Campus Blogs: The Basics

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Millions of users worldwide suggest that the WordPress platform is not just for the web elite. If you’ve never published a course website or blog, the following summaries and WordPress.tv podcasts should help you get comfortable with the platform.

#1 Posting Announcements

#2 Adding Documents

#3 Edit Content Quickly

#4 Organizing Content

#5 Sharing Links to External Sites

 

#1 Posting Announcements

Since your class blog is a regularly updated stream of content, most new content is best be shared as Posts. A Post adds new content to the top of your blog with a date stamp. (*In WordPress, Posts are different than Pages which we’ll get to next.)

Posts are the easiest way to:

  • send regular announcements or news updates
  • share slides or images
  • direct readers to media

To make a post from the Dashboard, go to the Posts section of the left menu and select Add New. There you’ll find a text editor with basic editing tools. Advanced users may choose to peek at the actual HTML code of posts from time to time, but you’ll spend most of your time in the Visual tab when writing.

How-To Podcasts:

Writing and Publishing a Post

Saving a Draft

Post at a Later Date

For more information on Posts, start with the WordPress Codex.
 

#2 Adding Documents

Once you’re comfortable with adding Posts to your blog, adding Pages will be simple. In WordPress, Pages are simply Web pages. Instead of getting buried in the day-to-day stream of posts, a Page can be accessed from a link in your blog’s sidebar.

A couple ways to use pages:

  • Add an About the Author page or About this Blog with contact info or links.
  • Add a list of external podcasts, web links, or apps.
  • Archive your lists.

To make a page from the Dashboard, go to the Pages section of the left menu and select Add New. Editing Pages works just like editing Posts, with a couple exceptions. Since Pages don’t have tags or categories, these two boxes are missing. Instead Pages can be organized hierarchically, with parent pages and sub-pages or “child” pages.

How-To Podcasts:

Adding a Page

Adding the Pages Widget

Setting Posts as Private

For more information on Pages, start with the WordPress Codex.
 

#3 Edit Content Quickly

For users looking for a quick way to begin editing their own blog, each blog post or page offers its own Edit link just below the title taking you directly to the text editor in the Dashboard. Conveniently, the edit link is only visible if you have editing access to the content.edit

One other option for editing content quickly once you’re already in the Dashboard is the Quick Edit option found in the Posts and Pages listing. Since Quick Edit doesn’t need to load the complete content of an item, this is the fastest way to add tags and categories or schedule or publish a draft. Just look for the link as you move your mouse over the title of the post you want to edit.

Finally, from Dashboard view, you may sometimes want to make the same change to several different posts or pages. Bulk editing is easy from the Posts or Pages listing. Just select the posts you want to edit, and select Edit from the drop-down menu above the listing.

How-To Podcast:

Using Quick Edit and Bulk Edit

 

#4 Organizing Content

Another distinction important for new users is the difference between Tags and Categories. Every post to your blog can be organized using one or both to help readers find what they need quickly. Items that belong to more than one group can also receive multiple tags or categories.

A couple ways to use tags and categories:

  • Access all posts on a certain topic
  • Group all announcements.
  • Identify themes that cut across departments or units
  • Classify the type of post (announcement, news, media resource, etc)


How-To Podcasts:

Adding Categories and Tags to Posts

Managing Categories After the Fact

Adding the Categories Widget

 

#5 Sharing Links to External Sites

For quick access to web resources you’ll need on a continual basis, you may rather add a Links list to your sidebar.

First go to the Links section of the left menu to add new links. Each link can include its own category and short description if you need ways to organize or annotate your list of links.

One other way to think about listing content from external sites is through RSS feeds. Many websites now offer RSS listings of updates or new content as its added. These RSS feeds can then be displayed on other websites, like your blog, to offer readers links to external resources at-a-glance.

How-To Podcasts:

Arranging Links into Categories

Adding the Links Widget

Adding an RSS Widget