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Feature request: URL/titles for SEO

Kyle Whitfield 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert 18 hours ago 15

Instead of URLs picking up an asset's title then generating new URLs when titles are changed, could we consider an SEO title field where an editor could manually define a phrase that would appear in a URL? And the URL wouldn't change as the asset's headline changes?

Example: Story about mass shooting in Baton Rouge

SEO/URL title: Baton Rouge mall shooting
Article asset title: 5 dead in Baton Rouge mall shooting

URL (that wouldn't change): theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/baton_rouge_mall_shooting/XYZABC123.html

Right now we shy away from opting for titles in URLs b/c of the mess it creates with multiple URLs per asset.

This would be used very often by us.


Hi guys!

We had a release yesterday which added part of this feature, but it doesn't do everything that is discussed here in this first version.

But, for now, we see two use cases:

==> 1. Publisher has a bad or short title on their article, but they want to be able to expand it in the URL.

So maybe, for some cutesy reason the title of the story is "M13," so your URL would look like this:


Note that we automatically remove numbers, because they are more likely to change, so you end up with a stupid-looking URL basically, with just "m" there!

In these cases, you may want to be able to change the title or change the URL so that you can create something that is more SEO-friendly, and also user friendly (if you share the "m" URL above, it doesn't have any good keywords or let you know anything about it).

Buy with this URL title feature, you can go in there and type something that can be used instead. So you end up with this:


Note that it allows the number to be in there, so that makes things more clear in some cases (like m13 where you need that for SEO, really).

Note that, in theory, it could go the other way as well. You might have a page that has a long page title, but you wanted it to be shorter or more precise (again, for SEO and for usability), you could do that also.

==> 2. Publisher would like their URLs to remain static so it doesn't mess up statistics or other external services such as Facebook comments.

In this situation, it's more that you want the URL to remain the same for statistics, rather than that you want to "fix" it from some unattractive state. The new feature is meant to address the situation above, but it is not likely to fix the statistics issue.

A few thoughts there:

Firstly, software like Chartbeat and Parsley can be updated to key off of the article UUID instead of the URL. 

This will mean that they will all be tracked together regardless of section or title change.

Secondly, we are looking at doing some kind of permanent URL that would remain frozen, but we haven't agreed yet what that would look like. 

Wordpress has a little Edit button that allows this (like Kevin's example). Basically, after the title is written, a few seconds later it populates the "permalink" slug area. If you edit it after it is published, it creates a 404 (that you can fix if you create a 301 redirect manually, it sounds like).

So, in our situation, we could possibly do something like that...

The problem is that BLOX is a little different because many users will actually write content in BLOX that may span many days. It is common that you see an asset in the system that has a start date of 2037 and the title is "Second story about the mayor TK" or whatever. So, in those cases, you'd theoretically end up with that in your URL, even if you change your title later.

It is possible we could tie the URL creation to a workflow status... i.e. it doesn't auto-fill the URL until it its a publish state, and then it freezes.

I have also seen some CMSes where they will have a "generate URL" button that, when pressed, will generate the URL and freeze it.

Interested to hear your thoughts...


Admin User Group reporting

Kevin M. Cox 4 days ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert 3 days ago 2

There really needs to be an accounting / reporting function for the user groups that admins are assigned to.

I can easily see how many people are in each group, but the only way to figure out who they are is to open the account of each admin user one by one.

Similar to the Positions dialog under Banner Ads (with Assign/Remove function) I should be able to see which admins are in each group from this window as well as remove and add them without having to open the user accounts individually.


Text to talk/audio tool

lmneff 3 days ago in BLOX CMS 0

Text to audio. Is there a tool we can use with our site that would "speak" our text articles? I've seen this on other news sites. And I am able to get my Alexa Echo to read our website. But wondered about a tool on the site to read articles.


Spammy pop-up ads when users click on our stories in Facebook

Andrea 6 days ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Nick 5 days ago 3

We have noticed an uptick with this problem. Whereas all of my Googling says it is likely an issue with malware on the user's device -- how can we know for sure that the problem isn't on our website? (For the record, about 98% of our ads are served through OAS or Blox. We have NO Google ads on our site -- that I'm aware of, but I don't control the advertising part of our site and don't know much about it. We do have an AP video player that shows Google Ads.)

I have followed all of the advice I see, and even I am still getting the pop-ups (not on every story, but enough to be annoying). 

Thanks in advance! 

