Our site, Warlick.blog, runs on WordPress and is hosted by Automattic. In using this site, we have learned lessons about WordPress that we share here.
Two Admin Menus: WordPress has two administrative menus. Neither menu seems to have 100% of the features of the other, so you need to use both. Let us say your site is MySite.blog and you want to edit it. You may choose the black-bar menu or the blue-bar menu.
- Black-Bar Menu
- Address: https://mysitedotblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin/
- Features Available on this Menu
- Posts: Your “posts” are the content that you add. Here you can see all your previous posts, allowing you to edit or delete them. You may add a new post. You can group your posts in “categories.” You can assist search engines in finding yours posts by giving each one a few “tags.”
- Media: Your “media” are the text files and images that you add. For example, you may make your post available as a downloadable Word or pdf file so that visitors can print your content. You may have images that help readers understand the content of a post, like putting an image of a runner at the top of a post about running, or a ship at the top of a nautical post.
- Pages: Your “pages” are your menu items. A page may or may not have text on it. Readers will be able to navigate your site by clicking on the pages that interest them. If you have a blog, all you content may be at a page called “Home” or “Blog.”
- Appearance: This is your working button for making your site, as opposed to your content, useful for your visitors. You may change themes (the overall software that controls the default settings for your site), customise (the option to see your site and change it at the same time), widgets (things that can add performance to your theme), menus (the order of your pages), header (the first thing that visitors see), background (colors), and more. When in doubt about how to do something, go to Appearance.
- More: Other options include plugins, users, tools, and settings. You will need to complete your settings as soon as you have your site, but you won’t use settings much after that.
- Blue-Bar Menu
- Address: https://wordpress.com/domains/manage/mysite.blog
- Alternative Address: If you are at the black bar, click the upper left box called “My Sites.” Then click the site that you desire (eg, MySite.blog). The menu bar will change to blue. You may not return to the black bar from the blue bar.
- Features Available on this Menu: You may click on blog posts, pages, media, themes, domains, and settings. Many of these are easier to use than the black-bar menu, but offer less functionality. That is, if you are happy with your blog but want additional content, then clicking on “blog posts” is the easiest way to add new content.
Your Site’s Menu: The above discussion was about your admin menus. Your site also has menus, which show which pages are “parents,” which are “children,” and which even open. A parent page is easy — just go to Pages, click on Add New, and make a page. This will be a parent page. Now on the black-bar admin menu, go to Menus. Your new page should be there. You can click on your new page, then click the up and down arrows to move it to greater or lesser importance on your parent menu. Once it is in place, you can click on it again and drag it to the right. Your page, if moved to the right, will show itself as a child of the menu item above it.
Non-Opening Menu Pages: You may create a menu page that has no content. Say you want a parent menu that says “Coins.” Under that you want children such as “Pennies,” “Nickels,” “Dimes,” and “Quarters.” With the black-bar menu, click on Pages, Make New. Make four new pages with titles Pennies, Nickels, Dimes, and Quarters. On the same black-bar menu, click on Appearance, Menus, Custom Links. Fill in the “URL” box with just the symbol “#” (ie, the pound sign). Fill in the Link Text with the parent name, in this case “Coins.” Now drag the pages so that Coins is first and the others (“Pennies,” “Nickels,” “Dimes,” and “Quarters”) are below Coins. Drag the others to the right to make them children. You can add content to the children. The parent Coins will never open, since it has a pound sign in its URL. Rather, if your visitors click on Coins, they will see a submenu with the children. Visitors will need to pick one of the children to see any content.
E-Mail: A third-party e-mail server will need to like your domain to their server. WordPress will do this for you if you select G-mail, but if you select Outlook then you need to show Microsoft the location of your blog. From the black-bar menu, click on Domains, Mapped Domains, DNS records. Your email provider, such as Outlook, will tell you exactly what to type for a new so-called MX file that links your domain to their email server. The link will be a new DNS record.
Paragraphs and Headings: At the top of your page, you will see a dropdown called “Paragraph.” This has 7 premade options. Six are headings and one is for paragraphs. For all your text, simply click on one or more paragraphs. Choose all with Ctrl A. Once highlighted, choose Paragraph in the dropdown. Now you need to format your headings. One option that works well is to choose Heading 3, bold, centered for your title; Heading 4, bold, left-aligned for all subheadings. If you want a sub subheading, consider adding a dash (ie, Alt 151) before the name of the sub subheading, and possibly choosing italics.
Lists and Bullets: In WordPress’ computer code, these two types of paragraphs are called -ol- and -ul- for ordered lists and unordered lists, respectively. They do not perform as expected. That is, you can drop your perfectly formatted Word document into WordPress and get something ugly. WordPress is simply incapable of knowing what you want for lists and bullets. You have to tell WordPress what you want. You do this by clicking one of the two tabs on the top right. “Visual” will show your content in English. “Text” will show your content in computer code. You want “Text” and you want to find every instance of -ol- and -ul- where WordPress begins a list or bullet. You do not need to find any instances of -/ol- or -/ul- where WordPress ends a list or bullet; ignore these ending codes.
- Computer Codes: WordPress does not use -ol- or -ul- as computer codes. Rather, WordPress begins and ends every command with < and > rather than with hyphens. If we used < and > signs here with “ol” or “ul” inside, WordPress would misinterpret our post as real computer code, and start a list. So all of our WordPress commands are shown with beginning and ending hyphens instead of lesser than and greater than signs.
- List: Every WordPress list begins with an -ol- code. A list has an index, such as I, A, 1, i. If you have a tiered list, say one beginning with an upper-roman index (eg, I, II, III,…) and a second indented one beginning with an upper-alpha index (eg, A, B, C, …), then each tier starts with its own -ol- code.
- Indents: You must choose how much your tier is indented, what symbol to use for its index, and what will be the first value (generally I, A, 1, but if your list is broken, the continuation may begin with a higher value).
- Bullet: An unordered list of bullets is much like an ordered list with index symbols, except the computer code for an unordered list begins with -ul-. You still must select its symbol (eg, disc, circle, square), but the symbol will be static. You must choose the indentation too.
- Padding: Your indentation is your padding. In computer code, this is “padding-left: 25px;” where I have put 25 as a placeholder. You could move your list/bullet closer to the right margin with 40 or 60, or closer to the left margin with 10 or 15. Don’t overdo your padding. Start with 10, a very nice pad, and then change it later if you want more or less white space. You can also pad the right side with “padding-right: 25px” which is useful for tables and boxes.
- Bullet: You pick your bullet. All of mine are “disc” (ie, a solid ring) but you might choose “circle” (eg, a hollow ring) or square (eg, a solid box). In computer code, this is “list-style=disc;” where I have put disc as a placeholder. You could choose circle, square, and perhaps other shapes.
- Style: Everything we show here is a WordPress style command. These commands for an ordered list, 10 padding, index of upper-case Alpha, starting with the first letter (ie, A) are -ol style=”padding-left: 10px; list-style:upper-alpha;” Start=”1″-. The start isn’t necessary unless you want a first index other than A, such as Q (ie, start=”17″).
- List-Style: You choose the symbol or index that you desire. Your choices include none, disc, circle, square, lower-alpha, upper-alpha (eg, Arabic alphabet), lower-roman, upper-roman (eg, Roman alphabet), lower-greek, upper-greek (eg, Greek alphabet), ad others.