WordPress Usage Tips

For those of my blog followers and/or just readers, who may happen to use WordPress for their own personal blog, this post includes some tips for using some basic WordPress features, as well as a few of what may be lesser known capabilities of WordPress.

I’m not sure how much detail you may have gotten into with your own blog.  But I have recently been working with a friend to show her how to create her own blog using WordPress.  As a reference guide both for her, and for myself, I have so far written the following WordPress Usage Tips.  They contains tips on creating and adding Pages and Posts to the menus that appear at the Top, Left and Right of a typical blog screen.  I also go into how to use a number of the various Widgets that are available.

Now the Theme that I happen to have chosen is called “Twenty Fourteen”.  However, I would think that these instructions could be applied to most other Themes as well assuming that you may be using one of the many other themes that are available.

If you get a chance, you might want to try and add a new Widget to your own blog.  If you do, I would much appreciate hearing how it worked, and if you think that my directions will benefit by any clarification.

Thanks in advance for checking out these instructions.

 

WordPress Usage Tips

Add or Update a Page

A Page and a Post are very similar.  A Page, however, typically has a Title but no additional images or text – only a header.  A page is typically meant to be used to identify the level or sub-level under which you find Posts.

  • For example:    Your top level Page might be Literature.
    • The next level Page might be Detective Novels
    • Then under that would be Posts about specific detective novels.

To Add a Page

  • Click on the white Write button in the upper right of the screen
  • Add a Title for your Page. This is the level or sub-level description
  • Typically, that is all that will be needed.
  • Hit the Publish button twice to create the new Post.

To Update a Page

  • Click on the green Magnifying Glass button in the upper right of the screen
  • Enter all or part of the Title of the Page that you are looking for
  • When the Page is returned, click on Edit to make any change to the Page Title
  • Click on the Update button to save the changes.

Add or Update a Post

A Post and a Page are very similar.  A Post, however, typically contains not only a Title, but also extensive text and may also include inserted Images and You Tube videos.

To Add a Post

  • Click on the white Write button in the upper right of the screen
  • Add a Title for your Page.
  • Key in any text for your Post. Use the formatting icons to change the type of font (Paragraph), bold/italic, font size, bulleting, etc.
  • Insert graphics by clicking on the circled Plus (+) icon
    • If the graphic IS already showing in the initial list, simply click on the graphic to select it, and then hit the Insert button in the lower right.
    • If the graphic is NOT showing in the initial list, you must find it and add it to the list in order to be able to select it.
      • To find a new graphic, hit the Add New button
      • Locate the folder in which the graphic is stored on your computer
      • Click on the graphic and then select the Open button in the lower right.
      • Click on the graphic in the list once it is visible. A number will appear in the lower right of the graphic indicating that it has been selected.
        • Note: You may select more than one graphic at a time to be inserted.
      • If you selected multiple graphics, you must first hit the Continue button in the lower right.
      • Hit the Insert button to insert the graphic(s) into your post at the position where your cursor is located.
    • Insert a You Tube video directly into your Post
      • See directions “Inserting a You Tube video directly into a Post”
    • Apply any Post Settings to your Post
      • Post Settings are in a menu on the right. If you do not see any, click on the Post Settings
      • Categories
        • Categories are created and applied to a Post in order to be able to group a Post under another Category. However, I recommend creating Pages and then grouping your Posts underneath a Page.  If doing that, then the creation of Categories is not necessary.
      • Tags
        • Tags are used for two, main purposes
          • They can be used to identify a Post and make it searchable in search engines (like Google or Yahoo).
          • They can be used to identify a Post as “Featured” meaning that it will be displayed initially on the Home Page.
            • The most common use of the “Featured” tag is on a Page that is simply created to house the main picture that displays at the top of the Home Page.
            • To do this, see the section “Adding a Header Image to the Home Page”
  • Post Format
    • There are eight different types of Post Formats available to select from a drop-down menu.
    • These work in conjunction with the Twenty Fourteen Ephemera
      • Example: When you add that Widget to one of your menus (Top, Left or Right), you specify a Post Format when creating that Widget.  Then, when the Widget is displayed, it will automatically grab and display any Post that also has been identified with that same Post Format.

