WordPress Guide pt1 : bare basics for new users

WordPress basics : adding your first page

Writing this guide for a doctor friend whose sites I maintain, but that wants to make some of his own posts. This is aimed at a complete novice adding their very first entries to a WordPress blog. (Note: This was done using WordPress 3.1, so there may be minor changes to the interface in newer versions.)

From your first page, log in:

logging in to wordpress

Next you’ll be prompted for you user name and password. I’d strongly recommend never doing this on a public computer (i.e. net cafes, library access). You can tick to remember the password for convenience, but NEVER do so on public, or shared computers:

WordPress login page

This will take you to the Dashboard where you can enter and edit your blog posts.

Adding a new post to WordPress

The first thing you’ll need to do is add categories for your entries. For one on baking these might be ‘flans’, ‘cookies’, ‘pastries’ and ‘sponge cakes’, I’ve simply added ‘Guides’ as an example. You can tick more that one category, but I really wouldn’t, it can get messy.

Next, add a few tags, or key words, something to help users – and search engines – see what the main emphasis is at a glance.

Those out the way, add your title. There are entire blogs and books and specialist consultants dedicated to simply thinking up  catchy title or headline. Something to perk people’s interest enough to open the link to your page.

Finally compose your page:

Wordpress, first entry

We are editing this in the default  ‘visual mode’ rather than in ‘html’ mode, but unless you can code well, don’t touch the latter option!

One of the buttons you may want to play with though. The ‘Kitchen Sink’ drops down a second bar giving extra options like text colour, custom characters like the copyright sign: ©, the option to paste in from text or Word and, importantly, undo and redo.

WordPress Kitchen Sink

A basic screen of text may be informative, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so we’ll add a picture, one that links somewhere. Appropriately, the example below adds a cover sleeve from ‘Dummies Guide to WordPress‘ and links to the book on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be a picture, of course, if you hover over the buttons you’ll note that you can as easily add video and sound files.

Wordpress 101 - adding an image to your blog

Below is the options I used for the cover short in the example, the file loaded from my computer rather that someone else’s site. Caption’s and descriptions aren’t essential but you really should add appropriate ‘Alternative Text’. Two reasons, firstly it’s more friendly to search engine – to getting you noticed on the web – and secondly if the image goes missing, there’s a text entry for it. This displays when you hover a mouse of the image too.

WordPress will add a link to a full size version of the picture, but, as I have in the example below, you can replace this with another Link URL, here pointing to the book on Amazon.

Wordpress 101 - adding an image to your blog, detail

Maybe you don’t want the link on the image, there will be many times when, for instance, you want to have a text link in the middle of a sentence, as I did with the Dummies book. Normally the link option is greyed out – rather frustrating for some new users. Simply highlight the text you want to be a link and this give you access to the option.

Adding a link to a WordPress post

The edit / insert link option in shown below. For the most part you don’t need to touch ‘target’ or ‘class’ but it is a good idea to enter title details. Again, this is for search engine visibility (a good thing) and also gives viewers information about the link when they hover over it.

During all this you should ‘save draft’  as you go along and when you are happy, ‘PUBLISH’

Save draft, publish in WordPress

The final page looks like this:

WordPress 101 example post, finished

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