Old Days of WordPress
Long, long ago, in a galaxy faraway, people used WordPress to write their blogs. No thought at that time was even given to the fact that people might use the platform as both a blog AND a website. Over the years, it’s become better documented and certainly better supported, both by their developers and the community as a whole, and people use WordPress as its meant to be used – as an inclusive place to house a website and a related blog. Combining these two together, in one installation is powerful for your SEO and for your content strategy plan. The details of that could be fill volumes, but this post is not going to cover that. What we are going to cover is the basics of putting up a blog post in your WordPress site, assuming you have your blog enabled.
Blogging in Your WordPress Site
First things first; make sure you’re logged into your WordPress Dashboard. Take a glance to the left side of the Dashboard, and note the difference in terms, Posts and Pages; you’ll be selecting Posts. Think of “Posts” as articles, because really, that’s what they are. Select Add New and you’re on your way to writing your first blog post. Take a look to the right and you’ll see a composition window with a toolbar that is very is
very similar to a typical word processing tool like Word, and that’s intentional; it’s meant to be easy to write these posts, and pretty much all the tools you need to make it look good are there. It’s here that all the writing and editing will mostly occur. Go ahead and start with a title (bar directly under ‘Edit Post’) and then fill the content area below with your article.
Pasting Content From Elsewhere
While you can bring in content from somewhere else (such as cutting and pasting it from a Word Document you’ve been working on), keep in mind that you’ll need to remove whatever settings your other program has for such things a font style, character sizes, color of character, etc. Your site has its own settings for these things, set in your site’s CSS or ‘stylesheet’, so for the sake of consistency throughout your site, you can do one of two things with your copied content: (1) Clear formatting, or (2) select the Text tab (next to Visual) (located to the far upper right of the composition box).
Your content should follow some a consistent look for post to post, and that means assigning standards to your headings and other visual elements within your post. Note the words Formatting Content that started this paragraph? That title is set by selecting Heading 2 from the toolbar, where Paragraph is usually the default. Rather than go through even tool within the toolbar, just get accustomed to it by apply some formatting selections of your own, keeping the following in mind:
- Your installation and features may vary and you might have to do some tweaking of the article to make things align
- Your CSS settings are custom to your site and theme, so sizes and font style will differ from other blogs you read, so make sure your designer has set up the styles you like
- Refrain from typing in ALL CAPS, and in some cases, your theme might not even allow it, and will default to theme settings
- Use the built-in bullet and numbering lists, as they’ll create greater uniformity for your post
- Make sure to use the hyperlink tool (represented by chain link/broken chain link in the toolbar) instead of dropping or keying in giant links to other sites or pages within your own site
- When you create a hyperlink, make sure it opens a blank page (setting when you click link and set it up)
Adding Media and Images
Posts are more interesting with some useful images and visuals, and they go a long way in illustrating the point of your article. Within the body of the post, use the Add Media button and either select an image from the Media Library or upload an image of your choice. You will have some settings to configure, and make sure to add title and description to the image. On our blog, you might have noticed the additional, related blog posts that follow at the end of any of our posts. Did you see an image that accompanied those articles? That image is typically one that is set in the Featured Image area on the lower right side of the Posts dashboard. Set images there just like you did with the Media Library and you’ll be all set with the visual part of your post.
Categories and Tags
This is often a confusing part of writing posts, so let’s just make this as simple as possible. Think about Categories being the topics you would want to read about, and tags being some of the more nitty gritty elements in those Categories. An example would be you have a Category entitled Cookie Recipes and then put tags for some of the ingredients in those cookies, such as chocolate chips or oatmeal. A reader of your blog might want to search your site and get any recipe that contains oatmeal, so searches and is presented not only that cookie recipe, but any other article you have that contains oatmeal as a tag. This is a very over-simplified example, but hopefully you get the gist of it. Categories and Tags are a way to compartmentalize your blog’s content.
Time To Publish or Is It?
One of the greatest features in WordPress is the ability to either publish your post right away or schedule it for the future. Say you’re in a writing frenzy, but want to have some good content for later on down the road. By configuring the settings in the Publish module (right side of the Posts Dashboard), you have the ability to configure the Draft to Publish state and other things, including the Publish date. You might have some other settings here, depending on your site, such as setting the post to go to your social media channels. Before you do these things though, maybe you should take a look at your post before you publish it. Notice the Preview button, and take a look at things, and tweak as necessary. Once it’s all to your liking, schedule or publish!
One note about authors of your blog: whoever begins a post is usually the one given credit for writing it. If you need to change this, you’ll need to make sure the other person/entity is set up as a User or find out if your theme is using an Authoring/Byline plugin, and you might be able to change to the correct person right in the Post Dashboard. While this is not an advanced feature, it really does depend on the way your own WordPress is setup, so you might need to check with your designer and find out.
Good luck with your blogging and if you’d like some one-to-one training that goes beyond these basics, get in touch with us and set up a remote training! If you have a simple question, just drop it in the comments section below!