Separation of content and presentation in Sitecore

One of the reasons Sitecore works so well for content management at scale is the key principle of separating content from its presentation, however in many cases sites have been built with this principle overlooked.

When sites are built with content directly linked with its presentation it can be assumed the task of content editing will be easier and the CMS editor's workflow simpler, and this may be true in some cases, but often the reality is quite different;

  • The same content ends up being stored in multiple places in the Sitecore content tree, making editing laborious and hard to manage when change is required
  • The introduction of content personalisation or multi-variant testing can be complicated
  • Images need additional resources to crop and upload in multiple sizes and aspect ratios to facilitate the design

But at Lake Solutions we believe the most important consideration is the inherent value your content has.  Often man-months of effort (if not more) have been spent on curating your organisation's content.  It's been written, edited, proof read, signed off by your compliance or legal teams and tuned for SEO.  Each operation on the content adds to the cost of its production.  However, the design of modern websites are constantly shifting with new devices and designs being introduced over time.  By maintaining good separation it's often not necessary to re-curate content when changes such as this are introduced, thus reducing your organisation's TCO (total cost of ownership).

We must also not forget the concept of content syndication, where we want to curate content once but utilise it in many forms and within many channels, such as news on a website also being utilised within campaign landing pages, email campaigns and social media updates to name but a few.

We try and follow some key principles whenever we design a new Sitecore site;

  • Always consider all possible channels content could be syndicated through
  • Where possible apply a curate-once surface-many approach
  • Utilise the tools within Sitecore to manage content distribution to different devices or channels
  • Apply responsive techniques to address mobile and tablet content consumption
  • Utilise the power of Sitecore's Image Processing Module to manipulate images and ensure optimal sizes are created

At Lake Solutions we have worked with the Sitecore CMS for many years and we draw on this experience on every project to find the correct content and presentation structure for your organisation, enabling you to extract the maximum value from your content regardless of the channels you are communicating through.


Article Details

19 February 2016