Building it Better: Site Studio Hacks (Not That Kind)

Acquia Site Studio is a low-code solution for building and editing Drupal sites. It starts with the efficiency and ease of a low-code platform and helps users of all technical skill levels manage content and build enterprise-level sites. That’s a big win for the entire organization: It saves developers time as they create components, its drag-and-drop interface is more accessible to non-technical users, and designers and marketers can quickly create or modify pages without touching a single line of code.

With a highly customizable interface, users can build pages, templates and all other aspects of a website theme. So let’s dig into the “how.” In this piece, we’re going to show you some tips, tricks and best practices for making the most of Site Studio, and what that means for your sites. 

The Basics: Templates

Templates are a powerful thing. They allow you to create a unified experience and enable a more-efficient site build. Here are some ways to use templates to your advantage: 

1. Create multiple Master templates for different sections of your site. There are always a few templates that get used more than others. Using multiple Master templates helps you create a sense of “unified variety” on different pages in your site.  

2. Page content layout gives content editors a powerful editing experience. Think about the resources at your disposal, and dial up the power and flexibility as needed to give your editors the right amount of control and customizability. 

3. Enhance your site’s navigation using Menu templates. From simple list menus to multi-level interactive menus, you can strategically implement menus across your Master templates to apply them globally. 

Content: Style and Substance

During your build, consistency is key, and style and content play a major role in ensuring an immersive experience. Think about these tips as you start to build out your style and content plans: 

1. Set up a Style Guide to ensure your site is on-brand at every turn. This applies branding, typography, social links and footer settings uniformly across your site to lay the foundation for your look and feel.

2. Build a collection of multiple components to comprise your page sections early in the process. That way, you can organize your components to create a more cohesive site. You’ll keep coming back to these components again and again. 

3. Categorize your components and helpers to set the stage for a cleaner UI throughout the development stage. That means your site is easier to navigate, easier to manage and easier to change on the fly. And we’re all about easy. 

Build for the future. 

Your site isn’t finished once it goes live. In a world that can change in an instant, flexibility and the ability to innovate are vital. Thankfully, there are efficient ways to provide that flexibility and future-proof your site. 

  1. Plan ahead. Conduct a site audit, inventory and content migration plan to get a comprehensive understanding of your current content prior to migration. This will help you make sure the end product fits all the various requirements. (Check out our tips for a successful Drupal content audit).
  2. Look for patterns. When you identify how you display content across the site, translate these patterns into structured and unstructured Drupal elements, including shared vocabularies, reusable content blocks and component templates.
  3. Strategically implement structured and unstructured content. While structured content is more consistent for a well-organized site, unstructured content is where Site Studio is at its most powerful. Finding the right balance is key to an innovative, manageable site without overcomplicating governance.