Note:  There are other options available in the Post Settings  menu, but I have not yet used all of them.

  • Hit the Publish button twice to create the new Post.

To Update a Post

  • Click on the green Magnifying Glass button in the upper right of the screen
  • Enter all or part of the Title of the Page that you are looking for
  • When the Page is returned, click on Edit to make any changes to the Post
  • Click on the Update button to save the changes.

 

Inserting a You Tube Video directly into a Post

You may use the following technique to insert a graphic for a specific You Tube video directly into your Post.  When you do this, the reader will actually see the You Tube video screen in the post, and simply needs to click on the run icon ( † ) to see the video.

To insert the video

  • First find and display the You Tube video you wish to insert.
  • Click on the word SHARE that typically will appear underneath the video and to the right.
    • The SHARE box will be displayed with a URL. Do not  copy this URL.
  • Click on the word EMBED at the lower right
  • Click on the word COPY at the bottom right
  • Now open up your Post and place your cursor directly at the point where you wish to insert the video.
  • Now paste the URL into your Post, using Ctrl “V”
    • Alternatively, you may RightClick on your mouse and select PASTE
  • When you Publish the Post, you will see the actual You Tube video screen in your Post – not the URL.

 

Add a Header Image to the Home Page

The picture, or pictures, that appear at the top of your blog when the Home Page is displayed, is determined by any Post that has the Tag “Featured”.

  • If you wish to have only one picture displayed, then you must only have one Post with a Tag set to “Featured”
  • If you want to have more than one picture at the top of your Home Page, then each picture you wish to have displayed at the top of the Home Page must have a Tag named “Featured”. You can modify settings to provide arrows to scroll through all of the pictures individually, or you can display them all at once in a grid format.
  • To change these settings, go to …
    • My Sites > Customized > Featured Content

To Add an Image

  • First, create a post
  • Add only a post Title. This will appear under the featured header image
  • Create a Category named “Welcome to ..”
  • Add the Category to the post and remove Category “Uncategorized”.
    • This will appear in smaller text right above the post Title
  • Set the Featured Image for the post by using the Post Settings menu on the right
    • To get the entire image to appear above the title, without the title taking a bite out of the lower left of the picture, the image must be formatted smaller
  • Publish the new post

Add Items to Top Menu and Sidebars

To Update the Top Menu

  • From the top left of the Home Page, select My Sites > Personalize > Customize > Menus > Primary
  • Proceed to instructions for Adding a Widget

To Update the Standard Left Menu

  • From the top left of the Home Page, select My Sites > Personalize > Customize > Widgets > Primary Sidebar
  • Proceed to instructions for Adding a Widget

To Update the Standard Right Menu

  • From the top left of the Home Page, select My Sites > Personalize > Customize > Widgets > Content Sidebar
  • Proceed to instructions for Adding a Widget

To Add a New Left Menu

  • From the top left of the Home Page, select My Sites > Personalize > Customize > Menus
  • Initially, you there will only be a Primary. You need to add a Secondary.
    • Select Add a Menu , give it a name and press Enter
    • Check the box for Secondary Menu in the Left Sidebar

 

To Add Items or Sub-Items to the Left Menu

  • First, if Pages (Items or Sub-items)or Posts) do NOT yet exist, create them
  • Then add the Page or Post to the Left Menu
    • From the top left of the Home Page, select My Sites > Personalize > Customize > Menus
    • Select Left Sidebar
    • Select Add Item
    • From the new menu the appears …
      • If the item is NOT a Post, then click on the Page that will be shown in the list under the Pages bar
      • If the item IS a Post, then open the Posts bar and click on the Post that you want
    • The Page or Post will now appear on the left
    • Position the item at the menu level which you want by left clicking on the item and dragging it up, down, right or left
  • Select the Save and Publish button
  • Note: This menu will appear ABOVE the standard Left Menu at the top of the left sidebar

 

Adding a Widget

One of the definitions for a widget is “a module on a website, in an application, or in the interface of a device that allows users to access information or perform a function.” Example:  “I added a weather widget to my screen.”

