When I’m not posting on my various blogs, I make WordPress sites for people. The first thing I’m asked when I hand these over is “how to post to WordPress?” (basically – “how do I run this thing?”). Well, here’s my super-basic guide for starting WordPress blogging.
The first thing to know is that you don’t need to download anything to your computer to start using WordPress. If you’ve chosen a good host for WordPress, it should install on your hosting with ‘one click’ (actually a few clicks, but that’s what they call it). If you are using WordPress.com, you only need to sign up and get an account.
So – to start posting – the first thing to do is find your login page. If your domain is – say – DoubleSidedCoin.com (a name I just registered), then your login name will have “/wp-admin” added to the end of it. So if you had that domain you’d go ahead and type into your browser http://DoubleSidedCoin.com/wp-admin, and press enter.
You should be met with your login page. The exact look has changed with recent upgrades, it can be on a white background on some older ones too – but it should look something vaguely like this – a logo and some fields.
Go ahead and type in your username and password. This should be provided by your designer (if you have one), otherwise you would have set these up when you added your blog to your hosting provider. If you have forgotten your password then there is now a link you can click under the password form.
Ok, you’re in. Now, do you want to make a new Page, or a Post?
Pages Versus Posts
Pages and posts are really the same thing, with slightly different options tacked on to them. All of these can change, but the most common characteristics are:
- Usually get added to the front page automatically
- Most commonly have comment boxes, and the ability to create tags and categories
- If you have a fancy magazine style theme, posts most often show up in slideshows and previews
- Posts are usually where you write every day, week, or month.
- Usually appear in the top navigation bar menu. Think: lots of posts, but only a few pages.
- Pages tend to be used for pretty static things like “About me”, “Contact”, “Advertise”, and other static pages.
- You might write a new page much less frequently – or even not at all.
So, if in doubt you probably want to write a new post.
Starting a new post
To write a new post:
Click on Write, then Post.
This screenshot is from an older version of WordPress, before the options moved to the side. But it’s a similar process there with the side navigation – just hit Posts and Add New.
Putting In the Content – SEO Preparation
Ok, you’re all ready to start writing. At this point you could put in a Title, add some Text in the big box. hit “Publish” – and you’re away. Skip to the next section if you don’t care about the search engines, and just want to know about adding images, tags, categories and the like.
I want to set you up properly for getting the maximum traffic from the get-go. And that means thinking about the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of what you’re about to write.
If you write a thousand posts on novels and write “Novles” every time, chances are the thousands of people searching for “Novels” won’t ever see your site. (You have the smaller “Novles” market sewn up, though!). A more subtle version of this is if you’re writing about “Skiing Holidays” but people are searching for “Ski Vacations”.
You can take a punt and use words you think people would search for. I often do that when I’m on the run. As you do the following process, though, your idea of what people actually are looking for becomes a lot more precise.
Ok, go to https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. This is the actual tool buyers of google ads go to see what are the most popular searches. It’s a great tool. You need to be told how to set it up to work for you though, so here goes.
Find the following options and make sure they’re set:
- “Results are tailored to English, United States
You should see something like the following:
(Note – these screens’ designs change all the time, ever so slightly. Again, it should be something similar.)
Notice I have varied the responses somewhat to make it more useful.
- Under “Match Type:” to the right, select “Exact“.
- (There are different uses and schools of thought for all of these functions. But I find this gives the most accuracy).
- Sort by “Approx Avg Search Volume” by clicking on this at the top of the results.
Another variation of this technique doesn’t look at what is searched for the most – but what gives the highest paying ads. But we’ll leave that for another tutorial.
Ok, scan and see which results seem the most appropriate for your content.
I usually take the top 4, 5 or 6 terms and copy them directly into my open blog draft. This reminds me to use them. I even sometimes copy this list three times there – to remind me to use them about three times (the maximum you’d want to be doing, to avoid appearing as “keyword stuffing”. Usually I don’t use them all, though.)
Ok, that’s more SEO than you need for one day – this is only a basic How to Post on WordPress article after all. But you might as well be taught that sooner rather than later. Just keep that list in mind for when you write your titles, label your images, links, and write your content later.
Writing Your Title
Add a title that is catchy, quirky, intriguing, yet useful and descriptive. And if it has some of those magic keywords, all the better for advanced WordPress posting!
Write Your Content
This is up to you. I have plenty of tutorials on how to write good content – that people will return to, bookmark, and share – with sites like Stumble and Digg. Check out the category about professional blogging for more details.
