Create Templates from Existing SharePoint 2010 Publishing Sites
If you need to create new SharePoint 2010 sites from an existing publishing site, the easiest way to do so is by creating a copy of the site. The following process only works to create a new site in an existing publishing site collection:
Browse to the publishing site collection where you want to create a copy of an existing site.
Choose Site Actions→Manage Content and Structure.
The Site Content and Structure tool opens.
In the right pane, click the site you wish to copy.
Hover over the site name, click the drop-down arrow to display a contextual menu, and choose Copy.
The Copy dialog box appears.
In the Copy dialog box, click the place where you want to create the new site and then click OK.
A message appears informing you that SharePoint is performing the Copy operation. When the copy completes, the screen refreshes.
Navigate to your new site and test it.
SharePoint places all the pages in the new site in Draft mode. You need to publish your pages before they’re visible to site visitors.
You may be wondering how the Copy operation works. Under the covers, this operation is the same as performing an export and import using the command line. The export process creates a content migration package, or CMP, file. The file can be transported to another site collection, or even another server farm, where the content and structure is imported.
This is an extremely powerful command. Like WSP files, a CMP file is a Microsoft cabinet file and can be inspected by changing the file extension to .cab. Exports and imports can be scheduled in Central Administration using Content Deployment Jobs. This is a great way to copy content from an internal authoring farm to a public-facing website.