In WordPress, a widget is something that you may add to one of the menus or sidebars on your blog that provides information for your readers.   There are a number of widgets provided in the free version of WordPress.  However, I have not been able to find much information on how to utilize them.  The following information is based mostly upon trial and error.

To select and add a widget …

  • Once the Top, Left or Right Standard menu has been selected, select the Add a Widget button
    • A list of all of the various Widget items able to be selected will appear in a menu
  • Here is a list of how to add some of the most commonly used Widgets

Archives

This will provide a widget with which to select posts by the day on which they were first created.

  • Click on the Archives Widget
  • Give it a Title. Typically, call it Archives.
  • Display as Dropdown check box
    • Leave unchecked to display each month that has posts
      • You can then click on the month to display the posts in that month
    • Check the box to display a dropdown from which you can select the month that you wish to display
      • Checking the box initially takes up less space in the Widget
    • Show Post Counts check box
      • If checked, the actual number of posts in the month will be displayed to the right of the month name
    • Click the Save & Publish button

Follow Blog

This will provide an option to select a Follow button which will allow users to automatically receive an email update when you publish a new Post

  • Click on the Follow Blog Widget
  • All of the default options will work fine. You can customize the text if you wish.
    • displayed to the right of the month name
  • Click the Save & Publish button

Gallery

This will provide an option to select and add pictures to a gallery.  Thumbnails will appear in the Widget.  Click on any thumbnail to begin a slideshow.

  • Click on the Gallery Widget
  • Give it a Title, such as “Picture Gallery”
  • Select the Choose Images button
    • Select Add to Gallery from the left to add an Image
    • Select the Select Files button
    • Find the Image you want to add
    • Select the Open button from the bottom right
    • Once you have added the images you want, click on the picture you want to place a check mark in the upper right corner of all the images that you wish to add to the Gallery Widget
    • Then click on the Add to Gallery button in the lower right corner
    • The select images will appear.
      • Click and drag to reorder the selected images
      • Click on Caption the image to add a description
    • Click on the Insert Gallery button
    • Click the Save & Publish button
  • A thumbnail of each picture in the gallery will appear under this Widget.
    • Click on any one of the thumbnails to open up a larger version of the picture
    • Click on the … or † to scroll through the pictures

Google Translate

This will provide an option to select and add pictures to a gallery.  Thumbnails will appear in the Widget.  Click on any thumbnail to begin a slideshow.

  • Click on the Google Translate Widget
  • Give it a Title. I suggest something like … “Display text in other than English”
  • Click the Save & Publish button
  • This will display a drop-down in the Widget that allows the user to select from up to almost 100 different fonts. Translation of all text will happen almost immediately.

Image

This will provide an option to select and add pictures to a gallery.  Thumbnails will appear in the Widget.  Click on any thumbnail to begin a slideshow.

  • Click on the Image Widget
  • Give it a Title.
  • Select the Choose Images button
    • Select Add Image from the left to add an Image
    • Select the Select Files button
    • Find the Image you want to add
    • Select the Open button from the bottom right
    • Once you have added the images you want, click on the picture you want to select it
    • Then click on the Add to Widget button in the lower right corner
  • Click the Save & Publish button

Milestone

This will display a counter which shows the number of days remaining until a specified milestone is reached, such as someone’s birthday

  • Click on the Milestone Widget
  • Give it a Title, such as “Deborah’s Birthday”
  • Give it an Event. This text will appear above the counter.
  • In the Date, enter the day of the event. The Time is optional.
  • Click the Save & Publish button

