Introduction to blogging with WordPress.
WordPress can be intimidating the first time you use it. Where to start? In this post, I’ll show you the key sections you need to get a single, complete blog post up & running. You’ll find it’s probably easier than you expect. All it takes is some… finesse.
We’ll cover posts, sidebar widgets, and some settings to get your blog started.
This guide assumes you have WordPress set up and a user account with which to log in. If you don’t, you can set up a free account with WordPress.com to get a feel for the administration area.
First up, posts.
WordPress categorizes news articles, blog posts, and other timed entries as posts. To post a post, please go to your WordPress administration area and navigation to Posts » Add New. You’ll see a screen similar to the one below.
Here’s what you need to know.
- The title area: this is where your post title goes. It will show up on the post page and your Google results. (This default behavior can be changed so you can have two different titles for posts and Google results, but that’s another post.)
- The editor: This is where your writing will take place. We’ll go into detail below.
- Post properties: Here you can set the status of your post as draft, privately published, pending review, and (publicly) published. For now, just concern yourself with draft and published. Hit the “Save Draft” button to save your post inside WordPress as often as you want. Then when you’re ready to go public, hit the blue “Publish” button.
- Categories: You can organize your blog into categories. For example, I could have WordPress tips, WordPress freebies, and WordPress guides.
- Tags: Tags are different from categories in that categories are an overall topic covering while tags are descriptions of the content within. If you’re not sure if you need tags, you probably don’t.
- Featured Image: Depending on your theme, this is usually a big image that is featured at the top of the blog post. This is the area where you set that image.
The editor warrants its own tour. There are 3 basic components.
- The content area: Write to your heart’s content (*winks*) here!
- Add Media: This is where you can add images and videos to your posts. Within this option, you’ll find ways to align the media to the left or center and specify alternative text (alt text) that describes the image, which is important for SEO.
- The WYSIWYG bar: Here you can bold text, add links, and more! Be sure to click the Kitchen Sink button (next to the #3 in the screenshot above) so you get a second row of options, which includes formatting like headers. Click it it! Your blog will thank you.
That’s it for posts. Next, let’s set up your sidebar. Go to Appearance » Widgets in your WordPress admin area.
How to set WordPress widgets
On the left hand side, you have your 1.) available widgets. Simply drag them to the right hand side, where you have your 2.) active widgets. Once you drag, you’ll see the widget open and show some options, including a link to delete the widget. Be sure to hit save when you are done with your sidebar.
If you want to remove a widget from the sidebar, but you want to keep its settings, drag it to the bottom left, where it says 3.) inactive widgets. That way you can reserve it and bring it back whenever necessary!
How to get pretty links in WordPress
This step is optional but recommended. Go to Settings » Permalinks. From there, choose the format you would like your blog posts links to be! Some people prefer to have the date in their posts, but I prefer Post Name as you can see from this post. Do whatever’s right for your blog, and don’t worry—if you change the permalink style, the old permalinks will redirect to the new ones!
I hope that’s helped you! If this post leaves you wanting some personalized guidance, be sure to check out the WordPress consultation services I offer. Feel free to leave a comment below with any questions or remarks!