In this WordPress Training segment you will learn the skills necessary to write and publish a post. In WordPress, a post can be anything from an article, a photo gallery, a video, or even a collection of links. The term post is a generality and is up to the author in how it is applied to the blog. For the sake of this training segment we will treat our post as a basic status update.
Navigating the Dashboard
When you first approach the dashboard in WordPress it may feel a bit overwhelming. Don’t pay too much attention to the right side of the page as this information is usually not important or useful to authors or contributors. Focus your attention to the left side menu and take a quick glance at everything WordPress offers right out of the box.
Move your cursor to the menu item ‘Posts.’ Let it hover there until the menu activates and presents you with four options. The first, All Posts, links to a page that displays all of the posts ever made on your website. Since we have not yet made any posts, this list will be empty so let’s ignore it for now. Next is the Add New option which as you may have guessed, sends you to a new page that allows you to write a new post. Go ahead and click that option now.
Writing A Post
WordPress makes publishing content a snap using a visual editor for posts and pages. There is only a single requirement to creating a post and that is, you must create a title. A post can be published without a title or body content, but WordPress will give you a 404 error when trying to view it.
Let’s go ahead and make a title for our post. I’ll write mine as ‘How to Write a Blog Post,’ but you can write whatever you wish. It is generally a good practice to write a descriptive title for your post in 40 characters or less. If I were to name this article ‘WordPress,’ no one would read it because the term is too broad and readers would be unsure the point of the article.
The Text Editor
Now take a look at the text editor. If you have any familiarity with Microsoft Word or any other type of text editing program, then this should be easy for you to understand. I’ll go over all of the available controls and their function in the order they appear on the toolbar.
Formats your text bold.
Formats your text to italics.
Formats your text to
Formats your text into a
Formats your text into a
Formats text into a blockquote, useful for citing.
Aligns your text to the left
Aligns your text to the center
Aligns your text to the right
Format your text into a hyperlink. Highlight the word(s) you would like to use as a link and click on this button. It will prompt you for the url of the target page and an optional title.
Remove a link that you previously created. Highlight the link you would like to remove and click this button.
Insert More Tag
This tag is a little more advanced but very useful and oft overlooked feature. Have you ever seen a blog post that had the term ‘continue reading’ or ‘read more’ at the end of the summary? This little button will force WordPress to display those links where you desire. Place your cursor where you desire the post to cut off and click this button.
Distraction Free Writing Mode
Expands the text editor to the full size of your browser. Useful if you find the editor too small or find yourself getting distracted by all of the options surrounding you.
No, you can’t wash dishes here. Kitchen sink allows advanced controls and formatting options in your post. Clicking this opens up a new text formatting option as well as a few other useful options.
The Right Column
On the right side of the page you will notice several blocks of content labeled Publish, Format, Categories, Tags and Featured Image. These controls will essentially dictate where on your blog / website the current post will appear and how it will be discovered.
The publish block provides you with options for the visibility and status of your post. If you are wanting to work on a post but not publish it yet, you can click Save Draft and come back to it later. There is also the Preview button which will send you to a temporary page so you may see what your post will look like in a published format before you actually publish the post. Along with these two capabilities, there are other tools to limit the visibility of your post, and even a scheduled publishing tool.
Depending on what theme your WordPress blog is currently using, there may be anywhere from four to over a dozen options in this block. The format can be used to style your post based on it’s content. For example, some blogs have a separate page styling for video and standard posts. If you are unsure about what to use, it is always safe to use the Standard format.
This is a very important section that you should not ignore or forget. A category in WordPress is exactly as it sounds. Let’s say you are writing a blog post on gardening, you would want to add the Garden category if it didn’t exist, and then tick the checkbox. Now when a visitor clicks on your Garden category or even a page that is linked to that category, every blog post that corresponds to that category will appear. This is the primary method to organize your posts.
This should come as no surprise, but tags are summarily just hashtags that describe your post. Using the same example as above with the post on Gardening, easy tags would be ‘vegetable gardening’ , ‘how-to’, ‘garden planning’, ‘grow methods’, etc. You want to be general but still relevant when assigning tags. These usually appear at the bottom of your post and if a user clicks on one of them, WordPress will generate a page that displays every post that you have ever labeled with the respective tag.
Lastly we have the featured image block. A featured image typically appears at the very top of your post and should be relevant in some way to your content. Depending on your theme it may be large, small, wide or thin. Simply click Add Featured Image and the WordPress media up-loader will appear. Click on Upload Media and search for the file on your computer. When you upload it look to the right and you will see the image followed by media information about the file. It is generally a great idea to name the image something descriptive, that way when Google or Bing robots are indexing your website, they can use that information to get a better idea of what you do.
Now that you have a better understanding of writing a blog post, it’s time to get cracking. The best way to learn is by doing and making mistakes. I hope this article helps and I look forward to adding more articles.