Authoring a page is nearly identical to a post. Pages are reserved for items linked in menus used on montanalions.org. When in doubt always create a new post – it’s contents can be copied to a page later if needed.
Comments specific to montanalions.org editors and authors are in red italics like this. ‘xxx’ indicates the button name referred to is within the single quoted text. Open this image to see a notated screenshot of the WordPress edit page with areas described below identified. The image will open in a new window so you can refer to it and continue reading this page.
The menu bar gives users the basic tools needed while writing a post. Word or other software users will be familiar with most of them.
The right hand camera icon and the ‘add media’ and ‘add video’ buttons are explained on a separate page. The dotted box next to the camera reveals an additional line of text commands. Others add or remove links or add other visual attributes.
Writing Posts (Creating a Page is essentially the same)
Posts are entries that display in reverse order on your home page. Posts usually have comments fields beneath them and are included in your site’s RSS feed (Rich Site Summary feeds are part of an automated notification system for text users)
To write a post:
- Log in to your WordPress Administration Panel (Dashboard).
- Click the ‘Posts‘ tab. Note: If you see a long list of posts, including many draft versions, you can filter them out using boxes at the top of the post page)
- Click the ‘Add New‘ sub-tab.
- Start filling in the blanks: enter your post title in the upper field, and enter your post body content in the main post editing box below it.
- As needed, select a category, add tags, and make other selections from the sections below the post. (Each of these sections is explained below.)
- Click ‘Save Draft’ to save your post and “Preview” to see how it will look without making it available on the web site. Use this to save a post that you wish to make public in the future (use publish ‘edit’ setting to change the date and time of your post going live. You can set it to publish next Wednesday at noon, for example). If you post it by mistake you can go to ‘All Posts’ and ‘Quick Edit’ the one you wish and change ‘Published’ back to ‘Draft.’
- When you are ready, click Publish.
Links to other pages or sites are added by copying the URL of the desired page in your web browser’s address window (hint: ‘control’ plus ‘a’ after clicking on the address selects ALL of it. ‘Control’ plus ‘c’ copies it and ‘control’ plus ‘v’ pastes it into the document where your cursor is. Just copy the link and use the ‘insert link’ button by pasting the url in the box. Add text you want displayed as the link – or highlight text in your post with your mouse before clicking ‘insert link’ and the selected text will be used.
Note: For most users of montanalions.org, the default screen options work best, but if you want to see other options do so – you can always change them back later.
There are more editing fields available to you than you see on first login. The Screen Options area allows you to choose which Post Fields are displayed or hidden from your editing area, which allows you to minimize clutter and customize according to your needs.
You’ll find the Screen Options tab at the very top of your screen, and if you click on it, you’ll see a list of available editing boxes that you can use. Check the box for each Post Field you want displayed, or uncheck the box to hide that module. Click the Screen Options tab again to close the tab.
Visual Versus Text Editor
This mode requires some knowledge of programming and should usually be reserved for site administrators. When writing your post, you have the option of using the Visual or Text mode of the editor. The visual mode lets you see your post as is, while the Text mode shows you the code and replaces the WYSIWYG editor buttons with quicktags.
Descriptions of Post Fields and Buttons
- Title/Headline Box
- The title of your post. You can use any phrases, words or characters. Avoid using the same title twice as that will cause problems. You can use commas, apostrophes, quotes, hypens/dashes and other typical symbols in the post like “My Site – Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid”. WordPress will then clean it up to generate a user-friendly and URL-valid name of the post (also called the “post slug”) to compose the permalink for the post (which is a specific ID find the post and display it). Try to keep headlines short enough to display on one line if at all possible – use the preview setting to see how it fits on the page.
- Body Copy Box
- The blank box where you enter your writing, links, links to images, and any information you want to display on your site.
- Preview button
- Allows you to view the post before officially publishing it.
