The first step to setting up your portfolio blog is mastering the WordPress Dashboard. Think of the Dashboard as editing your profile on Facebook. It’s the behind the scenes settings that determine what your audience sees on the front page of your blog. The following summaries and WordPress.tv videos should help you get comfortable with some of the tools and terminology.
#1 Posting Content
Since your portfolio blog is a regularly updated stream of content, most of the time assignments are best published 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:
- add a short reflection
- upload an assignment, photo, or media file
- link to a Google Doc or some other web file
- embed media content on a media hosting site like YouTube
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.
For more information on Posts, start with the WordPress Codex.
#2 Adding Pages
Once you’re comfortable with adding Posts to your portfolio, adding Pages will be simple. In WordPress, Pages are undated content more like individual web pages: the best way to present information visitors may use for navigation or orientation. Instead of getting buried in the day-to-day stream of posts, a Page can be accessed from a link in your blog’s top menu or sidebar or linked to from another post or page.
A couple ways to use pages:
- post a resumé or CV summarizing your work experience
- write an About Me page that includes personal content not a part of of the portfolio
- provide section pages that link to all classes taken a given semester or academic year
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.
For more information on Pages, start with the WordPress Codex.
#3 Edit Content Quickly
If you need to make a quick edit, each blog post or page offers its own Edit link just below the post taking you directly to the text editor in the Dashboard. Conveniently, the edit link is only visible to you the blog owner.
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.
#4 Organizing Course Content
Another distinction important for new users is the difference between Tags and Categories. Every post to your portfolio blog can be organized using one or both to help users 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 across semesters on a certain topic
- group all reflections about a particular assignment
- identify all video projects or audio essays
- create almost any other type of classification you need
#5 Sharing Links to External Sites
For quick access to research sources or web sites you use regularly, you may want to 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. Once you have several links created, add the Links widget to the sidebar to make them visible on your main blog homepage.
One other way to list 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 personal blog, to offer links to external resources at-a-glance.