Under review

Scheduling blocks

eeckert 6 days ago in BLOX CMS • updated 6 days ago 4

I think a nice feature would be a custom option within a block to schedule it for certain times.

We currently have a few blocks that I only have show up on a single day of the week so I manually disable it when we don't need it.  Having something with the block options itself where I could schedule it to enable and disable itself would be great.

Under review

FEEDBACK REQUESTED: "New" flags, "updated" flags, important updates & more

Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 weeks ago • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago 6

I am reviewing feature requests and other issues surrounding start times and update times of articles. My question to you guys is:

- Is there any reason NOT to turn on important updates?

I'm considering making this feature enabled by default. Meaning, only updates on which you check the "important updates" box will modify the "last modified" time. An unimportant update would still create an entry in the story's revision history (in case you need to track it), but otherwise wouldn't trigger anything on the front end.

As part of this:

- Add "important updates" to all asset types.

- Allow block to be sorted by "update time" (which would include only important updates).

- Add flags or other indicators on the front end when stories are updated or new.

- Add more specific publish date and updated date to front end article (for transparency to readers)

- Remove settings for "important updates" and "add comments to important updates" since they would be default for everyone.


Under review

Feature request - infinite story scroll

doug nelson 4 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago 5

I would like to request an infinite scroll feature. When you get to the bottom of one story the next story published in chronological order shows up on the same webpage. This goes on for ever. 


FEEDBACK REQUESTED: Social Override Fields

Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 weeks ago • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago 1

We are working on adding new "social override" fields to allow customization of these meta tags at an asset by asset level. The fields would include:

  • Social preview image: Ability to change og:image separate from main photo or teaser image.
  • Social title: By default it is the headline, but can be overwritten here.
  • Social description: By default it is the summary, but can be overwritten.

Here is the part where I would like feedback:

  • Twitter card: By default, we will use the "summary_large_image" setting, unless vertical or too small, in which case it will use "summary." If there is no image, it will use the og:image tag, and will use the "summary."

I can't (right now) create a default per section, so I need some logic that will get close. I think the following:

- We can have horizontal images use summary_large_image, and articles with no image, small images, or vertical images use "summary."

- I could have all articles with images use "summary_large_image," and only articles with small images or mugshot presentation images use "summary." Articles with vertical images would rely on Twitter's photo cropping AI to fix it. Or, an editor could go into the article and create a new social preview that fixes the crop.

- Twitter card could be changed with batch edit.

Let me know what you think!

Under review

Email Reach - filter out users who do not have active subscriptions

Kevin M. Cox 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated 6 days ago 3
We’re looking to create an email newsletter exclusively for subscribers, as opposed to our normal newsletters that anyone with an account can receive.

As such we’d love to see an option that would allow anyone to sign-up, but on send the system would omit the emails of users who do not have an active subscription at the time of the email.

This would create an automated system that we didn’t have to constantly manage by adding and removing users as subscriptions are bought and expire.

Please let me know what y’all think and if there is a possible this could be implemented.


More robust BLOX Go

Brad Boner 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago 3

The BLOX Go feature is descent, but it is really lacking in functionality. There are several things we'd like to see that would improve this feature:

• Would like to be able to fill out more of an asset's fields. As it stands we can only fill out the Title and Caption fields for an image or video asset, and Title and Content for an article asset. Would like to have, at the very least, the Byline and Slug fields available for all assets in Blox Go, and be able to select Flags for images and videos.

• Ability to modify other assets besides articles. Seriously, this is a major flaw in the system. We can upload images and videos, but once we've done so we can't edit them. This means that if we upload an image from the field and there's a misspelling in the caption, we can't edit it unless we do so through the regular CMS site (not BLOX Go), which is absurdly clunky use if you're trying to do so on your phone.

• I know I'm asking a lot here, but it would be awesome if article or photo assets created with BLOX Go (or in CMS in general) could somehow "write back" to TCMS. Say I upload a photo from a house fire from my phone in CMS. It would be nice if that also created an asset in TCMS that could be used in our print workflow. As it stands we need to create a separate asset in TCMS if we want to use that image in print.

If any of these features are already available, please do let me know.




Hey Brad!

I wanted to let you know that BLOX Go is a major initiative for us this year. In fact, we're totally re-doing it!

Coming soon, it will be re-released with an entirely new UI that is a lot more flexible.

In this first version, we are focusing on changing the UI elements and not adding a ton of new functionality. For our first version we're striving for feature parity with the existing interface. But in subsequent versions, we will add much more functionality, including having access to more fields, more asset types and eventually, more BLOX CMS applications.


