A Quick Guide to Concrete5

Posted by: Dave April 2nd, 2014

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Concrete5 is one of the easiest Content Management Systems out there. Basically, it has a “What you see is what you get” approach, especially when it comes to adding content. Adding blocks is as easy as clicking the area where you want them to be while on edit mode. Add the content, save and poof, it’s there.

Just like us here in C5WebDesign, the Concrete5 team strives to make people’s lives a lot better, by making it extra easy to make a website.

For those who downloaded our themes and for anyone who is still starting out with Concrete5, here are some basic steps and tips to get started from scratch. Take note that this guide is aimed at beginners.

 

1. Install Concrete5 on your Website

There are various ways to install concrete5, but the easiest way is to just let your hosting company do it for you. When you have purchased a domain, you will have to get a hosting company as well. If it so happen that you get hosting from big hosting companies such as justhost, godaddy, bluehost, and so on, then you can actually let them assist you in installing Concrete5 to a domain.

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It is pretty much the same with installing other Content Management Systems (CMS). If you ever tried installing Wordpress before, then you will find the process actually the same. Feel free to contact your hosting company if you need any assistance. Most big hosting companies, like Justhost has what they call Mojo Marketplace. While logged in to your account, you can install Concrete5 at the marketplace for free.

You can check Mojo Marketplace out at https://www.mojomarketplace.com/scripts 

Once you do a fresh install, you will have a chance to to add your Username and Password for your soon to be Concrete5 powered site. Make sure you take note of these credentials as well as the E-mail address you asscoiate it with.

The installation takes just a few minutes. Once done, you can now proceed in logging in to your fresh Concrete5 powered website.

 

2. Log in to your Website 

It could be a bit confusing when you log in to your website for the first time, but it certainly gets easier over time. Just add the following after the domain name of your site: 

/login

or

/index.php/login

That’s it! Here’s an example:

www.YourHomePage.com/login

You will see the Sign in to ‘Your Website’ page prompting you to type in the Username and Password you have created earlier.

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3. Choose a Theme or Install One if you haven’t yet

Concrete5 has a theme ready for you. You can definitely use the existing themes or change it to something else. If you want to change the theme, you can just click on the dashboard or just go right away to the Intelligent Search and search for “themes.” Once you clicked on ‘Themes’ you will then have a list of the existing themes. Here you can change the theme by activating the theme that you liked.

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Of course, you would rather have a unique theme or a modern one that is mobile responsive, right? There are tons out there on the Concrete5 Marketplace

In addition, you can also check some of our great themes here at C5WebDesign.

 

4. Getting Started with the Basics of a Website

Once you picked a theme, you now have the full capacity to add content to your new Concrete5 powered site! But before that, we would like to give you some basic concepts on what you need to know when building a website through this CMS. Of course, there are tons of things to consider when building a site such as placements, visibility, SEO, meta descriptions, etc. But for the sake of this quick guide, we will tackle on those on later posts.

Let’s just dive in with the basic things we think are very useful to know before you even begin adding content to the site.  These are:

  • How the Dashboard works

  • How to use Intelligent Search

  • How a Sitemap works

  • How Edit Mode Works

  • How to change the Design or Page type of a Page

  • How Blocks work in Concrete5

  • How File Manager works in Concrete5

 

5. Getting to Know Dashboard and Intelligent Search

When you are new to Concrete5 you will need to know some new terms. The Dashboard for one is basically like the admin page for some other CMS. Here you can set the settings of the website. The options are organized in boxes so you will have an easy time navigating through them. Here you can manage files, change the theme, add accounts, etc.

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Intelligent Search, on the other hand, is basically searching through the Dashboard by typing in terms. Results will show as a list directly below the search box and you just have to click on them. Pretty much like what you did on searching for 'Themes' above.

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6. Working with Sitemap and Pages

Sitemap is the list of all pages in your site. This is also considered as the bird’s eye view of all the pages you have created. You can visit the Full Sitemap by clicking Dashboard or just typing it over the Intelligent Search.

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By default, Concrete5 has set a list of pages already for you. You can delete these pages and start from scratch. This will help you build your site a lot better and give you a better understanding on how sitemap works. We highly suggest it. 

So what pages should you add to your website? You tell us! When starting a website, you should already have an idea on what pages you think you need. Home page or landing page, the about us page, contact us, etc. We find it easier to create pages at the Full Sitemap view on the Dashboard. Make sure you have well-defined pages such as a home page, about page, contact page and so on. Add adequate details in each page.

 

7. How Edit Mode Works and How to Change Page Type/ Design

You can edit the current page. So once you have added the necessary pages on the Sitemap, you can then visit that page. Once there, you can then click edit and add the blocks you want.

You will know if you are on Edit mode because you can click on the various areas, which have red dotted borders. Here you can add blocks, where holds the content (text, images, etc.).

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Another thing to take note is changing the Page Type or the Design. Some themes come in various layouts. You may have one column page, two columns, a blog page, a blog list page, and so on. You can change the page type by highlighting the edit button, and choosing Design (you can also do this on Full Sitemap view on Dashboard by the way).

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This is important to know because if you haven’t manually added the page, the page type may already be assigned.

 

8. How Blocks Work 

Blocks are technically the “building blocks” of Concrete5 where you are able to add text, images, content, and other data. Concrete5 has a list of blocks available for you. There are some basic blocks to note, which include the Auto-Nav block, Content block, Image block, Slideshow block, and many more. 

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Auto-Nav: where you can add the navigation of the page. You can choose the full sitemap navigation so that people can navigate through your site or pages under a specific page. 

Content: This is where you can add the texts, images, videos and so on. This is also a text editor where you can add links to your site, header tags, and so on.

Image: basically a block to add image

Slideshow: Concrete5’s default slideshow where you can add a series of images. (I suggest you upload images of the same size)

Those are mainly the blocks you need. Of course, you can add a lot more. Experiment and see what blocks you need for your site. You may want to add tags, form, video, etc. Also, you can purchase more blocks on the marketplace if you are looking for something that is by default not available. You may find some free ones but also some paid ones on the marketplace. 

 

9. File Manager in Concrete5 

Lastly, the File Manager on Concrete5 is where you upload the different files you use on your site. Here you can upload images. One suggestion is that you label your image properly. It may be hard to locate images once you have uploaded hundreds of them. The keyword search on File Manager works well, but you would also have a hard time if you didn’t label your images correctly.

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Furthermore, you can upload single or multiple files on file manager. Adding files such as images is also easy. Go to the Content block or any block that allows you to add image. Click on insert image and you will be brought to the File Manager Dashboard Page. After that, you can choose the image from the ones you uploaded and you then get to insert them.

That’s about it for this quick guide to get started with Concrete5. We hope that this would help you and many more out there. Feel free to connect with us by dropping us an email. Send us your feedback, violent reactions, etc. We are more willing to help. Oh, and don't forget to subscribe to get more of these tips! 

Photo Credit: bcymet