Recent Posts

This will display a list of the most recent Posts to your blog

  • Click on the Recent Posts Widget
  • Give it a Title, such as “Recent Posts”
  • Select the number of Posts you wish to display. The default is 5”.
  • Check the Display Post Date box to include the date of the Post.
  • Click the Save & Publish button

Search

This will display a list of the most recent Posts to your blog

  • Click on the Search Widget
  • Give it a Title, such as “Search Posts by Key Word” or just “Search”
  • Click the Save & Publish button

Social Media

This will display a list of icons which can be clicked on to access various social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

  • Click on the Social Media Widget
  • Give it a Title, such as “Follow Me On …”
  • In the box reading “Account URL”, key in the URL for a social media or other internet platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, etc.
    • Most social media have a corresponding icon that will be displayed
  • To add additional social media, click the Add an icon button
  • Check the box “Open link in a new tab” to open a new tab each time an additional social media platform is selected.
  • Click the Save & Publish button

Twenty Fourteen Ephemera

This can be used to display a number of different types of Posts in this Widget area.  I have used it to display my favorite music videos and also some of my favorite pictures.

  • Click on the Twenty Fourteen Ephemera Widget
  • Give it a Title, such as “My Favorite Images …”
  • Number of Posts to Show: Default is “1” which works well.  Only one Image will be shown in the Widget, but if there are other Images defined as well, a More Images button will display which can be selected to display the additional images.
  • Post Format to Show: This is the key.  If showing Images, select Image from the drop-down.  If showing You Tube videos, select Video.
  • Click the Save & Publish button

Note:  Nothing will show in this Widget until at least one Post has been identified with the corresponding Post Format.

  • To do this, create a post which has a Title, insert an Image and then follow it with a little descriptive text.
  • Then in the Post Settings menu that displays on the right, expand Post Format.
  • Select Image or Audio from the list matching the Post Format that you selected in the Twenty Fourteen Ephemera Widget that you created.

Video

This can probably be used to display a number of different types of videos in the Widget.  However, I think a good use might be to include a Highlighted You Tube Video.

  • Click on the Video Widget
  • Give it a Title, such as “This Week’s Featured You Tube Video …”
  • Select the Add Video button
  • Open another tab and display the You Tube video you want to feature.
  • Copy the URL of the You Tube video
  • Select Insert from URL from the left menu
  • Paste the URL into the box
  • Click the Add to Widget button in the lower right
  • Click the Save & Publish button

Note:  Perhaps a better alternative to using this Video Widget would be to use the Twenty Fourteen Ephemera Widget instead to display a Video.

The advantage of using that other Widget is that you will need to create a new Post with a Post Format of Video.  By doing that, your followers will be notified via email whenever you post a new video to your site.  If you use the Video Widget, then no Post is required and therefore no automatic email notification will be created for your blog followers.

Delete an existing WordPress site

  • Log onto website
  • Select Settings from left menu
    Select Delete or Start Over

Access the Admin Site for your WordPress Blog

Your WordPress blog has an Administrative site that can be accessed which includes most of the functionality available when you select the My Sites option from your standard WordPress blog URL.  However, there is much more capability, statistics, and general settings that can be managed from this area as well.

To access the Admin site …

  • Enter your website URL followed by “/wp-admin”
    • Example: pearlsnmblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin

 

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2 thoughts on “WordPress Usage Tips”

  1. Thank you for your post. Most of the things listed I have done. Had I had your instructions, my learning curve would have been less. I’ve never had success inserting a video. Now that I have your instruction, I will try again.

    Like

    1. Glad to hear that you found it helpful, Chuck. I really like that ability to insert a video right in the post, rather than just as a URL. I have added one of those Widgets to the top of my right sidebar. It will now contain my “Featured You Tube Video of the Week”. The first one I added is last week’s airing of John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight”.

      Liked by 1 person

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