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Page Layouts: The 4 Options and How to Use Them

Please note: If you are on a Signature Theme, Custom Site or express template, the homepage of your website is set and cannot be altered without assistance from the Faithwebsites tech team and/or upgrading your site. 

However, on all site designs, you can change the layout of your inside pages. There are 4 different layout options: Main-Left, Main-Right, Full Width and 3 Column. Using different page layouts helps you build pages with content that meets the users needs and engages your audience to read or learn more. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options. 

Main-Left

The Main and left combination is our most popular layout, as it is what the system defaults to. It offers the left navigation and then the main body for adding content on the individual page. This layout works best for landing pages and other level 1 pages where you have pages nested underneath them, but you do not need the additional content space offered by the right side bar.

How to set up the Main-Left Layout →

Example of Main-Left on the Vellum Signature Theme:

 

Main-Right

The Main-Right layout is a great option if you need the additional space for content on the right side bar. However, the main-right layout option does require you to turn off the left navigation. Do not choose this layout if you have pages nested underneath the page you are working on. This will make it impossible to get to the nested pages, unless you build links manually. 

NOTE: This layout results in no left navigation on this page, so it is important to think through how the users will navigate to the next page before using this layout. We recommend that the main & right layout be used when there are no nested (level 2 or level 3) pages underneath, and when the user can easily navigate to the next page by the main (top) navigation.

How to set up the Main-Right Layout →

Example on the Axis Signature Theme:

 

Full Width

Full Width gives you the widest main body of all 4 options. This is the best option if you need a lot of space on your page. For example, this layout is a good option if the focus of your page is sharing large images. Again, this layout option does require you to turn off the left navigation. Do not choose this layout if you have pages nested underneath the page you are working on, as your users will not be able to get to the nested pages unless you build links manually.

How to set up the Full Width Layout→

Example on the Vellum Signature Theme: 

 

3-Column

The 3-Column layout is the second most popular. It allows you to have the left navigation, the main body and the right side for additional content. However, it does give you the smallest amount of space to work with. It can also look a bit busy, particularly if you have text in all 3 columns. 

How to set up the 3-Column Layout →

Example of the 3-Column on the Axis Signature Theme: 

 

Suggestions and Ideas for Page Layouts

How you lay out the content on your page should be determined by 1) the type of content (images, video, calendar, text), 2) the quantity of content, and 3) the audience, or users, that page is intended for.

New Visitors (Prospects)

When creating pages for new visitors - prospective families, students, members, customers - its important to balance space with large images, small groupings of content, and clear navigation for the logical "what's next?" path you want to use with your new visitors. 

Most often, that means that pages for new visitors should be Main-Left, or sometimes Full Width. The clear navigation at the left, which is a natural place users look for it, along with the space the main body offers, gives you the best layout to create a visually engaging page that's easy to navigate elsewhere on the site.

Pages that are often geared for new visitors would include: 

  • About Us / History / Our Beliefs
  • Admissions / Enrollment
  • Join Us / Our Services / Welcome
  • Mission Statements / Our Mission
  • Support Us / Donate / Join our Cause

Repeat Visitors (Members, Parent Families, Students)

When creating pages for your existing family members, the purpose of the page changes. Now it's about making content and resources convenient, sharing the available space with all the updates needed and most often, creating a layout that encourages repeat visits back to the page.

For this content we would recommend a combination of the 3-column layout and often the Main-Right. 

The 3-Column page is ideal for athletics, arts, youth ministry, worship team, etc., pages where the purpose is to collect and distribute a combination of updates, schedules, links, resources and general information. Using the right side bar tools, you can create a handy "resource column" for parents and members with events, announcements, links, documents, and more kept to the right. Then your main body can feature the majority of the text, and your left navigation allows for users to quickly move to nested or other pages.

When using the 3-Column layout, keep actual text to a minimum on the right side bar, and instead focus on using that for a collection of resources or at-a-glance updates. We also recommend that you organize your right side bar by using multiple tools and the tool headers, instead of one long content editor.

In General

Let the content help guide your page layout. If you have a page where you need announcements, events, along with a good amount of text and images, you're going to want to add a right side bar to help visually organize and split the types of content apart for the user.

If you have only large images and small text, you want the most left to right space you can have, so avoid the right side bar.

If you have a page with content built and would like recommendations as to the layout, you can always ask us! Feel free to start a new ticket or email [email protected]

 

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