A Talk About Local guide compiled by Nicky Getgood using:
- Nick Booth’s Beginners Guide to WordPress at www.podnosh.com/social-media-help/
- Floss Manuals: WordPress at http://en.flossmanuals.net/wordpress
Change the appearance of your WordPress website
You should now be in the WordPress blog dashboard. This is an at-a-glance overview of your website, showing viewing statistics, latest posts, recent comments, etc.
All new WordPress websites are given the same, very basic ‘Twenty Ten’ theme (i.e. appearance). You will probably want to customise the website appearance so suits your needs and has the right look and feel. You may even want to insert your own image in the site’s header to really personalise it.
You will use the menu on the left-hand side of the page add posts and make changes to your website. To change the look of your website go to the ‘Appearance’ option in the left-hand menu.
As you can see, there are many available different themes for your website. We will work with the theme ‘Vigilance’ for now, this can be changed to something else later if you like.
Now click on ‘custom header’, a sub-header under ‘Appearance’ in the left hand menu.
Under ‘Upload New Header Image’ click on the browse button and find the image you’d like to have as your header in your computer. Once you have selected it, click Upload.
If you did not upload an image that matches the dimensions of your theme’s header, you will need to crop it. Select the section of the image you’d like to have as your header (don’t worry if it doesn’t look great for the moment, it can be altered later). As you can see above the images has a highlighted section which fits dimensions of the header image drag this around until you get the bit that you want. Once the area you want is selected, click ‘crop header’.
It will tell you ‘Header complete!’ Go to the ‘visit site’ option next to the website title in the top left-hand corner to see how your site looks. Click the browser’s ‘back’ button to return to the dashboard.
Now your website is looking good, you’re ready to add some content to it.
Adding a new post
Now you’ve created your website and are happy with its look, you can now get on with adding some content to the site by writing your first post.
You can now write a post on whatever subject you want, be it what you like most or least about your area or simply what you can see out of your window.
To add a new post to your website’s front page, click on the ‘Posts’ option in the left-hand menu and choose the sub-header ‘add new’.
Enter a Title for the post and some text, which is the main body of the post. Think of this part in the same way as sending an email. It really is as easy at that. The title is important, as it will act as a link to your post in some cases, so don’t forget to fill that out.
Once you have finished writing your post, you can spell-check it by clicking the ABC box in the toolbar. You can also make some text bold, italic, bullet-pointed or numbered using the toolbar options.
Once you feel your post is ready, click on the publish button in the box on the right-hand side. This will create an internet page which features your post.
If you want to see what your post looks like then you should click on the link View Post. On clicking this link you will be taken to the internet page which features your post.
Adding an Image
So now your first post is published we can make it look a little more dynamic.
An easy way of making a post look more appealing is by adding an image to illustrate the text. A picture is worth a thousand words and people are more likely to read a post that starts with a picture of what the article is about. Adding a picture is simple and similar to attaching a picture to an email or uploading one to a photo sharing or printing website
To go back to your published post, click on ‘Posts’ in the left-hand menu. Your most recent post will appear at the top of a list. Click on the post’s title and this will take you back into the editing screen.
Place the cursor where you would like your image to appear.
A dialogue box will appear. This gives you the choice to add your image in a few ways.
To upload an image from your computer then you should click on Select File and find the image on your computer.
You’ll see an upload bar while you file is uploading.
When your file has uploaded you’ll get some options which control how it is inserted into the page.
Let’s say you want to align the image to the left so that the text wraps around it, and you want to put in a caption and description to help the viewers know what it is about.
When you have written in the caption and checked the left Alignment option, click the Insert Into Post button at the bottom.
You should now see you image in your post about the right place you wanted it, or at least where you had the cursor flashing when you started the process.If you go to ‘view post’, you can see your post now has an image.
Platforms like WordPress make publishing incredibly easy, but they are really powerful when they talk to each other. A simple, passive form of this is a ‘blogroll’ (or ‘links’), which is a list of websites that is often put in the sidebar which shows the types of websites that you read and might be relevant.
But you can also link to other websites, pages and posts in the body of your post’s text. Linking to another website’s/blog’s specific post can be very effective as they will be notified by something called a ping or trackback. This is done automatically and is a bit like leaving a comment without having to write something on their website. The more you link, the more people you involve in the conversation, the more people you show you are listening to.
It is very easy to link some of your text to a relevant site. Say you want to link a word to the Talk About Local site http://talkaboutlocal.org.
Return to the edit page of your post.
Highlight the word or chunk of text you would like to link.
In the toolbar click on the Insert Link icon, which looks like a chain link.
Type in the address of the Link URL in the popup box that appears, then click ‘Insert’ at the bottom right of the box (you do not need to fill in any of the other fields).
Your link text should now be an underlined blue.
If you would like to unlink the text, highlight it and click on the Unlink icon next to the Insert Link icon. This will unlink the text for you.
Once your website is in the public domain, readers may want to leave comments on your posts. This is great ‐ it means people are reading and responding to your content.
Understandably, you may have some concerns about the comments on a website getting out of control. It is very easy to manage comments so that nothing will appear until you approve it through. As you become more confident with the site and people can see acceptable standards of behaviour, then you can ease the controls if you wish. The best websites have wide ranging comments that flow freely without much control by the author. Managing comments on a website is known as ‘moderation”.
To set-up comment moderation go to ‘Settings’, the bottom option in the left-hand menu, and choose the sub-header ‘Discussion’.
Ensure all three ‘Default article settings’ are ticked, i.e.
i. Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article (slows down posting.)
ii. Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks.)
iii. Allow people to post comments on new articles.
Ensure the top ‘Other comment settings’ option is ticked, i.e:i. Comment author must fill out name and e-mail.
Ensure both options are ticked under ‘Email me whenever’, i.e.i. Anyone posts a commentii. A comment is held for moderation.
Most importantly, tick the top option under ‘Before a comment appears’ i.e.i. An administrator must always approve the comment.
This means that no comment will appear on the site before you have approved it. You can mark all comments you do not wish to appear on the site as spam or for deletion as you see fit.
You may also want to read our guide on How to set up comment moderation in WordPress
Well done! You have learnt how to a WordPress account, created a new website, customised its appearance for your needs, written a post, added an image and links to it and set suitable discussion settings in order to moderate comments on your website.
Of course, there are a few more things to learn if you want to keep going with your website and develop it into something more, but none of it is much more difficult than the basic essentials you’ve learnt here to get yourself started.