Theme Documentation

Welcome to your custom NationBuilder theme, built by Van City Studios. Included below is some documentation and some best practice tips for using your new custom theme. If you have any questions about your custom theme, or require additional support, contact us by email at sayhello@vancitystudios.com or by phone at 604-229-5562.

One of the great things about NationBuilder is that they’ve developed an extensive library of resources that you can use to learn how to effectively use the NationBuilder platform. NationBuilder also offers free “Intro to NationBuilder” online workshops that are a great way to get more familiar with their platform or refresh your NationBuilder skills. You can check out their library of resources and workshop schedules here: nationbuilder.com/support.

Your theme requires a number of key pages to work properly. You can update and change the content on these pages as needed, but make sure that they don't get deleted and that the slug stays the same. Here's a list of the slugs for the key pages of your theme:

  • home (and all subpages, see below)
  • open_and_fair_decision_making
  • lives_and_livelihoods
  • healthy_waters
  • fish_and_wildlife
  • a_climate_safe_future
  • get_involved
  • take_the_pledge
  • the_rollbacks
  • the_solution
  • join

In addition to the pages listed above, your homepage contains 6 subpages. Each subpage relates to a section of your homepage, and is used to manage the content for that section. The slugs as well as the name for these subpages should not be changed. Since these subpages are intended only to manage content on your homepage, we also recommend keeping the "Who can view this page?" setting set to Admins (this will still allow anyone to see the content on your homepage, but they won't be able to access the actual page that's used to hold this content). You can use NationBuilder's content editor to modify the content for these sections, however doing so properly required a strong understanding of HTML and CSS. If you need to make changes to your homepage, we recommend getting in touch with us.

You can also use NationBuilder's Featured Content Slider feature to promote special content with a dynamic image carousel. To create a new slide (or edit an existing one), navigate to Website > home > Settings > Featured content sliders from your NationBuilder Control Panel. Images should be 1300px wide by 450px tall. Remember that the text displayed over the image is white, so be sure to use an image that will be dark enough so that the text is still legible. Use the vertical bar character ("|") between the top line of text and bottom line of the Headline/Action text for each slide.

When someone first comes to the website, the "Take the Pledge" button will appear in the top section of your homepage. Once they have completed the pledge, the "Take the Pledge" button is replaced with a number of other links. Any page that has the "Include in supporter nav" option checked will appear in this list (found under the Settings tab of each page).

When someone completed the pledge, they are tagged with " AA: 2015-07 - Federal Election Pledge". This is key to your custom theme recognizing that they have completed the pledge. Do not modify this tag, or the "Tag the signer with" settings on the Take the Pledge page.

You can use NationBuilder's Featured Content Slider feature to add custom images to the top of your pages. Images should be 1300px wide by 402px tall. Remember that the text that appears over top the image will be all white, so be sure to use an image that has high enough contrast so that the text is still legible. If no featured content slides are added to a page, the default image and page headline will be used.

There are two columns in your footer to which you can add links: About and Get Involved. Any page tagged with "footer_nav" will appear in the "About" column in the footer. Any published subpage of the "Get Involved" page will appear in the "Get Involved" column in the footer.

You can read about how to include images and PDF file son your pages here: nationbuilder.com/include_images_on_a_page


Any page on your website that's tagged with "tiled subpages" will display all of it's published child/subpages in a tiled layout. To add a custom thumbnail image, upload an image labelled "thumbnail.jpg" to the subpage. The thumbnail image should be 259px wide by 258px tall.

Sometimes when making changes to a page or publishing a new page, the links in your site's top nav may automatically rearrange themselves. If this happens, you can change the order of the links in your navigation menu using the method described here.

First, check and make sure that the changes you've made are published. If you're still having trouble, you may need to clear your website's cache. From your NationBuilder Control Panel, navigate to Website > Site settings > Clear cache.

  • You can use NationBuilder's tagging feature to track activity in your Nation. We've configured your "Take the Pledge" page to add the tag "petition signed" to anyone who signs it. This tag is also used to dynamically display different calls-to-action to your audience once they have taken the pledge (so make sure you don't modify the settings for this tag). We recommend setting up your other action pages on your website to automatically add tags to a user's profile too.
  • You can review some key metrics about your Nation from your NationBuilder Dashboard. Learn more here: http://nationbuilder.com/visualize_metrics_with_growth_view
  • NationBuilder also includes an annual report feature that you can read more about here: http://nationbuilder.com/annual_report_2014
  • You can also connect your website to Google Analytics. If your website has already been connected to Google Analytics, login to your Google Analytics account to review your website's performance.

NationBuilder includes some great tools you can use to make sure your website is search engine friendly. You can read about optimizing your website for search engines here: nationbuilder.com/organic_search_ranking_optimization

NationBuilder includes some great tools that allow your supporters to share your website via their social networks. You can read about how to optimize each page on your website for social sharing here: nationbuilder.com/optimizing_your_content_for_social_media

Your custom theme includes an expanded set of page-level sharing tools (we've added options to share by email, Pinterest, Linkedin, StumbleUpon, and Reddit.)

We've also added a feature that allows you to include a "sharebar", which promotes the prewritten tweet that is configured for that particular page at the top of the page. To turn on the sharebar, simply add the tag "sharebar" to that page.

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