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 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 demos and workshops that are a great introduction to using NationBuilder. Here are some great links to resources to get you started:

Want more help learning to use NationBuilder? Talk to us about our Training for Leaders option. We’ll work with you to teach you how to manage your website, and get the most out of NationBuilder’s community management tools to effectively track and measure your community’s level of engagement. Contact us for more details.

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:

  • subscribe
  • documentation

NationBuilder is rich with tools to help you build beautiful, robust, and interactive pages on your website. Every page includes a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, making it easy to apply basic styling to your content with the click of a button. Click here to learn the basics of creating and editing pages on your website.

Click here to check out examples of NationBuilder various page templates on your website here.

Adding images, video, and other media

NationBuilder's WYSIWYG editor makes is easy to add rich media like images, embedded videos, and more to your pages. Click here to read about how to add rich media to your pages

Advanced page editing with Bootstrap 3

If you're familiar with HTML and CSS, NationBuilder also includes an HTML editing tool in the content WYSIWYG editing toolbar. Your theme was built using the Bootstrap 3 framework, which means that with a little bit of HTML and CSS know-how, you can easily create advanced layouts for your page content directly within NationBuilder's content editor. For example, you can create responsive columns, or add buttons to your page content, all using Bootstrap 3.

Need help?

Need help with adding or styling your content, or creating beautiful layouts? Get in touch with us!

Top section with signup call-to-action

The intro text in the top section of your website that appears for users who are signed out can be updated by navigating to Website > Site settings > Basic in your NationBuilder Control Panel, and updating the text in the Headline field. Note that the Subheadline field also on this page is used to control the text that appears in the black bar beside your logo in your website's navigation menu.

The background image for the top section of your website can be updated by navigating to Website > Site settings > Header image in your NationBuilder Control Panel, and uploading a new Header image. The recommended image dimensions are 1026px wide by 343px tall.

3 call-to-action links

The 3 call-to-action links that appear in the blue banner on your homepage can be updated by navigating to Website > Supporter nav in your NationBuilder Control Panel. You should always have 3 links set for your homepage.

Optional featured content slider

You can add an optional featured content slider to your homepage below the blue banner by navigating to Website > Home > Settings > Featured content slider in your NationBuilder Control Panel. For more info on NationBuilder's featured content slider feature, check out this link: http://nationbuilder.com/configure_featured_content_sliders

Featured News

The latest 6 blog posts on your website tagged with "featured" will automatically show up on your homepage. You can set a custom thumbnail image for each post by uploading a file named "post-thumbnail.jpg" under the Files tab each post in your NationBuilder control panel. The recommended image with is 740px (the height can be whatever you like).

You can edit the content that appears below your logo 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 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.

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.

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.

Events on your NationBuilder website are managed through Calendar and Event pages. You can read more about Calendar and Event pages by clicking the links below:

http://nationbuilder.com/how_to_calendar

http://nationbuilder.com/setting_up_an_event

To learn about how to manage and track donations on your website, check out these links:

http://nationbuilder.com/how_to_create_a_donation_page

http://nationbuilder.com/how_to_fundraising

Please note that one of the limitations of NationBuilder's donation pages is that one-time donation and monthly donation options must be set up as separate pages. However, we've created a custom solution that allows you to include the option switching between making a one-time and a monthly donation from directly within your donation forms.

To activate this custom feature, simply create a new donation page that is either a one-time or a monthly donation form, and then create a second donation page as a subpage that is the other type of donation form. For example, if you create Donation Page A and set it up to collect one-time donations, you would then create Donation Page B as a subpage of Donation Page A, and configure Donation Page B to accept monthly donations.

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.

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.

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.