How to write a post in WordPress

For some readers, this may seem like an overly simplistic post, but when bringing a new writer on board there is always a bit of a learning curve if they haven’t worked with WordPress. Thankfully, WP is the standard of blogging/publishing platforms and the mechanics of writing a post hasn’t really changed much since day 1. That means that I can write this once and stop hacking it together every time someone new drops in to write.

Step 1: go to the WP login page that you were supplied with. The address should look something like http://blahblahblah.com/wp-login.php/ and enter the username and password that you were given. Be careful, as these fields are case sensitive and the smart admins out there will mix things up to keep safe.

Step 2: At the top right of your WP dashboard you will see a button that says “New Post”. Click that button.

Step 3: Once you’ve pressed the new post button, everything but the left sidebar changes. For now, just forget that sidebar is there. Move along, nothing to see here. You are concerned with the rest of the page. First and most important is the title. As this is a beginner tutorial, I’m not going to explain the background, I’m just going to tell you to fill the title in first. Yes, I know your English teacher said you could write the article and then decide on a title. In this case, she was wrong. Fill in the title before you do anything.

Step 4: Now comes the fun stuff. Below the title you will see 2 toolbars and then a big, empty box. That box is where you are going to put your story. Some old school types will write their story in Word and then cut & paste, but this is not necessary. WP is very stable and it auto saves as you write, so you can feel safe that you won’t lose your work. You may cut & paste from word, but sometimes the formatting will not transfer nicely. As a newbie, you will be writing in the default editor which is a What You See is What You Get tool. In other words, it is as good or better than word etc. Type away.

The only thing that might be a bit tricky is the addition of photos. Humans love photos and so do search engines, so you really want to add an image to go with each story. Don’t have an image? We’ll talk about copywrite in another post, but let’s hope you have a publisher like yours truly who has a photo archive that goes back for years. My writers never have to worry about finding an image. Your editor/publisher my not be quite so well hung!

I usually recommend using an image that is between 600 – 1000 pixels wide. That way, when a reader clicks on the image, they can see the whole thing without having to scroll around the page. Remember those 2 toolbars up above the post box? Well, the top one is for uploading media. The only one you really need to think about is the left most one, which is for loading photos. Before you click on it, make sure your cursor/text prompt is in the spot where you want the photo in your story. Then, click that button. A shadowbox will open up with the title “Add media files from your computer”. Just click the select files button and then navigate to the folder your image is in. Once you double click on your image file, an upload bar will appear and then a box that looks like this will appear:

For the sake of this newbie post I’m going to say just press the insert into post button. There is more to worry about, but I will write that in another post. This one will get you going. Once you press that button, the image will be inserted into your story and the media shadowbox will close.

Step 5: Categories. Think about a library, where they have all the car books in one aisle and all the cookbooks in another. That is what categories do. On the right hand side of the text box, you will see a heading for Categories. Given that you are probably writing in an existing blog, you can just scroll down through the existing list of categories for the one that best fits your story. This makes it easier for readers and search engines to find stories of a similar nature.

Step 6: Tags. If categories are like the aisles in a library, then tags are the shelves. Say you are writing in a blog about golf and you are reviewing a new putter. The category you chose was clubs or product reviews. You might choose tags like putter, club, greens, putting, Odyssey, 2 hole. In this case, 2 hole refers to the putter, not an old world outhouse. The field to enter tags may be above or below the categories box depending on how your publisher has set up the dashboard. You have to actually type in the tags. It can be a bit of a pain in the butt, but this is what allows readers to find your content through the search engines.

Step 7: Install a page break. You’ve seen it before: You are reading a story online and part way through there is a link that says More or Follow the jump or After the break. This is called a page break. There are 2 reasons for this: 1. So your 9,000 word opus doesn’t take up the entire front page and piss off your fellow writers because it dumped their award winning piece to the bottom of the front page. 2. It drives readers further into the site. In theory, this means they are more likely to visit your advertisers. Once you have written your story, you should go back and place your cursor a couple of paragraphs from the start and press the button you see below.

Step 7: Press Publish.

Step 8: Go to the front page and make sure everything looks ok. If not and you have no idea what you’ve done wrong, send your editor/publisher an e-mail and he or she will fix your eff up in no time!

Congrats, you have written your first blog post.

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