One thing about content – remember that WordPress only lets you do one line break at a time. Ask me if you want a tutorial about adding any more than that on WordPress. How to post bullet points, lists, tables etc. is also something you can find online, or drop me a line.
Adding Images (Music, Video, etc)
There are fancy ways to add content that give you total control as to how added things like images, files, and videos appear. Here is the unfancy, super basic guide.
- Go to where you want the content to appear and make sure the cursor is ready to write at that point (click there with your mouse).
- Click on Add media: (Now called Upload/Insert:). (Images are the first option of two squares. Video, files and music are later options).
- Click on the image option to add an image.
- My browser always has trouble with the Flash option, if yours does, choose the Browser Uploader option instead.
- Hit Browse, and find the image on your computer (you have to have one there first – see my tutorial on finding good images to use for your blog. These should also be labled well for SEO, using the keywords already found). Select it by pressing Open.
- Hit Upload.
- Add a description (remember SEO!).
- I usually leave images full size. You can always reduce and adjust them later, and full sized images make for a nice looking blog.
- Hit “insert into post“
You should see your image where you wanted it in your post.
There are some fancy tricks for adding YouTube videos – again, request a tutorial if you are interested.
Of course you’ll want to add as many links as you can be bothered doing – both to things outside your site, and within your site. Both give a better user experience, and both will help, rather than hurt, your search engine results – even if they are to your competitors.
- Select the text you want to make a link
- Hit the little chain logo.
- Paste in the URL into Link URL (don’t forget the http://)
- Under Target – I always set external links to Open in link in a new window, partly to not lose visitors, but also because I think links are often an optional “extra”. Others don’t. For internal links, I always set this to Open link in the same window. What you do is a matter of personal choice.
- Title – Whatever you want it to say when the mouse hovers over it, but again remember SEO.
- Hit Insert.
- If you make a mistake you can always select the link and remove it with the “Unlink” icon – or select it with the Link icon again and modify the details.
Tags and Categories
These might be used for the way your page sets out your content. For instance, a “News” category might make your post appear in the “News” section, or “Op-ed” into an Opinion column. If you have this set up in your blog, select the appropriate Tag, or Category from the options given.
If not, they are still useful – again – for SEO purposes. I’ve heard it said that one category, and three tags are ideal – it reduces duplicate content when these are sorted via the search engines, and forces you to use accurate tagging for your visitors. If they don’t already exist, set up new tags and categories to whatever you think is more appropriate.
Magazine Themes – Custom fields, Excerpts, and Preview Images
More and more WordPress themes are becoming fancy, and allow you to put thumbnail images and text excerpts with your posts. This is a little outside the scope of this basic intro, so refer to your theme’s homepage for instructions as to how to do this.
Ok, you should have a great post, with great images, and well linked to other sources. Now it’s time to hit Save (if you want to think about it and publish later), or hit Publish to print your content for the world to see straight away.
Both of these are pretty self explanitory. I want to show you a neat alternative – which is controlling when your post is published.
This is a great WordPress function. Basically it means you can set your WordPress post to publish at 6am tomorrow, next monday morning, in a fortnight’s time – perhaps even 7000 years in the future if WordPress is still going strong.
What this does is really lets your WordPress blogging become efficient. For instance, rather than having a punishing schedule you always have to keep up with – put one day or week aside to really get ahead of yourself. Set posts to publish every three days, week, or whatever you think is your ideal posting schedule (future tutorial).
To do it – above Save and Publish hit the “Publish immediately
(Note – If you do want to write a new Page, instead of a WordPress post – the process is much the same, only you press Page instead of Post at the beginning.)
Editing What you Have Done
Ok, once you go to your site and see the post, there will no doubt be things you wish to change. No problem, it’s all part of WordPress posting – easy changes.
- Go back into your WordPress Administration (Dashboard)
- Select Manage > Posts (or Posts > Edit on later versions).
- Select the title of the post you want to change, make your changes, and hit Publish again.
You might see one default post called “Hello, World“, and one default page called “About“. Delete these – they are another page that there is a million of on the web, and although not a killer (for SEO with duplicate content), they are at least ugly. Select and hit Delete.
There you are, how to post on WordPress. How to post is something you just need to be shown how to do and you’re away. With the SEO skills built in here it should make you one of the meanest WordPress posting pros around.
Just let me know if you have any questions, tips, improvements or stories on how to post to WordPress.