At the top right of your WordPress Dashboard you’ll see a tab called Screen Options. Clicking on the tab brings up a list of options that can enhance your Dashboard use.
Checked boxes are options that are active. Try checking some options that are not currently active. For example, checking the Author box shows a pull-down menu of all the authors for your site. If you share a WordPress site, you can be a ghost writer by selecting another author or administrator’s name. This is particularly helpful in a school setting where the building principal might have a secretary or teacher post content that needs to be attributed to the principal.
Most of the options are not mission critical so you can uncheck those boxes to clean up your Dashboard. Important Options are Categories, Excerpt, Theme Options and, for those of you using Subscribe2, the Subscribe2 Notification Overide.
WordPress has three default sizes for images you place on a page or post:
You also have the option of setting the image to it’s full original size. You can, however, change those default sizes. This is helpful because you can set the large size to the width of your site’s center column, medium size to an image you might wrap with text in a post or page and thumbnails for preview or head shot images.
Of course you can always modify the size once you’ve uploaded it, but it makes things simpler when the defaults match the parameters of your site. Here’s how to change the defaults:
1. Login to your site and go to the Dashboard.
2. Click on Settings at the far left then Media under that.
3. You’ll see this screen where you can set your new sizes. You can make the dimensions a square (500 x 500) even if the image you upload is a rectangle. WordPress is smart enough to know the largest dimension of the new image and adjust the other dimension accordingly to maintain the proportions:
I’ve set the large image for this site to 750 x 750 which is about the width of my content area. Remember that the images you already have uploaded will retain the old settings. Only the new uploads will reflect the new sizes.
Lots of WordPress sites have a Search Widget in a sidebar. So what’s the benefit of a search function? The Search Widget allows users to search for any content on your site including posts, pages and categories. When you drag the Search Widget to your sidebar, you’ll be prompted to give the Widget a title like “Search the Site” or “Can’t find it?”.
When users enter a word or phrase and click “Search”, they will be taken to a page or list of posts that contain that word or phrase. As your site becomes larger and more complex, the Search Widget becomes a great tool.
Need something more? WordPress has several advanced Search Widgets as well. Comment below to have an advanced Search Widget added to the list of Bethel Widgets.
Be sure to add the “/” before and after your user name. If you are viewing any Bethel staff blog, you can type:
and it will bring up the login window that will log you into the Bethel WordPress system. You’ll see the WordPress menu bar at the top. Click on My Sites and scroll down to the name of your site to see your Dashboard.
Okay, you saw how easy it was to plop a picture in a sidebar. Text is even easier. Let’s say you want to add something like this:
Big Book Sale Wednesday!
Follow this link to sign up for this week’s Book Sale drawing. You could win an iPad!
Book Sale Drawing
Using the post editor, you can underline, make text bold, and make the font a bit larger. You can also add a link without writing a speck of HTML coding. Once you like what you’ve created, click on the Text tab to see the HTML code that WordPress created:
<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong> Big Book Sale Wednesday!
</strong></span>Follow this link to sign up for this week’s Book Sale drawing. You could win an iPad!
<a href=”http://www.bethel.k12.or.us/clearlake”>Book Sale Drawing</a>
As we did in the last post, copy that HTML code and go to the Dashboard > Appearance and >Widgets. Drag a Text Widget to the Primary or Secondary Widget area. Paste in the HTML code. But before you save it, make sure to check the box “Automatically add paragraphs”. Save your widget and view your site. Your HTML code will look something like this on your front page:
Wait! Don’t stop reading! This isn’t as nerdy as it sounds.
Twenty years ago anything you saw on the Internet was created by someone who knew how to write computer code. That has changed to the point where you can create anything on the Internet without lifting a code finger. Well, almost anything. There are a few places where knowing a bit of code can be helpful and one of those places is WordPress.
I don’t like to write code because, well, I don’t know squat about code and I’m not very good at what I do know. But there are a few niches in WordPress where writing code comes in handy. I have a free program called Compose that helps me create needed code, but you still have to have an inkling about what you are doing. But there is a much easier way to create code in WordPress without having any coding skills. Perfect for me. Here’s how.
