There is knowing how to do a few HTML code tweaks, and there is knowing where the control panel writers put the place to add the code. And sometimes, where it seems like it should go and where it actually goes takes you down the merry path of wasted time and frustration. The Shift4Shop dashboard is a very good example of a bad interface.
Trying to Add a Page of Testimonials to Shift4Shop
The first step is to know that, behind the scenes, your software has a core purpose. WordPress is blogging software at its core. Shift4Shop is a shopping cart at its core. The fact that WordPress doesn’t make it easy to set up a shopping style pages and the fact that Shift4Shop doesn’t make it easy to set up content pages makes sense. So, a platform has its core competency and the rest is tacked on.
You hope they did a good job of tacking on the other task you want. WordPress does a good job of tacking on the shopping cart function because they let the shopping cart specialists do it. On the other hand, Shift4Shop doesn’t make it so easy for a website owner to add on pages of content, such as testimonials.
The Problem with Formatting Content
Like many other systems, Shift4Shop provides a tool to add pages to your site. They already have a robust shopping cart and product catalog function set up, but, for credibility, engagement and SEO, your site needs additional information pages.
An About Us page is an example. Their interface gives you fields to add a title and paragraphs of text. Their interface gives you buttons to bold, add images and other, limited, formatting. You can add simple lists, but when you want blocks of text that repeat a format, it’s not so easy. An example would be a Testimonial page, where each testimonial is formatted like the previous testimonial. This task becomes more complicated if your testimonials come with some great photos of how your product was used.
One way to control the layout of repeating data is by setting it up with HTML Code. So, now you have two functions to find: 1) how do I add a new page, and 2) how to I add my unique formatting?
How to Add a New Page ( or Find One You Want to Edit)
To start with, you have to find where to add that page. The dark sidebar menu is somewhat intuitive: Site Content (1) is a good text link. But, once you click on content, there is a weird list on the right that doesn’t communicate well. They call it Top Menu Links. When you want to make a page, you want to make a page. The linking is what happens after the page is made.
One of the common pitfalls in creating an interface is that the people who make the interface and the people who use the interface are different. The developers are trying to guess what communicates to the website owner, but they are developers, so they don’t get it.
Where Does the HTML Basic Structure Go in Shift4Shop?
The Shift4Shop, like many other systems, puts the basic HTML <html> and <head></head> and </html>, as seen above, in a different place for editing than the HTML that controls the content area. In these systems, the areas that show up on all, or many, pages are controlled through template files. Then the content for each Page is entered one page at a time.
The question is, how do I find those two areas.
- The Page Content, which adds code inside the content area (the main part of the page). This is shown in the image above: Content -> Site Content or Blog. The software will treat the two differently in the navigation.
- The Template files, which adds code that affects all the pages, such as the banner, footer and sidebars: Settings -> Design.
After you find the correct page in the dashboard, finding the window to add that code can be a maze. For the purposes of this post, we will only find where the Testimonial code goes. Testimonials is group of pages under the Site Content area.