A ShopSite page template consists of two definitions; a link, and a page. The page definition contains a complete HTML document which, when generated, will create an HTML page for the store. These pages can contain information about the store, a list of products, and links to other pages. The link definition is a small snippet of code which lays out the appearance of the page links.
The page definition is what determines the overall structure of a store's Web pages, and as a result, contains everything that any stand-alone HTML page needs. The merchant can select what page links, products, and other information to include on the page from the ShopSite back office.
How you design a page definition depends not only on the nature of the store, but on how the page will be used. For example, a merchant may want some pages to only have information, such as the company background, contact information, or legal disclaimers. Other pages, such as an "on sale" page, might have a wide assortment of very different products, while others may have very similar products. All these things and more can influence the design that goes into a page definition.
A page definition can include any, all, or none, of the following:
Universal Header or Footer
ShopSite allows merchants to design a header and a footer that can be included on any store page. The universal header might include the store name and logo, or links to non-store pages such as a Company page. The footer might include your copyright notice and a link to legal information. Ultimately, anything you want to be presented on every store page could be included in the header or footer.
The name of a page could be nothing more than a name the merchant uses to keep track of the pages in the back office. Alternately, the name of a page could be used as the HTML title, and in the HTML body. The page name could also be used for links to the page, although there is also a Page Link Name for that use.
Page Banner Graphic
Two possible ways to use the banner graphic on a page could be as an icon-style image that goes beside the Page Name, or it could be the page name rendered in an attractive, graphical format. There are numerous ways to use the page banner graphic; it doesn't even have to be in the banner, if you would rather use it somewhere else in the page.
ShopSite provides three specific text fields for use by merchants. These text fields can be used to include a description of the page's content, or instructions for the page, or any other use you can think of. ShopSite allows merchants to insert HTML into the Page Text fields in the Back Office, so you will probably need to accommodate for that in your template designs.
Links to Pages
ShopSite will automatically generate links to pages the merchant specifies in the Back Office. Your custom template design controls where the links appear on the page. The Link definition controls the appearance of the link itself. By default, the link to a page will appear according to that page's template, not the template for the page the link appears on. This behavior can be overridden by forcing all links to use a template specified in the page definition.
The products are, of course, the most important part of most store pages, and need to be displayed prominently. The Page template only controls general layout for the product listing; the listings themselves are part of the Product template.
ShopSite has Back Office fields to create Meta information for Keyword and Description content, which are important for search engines.
ShopSite provides for several fields that can be used at the designer's discression. These fields could include additional text, images, links, or special information used in the designs for advanced customization.
The ShopSite Back Office allows merchants to select colors for content and a background image. If you are making a generic template, your design may need to incorporate these settings.
When designing a custom template, especially site-specific designs, you can also include additional HTML content that will appear on every page. An example of one way to use this would be to include a copyright notice at the bottom of each page. This could be done as part of the Universal Footer, or you could put the notice directly into the template, and use the footer for something that may only be included on some pages.
The link definition controls how a link to the store page appears on other store pages. By default, a link to a page is controlled by the template specified for that page, not the template for the page the link appears on.
A link can have any of the following elements:
The Link Name is frequently used as the text a customer clicks on to follow the link.
A link image can either replace or go beside the link name.
Link text could be a more detailed description of the page, or it could be used to highlight the link, such as indicating new content has been added to the page, or you could use it for something completely different. In most cases, if link text is used, it will appear along with either the link name or link image.
A Search Link Override template is a special type of Page template that contains a link definition that will be used to create links to Store Pages on a Search Resutls page. Merchants can configure Serch Results to create links to Store Pages, More Info Pages, or to a specified non-ShopSite page. In such a case, links to More Info Pages or non-ShopSite pages will not use the link override template, so for a consistent appearance, you may want to make the override link template only display an unformatted Link Name, rather than allowing Link Images or Link Text to make the page links fancier than the links to More Info Pages.Next Topic: Search Design