I) Encapsulation of How to Blog Using WordPress
What you will mostly be doing when you begin blogging is a new post, so hover over your “My site” on the left hand side of the black WordPress navigation strip on the top of the page and move your cursor down to “blog posts” and click on “add.” If you have multiple blogs and wish to do a post for another blog, hover your cursor over “switch sites,” select your blog from the drop-down menu and click “new post.” Or go to your dashboard and click on “new post” on the left sidebar. Or click on the new post icon on the black navigation bar at the top of the page. (The icon is a pencil with a plus.) All of those are ways to get to an article editor. (It’s similar to what you see when you write an email.) You type the title of your article in the title bar. Type your article into the body of the article editor, add tags and categories, then save as a draft to make sure you don’t lose it or to post on another day. Tags are individual keywords for search engines; categories are more of a general filing system. This sounds confusing, but truly, you will get the hang of it.
If you need more help than I offer in the following instructions, be sure to click “help” on the top right of your dashboard.
II) Basic Procedure:
To log in: go to http://wordpress.com
2. Fill in your user name
3. Fill in your password.
4. Click on “Log in.”
5. You will probably end up on a page called “reader” where you will see posts from blogs you follow. To get to the dashboard, click on “my sites,” then click on “WP Admin” which will take you to the dashboard and all the bells and whistles. (I use the classic dashboard, so some of these instructions might be a bit different. I also bookmark the dashboard so I can go there directly without all this rigmarole.) It’s hard to explain what everything is, so just play around with it. But what you will mostly be doing is a new post, so click “new post” from either the drop-down menu or from the left sidebar of the dashboard. That will take you to an article editor. If you don’t see the dropdown box and are on a page that shows “Blogs I follow” or some such, click on “My sites” then click on “dashboard” and finally “new post.”
6. Fill in the title. Then write your article into the body of the article editor. (Or cut and paste if you wrote it using ms word or any other word processor. This is what I do.) What do you write about? If you’re an author, write about how you got the idea for your book. Share some of the background information. If the book touches on a particular topic, write about that topic. Talk about travels, particularly if they affected your book in any way. Write about something that troubles you. Write about something that pleases you. Just about anything that interests you makes a good topic, because if it interests you, it will interest others.. If it touches on your book in some way, so much the better.
7. Add tags—they are on the right sidebar. (Be sure to click on “Add” or they won’t get added to your article. Add categories. Click on whatever categories apply for your article, preferably no more than a couple. The total number of tags and categories should not exceed 10 combined. This is how people find your articles, so use a minimum of five total. 8. Click “save draft.”
Your article is now saved in the drafts folder. Click on “preview post” to review what you have written; edit if necessary, then click “save draft” again. When you are ready to publish the article, click “publish.”
Some bloggers write their articles ahead of time and save them in draft form until they need them. If you’ve saved your article as a draft, and later you need to find it, go to the dashboard, and off to the right you will see “recent drafts.” Click on the title of your article, click on publish. And you’re done. Click View Site (next to the name of the website) and double check to make sure your article looks the way you wanted it to. If not, click “edit” on the gray strip above your article, make your edits, then click “update.”
III) Advanced Instructions:
1. Adding a photo to your article
Under the title bar, you will see: Add media. Click on that link. Then click on “Upload photo.” When the photo has been uploaded, choose left alignment if you want the text to wrap around the photo newspaper style, or choose center if you wish the photo to be centered on its own line. Choose the size (generally medium) then click “insert into post.”
Editing the photo: If the image turns out to be the wrong size or you forgot to align it the way you want, do not delete it. This does not delete the photo from the blog, it only deletes it from your article. Instead, click on the photo, then click on the icon that looks like a photo. That will take you to the photo-editing box where you can change size and alignment. If by chance you delete the photo, click on the upload/insert icon, but do not upload another photo. Instead, click on Media Library at the top of the editor box, find your photo, click on it, and continue as if you’d just uploaded it.
Be sure to use only your own photos, photos you have permission to use, and images in the public domain. If in doubt, don’t use an image. For more about what images you can or cannot use be sure to check out this article: Fair Use, Copyright, and Images
1. Uploading icon/avatar/photo
It’s a good idea to have a gravatar so that people recognize you when you make a comment. This gravatar is also posted on the right sidebar of the blog. To upload an icon/avatar/photo:
Log in and go to your dashboard
On the left sidebar, down toward the bottom of the list, you will see “Profile” or “Users”
Click on the little arrow next to “Profile” or “Users” to get a dropdown list.
Click on “Your Profile”
In the top right hand corner, you will see a box with “My gravitar”
Click on “change gravitar” or “add gravitar.”
Click on “Upload an image from your computer” then upload image
Crop it as necessary. If your cropping tool doesn’t work (mine never does) go back (alt + left arrow) and try again. When you get it to the way you like, click on “Crop and finish”
Then close box.
