These instructions, adapted from material at WordPress.com, are intended primarily for club officers but other members can also help us post new and interesting content to the blog. This is a good way of letting website visitors and potential new members learn about our club.
Most club members have “Contributor” rights on the website, which means an authorized editor must review and approve your post before it appears publicly.
When you are logged into the website, you have the option of visiting the Member’s Dashboard (there’s a link with that title in the right-hand sidebar on the public website) or you can access it from the drop-down menu at the top of the screen.
PUBLISH A NEW POST FROM YOUR DASHBOARD
From the menu on the left hand side of the dashboard screen, select Posts >> Add New. This will pull up the Post Screen, which is where the magic will happen! This is the place to go when you want to publish something longer or more complex. This dashboard editor is similar to the editor in your Reader — it works a lot like your favorite word processing software, and you can insert a title and tags — but it allows you to do much more.
It looks a little something like this (don’t worry, we’ll walk you through each piece — baby steps!):
You’ll notice two tabs at the top of the Post Screen: Visual and Text.
You can toggle between these two modes as you create and edit your posts. In the visual editor, you’ll see your content as it’ll appear when published, and in the handy and powerful text editor, you can write and edit your post in HTML. When you need to add a shortcode, add some font styles, or paste in code from an outside source, you’ll use the text editor. (We’ll talk about shortcodes and other nifty things in the next section, Get Flashy.)
If “HTML” and “shortcodes” make you lightheaded, don’t worry — you can do most things without ever leaving the visual editor, and have a perfectly wonderful blog without knowing any HTML. (We bet you’ll eventually start exploring it, though, because it’s easy, fun, and opens new possibilities for your blog.)
There are two rows of icons in the visual editor. You can find out what any one of them does by hovering over it with your mouse; a pop-up will appear telling you what it is. Many of them will look familiar; you’ve probably seen them before in your word processing program of choice — bold and italic text, justification options, bullets, and more. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, you can take a comprehensive tour of all the options here.
Again, if you’re looking for inspiration for your first post, browse the daily prompts and writing challenges at the Daily Post, answer one of the prompts above, or whip something else up from your imagination. Whatever you feel like writing, plop it into the visual editor.
Got your text in place? Sweet. Let’s dive into the Media Manager to upload a few images (bonus internet points if they’re pictures of a cat).
UPLOAD AND INSERT IMAGES IN YOUR DASHBOARD
As we reviewed, you can publish images instantly from your Reader. Here in the dashboard, you’ve got a powerful Media Manager to upload, edit, and manage your images. You can also upload audio and video files and create image galleries and slideshows, which we’ll discuss in Get Flashy.
Let’s make that cat famous. In the Post Screen, click on the Add Media button just above the box where you wrote your post:
Once you’ve opened your Media Manager, you can select the files you want to upload from your computer (hint: click Select Files) or drag and drop the files right from your computer’s desktop to the Insert Media screen. You can also add an image from the web using the Insert from URL option on the left, which is handy if you already have photo living online, say at Flickr. (If you use this option, remember that if an image file is hosted elsewhere and it’s removed from that location, the image will no longer appear on your blog — if you delete a photo from Flickr, you also delete it from your site. If you don’t want to worry about that happening, upload the file rather than using the URL.)
At the top of the Media Manager, you’ll see two options: Upload Files, which is where your new images will appear as they upload, and Media Library, which is where you can access your entire library of images. (Since this is your first time uploading images it’ll be empty, but that won’t last long.)
Once the upload process is complete, you can click on an individual photo to edit its settings on the right, under Attachment Details, before inserting it into your post. (We can’t turn this dog into a cat, but at least we’re still in the realm of adorable animals.) We can add an image title, caption, and description; and set the alignment, size, and image link options:
These are all optional settings, but they can be really useful: Caption will insert the caption under the image in your post, and Alt Text is the text that appears when you hover your cursor over an image (it’s also what screen reader users will hear if they’re using a screen reader to browse the web). Alignment controls whether the image is positioned left, right, or center on the page and whether you text wraps around it, and Link To lets you make the image clickable. Play around with these options to get the image formatting just the way you like.
Once you’ve edited these options, click the blue Insert into post button on the bottom right to plunk the image into your post. If you’re not happy with it, you can still make changes — just like the edit image tool in the Reader, you can click on an image in the visual editor to edit it. Look for the picture and red crossed-out circle icons to edit further, or to get rid of it and start from scratch.
One thing to remember is that you don’t have to re-upload an image you’ve deleted from a post — it’s still there, in your Media Library. You haven’t removed it from your library, just from that particular post. If you want to use it somewhere else (or re-insert it), you can access your already uploaded files by clicking the Media Library tab. You can also access your library from your dashboard by going to Media >> Library. Scroll through your library to find the image, and click it to edit and insert.
Action Time! You’ve probably got a whole bunch of photos stored on your computer — you may as well put them to work. Sift through your images and drag some of your favorites into your Media Library for possible future posts, like an “All About Me” or “Welcome” post, or a “Where I’m From” post with shots of your city. Once you upload them, give them a little more love in the Media Manager:
- Input a title, caption, and alt text for each image.
- Get a feel for the drag-and-drop tool and move thumbnails around.
- Test out the “Search” feature and insert titles in the box to pull up the images you’ve just uploaded.
MORE COOL PUBLISHING TOOLS
Other key tasks you can do in the dashboard editor are located on the right, in the Publish module:
Here, you can preview a post before publishing it by clicking Preview at the top right of the box (not to be confused with the blue Publish button below!), schedule a post to publish at a later time, or make a post private or password-protected. Think of this Publish module as your mini command center, where you control who sees a post and when it goes live. If you’re using Publicize to share your posts with social networks — which you’re probably not, because we haven’t gotten to that yet — you’ll see those settings here, too.
Below the Publish module, you can add tags, as well as categories. Categories are similar to, but broader than, tags. You can create categories based on your interests and the focus of your blog. For example, if you have a site about food, you could create categories for “recipes, “dessert,” or types of cuisine, or if you write about travel, you could have categories for particular countries or cities. Depending on your theme and widgets you’ve enabled, categories can be displayed in different places, like at the top or bottom of a post, or in your sidebar.
Once you’ve got your text, images, and settings just so, it’s time to hit the big blue button: Publish. Good job! Time to start planning the next one now.
Two general afterthoughts on composing and editing posts: we know how important your content is, and how hard you work on crafting your posts! First, keep in mind there’s a handy Autosave feature that takes advantage of your web browser’s storage to ensure you won’t lose your work, despite a wonky internet connection.
Second, you can keep track of your drafts and changes in the Revisions module, which you’ll find near the bottom of your Post Screen.
This module shows links to backup copies of each post — up to 25 revisions. Each time you click Save Draft or Update, a revision is stored. Revisions allow you to look back at the recent changes you’ve made and revert to an earlier version, if you so choose. It’s a great tool to keep you focused on your content — no need to worry about losing it!