WordPress Basics

Thank you for your patience and willingness to embrace all things WordPress in the half day WordPress beginner course. These are the class notes.

These notes serve as your “book” for learning WordPress. The only book I recommend is George Plumley’s WordPress 24-Hour Trainer.

The following are overall references for learning more about using WordPress from Lorelle.

Get to know your fellow WordPress members in your community. The WordPress Community in the Portland area meets frequently around the community. There is a downtown Portland meeting once a month for the general WordPress audience, a Developers Meetup for coders and hackers, a social WordPress Meetup in Vancouver, Washington, and community WordPress Meetups in Beaverton/Hillsboro and other Portland Metro areas and Washington and Oregon.

WordPress Basics

For more information on WordPress, how it works, what it is, how the business model works, etc., see the following references.

WordPress Setup, Login, Settings, and Profile

The following is information related to setting up WordPress.com, logging in and out of WordPress, the general settings for your new site, and adding your profile information to the site.

  • Login:
  • Site Settings: Go to Settings > General:
    • Set the Site Title
    • Set the Site Tagline (subtitle)
    • Set the time zone
    • Set the Blog Avatar, the Blavatar. Note that your Gravatar image and Blog Picture may be the same or different.
  • Profile:
    • Go to Users > My Profile and set the first, last, and full name.
    • Set your Display Name.
    • Write a short bio in your “About You” section, typically 1-3 sentences.
    • Set your Gravatar and create a Gravatar Profile.

The New WordPress Editor and Interface

I appreciate everyone’s patience with the new interface under development with WordPress.com. The traditional interface is called the “Classic Interface,” and is the one you will want to spend the majority of your time working on when developing your site. The new interface is specifically for publishing posts and Pages.

I recommend you use the following direct links to find your way. Please print this page or copy these to an email or file saved to your portable drive or student server location as a reference.

To use the classic editor to create posts, go to Dashboard > Posts > Add New

To use the classic editor when you edit posts, use the Posts -> All Posts menu, hover over the post title and click the Edit link.

If you are bring your own computer to class or working on this from your own computer at home or work, a WordPress.com support forum moderator created browser scripts and bookmarks to help you return to the Classic interface, and explained in more detail in “A hack to use the classic editor in WordPress.com” by The Penguin says.

UPDATE: WordPress.com is redirecting the bookmarklet and reporting an error. I’m hoping it will be updated soon, but the error is not consistent, so try it anyway.

WordPress Content

The following are links to information about WordPress Pages, posts, categories, and tags, the core content of WordPress.

Publishing Basics

The following are educational and support articles that deal with the publishing process in WordPress as well as tips for writing for the web.

The following are articles on writing for the web and the structure of post content.

The following are articles about writing, formatting, and publishing specific WordPress Pages for your site.

WordPress offers a variety of ways to publish content to your WordPress site. Here are a few tutorials on the options that go beyond access by desktop or mobile.

WordPress Themes

The following tutorials deal with WordPress Widgets, the modular design and content elements found in the sidebar, footer, etc.

The following are tutorials associated with designing and using Header Art in WordPress.

These tutorials are associated with customizing the background images for a WordPress site.

The following are recommended reading material and tutorials on WordPress Menus, the key navigation areas of your WordPress site.

Site models are the part of the bones of a WordPress site, beginning with solving the age old mystery, “What do we do with the front page of our site?” The Front Page Dilemna defines the site model, whether or not the front of your site greets visitors with a blog model or static front page. The site models are:

  • Blog: Content displayed in reverse chronological order with Pages in the main navigation menu to “static” content.
  • Static Front Page: Content on the front page of the site is static. It may be updated at any time but it does not contain any post content or dynamically generated content. The site may feature an intregrated blog.
  • Static Site: Every web page of the site is created with a Page. No posts are involved, thus no categories or tags for grouping content.
  • Dynamic Front Page (aka Hybrid or Integrated): Features a dynamically generated front page mix of static and blog content. It may feature a slider or featured posts presented differently than blog content. The site may or may not have a separate blog page. This site model could be as simple as using Sticky Posts or a Page Template that generates and displays your content distinctively from other models.

Site Models

Many of these designs use the Featured Image feature built into WordPress. Ready through the WordPress Theme specifications for how they handle featured images and content.

For more information on site models in WordPress, read:

Whether working with a WordPress Theme or attempting to tweak or customize, or even build, your own, these tutorials and articles will help.

Multimedia in WordPress

Your images and video must be prepared before embedding in WordPress. Videos, in general, are not directly uploaded to your site but hosted on a third-party service such as YouTube or Vimeo. Images are to be edited before uploading to prepare them for presentation on the web.

Raw images are not recommended for uploading and use on the web specifically because their file type is not one recognized by typical web browsers. The image file types that are include JPG, PNG, and GIF. Most photographic images are set in JPG formats. Flat, two dimensional works such as screen captures and cartoon or drawings tend to be in PNG format.

Images are to be resized by physical size and optimized for the smallest file size that is appropriate for the resolution and physical file size, allowing for the fastest viewing times on a web page. In general, the longest edge should be less than 1300 pixels for high quality images. Professional photographers may consider slightly wider. The file size should be reduced as much as possible and stay as close to 100K as possible or less for images less than 1000 pixels at the widest, and rarely larger than 300K for photographic images. Check with your graphic program on how to resize and optimize the image during the save or export process to a JPG.

The key things to remember when uploading an image to WordPress are:

  • Set the title (if the file name is properly named, it becomes the title and requires no or little editing)
  • Set the ALT Text (the Alternative Text) to describe the image for the visually impaired
  • Set the image alignment to right, left, center, or none
  • Set the image display size appropriate to the placement of the image in the content area (no wider than 60% of the content column width for text to wrap around, and full width for centered images)
  • Set the Link To to attachment or none EVERY TIME

Remember, media is for downloadable media such as MP3, docs, PDF, etc. Attachments are for all images.

Portfolios in WordPress

The Jetpack WordPress Plugin, included on WordPress.com, offers a feature called “Portfolio Content Type,” adding the option to easy convert any WordPress Theme into a portfolio.

While there are some WordPress Themes that are designed for or better suited for portfolio content, with a few steps it is easy to convert any Theme into a portfolio. Here are the reference articles on creating a portfolio.

Instructions for Exporting and Importing WordPress Content

To export the data from your WordPress.com experimental site:

  1. Go to your WordPress.com site.
  2. Go to Tools > Export
  3. Export XML File (save to desktop)

To import the saved file to another installation of WordPress (self-hosted) or another WordPress.com site:

  1. Log into the site.
  2. Go to Tools > Import
  3. Import XML file saved to desktop (or wherever).
  4. Assign Authors: You may create a new author with a new login name or assign posts to an existing author on the site.
  5. Import Attachments: Please check Download and import file attachments. This will migrate your images, documents, and other attachment types to the new site. Without this, your images will not move with the content.

Check out your newly migrated site. Note that the design does not move to the new site. While there are Plugins that will help you in the process for a self-hosted site, you will need to reset the customization and WordPress Widgets for the new site.

For more information and tips on moving your WordPres site:

WordPress for Photographers

The following are articles and sites specializing in WordPress topics for photographers.

Remember, while there are many Themes that state they are specifically for photographers, any WordPress Theme may serve as appropriate for your needs. Look for the bones and know that you can change the colors and experiment with various site models to make the site look the way you wish to meet your own self-publishing needs.

Historical Images – Detectives and Forensics

Many expressed an interest in photography forensics, the detective work associated with researching, studying, dating, and uncovering clues about family history through photography. Here are some resources for more information.