How to integrate a blog into Big Commerce (without installing anything new)

So I have been searching the answer to this for a while. Seriously. It has taken months. The answer was always there I suppose, I just had to look for a long time. So I thought that I would provide it here for you.

The Problem

Big Commerce doesn’t have blog functionality

At least not what we have come to expect from blogging platforms such as WordPress.

You just have to be sneaky about it. Basically what we will be doing is taking advantage of the news items that are available in the store and formatting the different panels and layout files to function how you want them to. In order to do this you will need to have some knowledge of the BigCommerce Framework. You will be editing some of your site’s template files, SO BACK THEM UP!! Save a copy of your zip file with the words BACKUP – DO NOT EDIT in the folder name.

First, you need your BigCommerce RSS feed:

www.YOUR-DOMAIN.com/rss.php?action=newblogs&type=rss

(If you want to use Feedburner for your feed, you have to make sure that you enable SmartFeed in your Optimize settings.)

Second, create a new page:

Select “Display syndicated content from an RSS feed”

Name the page “Blog” or whatever you want.

Insert YOUR RSS feed into the field that says “RSS Feed.”

Make sure that you change it to your domain.

You now have a page that displays all of your posts.

Changing Your BigCommerce Blog Layout

You can change the layout of how this displays by creating an alternate page.html file. Just rename it with an underscore in first position so that the back end knows it is another page layout file. (_page.html). You then may have to create an alternate PageContent.html panel (_PageContent.html). Just make sure you update the references to this panel in your _page.html file.

(You would then go back in to your “Blog” page that you created and select “_page.html” as your page layout.

What I did was add some content to the PageRSS.html panel. I added a link to the news item page that read “Leave a comment….” to encourage commenting. You could even use an image/button here if you wanted. You can then add a flourish to separate posts if you care to do so.

So how do I post?

Create a new “News Item”

The RSS feed pulls from your News Items.

How do people comment?

See my post here about Facebook comments¬†and add the code to your “NewsContent.html” panel under “Panels” in your template files. If you want to change the look and feel of your Blog layout, you need to edit your “News.html” file.

Sharing?

I added an AddThis bar to the of the post also in the “news.html” file.

That’s it? Any questions?