New Blog Templates, can the user select a different template after signup?

Reading through the documentation for the "New Blog Templates" plugin, I'm under the impression it will integrate with Pro Sites, is that correct? That way a new user can select a template during the signup process?

After they select a template and signup, their new site will be a duplication of the original site selected to be the template. If they decide they want a different template later, how would they switch?

For example, if "Blog Template A" has a large slider and a white background, and they decide later they want to use "Blog Template B" that has a large slider with a black background, can they select the new template and update their site?

If so, what happens to the existing content from "Blog Template A"? If they edited/added any new pages or blog posts, would they be deleted and replaced with the content form "Blog Template B"?

Where would the template selections appear in the user's admin? Would it be in with theme selections?

Thanks for your help,
Trevor

  • Patrick

    Hi there @Trevor

    Welcome to the forums, glad to have you aboard!

    Your question can be answered by clearing up a bit of confusion about terminology. :slight_smile:

    The term "template" refers to everything you include in your New Blog Templates: the theme, plugins, menus, etc.

    I believe you are asking whether a user can switch to a different theme once their site has been created. If that is the case, then the answer is most definitely, yes they can :slight_smile:

    Any theme that the network administrator has network-enabled is available for activation on any site in the network.

    And yes, NBT works just fine with Pro Sites. Moreover, you can enable the Premium Themes addon in Pro Sites to make certain themes only available to selected Pro Site levels.

    Please do let us know if this helps, and don't hesitate to post again if you need more help with this.

  • Trevor

    Hi Patrick,

    Thanks you very much for your explanation. I think I'm almost there with my understanding.

    So the "New Blog Template" duplicates the theme, posts, pages, menus, plugins, etc. in to a new user site which can be selected during the signup process through Pro Sites. I think I got that now :slight_smile:

    So my plan is to develop several child themes based off of the iThemes Builder framework that I am currently using. I then want to build a demo site using each of these themes within my multisite network that would be used as a "New Blog Template". I may use different copy, photos, navigation, plugins, etc. for each, but the idea is that the user will pretty much have a working website that is ready to go and all they have to do is swap out my demo content for their content.

    In my original example, let's say I have a demo site called "New Blog Template A" that uses my "Child Theme A" and has a large slider with a white background. My other demo site called "New Blog Template B" uses my "Child Theme B" and has a large slider with different photos, text, navigation and a black background.

    What happens if a user selects "New Blog Template A" during signup because they like the white background, then once they start working in it they decide they like the "New Blog Template B" version with the black background and different navigation better? My understanding is that they can select "Child Theme B" under the Themes section, but the layout and content in "Child Theme A" is different and may be missing photos, pages, plugins, etc. because it wasn't originally created from the "New Blog Template B".

    Is there a way for them to select the "New Blog Template B" after signup, or only select a different Theme? Would they then have to add/change the content themselves to match that of demo site "New Blog Template B"?

    Hope this makes sense.

    Thanks again,
    Trevor

    • Charles

      hello ashok,

      Did you get any feedback on adding this as a new feature? To me this should be at the core of the plugin.

      I became a member thinking the plugin had this, but further test and review of the documentation showed this was limited to registration only. The alternative of creating multiple themes and making sure they work across ALL your templates is a very painful endeavor.

      Hope you have good news!

      • Michael Bissett

        Hey @Charles, hope you're doing well today! :slight_smile:

        Did you get any feedback on adding this as a new feature? To me this should be at the core of the plugin.

        I'm afraid I don't have any further news on this presently, but I am curious about this part of your message:

        The alternative of creating multiple themes and making sure they work across ALL your templates is a very painful endeavor.

        Could you elaborate on why it would be necessary to create multiple themes?

        Please advise,
        Michael

  • Trevor

    Hi Ash,

    Thanks for your reply. Just a quick follow up question. If someone signs up for a new site through Pro Sites and selects a "New Blog Template" to start, how would they create a "new site" if they wanted to change templates? Is there a way to go through their account and delete the first site and create a new site under the same account and billing? Or would they need to cancel their account, and start a new one selecting the template they wanted?

    As the admin, would I be able to do it for them in the backend or would I also have to cancel their account and create a new account for them with the new template?

    Thanks,
    Trevor

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey @Trevor,

    The billing is actually done on a per-site basis, the user gets charged for each site on their account (username).

    If they haven't signed up for a Pro Site level yet on their site, then you as the admin could just delete the site they created, create a new one using the email address for their account, and choose the desired template (this'd be done via Sites -> Add New inside the network dashboard).

    If they have signed up for a Pro Site level though, then in addition to the steps done above, they would have to sign up for a Pro Site level on the new site you created for them (optionally, you could also offer a refund for the cancelled site).

    Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

    Regards,
    Michael

  • Charles

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the correspondence.
    The theme option would be the only way for individual multi-site owners to be able to easily change the look of their individual multi-site over time. As we know themes can be changed throughout the life of the website even with New Blog Template in use. The new blog template fixates them to one core code for the life of the multisite. We would have to build the site using a very basic theme(very little styling) and that will serve as the template. Then we would have build individual customized themes that we know would transition smoothly on top of that template. These themes can be changed over time.

    It would be easier if we could build pre-configured templates built exactly like the way we want it (styling,etc) with everything included that our multisite owners can easily change back and forth to.

    Trevor provided an example of "Blog Template A" and "Blog Template B"

    Ultimately the theme option is probably the more modularized and "agile" way and probably is the smartest route, but i don't think allowing simple template changes beyond registration is too much to ask.

    Thanks again,

    Charles

  • Trevor

    Hi Michael Bissett

    Wow, this original post was a while ago, I forgot I even asked the question :grinning:

    I have not tried implementing a solution based on this exact question since it really wasn't going to work for my needs, but here's something that I've been thinking about based on the work I'm doing today.

    I've been playing with Elegant Theme's Divi theme. This theme isn't for everyone, but it is very popular among designers and has a lot of great functionality combined with a front end editor.

    Similar to what Charles suggested above, an option might be to create a Child Theme for Divi and use that as the selected theme for the site. Then build the website design as normal. You could then create another templated site using the same approach, and so on, until you've created as many different website designs as you'd like to offer.

    Then from inside each website, Divi gives you the ability to export the Layouts to .json files. This includes the images, colors, fonts, CSS, everything. You could name each Layout Pack something like Template1, Template2, Template3, etc., so you have an exported set of layouts for each site.

    From there you can either make all of the Layout Packs available to your users pre-loaded in the Divi library, or available as separate .json files that they can import themselves.

    There are other logistics that need to be sorted, but overall I think the approach could work and give clients a flexible solution to try out different designs on their site without needing to switch themes.

    Hope the concept helps,
    Trevor

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