The Finalsite Blog

Best practices, success stories and software updates from the desk of school experts you trust.

How Your School Can Save Time and Maximize Design Quality Using Composer
Mia Major

You're responsible for building out the "Athletics" section on your school's new website — a task you've been putting off for a few months now. But, the site is ready to go live by the end of the week, and you're in crunch time mode.

Based on the site map provided to you by your school's web team, this very important section consists of numerous pages, including a landing page, pages for each team, a page about your school's programs, and another one that promotes upcoming events.

How can you manage to build out 15+ pages in just a few work days (on top of what is already on your priority list)?

Composer, Finalsite's content management system for schools, boasts some pretty cool time-saving features that make building and updating your school's website easy, including:

  • Shared elements
  • Element Styles
  • A "copy and paste" feature to duplicate content across multiple pages
  • Linked pages

Editing in Composer

Shared Elements

Composer's interface is built around a COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere) philosophy, which lets admins update their content quickly, conveniently and confidently. Shared elements are extremely useful because of their dependent on COPE.

Shared elements allow you to re-use designs and content — like text, images, calls-to-action, and videos — across multiple pages on your website.

So whether you made a simple spelling error, dates have changed, or you want to swap out a photo — you just have to edit the element in one place, and the changes are distributed everywhere the shared element is on your site.

Shared elements are stored in an organized "Elements" panel, so any time you add a new page that may need this element, it can be done in just a couple of clicks.

Shared Elements

For example, Thayer Academy has a whole library of shared elements — including this simple, "Stay Connected" content element for their alumni pages.

Thayer Shared Element

So, in the case of that athletics section you're building out, the opportunities to create shared elements are virtually limitless, but here are some popular best-case uses:

  • An athletics calendar with pre-selected events you want shared
  • A "featured athlete" panel to span the bottom of all athletic pages
  • A call-to-action panel prompting your athletic social media accounts

Element Styles

When Greenwich Country Day School (GCDS) redesigned their website, their designer created a custom four-column layout for their homepage. It is essentially a call to action comprised of an image, text, and a rollover effect. They use it to promote big upcoming events, as well as "The GCDS Advantage."

However, GCDS decided that this call-to-action element shouldn't be limited to their homepage. They re-use this four-column layout, element with the custom call-to-action style, in numerous locations throughout their website as a way to enhance their interior pages, including:

This awesome "How to Apply" section

GCDS How to Apply

Landing pages for each school, like this one on the Middle School page

GCDS Middle School Pages

The perfect final panel on any page

GCDS - A Way to End any Page

And numerous other pages throughout their site! Anywhere they want to use this layout, they simply add a for column-layout, enter this style class, and pop in some content.

Boom. Design magic in seconds.

In the case of that athletics page you're tasked with, Trinity Preparatory School has a pretty applicable example of how you can repurpose element styles to make your athletics section pop. Using the element styles for the infographics on their homepage, they bring in athletic-specific stats on their landing page — keeping the user's attention, and design, consistent.

Element Styles - Infographics

Copy and Pasting Elements

This new feature in Composer is pretty life-changing. Want to have an element that has the same look and feel with slightly different content across multiple pages? You can simply "copy" the entire content block from one page, and "paste" it to a completely different page on your site. Then, edit the pasted content freely.

Copy and Paste in Composer

This is extremely useful when building out multiple pages at once, that you want to look the same, but will have different content. Think about building out your team pages. You'll want to have an intro section for each team, as well as a call-to-action to view their schedule and roster. No need to waste time formatting and re-formatting on each page, when you can just copy and paste, and edit what you need to.

Linked Pages

Linked pages are convenient for redirects, and for repurposing popular pages in their entirety. This is extremely useful when you want to have the same (popular) page in multiple locations on your site map — like a directory.

Linked Page in Composer

For your athletics section, for example, you may want to link back to your "Watch Live Events" page, which is also located under school life. Rather than re-creating the page, you can simply "link" the pages — meaning your page will redirect to the page already built.

Learn More About Composer

You must be logged in to post a comment.


The latest school marketing strategies and trends, delivered weekly.

Join 3,000+ school professionals who depend on the Finalsite Blog for what's next in school marketing, communications, and design.


Dive Deeper into More Posts