring that only content that has been approved is published.
  • Copy or Duplicating Content – With a simple right click of an item content authors can easily copy or duplicate any piece of content. This allows the author to streamline the content creation process.
  • Security Roles – depending on your organization structure you can give Sitecore users different access rights to different areas of the site. This reassures content authors are following the correct protocol when it comes to the workflow process.
  • Advanced A/B Testing – With Sitecore users have the ability to analyze multiple pieces of content to see which has been the most effective at increasing customer engagement.
  • Personalization – marketers can manage personalization on the content level with a familiar rules interface. It is easy to see the different variations available and preview them on the page.

I want to focus on the content management experience, let us start with the core. If you are new to the Sitecore platform, there are two ways to edit content: The Experience Editor and the Content Editor.

The Experience Editor is a WYSIWYG editor that allows you to easily make changes to items directly on the page. Within this mode you can select where you want to add content blocks, which can be limited based on the design or type of page. You can also perform all the standard operations such as creating new pages, versioning and updating workflow.

The Content Editor is an editing tool that you can use to manage and edit all the content on your website. It is designed for more experienced content authors who are familiar with Sitecore and the functionality that it contains. So as a content author how do you know if the Experience Editor or Content Editor is right for you?

Experience Editor

In the Experience Editor, the ribbon with all the available functionality is displayed at the top of the webpage. The functionality on the ribbon varies depending on your security roles and the customizations of the website that you are accessing.

Sitecore Experience Editor

Benefits:

  • Confidence and Accuracy. The content author gives you the ability to see an entire page layout, modules, and content all at once. This gives the content author confidence in what their creating and easily accessible to review before publishing to the web.
  • Component Rendering. The Experience Editor allows content authors to easily add/remove modules, move modules up and down a page, set personalization, add metadata, and start workflow all from one screen. In older versions the content author would have to manually assign rendering placeholders using the presentation details (layout of the page) which was always a challenge if you were not familiar with the placeholders or renderings.
  • Inline Editing. Content authors can add content on the fly directly inline since everything is visually seen on the page. This allows content authors to bypass the copy and paste process from a word document and see results right away.

Sitecore Inline Editing

Content Editor

The Content editor has three main areas that you can customize to fit your authoring needs.

The ribbon – all functionality

Sitecore Content Editor Ribbon

The Content Tree – where items are organized

Sitecore Content Tree

Content Area – area where you edit items

Sitecore Content Area

Benefits:

  • Multiple Item Updates. The Content Editor makes it easier to make bulk updates of the same type because all the items are in the same interface. This makes editing familiar items quicker especially when the items are based on the same template. In comparison content authors would have to open the Experience Editor and wait for all the modules to load before looking for a single piece of content to update.
  • Organization and Navigation. Copying, moving, duplicating, reordering, renaming, and deleting is best done with the drag-and-drop feature or right click of an item within the content tree interface. It is also easy to navigate and review your site structure from the Content Editor.
  • Media Items. Adding, replacing or removing images is best done in the Content Editor as well. Content that is stored in lists such as image sliders or menu items can be quickly updated within the Content Editor rather than trying to update from the Experience Editor.

In my experience content authors can achieve most of their tasks from the Experience Editor but it should never be the only required option when managing content. The Content Editor has benefits that should never be ignored when building a Sitecore solution. If you are a new content author I would suggest testing out both editing experiences and pick the one that works best for you.

At The Reference we focus on making sure that the editing experience is second to none. Want to know how to optimize your editing experience within Sitecore? Contact us to learn more.

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