- Publish box (right hand side of page)
- Status: Contains buttons that control the state of your post. The main states are Published, Pending Review and Draft. A Published status means the post has been published live on your blog for all to see. Pending Review means the draft is waiting for review by an editor prior to publication. Draft means the post has not been published and remains a draft for you. If you select a specific publish status and click the update post or “Publish” button, that status is applied to the post. For example, to save a post in the Pending Review status, select Pending Review from the Publish Status drop-down box, and click Save As Pending. (You will see all posts organized by status by going to Administration Panels > Posts > Edit). To schedule a post for publication on a future time or date, click “Edit” in the Publish area next to the words “Publish immediately”. You can also change the publish date to a date in the past to back-date posts. Change the settings to the desired time and date.
- You must also hit the “Publish” button when you have completed the post to publish at the desired time and date.
- Visibility: This determines how your post appears to the world. Public posts will be visible by all website visitors once published. Password Protected posts are published to all, but visitors must know the password to view the post content. Private posts are visible only to you (and to other editors or admins within your site). Nearly all posts on montanalions.org are intended to be visible to the public. Write accordingly.
- Permalink stands for “permanent link” (a permanent file name for the post). This post name (also referred to as “post slug” or just “slug”) is automatically generated based on the title you set to the post and is shown below the title field. Don’t worry about permalinks – they can be edited later by a site administrator if necessary.
- Allows you to save your post as a draft / pending review rather than immediately publishing it. To return to your drafts later, visit Posts – Edit in the menu bar, then select your post from the list.
- Publishes your post on the site. You can edit the time when the post is published by clicking the Edit link above the “Publish” button and specifying the time you want the post to be published. By default, at the time the post is first auto-saved, that will be the date and time of the post within the database.
- Post Tags
- Refers to micro-categories for your blog, similar to including index entries for a page. Posts with similar tags are linked together when a user clicks one of the tags. Tags have to be enabled with the right code in your theme for them to appear in your post. Add new tags to the post by typing the tag into the box and clicking “Add”. Authors of posts do not need to worry about tags. They can be added later by administrator in needed.
- The general topic the post can be classified in. Generally, bloggers have 7-10 categories for their content. Readers can browse specific categories to see all posts in the category. To add a new category, click the “+Add New Category” link in this section. You can manage your categories by going to Administration Panels > Posts > Categories. Unless advised otherwise, please the categories already established for montanalions.org. Categories are used to locate past posts but become confusing to readers if there are too many to choose from. “News for Montana Lions” is used by default, but others can be added at the author’s discretion or ignored (the webmaster can them later).
- Excerpts are use to make more posts viewable on the website without excessive scrolling. The full post can be revealed by readers if they choose. Administrators and Editors can assign excerpts if needed, so most writers do not need to be concerned with them. Using the ‘read more’ tag at the end of the excerpt breaks the page displayed on the “”news” page. It is the third symbol from the top right in the editing controls.
- A summary or brief teaser of your post featured on the front page of your site as well as on the category, archives, and search non-single post pages. Note that the Excerpt does not usually appear by default. It only appears in your post if you have modified the template file listing the post to use the_excerpt() instead of the_content() to display the Excerpt instead of the full content of a post. If so, WordPress will automatically use as the Excerpt the first 55 words of your post content or the content before the <!--more--> quicktag. If you use the “Excerpt” field when editing the post, this will be used no matter what. For more information, see Excerpt.
Paste as Text (middle symbol on bottom row of editing controls)
Sometimes when copying content from other websites or programs, there is hidden code that conflicts with that of this blog. Pages break, text becomes unruly and in general weird things happen. Try using the paste as text setting to remove all this extra code as you edit your page. Sorry, but all copied photos and accents will disappear, too. If you still have problems, then do what you can to complete your message and leave it to the webmaster to override programming errors for you.
- Send Trackbacks (for site Administrators)
- A way to notify legacy blog systems that you’ve linked to them. If you link other WordPress blogs, they’ll be notified automatically using pingbacks. No other action is necessary. For those blogs that don’t recognize pingbacks, you can send a trackback to the blog by entering the website address(es) in this box, separating each one by a space. See Trackbacks and Pingbacks for more information.
- Custom Fields (for site Administrators)
- Custom_Fields offer a way to add information to your site. In conjunction with extra code in your template files or plugins, Custom Fields can modify the way a post is displayed. These are primarily used by plugins, but you can manually edit that information in this section.
