Start Blogging! How to Post with WordPress

Your First Post

We’re going to make it easy for you to make your first WordPress post. We’ll do this by walking you through the exact steps you need to get some text up on your blog. We’re assuming that someone has already installed and configured a WordPress blog for you.  You will also need to know your username and password specific to your WordPress account.

Step 1: Login

Suppose your website is located at www.lovetoblog.com (wish i had grabbed that domain name). To log in to your WordPress account, you would go to a browser and enter the following address (url).

www.lovetoblog.com/wp-admin

After you hit the carriage return, the WordPress login screen should come up. It should look like this, except that the username and password boxes will be empty.

Wordpress Login Screen

Wordpress Login Screen

Type in your WordPress username, where I’ve typed ‘YourUserName’ (your box will be empty). Then type in your password in the box provided. I’ve already typed one in so there’s a row of dots in the screen shot above.  Click the ‘Login’ button and you should see the WordPress dashboard as pictured below (your screen will not be greyed-out).

Step 2: Navigate to the Post Editor

Wordpress Dashboard

Wordpress Dashboard

The first time you see it, the WordPress dashboard can look pretty intimidating. You can ignore most of it today. You only need a little bit of it for making posts. Don’t worry if your dashboard doesn’t look exactly like mine. The appearance of the dashboard changes slightly with each new version of WordPress.  In addition, the dashboard often gets additional menu items when you install a plug-in. Since you may have different plug-ins installed than I have, your menus may look different from mine. The basics will be the same however.

I’ve greyed-out most of the dashboard, except for the Posts button.  If you click on the Posts button, you should see a drop-down menu with the items, Edit, Add New, Post Tags, etc.   Your menu may be slightly different, but it will have the Add New button, which is highlighted in the (greyed-out) picture below.

Wordpress Posts Menu

Wordpress Posts Menu

Clicking on the Add New button will activate the WordPress post editor.

Step 3: Enter the Title

Now you’re in the WordPress post editor which has two edit windows: one for the title and one for the body of the post. In the picture below, I’ve highlighted the box where you can type in a title. I’ve already typed in “Ad Position Does Not Affect The Sale”, which was one of my titles. Your box will be empty. Left click in the box and you will be able to type in the text of your title. By default, WordPress makes the title the highest level heading (specifically H1).

Type in the Title of Your Post

Type in the Title of Your Post

Step 4: Enter the Post

Next click in the box beneath the tool bar(s). If you only see one toolbar, don’t worry. I’ll show you how to get the second toolbar in a moment. For now, just type some text in the box to get your post started. I’ve highlighted the area and entered some unformatted text in the picture below.

Type or Paste in the Text for Your Post

Type or Paste in the Text for Your Post

Once you’ve entered some text, you may want to explore the WordPress toolbars. I’ve highlighted them in the next picture.

Please note the two tabs just above the toolbar(s) and to the right: Visual and HTML. These refer to the two major modes of the editor. In Visual mode, you see the post as it will look when published. That is, what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG). In HTML mode, you see that actual formatting commands as they are embedded in your text. Unless you’ve programmed in HTML, you’ll want to remain in Visual mode. So make sure the Visual tag is highlighted.

Wordpress Editor Toolbars

Wordpress Editor Toolbars

Clicking on the Kitchen Sink button toggles the bottom toolbar on and off. The kitchen sink button is on the right side of the top toolbar and looks like this.

KitchenSink

KitchenSink

In Visual mode, most of the toolbar commands work on selected/highlighted text. For example, to make a word appear in boldface, you select the word by clicking and holding the (left) mouse button down and dragging the mouse across the word, just as you would in any text editor. WordPress highlights by making the background of the selected characters blue. Click on the b button in the upper toolbar to make the selection bold. Clicking again, undoes the bold command.

Hovering the mouse over a toolbar button without clicking tells you what the buttons do.  We’ll describe the toolbar operations (including inserting pictures and video) in more detail in another post.  For now, this will get you started.

There’s one more very important button you should know about, the Save Draft button.  The Save Draft button is to the right of the edit window in a box labeled Publish.  As the name implies, Save Draft backs up your work.  It’s a way to save your work without making it live on your blog.  Click it often and it can save your life, or at least your computer’s life.    I have seen WordPress occasionally crash and exit to the login screen.  That is, it logs you out!  When this happens, everything you entered since the last Save Draft will likely be lost.  So just like with any editor, save often.

Step 5: Publish!

The picture below shows my final draft just before publishing. When you’re ready to go live, click on the Publish button. It may take a few moments to process your post, but you can see how it looks by clicking on the View Post or Visit Site buttons. The View Post button is right above the blog title. The Visit Site button is somewhat above that at the top of the window. DANGER: don’t click either of these buttons unless you’ve clicked on Save Draft or Publish first, since you’ll be abandoning any edits since your last save.  I’ve done that too a few times.

Click the 'Publish' button to put your post on your blog.

Click the 'Publish' button to put your post on your blog.

Here’s what my published post looks like. Note that publishing need not be the end of your changes. The Publish button turns into an Update Post button after it is clicked. So you can change nearly everything about your post after you’ve published it.

How the Post Looks on the Blog

How the Post Looks on the Blog

Categories and Tags

This is a topic for another blog, but you will want to create a list of categories of things you plan to write about. You’ll want to assign one or more of these categories to each post. You can assign categories after you publish, so you haven’t lost anything by publishing. Having a rich set of categories will allow your readers to find all the posts about a particular category, like WordPress, from the hundreds of posts you will have made a year from now.

Tags can also be assigned later. That’s a bigger topic since tags are part of how people will find your posts when they’re searching for a topic you’ve written about. We’ll save this discussion too for another post.

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