Since its creation nearly a decade ago, WordPress has quickly risen to become the single most popular content management system on the planet. Its self-hosted blogging and content management solution now powers the blogs at CNN.com and the New York Times, as well as tens of millions of personal blogs and websites that dot the internet and hail from every country. New users, of course, are downloading and installing the WordPress software virtually every minute of every day. Those new users have questions, and concerns, and they often need a guiding hand to teach them the basics and get them on the road to real growth within their WordPress installation.
To begin learning about WordPress, it is probably most essential to understand how to create new blog posts. Creating posts is actually pretty easy, but the number of options and settings paired with each new post can be daunting for those who are entirely new to WordPress itself. There are a few steps for creating each post, and a few careful considerations to be made each time a post is created and submitted to the public. By following these steps, each new WordPress owner can prime their fledgling website for an excellent shot at success among any demographic.
Creating and Publishing a Post within WordPress is All About Dashboard Mastery
The key to unlocking the power of WordPress is actually learning its unique Dashboard control panel software. The Dashboard has been with WordPress as long as the software has been publicly available, and it’s relatively easier to use. Luckily for new users, it has only gotten easier to use over the past ten years. This tutorial assumes that new WordPress users are working with the latest version of the software. At the time of writing, version 3.5 of WordPress had just been released.
Step 1: Log In to the WordPress Dashboard
The first step to creating new content for users is simply to log into the WordPress Dashboard. This can be done by visiting your URL in a web browser:
Once that page loads, a simple WordPress login box will be presented. Enter the username and password that were selected during your websites setup and click the “Log In” button after they have been entered. Wait for the Dashboard to fully load, and then proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Navigate to the “Posts” Page in the WordPress Dashboard
Once the Dashboard as loaded completely, the interface will be split between a left-hand sidebar and a main content area on the right side of the page. In the sidebar to the left, over the “Posts” element. This will cause a submenu to appear with a number of options available:
– All Posts
– Add New
Click on the “Add New” option and wait for the post publishing page to fully load. After it has loaded completely, proceed to the third step of this tutorial.
Step 3: Master the Post Publishing Page
The best way to master the process of adding a post is to become quite familiar with the post publishing page that comes with WordPress. This page is divided into a layout that features a dominant left side, with a text entry box, and a sidebar for controlling less important information related to the best. Let’s explore this page from left to right, explaining each element as seen by the end user.
On the left side of the page, things get started with a text box that says “Enter title here.” This is where the post’s headline is placed, and it’s generally a small headline that prompts the reader to read more, or click through to a full post from the homepage.
Beneath this text box lies another one, and this is where the full post is written. The text box for the post’s content has two tabs, one labeled “visual” and one labeled “text.”
The “visual” and “text” tabs relate to how the post will be formatted. Using the visual tab, it’s possible to use the text formatting controls above the text box to see instant bold, italics, and underlined words as they’re changed. The “text” tab for this box will show the HTML code for those formatting options, rather than the actual formatting changes as they occur. For basic users, the “visual” tab should always be used.
On the right side of the page, WordPress administrators can control the post’s privacy options, the date that it is published, or will be published, as well as the categories and tags that relate to the post.
With all of the publish page’s elements now explained, it’s time to start filling them in and mastering their functions. That means it’s time to proceed to step four of this tutorial.
Step 4: Create the Content of a New Post Using WordPress’ Publishing Tools
Now it’s time to begin filling in the content that will make up the post as published to the website’s visitors. Start by creating a title for the post and placing it into the “Enter title here” text box. This will also create a permalink for the URL, and that permalink will be indicated immediately beneath the text box. Clicking that permalink allows it to be edited.
Next, enter the post’s body of content into the larger text box beneath the headline box. Format it as it should be, using the buttons that allow for bold, italicized, or underlined texts. Ordered and unordered lists can also be completed using these formatting buttons.
With the content completely written and formatted appropriately, the post is almost ready to be published for all to read. There are a few more things that must be done, however, and they involve the various boxes on the right side of the page.
Step 5: Master the Sidebar to Control a Post More Directly
The boxes on the left side of the post publishing page allow for direct control of things like categories, tags, privacy, and the date that a post will be published for all to see. These things are actually optional, at least technically. Utilizing each of these elements, though, will increase a post’s visibility and search engine optimization. Generally, that means lots of good things for the site’s conversion rate and the number of new visitors it draws from search results at Google and other sites.
The first sidebar box controls the post’s status and visibility, as well as the time it is published. Generally, a new post will be labeled “Draft” and that’s perfectly fine. The second box concerns visibility, and it can be edited if the post should not be public. The post can then be made private for the writer’s eyes only, or it can be given a password. The third box controls when the post should be published. The date and time can be set to the future or the past, or they can remain set to “Immediately.”
Next, it’s time to set some categories for the post. What does this post describe? Is it personal or political? News or entertainment? Is it simply not able to be categorized? WordPress provides options for all of these scenarios, and the writer can add new categories of his or her choosing at the time a post is published.
Finally, it’s time to set some tags for the post. Tags should be considered a bit more specific than categories. If the post is a news post, the tags could be used to describe what type of news is being discussed. Is it a post about the presidential election or is it one about a local news story? Use tags to boost the post’s visibility and accessibility, as well as its ranking in major search engine results.
Step 6: Save the Post as a Draft to Prevent Lost Changes
Throughout the writing and labeling of a post, it’s important to make sure that a draft is saved every now and then. In some cases, WordPress offers automatic saving that can cause writers to breathe a little easier. Other times, though, this feature is either not enabled, not included, or cannot be used within a web host’s limitations. For this reason, it’s important to take note of the “Save Draft” button located in the top sidebar box on the right side of the screen.
Pressing this button will save the post and reload the page. The post itself can then be accessed for editing and publishing at any time by hovering over the “Posts” element in the sidebar and clicking “All Posts.”
Step 7: Publish the Post
Finally, when the post is written, the categories are selected, and the tags have been determined, it’s time to publish the post. For those that haven’t guessed, this is done by pressing the “Publish” button near the bottom of the top sidebar box on the right side of the page. After it has been successfully published, a confirmation page will offer a link to the new post on the website.
Be sure to proofread!