21 Days to a WordPress Blog: Day 10: Writing Your First Post

Whether you need a simple site for your business, want to start a blog or just want to try building a WordPress website, you’ll learn all the basics in these daily lessons. In three weeks—and about 30 minutes a day—you’ll build your first WordPress blog.

This is when things start to get really fun: Now you can start creating content for your website. In most WordPress themes, posts live to power a blog and pages are more static and are typically found in the main navigation. But whether you’re creating posts or pages, the process is very similar. 

It’s worth noting that every page in the admin area of WordPress has a Screen Options toggle in the top right corner. If you seem to be missing any editable areas, check the Screen Options to make it visible.

In the screenshot here you’ll see helpful notes and a legend to navigate your way around the Add New Posts page. It’s a lot like a web form. You fill in the data and hit submit—or in this case, Publish. The wysiwyg content editor is a lot like Microsoft Word—you can highlight content to alter or edit it (some word proccessing commands, like command-B, even work in it).

wordpress add new post

(Click to enlarge the image above.) First create a title for your post (1), and this will auto-generate a slug (2), which you can change to whatever you like. 

Next we want to start adding content to the editor window (4). You can display content through the Visual Editor or the HTML Editor, and you can switch between the two at anytime. Once you start to add content you can do a lot of things simply by highlighting content and clicking a button in the content editor (4). For example I highlighted “Suspendisse diam odio” and chose Heading 2 under the B (bold) and I (italic) buttons (4). If you don’t see that dropdown, click the “Kitchen Sink” button (5). 

You can also easily create lists, align text, format subscript and more. Play around in here and get comfortable with modifying and changing content. 

WordPress does not autosave your content very reliably, in my humble opinion, so it’s important to click the Save Draft button (6) frequently. This saves your changes without putting your post live. At any time you can preview your work by clicking Preview (7). 

There are some other great features with posts, like setting its status as Draft or Pending Review (8), making a post private or password protected (9), or even scheduling a post for the future or backdating it (10). Once you’re ready to go live with a post, click the Publish button (11). Note: If you changed the date to the future, Publish will change to Schedule and the post will go live automatically on the day and time you set.

Further down the page, you can choose the category or categories the post will be in (12) or assign tags to the post (13). Excerpts are post descriptions you can use to summarize a post (14). In some themes, the excerpt is what will show up on the front page or category page of your site. If this is left blank, most themes automatically pull the first hundred characters of the post as the description.

Custom Fields are are meta attributes and values that give you further control of your site (15). Typically, you won’t have to concern yourself with these. The Discussion section lets you turn on or off the comments and trackbacks/pingbacks. 

If you have multiple users on your site, you can choose the Author (17). I have an admin account and then a author account that I assign all my posts to.

One of my favorite features of WordPress is Revisions (18). WordPress saves revisions of every post and page you create, so you can easily revert back to a previously saved version of the post.

Last but not least is Featured Image (19), which is an image associated with the post. If your theme supports post thumbnails or featured images, you’ll see them on the homepage or archive pages as small thumbnails alongside the post title and excerpt.

Adding an image or featured image is simple. Just click the Upload/Insert button above the editor. Select the image you want to upload from your computer and click “Add as featured image.” (You can also insert it into the post from that screen.) WordPress autoresizes images into various proportions so you can choose a smaller version to insert into the post.

The WordPress Codex goes into much greater detail covering all the topics of adding posts and uploading images.

Tomorrow: Comments and discussions

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