"Sharing" allows someone to create a page or set of pages in one website and share it with one or more other sites. Shared pages are like a syndicated radio show that is produced by one station and sent to other stations to be played by them. These other stations cannot change the content of the show, but will announce their own station ID while it's playing, thus making the prepackaged content appear to be their own. Similarly, shared pages are edited and updated by the person who owns the original page, then are displayed in other sites with which they are shared.
For example, a 4-H Youth specialist who is headquartered in Clinton County and serves Dekalb and Caldwell counties, may want to creates a 4-H page that will serve all three counties.He or she can create a 4-H page in the Clinton County website and share that page with the Dekalb and Caldwell sites. The content of the page can only be edited from the Clinton site in the website tool.
Editors for the other two counties will see the page as a subpage in WebTool, highlighted to indicate that it's a shared page from another county. When they click "Edit," the page will open in the editing view, but the body content will be read-only. Before the page will be visible to visitors to their county site, they must configure the following fields in the "Page properties" tab: Title, Friendly URL, Page template, Banner image, Display on Web, and Display as Local programming menu item.
When the example 4-H page is viewed as part of the DeKalb County website, it will have the Dekalb County banner and navigation, so that users stay within that county site.
Origin site is where the page originates. This is where the maintainer created the page and can update the content of the page
Target sites are the websites with which the page is shared. These sites may display the page as their own, but they cannot edit the content of the page.
Origin page properties are the page properties for the page in its origin site
Target page properties are the page properties for the page in a target site
To share or link?
A shared page is useful when you have specific content that is relevant to multiple sites. Without a shared page, that content would likely be duplicated on those other sites anyway. If you are thinking about sharing multiple pages with multiple sites, it might be better to make a new mini-site for those pages that everyone can link to, rather than duplicating large amounts of content across MU Extension.
These ideas may be helpful as you consider how to use shared pages:
- A shared page can be a concise program content page for a specialist who covers multiple counties.
- A shared page can also be a newsletter page with links to PDF newsletter files for a regional newsletter.
Example of a shared page
The Master Naturalist program is run jointly by three specialists for St. Charles, St. Louis and Franklin counties. Each county has its own chapter. Scott Killpack (St. Charles) developed a general information page about the MN program for all three counties and shared it to the St. Louis and Franklin sites.
Franklin County added the page to their navigation, then also added a page about the local Miramiguoa Chapter group.
St Charles MN page: http://extension.missouri.edu/stcharles/masternaturalist.aspx
Franklin MN page: http://extension.missouri.edu/franklin/masternaturalist.aspx
Consider these important factors before creating a shared page.
Make sure it's relevant.
The content of the page must be relevant to all the target websites. It should accurate and current for all target websites, and should not use wording that will confuse visitors about locations. Example: on a shared page don't use "Clinton County 4-H" as the header; when it is shared with Caldwell County, that would be confusing to see the Clinton title on a page in the Caldwell site. Just use "4-H" as the page title.
"Unshare" makes it disappear!
Once a page is shared and added to the navigation in the target sites, if you "unshare" a page, then it will disappear from all of the target sites immediately. The people maintaining those target sites will not be aware that their page has suddenly disappeared. They may have associated other pages with that one as submenu items; those pages will suddenly be orphaned. In other words, it could really screw things up on other sites. There is no simple way to undo an "unshare" action.
If you have a good reason to unshare (retract) a page, make a list of all the target sites and email those site maintainers to let them know what you plan to do and why.
Communicate with other site maintainers.
Communication is key to success with shared pages. If you decide to share a page with other sites, contact the maintainers of those sites and let them know that they will see the page in their list of subpages and will need to link it to their navigation by configuring the fields in the "Page properties" tab. (It's a good idea to send them a link to this page, so they understand sharing!)
Sharing requires some setup.
The content of a shared page is propagated to the target sites, but each target site maintainer will have to configure page properties for the shared page before it will be visible to visitors. They will have to set the page title, friendly URL, choose the page template, banner image, check "display on web," and choose the associations for the Local programming menu.
Don't go overboard with sharing.
Search engines view a shared page as duplicate content. For example, a page that is shared among five counties will appear five times in our Google search results — each with a unique URLfor the sites where it appears. This forces visitors to try to differentiate these pages in the search results.
How to create a page to share with other sites
- What is the purpose of your shared page? Make an outline of the content and a list of target sites.
- Start by creating a new subpage.
- Configure your page properties to reflect the way you want the page to display in your own site.
- Add content, following the style rules and guidelines, and make sure your content is relevant for all target sites.
- Switch to the "Share" tab. Read the cautions and announcements (any changes to sharing features will be announced here). Click "activate sharing" to show the settings.
- Choose the target websites for sharing the page. Save.
- Contact the maintainers for the target sites and let them know you have shared a page with them. Ask them to add it to their site navigation.
How to use a page that has been shared from another site
Have you been contacted by another website's page maintainer saying he or she has shared a page with your site? Here's what to do.
- Login to WebTool and go to Subpages. Look for the shared page. It will be highlighted in green under "Other subpages."
- Click Edit. In the Page Properties tab:
- Add the title for the page, if it is not already set;
- Set the Friendly URL;
- Select a template for the page;
- Select a banner image for the page, if you have a custom banner for your site;
- Mark a check in Display on Web,
- Next to "Display as Local Programming menu item?" make the appropriate choices
so the page will be displayed logically in your menu, and
- Preview the page to make sure it displays correctly in your site with the right template and navigation.
If you have any questions or comments about page sharing, please contact Kate Akers, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate Akers, Technical and training support
DeeAnna Adkins, Editorial style and design support