<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1639164799743833&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Diagram Views

Manual vs. Automatic Aliasing in the Ektron CMS

Richard DeHainaut
Published on October 3, 2013

Help users navigate your website more efficiently by following aliasing best practices, WSOL covers alias types in Ektron to help you decide which is best for you.

When creating content for your website, you want to do everything you can to help users navigate your site without causing them any confusion. One especially helpful tool that can help users understand what content is included on a page and where they are in the site’s navigation is aliasing. Let’s look at how aliasing is handled in the Ektron CMS:

What is Aliasing in Ektron?

Aliasing is the ability to give your content a more meaningful link. When you create content in Ektron, it automatically has a link that doesn’t really mean much to a user. It is basically something that looks like the following: www.[YourSite].com/content.aspx?id=1000. To the user this is meaningless. To make it more clear what the user can expect to see when clicking on the link, you can use aliasing. For example, a page can be given the alias www.[YourSite].com/blogs /ManualVsAutomaticAliasing/ which to a user is much more meaningful than www.[YourSite].com/content.aspx?id=1000. In Ektron, there are two ways to create an alias:

Manual Aliases

The manual alias feature in Ektron makes creating an alias very easy. By going to the “Alias” tab of any content page, you can simply type in exactly what you want the alias to be. This feature gives you full control over the alias. For example, if you have created a content page that is a blog, it might have the following link: www.[YourSite].com/content.aspx?id=1000. You can make the URL more meaningful by entering a manual alias such as blogs/ManualVsAutomaticAliasing in the Manual Alias field. This will set the URL for the page to www.[YourSite].com/blogs /ManualVsAutomaticAliasing/. You can also choose whether you want the URL to end in a “/” or with an extension such as “.html” or “.aspx”.

Automatic Aliases

Creating automatic aliases takes a few steps to set up, but can save you a lot of time in creating aliases. Automatic aliasing will create more meaningful aliases for you behind the scenes as you create content pages. To setup an automatic alias, you will first need to enable automatic aliasing in the Ektron Workarea by following these steps:

  1. Click the Settings tab
  2. Go to Configuration/URL Aliasing/Settings
  3. Click the Edit button, then check “Enable Automatic Aliasing” and click the Save button

When this is done, you need to configure an auto alias definition by following these steps:

  1. Go to Configuration/URL Aliasing/Aliasing Rules/Automatic
  2. Click the “Add Aliasing Rule” button to add a definition

A definition can be taxonomy based or folder based. Here are the differences between taxonomy based and folder based alias definitions:

Folder based Automatic Alias

Let’s say you create a definition for a folder based automatic alias and select the alias format to be Content Title. Once this is set up, whenever you create content in the Workarea, it will automatically be given an alias of the current folder path and the title of your content. For example, if you made a folder called “blogs”, and create a content block in it called ManualVsAutomaticAliasing, an alias link to your content will automatically be created called www.[YourSite].com/blogs/ManualVsAutomaticAliasing/.

Taxonomy based Automatic Alias

Automatic aliases based on taxonomy are very similar to ones based on folder. The difference is that they use the taxonomy path instead of the folder path when automatically creating an alias. For example, if you create a piece of content that is called “AliasingBlog”, then create a taxonomy called “EktronBlogs” and assign the “EktronBlogs” taxonomy to that content, an alias of www.[YourSite].com/EktronBlogs/AliasingBlog/ will automatically be generated for that piece of content.

When should I use Manual Aliasing and when should I use Automatic Aliasing?

Depending on what you are trying to do with your content, you might choose either option. In general, it’s a good idea to setup automatic aliasing for folder and content title, because that is typically the format that you will want your aliases to use, since it helps users understand where pages are located within the site’s navigation. It saves a lot of time and effort to set up an automatic aliasing rule of some kind so that the aliases are created for you. If you don’t set one up, you will have to define a manual alias for every piece of content you create. This method would be used if you want each alias to be more meaningful. You should use a manual alias when you want to be very specific on what the alias says.

Aliasing is a powerful tool, and if it is set up correctly, it will not only help your users navigate your site more effectively, it will save you a lot of time when you are creating content. There are other aspects of aliasing to consider as well, such as how the selected aliases can affect Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you have any further questions on how to use Manual and Automatic Aliasing in Ektron, or if you would like to learn how you can use aliasing to increase the effectiveness of your site, please feel free to contact a WSOL Solution Engineer