Using the Blog

A blog is preinstalled as part of your initial Webvanta site. If you don't want to use the blog, just delete the main Blog page from the Menu area of the page index. You can delete the blog pages as well, but it doesn't hurt to leave them in place, and you might want them later.

The blog pages use standard Webvanta database features, so they are extensively customizable. A blog post is the same thing as an article; we create a separate item type for blog posts since many sites have a group of articles that are thought of as the blog. In essence, the blog system presents articles in reverse chronological order, with the option to also organize them by categories, while the knowledgebase system presents articles in the context of category pages. These are just our default presentations; you can use articles and blog posts on your pages however you'd like.

Adding Blog Posts

To add a post, select Blog Posts from the Content menu and click the New Blog Post link. The information that you put in the excerpt will show up on the blog main page; the full text will appear on the blog post page, which appears when a reader clicks the link on the main blog page. (You can also change this to show the full text on the main blog page if you would prefer, by changing <w:description> to <w:body> on the blog main page.)

Blog System Pages

There are four pages that make up the blog system:

  • The main blog page shows excerpts (or full text, if you make a small change) of the most recent posts.
  • The post page shows a single, complete post.
  • The blog archive page shows posts that are too old to appear on the main page.
  • The blog category page shows posts in a specified category.

By default, the main blog page shows only the most recent five articles, and the rest are shown on the Blog Archive page. You'll see a link to the Blog Archive page appear on the main Blog page after you have more than five articles entered.

Setting Up RSS Feeds

Your site comes set up with two RSS feeds, one for all of the database content other than blog posts (feed.xml), and another for the blog (blog.xml). You can edit the XML file specifications via Structure > Feeds & XML Files in the control panel.

The standard starter site is also set up with both an autodiscovery link, which appears in the browser's address bar with modern browsers, and a feed icon in the header. In both cases, the code tests the URL to see if it includes the words "blog" or "post" and uses the blog feed if that is the case; otherwise, it uses the main feed.

You can easily add more feeds for specific topics or specific item types by adding category="xyz" or type="xyz" to the w:kb:item:each statement in the XML file specification. You may want to add a page that lists your various feeds and indicates what each feed includes.

You may want to set up the feeds to be handled through Feedburner, which provides some processing of your feed and gives you statistics on how many people are using it. Once you have that set up, change the autodiscovery tag (in the html_header snippet), as well as the link on the RSS icon in the header snippet, so it points to your feed at Feedburner instead of to the raw feed provided by the site. Through Feedburner, you can also offer subscriptions via email; your Feedburner control panel will provide you with the form code, which you can paste into your Webvanta site wherever you want to display this form.

Editing the Blog Title

You probably want to choose a catchier title than "Blog". That title is in the main blog page, which you can edit like any other.


You'll get an email each time a comment is posted.

If you go to Content > Blog Posts (once you have some posts), you'll see for each post a column that shows the number of comments, with another number in parenthesis that shows how many were automatically marked as spam. To moderate posts, click the speech bubble icon at the right, and you'll see the list of comments. You can also view all comments via Submissions > Comments.

You can edit posts, delete posts, mark them as spam by clicking the thumbs-down icon (which makes them go away and helps educate the spam-checking service), or mark as not spam (by clicking the thumbs-up icon) posts that got automatically tagged as spam, in the rare event that there is a false positive and you want to make the post appear.

By default, your site is set up to post comments without requiring moderation. You can change it to require moderation by accessing Submissions > Comments, clicking the Settings icon in the upper right corner, and checking the box for "Moderate Before Posting". When this is checked, comments will not appear immediately, and the notification message you receive will indicate the post is awaiting moderation. You can then click the link in the notification email to accept or reject the post.

Note: There's an additional layer of spam-bot protection in the comment form: there's an extra field in the form, which the CSS sets to display:none in our standard CSS file, so normal users should never see it. The spam-bots don't pay attention to CSS, however, and they fill in every field. So if this field is filled in, Webvanta just ignores the submission. Experience has shown that this simple technique eliminates the vast majority of spam submissions. This field has an ID of "email2"; if you don't include our default CSS file, be sure to add a CSS rule to your CSS file that sets this to display:none.

Blog Categories

The blog system is set up to use categories, if you choose to do so. Just create a top-level category called Blog, and then create subcategories for each category that you want to use on the blog. Each subcategory will appear on the right side of all blog pages, linked to the blog_category page that lists all posts in that category. The list is created by the snippet "blog_categories", which you can edit if you want to change the presentation.

When you create a post, the categories are shown at the bottom of the new post page. Click the plus sign next to the Blog category to display the blog categories, and then check the box for whatever category or categories that are appropriate for the post. The post will automatically appear on those blog category pages.

Recent Posts

All blog pages except for the main blog page are set up to show a list of recent posts in right column. This list is generated by the snippet "recent_posts", which you can edit if you want to change the number of posts shown or the way they are presented.