I think that having used WordPress for over four years now, I have got to the point where I take it for granted that it is “easy” to use. Having had a few clients recently that asked about the admin panels, I realised that not everyone thinks the same way, and some people new to WordPress might find it a bit daunting.
First rule: The people who made WordPress have made it really easy to use, that’s one of the greatest things about it. Once you’ve had a play with it for a few days you’ll see how really straightforward it is to use.
So here goes, the first post about WordPress 2.5 will be about Writing Posts. It will take you from start to finish, from the dashboard entrance to the posting, a nice easy first tutorial to follow. As you can see from this graphic (below) this is similar to what you’ll see when you access your blog’s admin panel (http://www.yourblog.com/wp-admin/index.php):
Starting to Write your Post
So clicking on the ‘Write’ button leads you to this page:
Editing the Title
The first thing you’ll notice are the two most important parts to your upcoming WordPress post – the title and the post itself. Choose your title carefully, it reflects the post, and ultimately this is what the search engines will store in their databases. So I’ll fill one title in and start writing a quick post, here is a start:
As you can see I’ve highlighted two areas. The first one, roughly in the middle of the image, shows how as you write the title and the post, WordPress creates a url for the post. That’s why it’s so important to choose your title correctly – if you’re writing about a film you’ve seen include it in the title so when the search engines find your post people searching for that film will see your post in the search results.
On the right side I highlighted a second section that you may want to use. It has the Save, Publish, and Delete buttons in it. If you’re writing a long post and you might want to come back to it – using the Save button really helps you out. Remember that WordPress will also auto-save your posts as well (and tell you when, in that second highlighted section).
Labelling your post is important for search engines. Tags however, are not categories – they are not a way to group similar posts. One way of describing them is to say they are subjects. This post for example, has these tags: blog article, blog post, wordpress, writing post.
Scroll down from the main message input box and you’ll see some more options for your post. Generally these are closed, so open them all up by clicking on the title itself (click on ‘Excerpt’ for example and it opens up). Clicking on the title again closes it.
In the image below you can see I’ve labelled this post with a few select tags (highlighted by the first red outline), related subject matter to the post itself. If you’re sincere about blogging and want to make a good effort, especially for readers to find your blog then be careful what you tag your posts with.
The second red outline shows the categories – select (and add, if necessary) the categories you want this post to belong to. Don’t worry, you can edit the post later on if you want to add more categories or move it entirely to others.
One bit I mentioned there that you might want to consider putting some text into is the ‘Excerpt’ section. This is the place where you can put a teaser text. If your blog theme does not use the WordPress tag ‘the_excerpt()’ in it’s theme, it will print out the entire post in your main index (the blog homepage). Lots of people with heavy traffic blogs will tend to use it as it cuts down on the amount of text shown, and lets you draw readers in. If you have an article of 2500 words, you might want to put a taster in for say, 100 words, to attract a reader.
Assuming you have done a bit of blogging, or at least read several blogs and think you want to get your feet wet, then you might of heard of trackbacks.
Trackbacks are those wonderful mechanisms that allow a reader/potential blogger, to give credit to a source – it notifies them that a link has been made to them from a new article. You might say it’s a style of compliment.
In the image below you’ll see the input box where you can input the trackback url (that you have obtained from the article you want to reference).
There are several other sections in the image above that you may want to know about:
- Custom Fields – not exactly for the fainthearted. This lets the blogger put in information that will be handled in a unique way in the theme’s page – this is not for the new blogger.
- Comments & Pings – at the bottom of the image above – these are on by default, and I strongly suggest you leave them on!
- Password Protect this Post – you can’t see it on that image above, but it’s just below that last option. It’s rather obvious, don’t you think?
So you’re ready to publish, everything is as you want it (for now). Take the plunge – go on, scroll back up and hit the ‘Publish’ button! You’re about to become a blogger!
That’s about it for this little tutorial – more to come delving into the media library, images, flash and more!
Update: New post released, Using WordPress 2.5 – Adding Images to Posts.