This is a basic introduction to creating a post in WordPress highlighting 15 points of note in the admin area that you should be familiar with as soon as possible. Some are quite self explanatory and of course some need a bit more explanation. I have started out by highlighting the essential three in red and following on from there.
Use the graphic to help guide you through the areas in WordPress so you can begin creating effective posts just click it to open a larger version.
1. Title of your post
Title tags are probably the most important thing to begin with when creating a wordpress post. The title of your post is important for two main reasons, one technical and the other in terms of perception.
Technically the post will be ranked on Google depending on what words are used in the title so you should consider the content of the post with this in mind and title it accordingly to help the information reach people who will be interested in it by ranking naturally on search engines.
The second point is perception. The title should be interesting as well because its being read by real people, never forget that, so it needs to describe the post clearly but also make it interesting enough that the reader wants to read more.
2. Tags in a wordpress post
Tags are a great way for people to find something interesting in your posts. Tags are a simple way of highlighting single keywords or key phrases what your post is about and in essence are actually links to a list of relevant posts or a single post which uses that particular tag.
Many blogs use tags clouds and you will notice that some words are larger than others. This happens because the posts that have been “tagged” with the same word grow that word and make it more prominent than other tags within the cloud. Dont fall into the trap of over tagging or spam tagging, it won’t help you rank and it wont help your visitors, but it depends on the length of the post and its context. As a rule of thumb you should probably never need to tag more than 10 words or phrases and you should never have zero tags.
Tags need to be carefully selected to reflect the content you write about and be relevant!
3. WordPress Categories for your post
You would think this is a pretty simple thing but categories can be a pain if its not clear what category your post should fall under. Never fear however, posts can be added to more than one category. Again, like tags, you should NOT add posts to all the categories, that’s just lazy and makes the post irrelevant and on the flip side its really annoying to see lots of posts in the “uncategorised” default category.
Try and control the number of categories you have as well, decide in advance what you want to write about and focus on and build on the categories that way, it will definitely save you headaches later on.
Categories can also have sub-categories, so for example you may have a category called music and subcategories called Jazz, Blues, Rock, Dance and so on all within the main parent category. Its meant to be logical but can get out of control if you fail to plan ahead!
4. Add an Image/Media to your wordpress post
These four little buttons allow you to upload or add an image, a video file or music file into your post. Its pretty simple process and has a range of options depending on what medium your using that I wont go into here. Don’t confuse this with adding a video to a post from Vimeo or Youtube though, thats a different process which is explained in detail on the post WordPress and Youtube.
5. WordPress WYSIWYG (wizzywig)
The WordPress WYSIWYG editor, like most CMS nowadays, allows for some flexability when writing a post but isnt without its little bugs.
This is where you get down to the business of actually writing up your post. Depending on what view you have chosen, either Visual or HTML, you will have different sets of options to help you on your way. See Number 11 in this list for more details on these two options.
Most folks will use the Visual option as it allows them to see how the post will appear in the final version, more or less. The structure and layout of your posts is very important to both search engines and especially to your visitor but I will go into detail about semantic mark-up and formatting on a post in the future or you can read this cracking post about semantic markup in posts by Joost de Valk.
The points 6 through 10 are the default sections you will see in wordpress. As you add more plugins and develop the blog more sections may appear or if your theme has a specific requirement it may also require some additional actions. Most of these new sections are explained in the relevant or provided documentation or are elaborated on with a footnote.
6. WordPress Excerpts of a post
WordPress excerpts are only used on some themes that require you to show..well..an exert or if you have decided via wordpress settings to force exerts on the homepage. Whatever information you put in there will possibly be displayed on your homepage in the form of a paragraph followed by a “Click here to read more” link, or something similar, leading to the full post.
7. Send WordPress Trackbacks
WordPress Trackbacks are a way of notifying other blog platforms that you have linked to them or referenced them in a post. If the other blog is a wordpress blog this happens automatically, its called a ping back, and a large proportion of blogs are wordpress so you might never actually use this. Its worth knowing what it does though. Pingbacks need to be activated to function and can be disabled if you wish, but I would suggest you keep it on.
To enable pinging URLs in the blog entry, make sure there is a check mark next to “Attempt to notify any Weblogs linked to from the article (slows down posting.)” in the “Options->Discussion” section of the WordPress admin panel and your done.
8. WordPress Custom Fields
WordPress Custom Fields allow us to add extra features to a post, or a list of predefined functions that you do on a regular basis. Some blogs will require the custom fields section to be used, so make sure you know what the actions are and how to utilise them. Most themes will support this with notes or instructions in some form or fashion so some searching about may be required but some also have this feature well integrated and you may never do or manually manipulate a custom field in the whole lifetime of your blog. If your a beginner, leave this to the experts!
9. Discussion of your post
This section is very simple. It will contain two options (usually) in the form of tick boxes and is quite self explanatory.
Allow comments on this post
Allow trackbacks and pingbacks on this post
It is very unusual to UNTICK these boxes so leave them ticked unless you have a very specific reason to disallow comments or pingbacks and trackbacks.
10. Post Author
This allows you to assign the current post to a particular Author on your blog (if you have more than one author). If your blog is a single author blog it will automatically be assigned to the account you have signed in on.
11. Visual or HTML mode
In the wordpress content panel (wysiwyg editor) you will notice these two tabs for visual and HTML views. Most of your content will be wrote in the visual view but you may find it necessary to switch to the HTML view to add some embed code for a youtube video and edit its dimensions, for example. Unless your doing something quite specific it probably wont be necessary to use HTML view as the content area is well supported with insert and formatting icons to faciliatate the beginner.
12. Save Draft
Self explanatorty really. If your writing a post and dont wish to publish it to the site yet, you can save a draft version allowing you to edit the post again later or complete it at a later date.
Want a quick look at your wordpress post before you publish it? Hit Preview to open a new tab and see how it looks in the final version.
14. Post details
This section details some pertinent information about your post and contains three points.
Status: The current status of the post, is it still a draft, or has it been published.
Visibility: The post can be made public, meaning it appears to all on the front of the site or it can be private allowing access to particualr people with a password and alternatively you can make the post only visible to other admins on the site.
15. Publish your wordpress post
The publish button is the final stage of every post. Once you hit publish all your work will be pushed to the front of the blog and is available for all to read and consider. Just make sure you do a spell check and a final edit and review before you hit the blue button! You can of course edit the post after you publish it, but its always nice to have a good post with proper spelling first time round.
Get posting on wordpress!
So thats that, hope it helps make the post admin panel a little more approachable first time round, so dive in, play around, have some fun and get posting!
In case you want more depth and details on the different areas of wordpress here is the official wordpress breakdown on this very same admin panel I have detailed above. The post I have wrote is a more simplified version for beginners so if you want more check out the more advanced wordpress description of the wordpress post admin.
For further information about the whole wordpress administration area have a read at this post about the wordpress administration panels, again on the official wordpress support site.