So far we have considered WordPress basic settings, how to install themes and plugins. In Part IV of our WordPress tutorial, we will show you how you can create a post. That is the primary method of creating content in WordPress. What you are reading now is a post in my blog.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to include media elements such as images into your post, different publishing options, categories, and tags, different screen options, etc. It covers all the aspects you should grasp about post creation. Let’s begin.
Post Editor Screen
Post editor screen is where you can create new posts and edit them. There are two ways to navigate to it.
One way is to click on the ‘New’ button on the toolbar and then select ‘Post’.
The second way is to go to ‘Post >> Add New’.
Either method will accomplish the same task in two different ways.
Let’s look at the options before starting to go through the different elements available in the post editor screen. Click on the ‘screen options’ link in the upper right-hand corner. It will show a list of available options.
Not all the options are enabled by default. You can allow any additional options as required through the panel. You can even change the editor screen layout as well.
The first thing you should do is to give your post a title. The title box is the first thing that appears on the post editor screen. Give a proper, descriptive and enticing title to the post.
The title is a vital part of your article. It sets the tone for your post. Read this CopyBlogger series about writing compelling headlines. It shows why you should pay attention to the headline, and how you can make it more engaging for users to read the rest of the content.
Once you enter the title, based on the permalink settings, the post URL will show just below the title box. As we showed in our permalinks article, you can change the URL of the post as you wish. What you will be changing is the post slug. Click ‘Edit’, do the change and then press ‘OK’.
The text editor is where you can create the content. There are two tabs in the editor, visual and text-only. The visual tab is a WYSIWYG editor (What You See is What You Get) which is the preferred way for most people. If you are familiar with HTML, then you can use the text-only editor, but it is much easier to work with the visual editor.
Even if you use the visual editor, the actual output will be different from what you see in the editor window. Once you publish the post, the theme’s CSS styles will apply to the content and hence, the output will be visually different from what you see in the editor. Be mindful of that.
There are some formatting options available in the editor, just like in MS Office, which can be used to add basic styling to your content.
If you prefer to write without any distractions, then you can opt for full-screen mode in which you will only see the editor itself. That will give you a clutter-free environment to carry on your writing task.
As you write, the word count will display at the bottom of the editor tab. To the right of that, you should see the WordPress Autosave information. WordPress will automatically save your work from time-to-time. Even if you get disconnected, your content will remain as a draft which is often an excellent option to have.
There are keyboard shortcuts which you can use while writing to speed up the process. You can view the list of all the shortcuts by clicking the question mark icon in the second row of the formatting toolbar.
Images are essential elements in posts. Adding an image to a post is a very simple task.
Go to the location of the post (in the text editor) where the image should be placed and click the cursor in. Then, click on the ‘add media’ tab located just above the text editor.
You can select an image from the gallery (already uploaded ones) or upload a new one or insert one using an external URL. Try to avoid using any images via external URLs as we have no control over them.
When uploading from your local computer, you can either drag and drop images into the uploading window or select the files using the button provided. While uploading, it will show the progress bar and when it is completed, the image will appear in the uploading window.
You should provide the image attributes such as title, caption, and alt tag in the text boxes on the right. Below that, there are options to set the alignment, create a link and set the size of the image. You can leave the size of the image as it is and resize later when embedding it into the post.
Moreover, all the above tasks could be done after embedding as well, in the text editor. Click on the image, and you should see a small toolbar above the image. Click on the ‘pencil icon’ to open the image editor, and you can do the changes as required.
Let’s look at the ‘publishing options’ you’ll find on the right in the post editor screen.
Save Draft – Use this option to save your post as a draft until you publish it. Nevertheless, when you are writing in the post editor, it will automatically save your work.
Preview – It allows you to view how your post looks when it is published. Once you click on it, the preview will open in a new tab, and when you are previewing it again, the tab will get refreshed to display the new look of the post.