Alignment for Related Assets needs to be fixed

Nathan Bechtold 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago 1

When I add a Child Asset to an article, but do not actually drop the Child Asset into the body of the article, I don't like what it does to the alignment of my page: it actually ADDS a "left rail" and shifts the entire text of the article to the right. But the only thing in the "left rail" is an image of that asset I added... so it looks really odd.

This is only an issue on desktop, not on mobile.

It creates an additional problem when I add an Article as a Child Asset to another Article. Now, since I'm in the Parent Article, it's not too much trouble to simply place each Child Article into the body of the Parent Article. But it has now affected the alignment in all of those Child Articles -- because it added the Parent Asset to the "left rail" for each of those Child Articles! So now I have to go back into each of the Child Articles and drop the new Parent into the body of those articles, to fix that alignment.

This is terribly cumbersome and awfully time-consuming, but it's necessary if I don't want most of my articles to be misaligned on desktop view.

The easy fix is to create a default that adds all Related Assets into a horizontal "block" at the end of each article.


Auto expire flag

Erica Smith 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago 1

Similar to this request from 3 years ago, I'd like to auto-expire some flags. We add "breaking" and "developing" flags to many stories. These flags make sense when they're added, but after a few hours (definitely after a few days) they can be confusing to readers. I'd like for those flags to disappear after a set amount of time. I can recommend how much time that is, or you can let individual sites set that time. 

I don't want to remove the flag — we're using those flags to track stories. (So we can tell reporters whether breaking news stories perform better than an enterprise story, for example.) But if the flag was not visible to the reader after X hours, then I'd have the best of both worlds.

So this is my official feature request. It would solve the problem outlined above. It would be used daily. It would be used by/available to all of our reporters and editors. 

Under review

Change to the "wire" flag

Erica Smith 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago 3

We all know what "wire" means. I don't think readers do — at least, not from the readers I've talked to so far. This, however, is one of the flags that's protected

I want to change the "wire" flag so that the public sees a flag that says "news service". (It's OK if our staff sees "wire" in the CMS.) Otherwise, I have to adapt an existing flag ("hot"? "special section"?) so that it will say "news service" to readers, but that description will not be changed in the CMS — we just have to remember that marking "hot" means "news service". 

(I know I can create a custom flag on an asset. But I need this to be assigned in syndication, and I can only apply existing flags there.)


Feature request to Add abbr day of the week to past eedition list in hamburger mean

Troy Sporcic 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago 1

1) What problem(s) does this idea solve? Why do you need this idea
implemented? Provide as many problems or use cases as possible.

Currently when you go into the hamburger menu for past eedition all you
see is the date you do not know right away which one was Sunday or
Wednesday without clicking and opening up multiple dates to find the one
you want. Usually the older subscribers are the ones that use the
eedition the most so this would provide a better user experience for
subscribers and users in general to reduce the number of clicks to find
what day of the week they are looking for. Also Tecnavia and Olive
provide the abbr day of the week with the physical date. Just makes
sense as I forget what day it is most of the time.

2) How often would you use this feature? This would be daily and would
want the list of past eedition in the hamburger menu to update daily as
new eeditions are added.

3) How many people in your organization would use this feature?

All of the BH Media sites would use this enhancement and want this feature to be added as our customer service averages about 10 calls a week asking us to add the Day of the week to the past eeditions list to help them find it quickly.  I would think others would be getting the same type of requests from their subscribers as well..


Feature Request: mobile login - remove any spaces before/after usernames and passwords

jgarcia 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago 1

We've gotten several complaints about the login not recognizing the user on mobile (but they login fine on desktop).  We've discovered that mobile auto-save and auto-correct is mostly the problem.  Here are the problems we've helped our customers with:
1) Often times there will either be a leading space or trailing space in the username or password. This will fail every time.

2) Sometimes mobile will capitalize the first letter or auto-correct and again will fail the login.

The biggest problem with this is that many of our subscribers don't realize it's happening - and even with our assistance have a hard time trying to un-capitalize a letter (it will keep happening), or to back space to get rid of spaces.

This feature would help many of our users, and prevent them from getting frustrated and unsubscribing. We get 3-4 calls or emails a month on this right now.

This feature would help across the board - and would help every-time someone logged in. 

I'm very curious if other newspapers get this complaint as often as we do?  If so, how do you combat it, besides trying to walk the customer through it?

Thank you!