If you are a writer or communications worker, it’s only a matter of time before you are required to use WordPress. After all, WordPress powers roughly 25% of current websites, and its functions and features are mimicked by most other blogging platforms.
Isn’t it about time you learned how to post in WordPress?
Here’s a primer on how to post a blog in WordPress, in this case demonstrating on the website of the BC Association of Travel Writers where I serve as Communications Director.
An accompanying video was shot at the BCTW Meetup at Tap and Barrel pub in Vancouver, which is why my voice sounds a little shouty. I was talking to 12 people from the head of a long table.
First, a little background on WordPress.
The Difference Between Posts and Pages
WordPress uses both Posts and Pages to deliver content.
They look similar on the front end, their Editor page looks the same on the back end, they both start with a “P.” So what’s the difference?
Pages are like old-time HTML sites used to be. They sit there and they tell you stuff. The most prevalent Pages are About, Contact, and Home. Pages only change when they are updated and they stay that way until the next time. They have no dates, no categories, and no tags. Pages are, in a way, self categorizing.
Posts are fresh web pages published in reverse chronological order and can be adding infinitely.
Posts are driven by Categories and Tags, which allow you to corral them into archive pages or in Custom Menus. For instance, in my wine blog, I categorize posts by wine regions and have arranged navigation menu tabs for each region. So when a reader pulls down “California,” all my posts on California appear on an archive page.
Compose in Word
It’s best to write your post in a Word-like document to take advantage of the myriad editing tools there. 300 words is the minimum for Google to pay attention to it.
Login to WordPress either on the bcatw.org/wp-admin page or by using the login form on the home page.
Navigate to New>Post on either the top or left navigation bar.
Learning How To Post in WordPress
Copy and paste your perfectly-spelled, well-punctuated, key-worded piece of writing into the WordPress Post Edit box.
Enter your keyword-rich headline into the Title field and click Save Draft.
Schedule Date and Time
By hitting Scheduling Post, you are both saving yourself from the horror of premature publication as well as controlling the launch time.
Every post must have some links, as that is the rule of the Web. Include both External links – set to open in a new window.
Do not post a blog without images, as that will irritate Google and bore your readers.
Pre-size your images to under 1000 pixels wide, save them with keyword-rich titles, hit Add Media, and browse to upload them.
In Media Manager, place your keyword in the image’s Title, Alt Text (for search bots and blind people), and Description (for Google Images).
Add Featured Image
If your theme supports a Featured Image, use it.
Featured Images are more important than the images inserted in the post, as they are like the book cover of the post and will follow it wherever it goes.
The Featured Image is your post’s book cover and the Excerpt is the book blurb. Excerpts tell what the post is about, and it follows the post around the Web.
If left alone, your excerpt will default to the first few lines of the post.
Readers and search bots love Heading tags, like H2 or H3. They break up the text into chewable bites and make the post more scannable by calling out the important topics.
Use your keyword in at least one heading tag for good SEO.
Categories are like your post’s table of contents, meant to sort topics at a high level. Categories wrangle your posts into the right corrals according to your settings. Use no more than 2 categories per post, as sometimes too many will confuse your site.
Tags are like your post’s index, meant to improve the user experience. Use liberally for names of people, places, and things. Allow Tags to autofill or use the tag cloud to keep Tags uniform.
Use a plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast to optimize the keywords in your post’s Heading, URL, Title, Content and Meta Description. Yoast provides colour-coded Analysis of the post to nag you into getting it right.
Edit your permalink down to the essential keyword phrase and eliminate stop words such as, “and”, “the”, “of”, which dilute the slug’s meaning.
Add Social Descriptions
In Yoast>Social, customize your post description for Facebook, and/or Twitter and Google+. This feature also allows you to be picky and add an image other than the Featured Image.
If you totally muck up the formatting of your blog post, you can click on Revisions in the Publish module and back up to the last saved version you want.
Also, if you get logged out, WordPress will alert you to an Autosaved version. Click on the alert to get your unsaved changes back.
Blog on with WordPress!
By following this guide, your post will be more readable, sharable, and ultimately more searchable.
To learn more about using WordPress, please check out my YouTube channel, Blogsite Studio. And don’t forget to subscribe!