Status – It lets you change the status of the post. This option will be rarely used.
Visibility – There are three statuses of visibility.
- Public – This is the default option. Under that, you should find the ‘sticky post’ option which enables you to pin any post to the front page so that it will remain at the top. By default, WordPress displays the post with the latest published date at the top.
- Password protected – As the name suggests, it creates a public but password protected post. You can set the password when you enable it.
- Private – Use this option if you would like to hide your content from public access.
Scheduling option – Typically, when you publish a post it will go live at that very moment. But if you need to schedule it to publish at a later point in time then, set the date, time, and then schedule it. WordPress will automatically publish the post according to the schedule.
Move to trash – Delete the post and move it to trash. You can recover any post moved into the trash at any time.
Publish – Time to go live with your post 🙂
There are several standardized post formats defined by WordPress. It is a theme specific feature, and changes from theme to theme. What it does is change the presentation of the post based on the format you use. It is not possible for theme developers to define and create their own formats.
Categories and Tags
You should see the category and tags meta boxes on the right-hand side of the post editor screen. You can add new categories or else choose from an existing one. That is the same with tags as well. Either you can add the new tags related to your content and/or select from the tags already added previously.
Categories help you to organize content under topics and sub-topics. For example, if you write about WordPress, then you can categorize your content as themes, plugins, news, general, etc. If a reader is interested in themes, then he can quickly browse through the relevant category to find interesting posts or read the latest ones.
On the other hand, tags are different from categories. You can make tags be the common attributes of your posts. Think for a moment that your site is about camera reviews and categorized as brands. So, what would the tags then be? You can use camera features as the tags, like sensor size, megapixels, etc. If a user is searching for a full-frame camera irrespective of the brand, then he can use the tag to find all the full-frame camera reviews available in your site.
Most themes display either a featured image or a thumbnail when showing the posts on the homepage or category pages. You can select that image using the featured image meta box found in the post editor screen, most probably on the right-hand side.
The excerpt is a summary of your post. Most themes use excerpts on the home and archive pages instead of the full post. That is user-friendly rather than showing full posts which will make the page very long. If you do not add a custom excerpt, then the theme will automatically generate one using the content of your post. It is good practice to write a custom excerpt describing what the post is about rather than having an auto-generated one.
Trackbacks and Pingbacks
Trackbacks and Pingbacks are two different ways of sending alerts to blogs when you have linked to them. The primary difference between the two is that trackbacks are manually generated and send an excerpt, whereas pingbacks are automated and do not send any content.
Most users are reluctant to use trackbacks and pingbacks these days since they are used as a spamming method. But still, there are pros and cons in using them.
Custom fields are used to enter custom information related to your post manually. Many themes and plugins use custom fields extensively to achieve different objectives related to functionality.
If you would like to dig deep into custom fields, I would recommend you to read this article which covers the whole topic.
Under discussion settings, you can enable or disable comments, trackbacks and pingbacks related to the post. This will override the site-wide settings defined in the discussion settings section.
Post slug is the tailing part of the post URL. It is automatically generated based on the title of the post. But you can modify it using the slug meta box.
Also, you can edit the slug using the permalink edit box which is under the title of the post. Both serve the same purpose.
When you create a new post, WordPress will assign you as the author of the post. But if there are multiple authors and you want to assign it to some other author, then it can be accomplished using the author meta box.
Wrapping it Up
All these boxes can be rearranged . You can drag and drop wherever you like within the post editor screen. You can change it in any way you like.
I hope you are now familiar with the WordPress post editor section. It provides a great set of options for you to use when you are creating posts.
Always make it a habit to save the post as a draft from time-to-time. Use the preview option to see how it looks when published. Use relevant categories. Add tags but do not overuse them. Use images in the content. Be mindful about the URL of the post and edit the post slug if necessary.
Now it’s time for you to create some awesome posts in your blog. Let us know your comments in the section below.