Turning your PDFs and Docs into Portal Pages
Posted July 16, 2020, 11:09 AM
A central part of the Portal content strategy involves reducing the number of different platforms on which we host content. Doing so not only streamlines users’ access to reliable information, but it also makes the editing process easier!
One way we can do this is by reducing the number of PDFs and other doc files housing vital information. Certain documents, such as fillable forms or wholistic content like handbooks, may need to remain in PDF format. Most other content, however, better serves users when formatted as Portal webpages rather than as docs or PDFs.
Limitations of Third-Party Document Hosting Platforms
Many CCA documents exist as .docx files or PDFs hosted on platforms like Google Drive. These tools certainly make it easier to draft documents quickly, facilitate real-time collaboration, and control user access. That being said, there are also drawbacks to hosting files in third-party platforms, Google in particular.
Third-Party documents are harder for users to find
Though you can add links to Google Drive files from any Portal page, Portal cannot actually include those pages in search results (files uploaded to Wagtail Documents are the exception). Additionally, files hosted on Google Drive in particular may not be available to users overseas where Google products may be blocked.
Wagtail Documents are better...but not ideal for text-based documents
Wagtail Documents do appear in Portal search results, but only the file's title (as entered in Wagtail) is indexed. Portal does not index the document's actual content, meaning that only keywords used in the document title will pull it up in Portal search results.
Wagtail Documents does accept a number of file formats, including many video files and Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop files. These formats for the most part lack machine-readable text or easily accessible metadata. Wagtail Documents may be appropriate for these files, but text-heavy resources should utilize the Portal page templates designed to optimize search indexing/performance.
What this all means
With most users increasingly relying on search as a means of locating information on websites, it’s problematic when your content doesn’t readily come up in search results. Even if your content should be the top result for a given set of keywords, in document format it won’t show up where most of your users are looking for it.
Portal Pages to the Rescue!
By turning your documents into Portal web pages, you can ensure that your content—from Title to Body text—is fully searchable for Portal users. As an additional bonus, Portal web pages are indexed in Google’s search results.
Though they can take a little time to set up, web pages are fairly easy to maintain over time. Portal’s grouped editing permissions makes it easy to manage, share, and shift editing duties over time.
Version control is pretty simple as well. Not only do editing restrictions help stymie the creation of “rogue” copies of your content, but Portal’s CMS actually retains every saved version of your page.
How do I get started?
If you're not sure where to begin, feel free to open a Help Desk ticket. The Portal team can help you with technical advice and content planning.