Product Review: Gutensite

gutensite180x180Now, you may not have heard of Gutensite CMS before but if you haven’t don’t worry because I am here to tell you all about it.  As a company they launched in 2008 with the idea of releasing a high quality, deeply customizable and scalable content management system solution for small to mid sized business and non-profit organizations.  The Gutensite platform itself was recently voted only 2nd to Squarespace by CMS Critic People’s Choice Awards as the best website builder around!  Needless to say there are a lot of passionate people around this CMS product offering so let’s have a closer look at it.  If you are interested in seeing how easy it is to operate Gutensite there is a quick 2 minute video they’ve done to showcase the functionality and design quality that Gutensite provides its user base.

 Design Options for Your Gutensite

There are a number of options that you have available either as a customer of Gutensite or a designer developing a site for a client including:

  • Free Designs – Gutensite provides a number of high quality free templates for people looking for a professional look to their site.  Check out more free themes here.
  • Custom Designs – The team at Gutensite or an authorized design partner can build you a site specific to your needs that will walk you through strategy, design, development and search engine optimization considerations for your business.
  • Open platform for Third Party Designers – Gutensite supports third party designers to produce some amazing sites for clients
  • Gutensite separates design from content – As all good CMS systems do, Gutensite gives users the option to make changes to content without getting tangled up in design challenges.

The interface of Gutensite is pretty user-friendly overall with links so that you can view your staging site, view the different types of content and the various content types available including forms, design, promo modules, my pages, blog and profiles.  Have a look here…

Gutensite general admin area

From here the many options for users of Gutensite to publish, edit and modify your website further.  Let’s look at the various areas of the design section to help you learn how you can setup Gutensite for your own needs with your design needs in mind.

Design

Gutensite Design Content Type

The Design section of Gutensite gives its users the ability to add content to their website, manage images, modules which are really editable content sections on your site and social media links.  In the general section of the content site you can make changes to your site’s name, your site’s stub name which is sort of like the buy-in or slogan for your site, the welcome text, quote text and Extra text.  As you can see from all these editable areas you don’t even need to touch the design to get what you want out of your Gutensite.  If you aren’t happy with a free design you can select another with the “Switch Design Skins” link as seen above.  Needless to say, its highly adaptable to whatever your business needs are.

The Design section is broken down into a few areas including:

  • The “General” area
  • The “Images” area
  • The “Module area
  • The “Social Media” area

For those of you who are third party designers building sites for clients Gutensite can also handle your needs to add your own style to design work and for those of you looking for custom designs there are a number of options that exist today to get this done and working for you.

How to create Pages for your Gutensite

I wanted to make sure that I cover a couple of keys to using Gutensite for your website needs.  In this case, we are talking about page creation.  As you can see its fairly straight-forward to create pages but I wanted to highlight some key areas to help you create pages for your Gutensite easier to use.

How to Create a page in Gutensite

Things to note about the Pages Section on Gutensite that make it easier to use:

  • The “Add New” button allows you to quickly create a new page for your Gutensite.
  • If you want to search for a page you’ve already created there are a number of options you can use, sort by and display the search results which definitely helps if you are running a larger site with more content
  • You can export your site results from Gutensite if you need them outside of the Gutensite application and interface

Deep Dive: Pages

Now that we’ve talked a bit about pages let’s do a bit of a deep dive on pages in Gutensite so that we can look at the innerworks of pages, where you can find SEO options, extras that let you tweak the hell out of your pages, add custom coding to the header and footer as well as blocks of Javascript and CSS just to name a few.

Gutensite Deep Dive on Page Setup

As you can see here, the main area of the page looks fairly standard.  What I like to see is that you’ve got the option to switch between “Code View” which is friendly for coders and “Visual Mode” which is very friendly for non-coders.  The “Visual Mode” will give you a lot of options to format and add content to your pages so if you aren’t comfortable with coding I suggest you use this way of setting up your pages which will save you time and frustration.

The “Friendly URL” text area is important if you want to make your page links look pretty such as “http://www.mysite.com/about-us” instead of something like “http://www.mysite.com/klowoew9999_20202?a3“.  Please note that when you enter the page title you automatically have a friendly URL added to that field but you can edit it at any time.

Now that we’ve covered the “General” section of page creation in Gutensite let’s look at the “Extras” section next.

Gutensite Extras Section on Pages

There are a number of design and content elements that this section gives you access to including:

  • Page Layout (Still a Beta feature)
  • Heading
  • Subheading
  • Pullout Quote
  • Info List
  • Secondary Content
  • Link URL and Link Title
  • Header Icon
  • Related files

The important thing to note is that depending on the design you’ve chosen you may or may not have access to some of these options if the section is not included in the design you’ve chosen.  If you want to have access to something that isn’t currently apart of the design you have today then custom coding may be needed to expose this on your Gutensite.  Now, let’s have a look at the “Page Settings” section available on pages in Gutensite.

Gutensite Page Settings on Pages

The “Page Settings” section on Pages in Gutensite is the heart of where you are going to go to add SEO elements like Search Engine Description, Search Engine Keywords, Browser Title as well as adding or removing Google Analytics tracking, blocking search engines from crawling your page and adding custom code or content to the header or footer of the page, custom to specific pages as you sometimes need to do.

Lastly, Let’s look at the “Menu” section for setting up pages.  This really just controls where this page will be visible on your Gutensite in terms of the menu or menus it shows up on.

Blogging on Gutensite

Making a blog in Gutensite

Once you’ve mastered the pages on Gutensite if you choose to setup a blog the functionality of pages is mimicked in a lot of ways in the Blog section of Gutensite.  Where the differences exist are that you have to…

  • Setup Authors and associate them to articles in your blog
  • Create categories for your articles and associate articles to them on the articles
  • Review and moderate comments that you blog receives from readers

I hope that you’ve found this product review informative for those of you looking for a hosted CMS system and I hope that it answers some of your questions about how Gutensite works and can be used for your needs.

Special Note: If you are interested in signing up to check out Gutensite please take the following steps if you want to get the Pro version of Gutensite as a trial for 14 days by default and if you sign up through my links on this site you’ll get 30 days free.  Click here if you are interested.

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