10 step plan for creating a new post in WordPress

So you’ve got a WordPress site but want to know how to create a new post. No worries! Grab yourself a cup of tea and sit down to read my ten step plan for creating a new post. You’ll soon realise that writing and publishing a good post using WordPress (and making it look professional) is easier than you think. The WordPress ‘general user interface’ or GUI (said goo-ey) is so intuitive and easy to use, you’ll soon be a WordPress wiz in no time!

1. Log into the dashboard area of your website.

The easiest way to log into your site is just to add ‘/wp-admin’ to the end of your site’s URL (the address of your site). For example, to log into my site I go to https://jimatkinsonwebdesign.co.uk/wp-admin

This will refresh to show the below, where you log in using your administration username and password. You will either have set this up yourself or it will have been given to you.

2. Add a new post

  1. Look at the far left menu column within your dashboard.
  2. Hover your mouse cursor over ‘Posts’ and a submenu will appear as a pop-out to the right.
  3. Select Add New.

3. Add a post title

A new blank post will appear. Enter a title for your post using the box at the top with ‘Enter title here’.

You can amend this easily afterwards, so don’t worry too much about getting it exactly right now.

4. Add content to the post

Click into the body content area (the area under the grey toolbar) and start to add your content.

Top tip: don’t copy and paste directly from Word or from the web browser into your new post. Instead use Notepad i.e copy and paste into Notepad, and then copy and paste from Notepad into your new post. This will prevent any previous background code from coming over and causing problems. Notepad is available on all PCs within Start menu >> All Programs >> Accessories.

To copy and paste either use the keyboard short cut (Ctrl+c for copy and Ctrl+v for paste), or by right clicking and selecting copy and then paste.

Top tip: As you’re adding more and more new content, save the post every now and then by clicking on the Save Draft button in the top right. There’s no limit to how many times you save a post before you publish it. The more the better ideally!

5. Assign a category and tags to your post

See my post on ‘Categories vs. tags‘ for an explanation on what the differences are between them.

Always assign a category for your post, as it will help structure and organise your posts so visitors can find what they’re looking for more easily – for instance you can add categories to your site’s menu.

Simply tick what category you wish to add the post to by using the Categories box on the right hand side.

Add a new category as required if you need to start a new one.

You can also organise your categories using the categories manager within your dashboard. This is available in the Posts drop down menu (i.e. click on Posts in the left hand menu, and the below four options will appear. Select Categories).

Top tip: open the categories manager in a new tab in your web browser (rather than the tab in which you’re editing posts) by right clicking on the word categories and then selecting ‘Open link in a new tab’. You can do this for any link or menu. There’s no limit to how many tabs you have open to edit posts, menus etc – just whatever you can cope with!

6. Set a Featured Image (if required)

Some WordPress themes support a featured image. This image is then used to represent the post on a list of posts. To see this in action see the Blog landing page for this site – go to fe7.05f.myftpupload.com/blog (link opens in a new window). The images on this page are all created by each post having a featured image assigned to it.

1. Choose an image by clicking on the Add Media button in your grey toolbar.

2. Either upload a new image, or choose an image that is already in your Media Library

3. After selecting your image, scroll down to the bottom of the pop up and click on ‘Use as featured image’. All themes should specify how big the original image must be to use effectively as a featured image i.e. so that they’re not pixellated. Check the themes documentation or contact the provider for details.

7. Check the Permalink

The permalink is the URL displayed for the post and is usually the post name. It should be automatically created after you’ve entered a post title and saved your first draft. You have the option to edit it should you wish. Ensure that it contains the most recent post name (if you amend the post title it won’t auto update the permalink) and doesn’t have any spelling mistakes.

Top tip:  add hyphens (‘-‘) between the words. This makes the url easier to read and also helps the web page get a better ranking in search engines, for example Google.

Click on OK to set the new permalink/url. Then remember to click on the save draft button.

8. Add an Excerpt (if required)

Some themes also allow for the use of an excerpt. This is a written bit of text that is used to represent the post within say a list of posts – much like the featured image. If nothing is added to the featured excerpt then it’ll default to using the first 100 characters or so of the post. The exact amount depends on the WordPress theme that is being used for your site.

The excerpt functionality may not be turned on, so the first thing to do is go turn it on!

Click on the grey ‘screen options’ tab in the top right hand corner of your screen.

This opens a drop down section at the top of your screen. Ensure that the Excerpt tick box is checked.

So now it’s turned on we can then add an excerpt. To do this scroll right down the page, to underneath where you are writing your post content, to the Excerpt box.

Add relevant text to promote your post. This could be different to the first line of your post and could be a summary or an introduction. Whatever you like!

9. Preview

Always, always preview the post prior to publishing it. It’s so easy to miss spelling mistakes or to write bad grammar whilst in the throws of creating the post.

Simply click on the Preview button on the far right, and the post will open in a new browser tab.

Try to get into the practise of using the spell checker too. To use this click on the icon within the grey toolbar. This will then highlight all the unknown words allowing you to either correct or ignore as required.

10. Publish

All happy? Content all written? Hyperlinks working? Everything on this check list ok’d?

Then hit the blue publish button on the far right! Well done!

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