- Discussion (for site Administrators: Default is Allow Comments)
- Options to enable interactivity and notification of your posts. This section hosts two check boxes: Allow Comments on this post and Allow trackbacks and pingbacks on this post. If Allowing Comments is unchecked, no one can post comments to this particular post. If Allowing Pings is unchecked, no one can post pingbacks or trackbacks to this particular post.
- Password Protect This Post (for site Administrators)
- To password protect a post, click Edit next to Visibility in the Publish area to the top right, then click Password Protected, click Ok, and enter a password. Then click OK. Note – Editor and Admin users can see password protected or private posts in the edit view without knowing the password.
- Post Author (normally defaults to you as author based on your login)
- A list of all blog authors you can select from to attribute as the post author. This section only shows if you have multiple users with authoring rights in your blog. To view your list of users, see Users tab on the far right. For more information, see Users and Authors.
- A list of all revisions made to the current post or page. Clicking on a revision will open a dedicated revision change where you can compare the current version of the post or page with any previous versions. There is also an option to restore any previous versions.
Note: You can set basic options for writing, such as the size of the post box, how smiley tags are converted, and other details by going to Administration Panels > Settings > Writing. See Writing Options SubPanel.
Best Practices For Posting
You can say or show the world anything you like on your WordPress site. Here are some tips you need to know to help you write your posts in WordPress.
- Practice Accessibility
- To be compliant with web standards for accessibility, be sure to include ALT and TITLE descriptions on links and images to help your users, such as <a title="WordPress Codex" href="http://codex.wordpress.org/">WordPress Codex</a>. Alt tags are already provided for any photo preloaded in the image library. If additional images are desired they can be uploaded using the simple procedure in Adding Images and accessibility will be added by the webmaster at a later date.
- Use Paragraphs
- No one likes to read writing that never pauses for a line break. To break your writing up into paragraphs, use double spaces between your paragraphs. WordPress will automatically detect these and insert <p> HTML paragraph tags into your writing.
- Use Headings
- If you are writing long posts, break up the sections by using headings, small titles to highlight a change of subject. These are selected using the drop-down box above the large body text area where you are writing.
- Use HTML
- You don’t have to use HTML when writing your posts. WordPress will automatically add it to your site, but if you do want control over different elements like boxes, headings, and other additional containers or elements, use HTML. The webmaster can deal with issues requiring HTML so you don’t have to.
- Spell Check and Proof
- There are spell check Plugins available, but even those can’t check for everything. Some serious writers will write their posts in a text editor with spell check, check all the spelling and proof it thoroughly before copying and pasting into WordPress. montanalions.org has a built-in spell checker. A red wavy underlined word in the writing mode is suspect.
- Think before you post
- Ranting on blogs is commonplace today, but take a moment and think about what you are writing. Remember, once it is out there, it can be seen by many and crawled by search engines; and taking things back is harder once it is public. Take a moment to read what you’ve written before hitting the Publish button. When you are ready, share it with the world.
- Write frequently
- Write as frequently as you can, but don’t let quantity get in the way of quality. Readers come for content, not to spend time reading useless stuff. By the same token, a post that is valid but dated months ago is often seen as suspect, so revisiting important posts is a good idea. Writing often also keeps your skills on the website fresh – sometimes that actually saves time when you want to post something quickly.
- Don’t use too much slang or uncommon abbreviations
- Not all the readers will be from your part of the world so make sure people can understand easily.
- Make use of comments
- Comments let people share their ideas. Sometimes, they might not be good, but you can ask such people to shut up (or their comments will net be approved for posting). Blogging like real life, can be both fun and not so fun at times. Be prepared.
- Worry about blog design later
- Blog design matters, but only to an extent. Don’t give up on blogging just because the design isn’t coming up as you’d like it to be. Sooner or later, you’ll get around the design problems with ease. But continue writing. Content is what attracts your readers, not just the look of your blog.
- Use pictures and videos
- They make the pages colorful and viewers get to see a little of your part of the world. They feel connected.
- Save your posts
- Save your posts before you press the publish button. Anything can happen with your computer or with an internet connection. You don’t need to lose your post.