What are Sitecore templates?

28th October 2016

A developer's view on why Sitecore templates improve website builds

The term ‘Sitecore templates’ can be easily misunderstood. When we talk about templates, it’s easy to assume we’re talking about visual layouts and design. But from a developer point of view, templates are the base to creating further content ‘items’ (also called ‘components’). They can also be used to define the restrictions and data sources for an item.

Sitecore templates don’t exist out-the-box. We build templates for titles, text boxes and a host of other items. The template basically specifies the type of content or data fields that an item will use. This helps establish a hierarchy for the website’s content, making it easier for editors to manage.

How we use Sitecore templates for builds

When we approach a Sitecore website build, we start by researching the components that make up a client’s current website. For example, if there’s a banner on the homepage, we identify the purpose and function of that item. This might be capturing the user’s attention or delivering a broad message about the brand.

We then think about what a banner template would need to support that purpose. So the template could include a text, image and link field. Each field supports the purpose of the banner by engaging the user, supporting brand identity and providing a call to action. That template then becomes reusable across the entire site.

We look at the whole website this way. We think, how can we support the business objectives with each component? And how can we build templates for these components to make the clients’ (and our own) lives easier?

We use Sitecore templates in a number of ways across websites. Templates define the way every piece of content will be used, where it will come from, where it should go and what it’s made up of.

Why do Sitecore templates make builds easier?

So what’s the point of all this?

For a Sitecore developer, templates have plenty of benefits:

  • They help keep purpose and function at the forefront of the build – which is vital to good UX
  • Templates help us manage the client’s content, especially if there’s a lot of it, it’s easier to understand how the items of a site need to come together
  • They make build times quicker – rather than repeatedly building pages with individual content items, we can create layouts from a number of data templates
  • With templates, there’s less room for errors – every page will have a title and every banner will have a call to action, as defined by their template
  • The templates can easily be extended if an additional feature is required

Sitecore templates are one of the key reasons we prefer it over other platforms. Templates in Sitecore can be inherited into other items, making them easier to build. And when you change one template, it updates across your instance – wherever the template’s used.

Not every platform works like this. With other CMS platforms, it’s harder to reuse templates across the site. You’ll often have to recreate items for every template variation. Which is much more time-consuming.

How does it benefit our clients?

Our approach to builds involves using Sitecore templates for every item and component of a website. And then putting these items together to form layouts. This means our builds are quicker, simpler and more logical. Which ultimately means the client saves money and gets a better product.

Our website projects are also built with the business’ content editors and marketers in mind. With Sitecore templates at the core of your content, creating and editing items is easier. So you won’t have to come back to us every time you want to add a blog post or create a campaign page.

Find out more

Want to know more about how Sitecore templates can benefit your website project? Get in touch with us as Kagool. We offer free Sitecore demos to new customers. Or, if you’re already on Sitecore, get Sitecore audit to make sure you’re getting the best from your investment.