In my previous post we talked about 6 easy steps to get started on blogging. One of those steps included finding a platform to blog on. In this post, I’ll show you just how easy it is to write a blog using WordPress. This is going to assume you’ve already loaded up WordPress and picked out a template.
Categories and Tags in WordPress
When you’re in WordPress, you’ll use “Posts” as your method for creating your blogs. Within your posts, you can assign categories and tags to what you write. A category let’s you group your posts together in a broader range. Tags however, allow you to get more specific and detailed. So let’s go back to using food as our blog topic. Let’s say you had a great recipe for pepperoni pizza you wanted to share. Your category might then be “recipes” because that would be the high-level, broad category. Then within that recipe you might tag it with some detailed descriptors like “pepperoni”, “glutten-free” and so on.
Categories and tags come in very handy because it guides the user to where they want to go from a high level. You don’t have to include tags but there has to be at least one category so plan them out. WordPress comes with a default category of “Uncategorized” that everything is put under unless you specify categories. It is advisable to at least change this to something like “General”. Your posts can also be listed under multiple categories as well. And this is useful when maybe your post covers several categories.
Now that you understand categories and tags, you’re ready to create your post. So on the left hand side, under post, you’ll also see the option to “add new”. Clicking on that gives you a blank slate to start with. Here are each of the fields and options in detail:
- Title: This is the title for your blog post
- Permalink / Slug: This is basically the URL to your post. Once you put in the title, it will automatically copy that title and make it the URL. WordPress is flexible enough that if you wanted the URL to be shorter or different, you can edit it here.
- Text Editor: This is going to look familiar to most people. I like to tell everyone I’m training that this is much like a Word document. It has all the recognizable things like bold, italic, alignment options and so on. This is where you can start writing your blog post. It also allows you to do things like add photos throughout your post, link to other pages, posts or even other sites within your blog post. Explore the editor a bit and get familiar with its options.
- Category: This is where you select where you want your post to appear on your site as it relates to categories. As mentioned before you can add it to one or many.
- Tags: Just below that is your tag area. This is not required but allows you to get more descriptive and detailed.
- Featured Image: Depending on your template, your blog roll or the archive page that holds all your blogs (generally housed at /blogs) will display a featured image with the introduction to your post. You can add it here. This basically gives your post a little more pizzaz.
When you’re finished creating your post you can instantly publish it live on your site.
Scheduling posts with WordPress
Another great feature is the scheduling option WordPress offers (see the screenshot on the right). Let’s say you get on a roll with your writing. You have about 3 topics you’ve written on but you don’t want to post them all at once. WordPress gives you the option to schedule your post. So instead of clicking “publish” you can simply edit the schedule of the post. On the image to the right, you’ll see the notation “Publish immeditately” with an edit button. If you click on edit, it will give you the option to select a date and time. When you’ve picked the day and time you want it displayed, you can publish it. It will hold your post until that day and time and release it to your blog.
What if you’ve started writing a post but need to come back later?
WordPress gives you the option to put your posts in “Draft” mode. This is just really a placeholder for where you left off. At anytime, you can place the post in draft mode and come back and work on it later. It won’t be visible to the public until you are ready to publish it.
And that is WordPress in a Nutshell as it refers to blogging. My next blog post will cover hosting environments and why it is important to find one that is reliable and secure.