New Blog Templates lets you create a catalog of site templates dramatically improving productivity.
Use the styling and content of existing sites on your Multisite network to build new sites insanely fast.
A Better Start
Set new sites to inherit posts, pages, users, files, categories, menus and even plugins – speeding up site creation for network admins and new members.
Give new users a boost at launch by letting them choose a template that fits their needs.
Building sites with templates is not only faster, it brings consistency and added control.
Block template pages from being edited by anyone other than a network admin, perfect for About this Network and Support pages.
Keep it Fresh
Because templates are real sites, you can add to, update or change them at anytime. Reconfigure what is copied and add new posts or pages with fresh, relevant content.
Give new sites on your network an edge with simple template tweaks.
Reduce the amount of work required to get a site up-to-speed on your network with New Blog Templates.
For help with installing plugins please refer to our Plugin installation guide.
Once installed go to Plugins in the network admin dashboard and Network Activate the New Blog Template plugin. You’ll see a new menu in your network admin: Blog templates.
Using Your New Blog Template
New blog template can be used as:
- The default template for all new sites created on your network.
- A template selection when people sign up for a new site on your network.
- A template selection when a super admin user creates a new site in Sites > Add New in the network admin dashboard.
How the New Blog Template works is you first create a new site and customize it with all features you want automatically added to new sites created with this template. For example, you configure all settings, add all post(s), page(s), set up the theme, upload the custom image header, activate plugins, add users, add widgets, add links to the blogroll and so on. You’ll find an example of a blog template here.
- The site you’ve customized to use as a template is designed solely to be used as a template and not to be used a functioning site.
- Any changes made to a template blog affect any sites created after you’ve made the new changes, it doesn’t affect sites already created.
- You cannot use your main site as a template blog! You’ll get a little reminder if you try.
Configuring the settings
Once you’ve customized your new site with prepackaged features, you’re ready to make your first blog template. But let’s configure some global options first. Go to Blog Templates > Settings in your network admin dashboard.
1. You’ll likely want to offer your users a Template Selection when they sign up. So check the Show templates selection on registration box. You can always change this setting later if you wish.
Then select the style you want to use for display on the signup page from the other options. Here’s what each of those options could look like on your signup page (note that this may change depending on the theme you are using).
The first four selections are self-explanatory. However, the 5th one is pretty cool. You can customize the label of the “Select” button, and the “View Demo” button actually links to your template site so users can really get a feel for how their own site might look.
2. You can also select to display the Categories Toolbar if you’re going to be categorizing your templates (we’ll get to that below).
You can customize the colors of the toolbar to better fit the overall look of your site.
3. The Repair Database option is there is case you are having issues with some of the plugin tables not having been created. Simply check the box and click Repair Now!
Got all that? Great, now let’s go set up some template categories!
Setting up Categories
This step is entirely optional. If you do not intend on creating a bunch of templates and separating them into categories for your users, you can skip this step.
Creating blog template categories is just like creating post categories. Simply enter the category name and optional description, then save. Done deal. :)
You’ll be able to select the category for each template you create. They will then display to your users on your signup page as shown in the Categories Toolbar screenshot seen above.
Creating a Blog Template
Go to Blog Templates > Blog Templates in your network admin.
At the top of that screen, you’ll see all the templates you have already created. As this is likely a new install, you won’t see anything there yet.
Template Name is where you enter the name you want your new template to have.
The Blog ID setting enables you to select which blog to use as a template. If you know the numerical blog ID, you can enter that. Or you can simply search for the blog name, and select it from the search results that will appear as you type.
Template Description is… the description of the template. This will display on the signup page depending on the settings you had previously configured.
Once you have that basic information entered, click “Create Blog template!” at the bottom. The next screen enables you to configure all the settings for that particular template (this is the same screen that appears if you decide to edit a template later on).
1. The Template Name & Description fields allow you to modify that information if you wish.
2. The What To Copy To New Blog? area is where you check off exactly what you want to include in all new blogs based on this template.
3. Check Block Posts/Pages if you want to include default content that users cannot change.
4. If Update Dates is selected, the dates of all posts/pages included in your template will be updated to the date when the blog is created. Cool huh?
