Introduction to WordPress

What is a “blog”?

From WordPress:

“Blog” is an abbreviated version of “weblog,” which is a term used to describe web sites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. A blog is a frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles on other Web sites. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects.

Many blogs focus on a particular topic, such as web design, home staging, sports, or mobile technology. Some are more eclectic, presenting links to all types of other sites. And others are more like personal journals, presenting the author’s daily life and thoughts.

Here’s a quick video to help explain things visually: Intro to Blogging

Generally speaking (although there are exceptions), blogs tend to have a few things in common:

  • A main content area with articles listed chronologically, newest on top. Often, the articles are organized into categories.
  • An archive of older articles.
  • A way for people to leave comments about the articles.
  • A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a “blogroll”.
  • One or more “feeds” like RSS, Atom or RDF files.”

Some helpful articles:

Introduction to Blogging

First Steps with WordPress

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The following information is here to get you started, and serves only as a brief reference. If you’d like to participate in training sessions with Brandon, please sign up in the faculty tower.

Ready to get blogging?

  1. Please visit the link that was sent out via email, and log in with your username and password.
  2. Immediately go to your profile, which is located at the top of your screen (probably says “Howdy, ____”) OR you can go to the left side of the screen and under the dropdown menu for ‘Users’, you’ll find “Your Profile”.
  3. At the bottom of your profile be sure to change your password to something you’ll remember!

The Dashboard:

  • Control center of the blog – the “brain”, where most aspects of the blog are controlled and the magic happens. Various tabs may be accessed via the left sidebar. We’ll break these down briefly:

Settings:

  • General: change things like date/format, email address, blog title, time zone
  • Writing: you may with to change the “size of the post box” to something larger like ’20’. I personally find 10 lines of text too cramped when writing posts.
  • Reading: you may decide if you’d prefer for the viewer to first land on a ‘page’ or ‘posts’. More about that later.
  • Discussion: readers may comment on your posts and offer feedback via the commenting box. I highly recommend checking the box: “An administrator must always approve the comment”, for the first few weeks. Any comments posted will therefore first be received by your email account for approval / denial.
  • Delete Blog: yeah, just don’t click this one. Please.

Posts:

  • Let’s get started by clicking ‘Add New’
  • First add a title representing the content of your post (the post being the article itself). It’s best to be accurate and concise with your title, as this is what will help viewers and search engines pick up on your posts.
  • Add content to your post; the buttons above the writing area contain various formatting options, adding hyperlinks, and methods for posting media such as images, sound, and video. Let’s save that for another time.
  • Once finished, you may wish to add this post to a category. Very briefly, categories help to organize your site for quick access to information. A nice explanation may be viewed here.
  • At the bottom of the page, you will see an option for “Allow Comments on this Post” – you may check this off if you do not wish to permit others to comment on your particular post.
  • Click “Publish” on the right side of your screen, and you’re all set!

Publish: your blog post is now live for all the world to view.

Draft: periodically the blog post is saved automatically, but if you are not yet finished writing the post and wish to save it for later, use draft.

Preview: click to view the post as it will be seen publicly, but without it actually being live on the web.

Understanding “pages”:

In WordPress, you can write either posts or pages. When you’re writing a regular blog entry, you write a post. Posts automatically appear in reverse chronological order on your blog’s home page. Pages, on the other hand, are for content such as “About Me,” “Contact Me,” etc. Pages live outside of the normal blog chronology, and are often used to present information about yourself or your site that is somehow timeless — information that is always applicable. You can use Pages to organize and manage any amount of content.

What Pages Are:

What Pages are Not:

  • Pages are not Posts, nor are they excerpted from larger works of fiction. They do not cycle through your blog’s main page. (Note: You can include Posts in Pages by using the Inline Posts Plugin.)
  • Pages cannot be associated with Categories and cannot be assigned Tags. The organizational structure for Pages comes only from their hierarchical interrelationships, and not from Tags or Categories.
  • Pages are not files. They are stored in your database just like Posts are.

To wrap things up, I hope this post will help serve as a brief introduction to the world of WordPress, but please feel free to drop by the workshop sessions I’ll be running for more hands-on training. We may be offering a follow up session for more in-depth training and delving into the possibilities that WP may provide. Please feel free to also contact me via email at any time for quick questions. I’m here to help!