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Break your blogging learning curve into 10 chunks

Wordpress Meetup by David Recordon via FlickrHow to post a blogpost

I have a friend who went from loathing computers to editing blogposts. . .overnight.  I goggled.  That’s not a steep learning curve.  That’s Batman.

So I suggested, he write a ‘new post’ and still thinking that is a huge learning curve for a magazine-themed blog, I’ve put together these steps.  It’s not a complete “button-push” guide (Batman doesn’t need that).  It’s the chunks one needs to get a post together.

Login

1 Login just as you did before(http://websitename/wp-admin and put in your username and password).

Find “add new post”

2 You should be in the Dashboard.  Look top left and you will see “Posts” on the left.  If you go to “Posts”, you get a list of Posts.  If you choose “Add New”, you will see a familiar page.  It’s blank and ready for you to write your masterpiece.

Write your stuff

3 You can continue to write your post in Word and cut & paste.  To save yourself some aggro,  cut and past using the special WordPress rabbit hole.  When you look at your “Add New Post”, you will see two rows of buttoms.  Look for the clipboard with a W on it.

If you can’t see the buttons, check two things. Look just above-right of the buttons and you will see Visual and HTML.  Make sure you on Visual.  (HTML means code – you’ll need that later and that’s why the screen might have come up that way).

Then if you still can’t see the W, click on the very right hand button on the first row. It makes the second row come-and-go.  See why I thought you might need this list.

Now you have “clipboard W”, hit it and a new box called Paste from Word comes up.  Paste (or Cntrl V) and choose Insert at the bottom.  All you are doing here is stripping out any Word-specific formatting that might give you a headache later.

Your masterpiece should be in front of you.

Make your stuff look nice

4  Right now, your post looks like a teenager wrote it.  You can put in some headers by going to the Paragraph button on the left.

Click the little arrow to get the drop-down list and add some Heading 2.   Just put your cursor on the phrase that is a heading, go to the drop-down list, and click on Heading 2.

Or add some words for a heading, put your cursor on any word in the heading, go to the drop-down list, and click on Heading 2.

If you left other words on the same line as a Heading, they are also turned into a heading.  Just go back to the list and hit Paragraph, move the words where they should be, and make the heading-phrase into a heading.

Save Draft

5 Now it is time to save. Accidents do happen.  Top right is a Save Draft button.

Add a category and some tags

6  The Category tells the computer where to put your post.  Highlights is one of 5 posts in the flashing box.  The others go in the boxes on the front-page.  Choose one (side right).  If you chose Highlights, you will need to pick an old Highlighted post later on and change its category to something else.

Tags are a modern index.  If you are writing about soup of the  day, put in soup, specials, butternut, for example.  Later on, when you want all your soup posts, or all your butternut posts, or better still, when a customer wants to know all the things you ever did with butternut, they will search for your tags.  They will put butternut in the search box and the computer will list all the posts about butternut.

If you forget your tags, it is not a disaster. It’s just untidy and we can fix it later.  If you forget Category, the computer will get confused and probably just save your post and not show it to anyone. We can fix it later too (by editing), but you will be confused too for a moment because it will look as if your masterpiece has been gobbled up.

So if something funny happens, check whether you forgot your category.

Add an Excerpt (at the bottom)

7 More writing.  Add a short summary at the bottom of the page in the Excerpt box.  I find the summary come sreadily to mind andis often better than what I wrote about.  Use 2-3 sentences.  They go in the highlight box and in the box on the front page.

Add a picture

8 Now for a bigger job – add a picture. We will do this in two parts.  First, we will look at just adding a picture for the Library.  Then we’ll look at bringing in a new picture.

  1. Put your cursor top-left of your post.  Later, you can experiment putting it elsewhere.  For now, just do it the regular way.
  2. Look just above your buttons at Upload/Insert. The icons that follow are pictures, video, music and ? (you tell me!)
  3. Choose the first icon.  A new box will come up with three choices: From Computer (your box), from URL (from the internet), Media Library.   You’ll use From Computer when you put in your own picture. For now, use Media Library.
  4. We have heaps of pictures on there and you can see that sometimes it is simpler to use your own.  For now, find the picture you want (or can use – perfection comes later).
  5. Click show and you will see a screen that you will use often.    Baffling.
    1. For now you want the Link Url (that’s where the picture is physically sitting right now – on  a big computer in the States).  Highlight it, and copy it ready to paste it just now.  If you forget, you will have to come back here; that’s all.
    2. You want alignment – right will do fine right now.
    3. And you want Medium.   The picture is probably bigger.  You want the computer to fix the size to around 500 x 300.   Any smaller and it looks messy.  Any larger, and it takes over your screen.   The computer will sort out the resizing.  Just pick the best option.
  6. Insert into post and wait a few seconds.  Hey presto, you can see it with your words.   Save Draft (Accidents do happen!)

Add the picture url

9  Remember just now you highlighted and copied the url.  Whiz down your post to the bottom where you see Custom fields.  Paste the url into the box on the right. Make sure the box on the left says “image”.  Update if an update button pops up.

Also make sure that there is no blank space before the  http of your url. I often get a blank trapped there and that causes the picture not to show on the front page.  It doesn’t destruct the picture; it just causes confusion.

Add a title

10  Last job now – add your title.

Keep it short and keep it original. Google uses the title to find your post.  So you can’t say Soup of the Day everyday.  Perhaps start just be giving the soup its full name.  Butternut Soup.  Chicken Soup.  You’ll get more imaginative as you warm up.

Post!

All done.  Post and check. Hit on the blue button, top right, that says Publish.

Wait a bit and then when it says it is done, hit on MuchAdo at the top left and you will go to the Home Page.   You should see your post where you wanted it.  (Remember to re-categorize one of the Highlights if you need to).  Hit on your post and you should see the whole post.

Well done.  More experiments later.  This is a heap of learning even for  Batman. And call me if things get muddled.  Life is too short to be annoyed by computers

Now I’ve written this in Word so I am about to follow my own instructions.

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