5. Upload the Screenshot that you want to use for this template.
6. Check any Additional Tables that may be required by active plugins if you have selected that above.
7. Select one or more Template categories that you may have created earlier.
All done? Click “Save Template”. You should now see your new template added to your blog template list.
Setting up a default template
Making a template the default template is as simple as:
1. Click on Make Default next to the template you want to use as your default template
2. Now every newly created site will be a replicate of the default template unless an alternative template is selected.
Customizing Blog Template Selection Options On The Sign-Up Page
The look and feel of the template selector can be customized for your sign up page by copying the files from wp-content/plugins/blogtemplates/blogtemplatesfiles/template to your theme folder and editing them.
The following 4 files need to be copied to your theme folder:
Using template selection in Sites > Add New
1. Go to Sites > Add New in the network admin dashboard.
2. Add the site address, site title, admin email address and select the Template from the template dropdown menu then click Add Site.
Integration with Gravity Forms
As of version 2.6.8, you can now integrate the template selector from New Blog Templates into a site registration form created with Gravity Forms!
Please Note: In addition to having Gravity Forms installed and activated on your main site, you’ll also need to have the “User Registration” add-on installed and activated as well. This will require you to have a Developer License for Gravity Forms, as the “User Registration” add-on is only available with that particular license.
Create the form:
First off, we’ll need to create a form for New Blog Templates to use.
Head over to Forms -> New Form, and enter a form title in the “Create a New Form” pop-up (e.g. Site Registration).
Click on the “Create Form” button, and you’ll be redirected to the Form Editor page.
Once there, you’ll need to create the following fields:
(all fields except “Name” need to be set to “required”; it’s your choice whether or not the name’s required for signup)
- Username (Standard Fields -> Single Line Text)
- Name (Advanced Fields -> Name)
- Email (Advanced Fields -> Email)
- Password (Advanced Fields -> Password)
- Site Address (Standard Fields -> Single Line Text)
- Site Title (Standard Fields -> Single Line Text)
Got those fields entered? Great! Just click on “Update Form”, and then we’ll be ready to tackle the next step. :)
Create User Registration Feed
Now it’s time to turn that form of yours into a registration form.
Go to Forms -> User Registration, and click on “Add New”. Once there, set “Action” to “Create User”, and set “Gravity Form” to the form that you created earlier (e.g. Site Registration).
In the “User Settings” section, set the fields up as follows:
- Username (required) = Username
- First Name = Name (First)
- Last Name = Name (Last)
- Email Address (required) = Email Address
- Password = Password
Do not set a field for “Role” in this section, as that won’t be necessary with what we’re going to be doing next. Speaking of which…
In “Network Options”, check the box for “Create Site”, and set up the fields as follows:
- Site Address (required) = Site Address
- Site Title (required) = Site Title
- Site Role (required) = Administrator
- Current Site Role (required) = Subscriber
To finish setting things up here:
- Check the box for “Display Templates Selector” in the “New Blog Templates” (that’ll get the template selector up on the page)
- Check the boxes for “Send Email?” (so that new site admins will receive their login details via email) & “User Activation” (default is “By Email”, but you can change it to “manually” if you wish to manually confirm registrations).
Now that that’s been taken care of, it’s time for the final step: putting this form into action!
Configure Custom Registration Page
Alright, home stretch! :D
First, you’ll need to create a page on the main site to be used as the registration page. Head over to Pages -> Add New, and give your page a title (e.g. “Create New Site”).
Then, click on the “Add Form” button, and select the form that you created earlier. Click on “Insert Form”, and then click on “Publish” to create your registration page.
After you’ve done that, navigate to Forms -> Settings -> User Registration, and check the box for “Enable Custom Registration Page”. Select the registration page you created, and then click “Save Settings”.
And… the finished result:
Congratulations! You’ve got an awesome site registration form with loads of room for further customization (meta fields, custom styling, etc.)
New Blog Templates Features
Gain the advantage with tons of incredible features.
- Set any subsite as template
- Lock template styling
- Auto populate content on new sites
- Adjust templates at any time
- Copy select content
- Copy pages
- Copy categories
- Copy taxonomies
- Copy menus
- Copy active plugins
- Copy users
- Copy media files
- Prevent editing of copied content
- Create multiple templates
- Arrange templates in categories
- Browse template demos