3. Adding Tags
Categories are a way of filing the articles, which is important, but tags are every bit as important. Tags are what search engines look for, and so they bring people to the site. WordPress tags are weird in that you can’t just type them into the tag box then click on draft. You have to type the tags in the box and then click on “Add.” To me, the hardest and most consuming part of blogging is tagging. I go through the article line by line and if there is anything “searchable” I put it in the tags. For example, if you mention Gone With the Wind, even in passing, that should be put in the tags. So should “Margaret Mitchell.” Since tags are also a way of finding your posts later (your own private filing system), you can add the theme as a tag or anything else that will make it easy to find your post using the search box on the blog. (If you don’t have a search box on your blog, then add them from available widgets.) Once you have everything tagged, be sure to hit “add” or all those tags disappear. (I know this because I make that mistake when I am in a hurry.) So what do you do when you realize that your published post has no tags? Go to the blog, click on the title, and up on the gray bar you will see “edit post.” Click on that, add your tags — making sure you click “add” — then click on “update post.
4. Display name
Make sure your display name on comments is your author name. You want people to know who you are so that you can build your online author persona.
To change your display name to your author name:
Go to “Users” and click on “your profile.” Scroll down to where you see “display name publicly as”. Put in your author name, or whatever name you want people to see, then click “update profile.”
5. Linking your name to your blog
The internet is all about links, and the most important link is the link attached to your name. If you make a comment, and your name is not linked to anything, you become a dead end.
To link your name to your website or WordPress blog (preferably your blog, in case you ever have a problem with WordPress and have to contact support) go to “Users” on your dashboard, click on “your profile.” Scroll down to “contact information.” In the blank for “website” put in your entire blog address, including the http://
Then click save. Now, when you make a comment on WordPress, and someone wants to know more about you, all they have to do is click on your name.
6. Adding Clickable Links to Your Blog Post:
The internet is created of links. Without links there are no websites, no way to navigate from one place to another, no way of connecting the dots. Whenever you mention your book, be sure to link to somewhere your book is available.)
To make a clickable link on a photo on WordPress: after you upload a photo to an article, click on “custom URL” then copy and paste the URL for the page of the book or author or whatever. Then click “insert into post.”
To make a clickable link for text on WordPress: Before you save your article to draft, select the words the same way you do for a MSWord document, then click on the icon in the WordPress tool bar that looks like a bit of a chain. In the “insert link” box that appears, cut and paste the URL of the book, website or whatever you wish to link to, then click “insert.” That’s all there is too it. If you forget to add links, you can click “edit” on a published article and add the links.
IV) Improve Your Blog
Please make use of the most important features available on WordPress. Simply having a list of categories or dates tells readers nothing. If you will notice on my blog I have a list of “recent posts” and “top posts.” Once people are on the site, often the title of another post catches their eye, and they click on it. This increases the views of the blog and hence the rating.
If you hover your mouse over the title of your blog in the left hand side of the wordpress tool bar, you will get a drop down list. Click on “widgets.”
Find the widgets you’d like to add to your blog, such as “recent posts”, “top posts and pages,” “search,”and drag them to the column marked “sidebar.” Sometimes, depending on the theme you choose, you have two sidebars, both a right and a left, so drag the widgets to wherever you want to place them. Fill in the information requested, such as “title” and “number of posts you want to show,” then click save.
Other important widgets — The “follow” widget will add a place for people to sign up to receive notifications of your blog posts. The “facebook-like” widget allows people to like your facebook page from your blog.
Use “image” to add the cover of your book to your sidebar, use text if there is something you’d like people to see (for example, on my blog, I use the text widget in the top of my left sidebar for a brief bio and a listing of my books with links to Smashwords.)
Use the “links” widget to add a blogroll — a list of other blogs you like. I use the blogroll as a reciprocal favor for people who have listed me on their blog rolls or who frequently comment on my blog. I’ve also added a “search” box to make it easier for people to search the site.
You don’t have to add all of these widgets, of course. We’re just showing you what is available and how to improve your blog.
I should touch on themes in this tutorial, though that could be a whole tutorial in itself. The theme is the blog format, and there are hundreds to choose from. When you sign up for WordPress, they have a video tutorial to help you get started. If you miss that or decide to change the look of your blog, go to your dashboard, scroll down the left hand sidebar, hover your mouse over “appearance” and click on “themes.” If you see something you like, click on preview to see how it will fit on your blog. Then, if you like it, click “activate.”
VI) Most Important Blogging Tips
Experiment with the various tools WordPress offers.
Explore the site and topics without fear — Wordpress is intuitive, so whatever you need or think you need, you will easily find. There are also multiple ways of doing most things, so find the ways that are most comfortable for you
Excite yourself and your readers with engaging posts. Have fun. If you treat blogging as a chore, so will your potential readers, and drudgery will make them bolt to a more compelling blog.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.