16 Mar 2017

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Master Pages

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials, Web Design

I was quite surprised recently when a customer sent me their EverWeb project file and I discovered that it didn’t have a Master Page. The website was only seven pages in total so maybe it wasn’t a big deal. When I started browsing through the project I immediately realised that a Master Page would reap benefits, even with a relatively small website project.

Why Use Master Pages
Master Pages were one of the first major features added to EverWeb back in version 1.2. It was one of the most requested features that iWeb lacked and rightly so as it immediately gives you these great benefits…

  1. Design Consistency. Presenting your website with a consistent design on every page is vital when you want your visitors to easily navigate your site to find and discover what you want them to. Placing objects in consistent locations on your web page and using the same style approach for things such as titles, buttons, logos and so on is really important so your visitors don’t get a frustrating experience. Consistency should also extend to page settings as well. Having a consitstent framework to design your site in is easier for you as well as being easier for your visitors.
  2. Design Accuracy. Web design also needs to be pixel perfect. Have you ever visited websites where things like titles and buttons jump around a bit as you move from page to page. Or the background color changes slightly when it really shouldn’t? Your website should focus your visitor on it’s content, not the distraction of a poorly placed objects on the design canvas. A Master Page will instantly take these issues away and you’ll have a more focused visitor as a result.
  3. More ProfessionalYour website is often the first place potential and existing customers go to when they want to discover more about you, your company, your products or your services. Often it’s your calling card for the digital age. Creating a professional appearance is a must. If you have followed the first two points above, you’re already getting there. Take time to think about the design of your Master Page(s) as and test the results on mobile, tablet and desktop devices. If necessary create Master Pages for each environment so that you offer your visitors the right experience on all platforms. It’s the professional approach!
  4. Easier Website Maintenance and Updates. Having one Master Page to maintain and update rather than all of your web pages is a no brainier. Having just one page to update means you’re less liable to make mistakes. Updating many pages with the same changes is boring and repetitive which is where errors start to creep in.
  5. Saves Time. We all know that time is a valuable commodity to most people. Using a Master Page is the perfect tool for this. If you do make a mistake, or need to make changes or a quick website update it’s faster and more efficient to do so using a Master Page. All changes immediately get applied to any page that uses the Master Page so it couldn’t be easier!

Creating a Master Page

Creating a Master Pages is very simple to do – just click on the ‘New Master Page’ button in the blue Master Page section of the Web Page List. If the blue section is not visible, it’s probably because the splitter bar (right above the Project name) needs to be dragged down to reveal it. Next you will see the the Theme Template Chooser, so select the Theme and Page Style you want as you would do when adding any regular page in EverWeb. Note that you can’t make a Master Page from of a blog page style.

Once the new Master Page has been created it’s added to the Master Page section. Name the Master Page in the same was as you would for a regular page. In fact, use the Master Page in exactly the same way as a regular page. The only difference is that you will only add objects that you want to appear on all pages that are going to be using the Master Page. Typically, this means that the body area of the page is usually empty as this is where regular page content will go.

In my customer’s case, I took her company logo, tag line, contact details from the header and footer and the social media buttons she used and placed them in the Master Page in the same locations as they were on the regular pages. I then made sure that the Page Settings for content width, content height, header, footer, background color and browser background were set correctly. Again, that’s another real benefit of the Master Page. You only need to set up page defaults once.

Using your Master Page

Once you have finished your Master Page, apply it to all of the pages you want to use it with. To do this, select the regular page that the Master Page will be attached to. Next, on the Page Settings tab of the Inspector Window select the Master Page to attach using the dropdown menu in the Master Page section. You’ll see that the page changes, adding in the objects from the Master Page.

The objects that come from the Master Page all have a black page symbol in the top right hand corner meaning that you can’t edit them from a regular page. You can only edit these objects by editing the Master Page itself.

Now that you’ve applied the Master Page, you’ll probably notice that you have the same objects twice on the page. As the Master Page objects ‘sit’ underneath the regular page and can’t be deleted unless you edit the Master Page itself, you can delete the duplicate objects from the regular page so only the Master Page objects remain on the page.

When you’ve completed this task for all pages in your site that are using the Master Page, publish the entire site using the File-> Publish Entire Site menu.

If you need it make changes in the future to all of your pages at one time, you’ll only have to do the changes to just the Master Page. Adding and working with Master Pages even on small websites is something that takes very little time, and will save you lots of time in the future!

if you have a question about Master Pages, please let us know in the Comments Section below. Thanks!

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