Let’s say you want to put a picture of your handsome mug in the left-hand sidebar of your WordPress site. To do that you’ll need to add a widget then create the HTML code in that widget to show the image. Follow these 5 steps to accomplish the same thing without knowing a lick about coding:
This is assuming you know how to upload an image to WordPress. If not, read through Adding Images in WordPress.
1. Go to your Dashboard and go to Posts > Add New. You are going to create a new post but not really post it. You’ll see why in a minute.
2. Put the cursor in the post window and click on the Add Media button just at the top left of your WordPress post window and upload an image (or select an existing image).
3. If the image is large. drag the bottom right-hand corner of the image toward the upper left-hand corner to shrink it to the width of your sidebar (about 150 pixels). *If you want to resize it to the exact size of 150 pixels wide, click on Edit just below the image after you upload the image, then click on Edit Image(upper right) and enter the width of 150 in the left hand box. Click on Scale then on Update. Now you are ready to copy the HTML code you’ve created and paste it into the sidebar widget.
4. Click on ‘Text” in the upper right-hand corner of your post window and you’ll see all the HTML code that WordPress created for you without you lifting a finger. Highlight and copy all the code text and then delete the post.
5. Finally, go to Appearance > Widgets in your Dashboard and click on the little triangle next to Primary Widget Area (or Secondary Widget if you have two sidebars). Drag a Text Widget to that sidebar. Paste the code you copied into the Widget area and save it at the bottom of the widget. View your front page and, voila, you have “written” computer code!
All Bethel School District WordPress sites have been upgraded to version 3.8. Although there aren’t a lot of dramatic changes with 3.8, the Dashboard has had a real makeover. You’ll find the Dashboard has a much more intuitive look and feel with new color schemes, better fonts and a more dramatic contrast.
You can even customize the color of your Dashboard. You have a choice of nine different color schemes. You can select a new scheme by logging in and clicking on “Your Profile” under “Users” at the far left of the Dashboard. Give Ectoplasm a try or maybe you’d favor Ocean or Sunrise.
WordPress 3.8 gives users a better experience with tablets and phones. No matter how your users are viewing your site, WordPress will format to match screen size and resolution.
The new WordPress default theme, 2014, is the most elegant yet. It provides a magazine-like experience for users and is very customizable.
Widgets have also gotten a new look with a compact layout and easier ways to edit. You can now just tap a Widget to add it to a sidebar, header or footer.
Have questions about version 3.8 or anything WordPress, just post a comment below.
Keeping visitors on your site can be a challenge especially if you have links leading them to other sites. Clicking on a link to CNN, for example, means a series of back arrow clicks to return to your site. It is like dropping bread crumbs but having hungry birds gobble them up if users have gone more than a few clicks away from your site. And without an easy, intuitive way back, users aren’t likely to return.
One way to give users easy access back to your site is to have your WordPress site open a link in a new window or tab on the user’s browser. Doing this will retain the tab to your site and give your users a single click on the tab as a way to return to the great content you’ve created.
To force a link to open in a new tab or window, create a new link and check the box “Open link in a new window/tab” and then click Add Link. Simple!
Keep in mind the democratic nature of the Internet allows users to set their browsers to override opening a new tab or window.
When you try to post on a regular schedule, you are helping your users anticipate your email announcing new content on your site. But it isn’t easy to maintain a schedule because 1) you’re up to your eyeballs in other things to do; and 2) being creative on demand isn’t easy. Here’s a suggestion that might help.
Create a post, or several posts, when the creative juices are flowing. If you know that in October you’re taking your students to the Harrisburg Potato Festival, write the post in July when you’ve got more time. You can then set the post to auto-publish on the date and time of your choice. Here’s how:
1. Login to your WordPress site and select Posts and Add New.
2. Create the post the way your normally do and, if you use Subscribe2, uncheck the “Check here to disable sending of an email notification for this post/page” box below the post.
3. Instead of clicking on the Publish button, click Edit next to “Publish immediately” just above the Publish button.
4. Select a month, date, year, hour and minute for your post be be published.
When the bewitching hour arrives, WordPress will publish your post.