Biology Fortified runs on a content management system called WordPress. We operated a self-hosted WordPress for a decade, then moved to a WordPress.com Business Plan. While no system is perfect, we like this content management system for many reasons.
To help our own guest authors and other new science communicators get started, here is our set of mini-tutorials. These tutorials assume you are using WordPress.com, though most of the steps will also work for self-hosted WordPress.
Need a WordPress tutorial you don’t see here? Just ask! You can also find more in-depth WordPress tutorials, such as the EZ WordPress Guide. For specific questions, you can check with WordPress.com support or the self-hosted WordPress forums.
We hope you find these WordPress tutorials helpful. If you’re looking for a place to write, consider the Biofortified Blog. We can provide guidance and editing to help you grow as an author. Group blogs have many advantages over striking out on your own – the main one being that you can spend your precious time writing instead of managing a website. Write with us!
WordPress Tutorials Table of Contents
- Log In to WordPress
- Create a Page or Post
- Edit a Page or Post
- Add an Image to a Page or Post
- Add Anchors
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Collaborate via Google Docs
- Post via Email
Log In to WordPress
- Visit WordPress.com. You may need to follow the instructions on the website if they have two-factor authentication enabled.
- On the top left-hand side, select My Sites, then choose the site you want to edit. You may need to click on Switch Site if one is already selected.
- Then you can proceed with adding or changing content.
Create a Page or Post
Pages and Posts are the two primary content types on a WordPress site. Think of a Page as a more permanent part of the website. A Post is also permanent in that it will remain until deleted, but it will be pushed down by more recent posts over time.
For example, on our homepage at Biofortified.org, you can see six recent posts. Older posts do not appear on our homepage, but can be found on our posts page or by searching on our site.
- On the left-hand side at WordPress.com, look for either Site Pages or Blog Posts and click the corresponding Add New button.
- Now simply type, delete, or move text however you wish! You may notice that the text is organized in little containers. Those containers are called blocks. WordPress introduced those as part of their Gutenberg editor in late 2018. WordPress provides support on how to use the editor. You can also learn more about block types at Go Gutenberg.
Edit a Page or Post
- On the left-hand side at WordPress.com, click on Site Pages and the list of all of your pages will appear. Or, click on Blog Posts and the list of all your posts will appear.
- If you have many pages or posts, you can use the magnifying glass above the list of pages to search, or you can simply click on the title of the Page or Post you wish to edit.
- Now simply type, delete, or move text however you wish! (as described above)
Add an Image to a Page or Post
Images (photos, charts, screenshots, infographics, etc.) are incredibly important for illustrating your content and visually breaking up text. Be sure that you have permission if you wish to use someone else’s work. See our post on Copyright and Fair Use for more information.
Infographics in particular are a great way to display complex information. What is an infographic? Learn all about them from Venngage. You can use an infographic website (such as Venngage, Canva, or Spark) or you can simply use PowerPoint or Google Docs.
- In a Page or Post, hover your mouse cursor over a block. You’ll notice a plus sign appear at the top of the block. Click the plus sign, and a box with options will appear (see screenshot below). Select the Image block type, or search for image in the “Search for a block” search bar.
- The image block gives you three options: upload a new image, select an existing image from the Media Library, or insert an image from another website.
- To upload a new image, simply click the Upload button and follow the instructions.
- To select a file from the library, click the Media Library button. You can use the search box in the library if you know the title, caption, or other information associated with the file.
- Inserting an image from another website is typically not a good idea – if the other website owner removes the photo then the image will no longer appear on your website.
- Once you have uploaded or selected an image, add the caption and alt text.
- A caption typically describes the image or how the image connects to your text. The caption should also include your rights to share the image, such as indicating you took the image, that you have permission from the owner to share it, or includes the Creative Commons license if applicable.
- Alt text helps search engines find your images, and is an important part of search engine optimization. Alt text is also important for people using screen readers: it tells them what the image is showing. Therefore, include your keyword and descriptive text.
An anchor is a way to link to a part of a page or post. The Gutenberg editor in WordPress makes it very easy to create something like the Table of Contents above. It’s also convenient when you want to send someone a link to a specific part of a post or page.
- Click on a heading within your page or post. The menu to the left hand side will change to show heading block options.
- Click on Advanced in the menu to the left.
- Add a word in the HTML Anchor field that describes the section you want to link to.
- Select the word or words you want to hyperlink with the anchor, and click on the link button for the paragraph section.
- Instead of pasting a link, type the pound symbol #, then the word you indicated for the Anchor. For example, I would link to this Add Anchors section by typing #anchors.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Consider what your keyword or keyphrase will be for the post, and remember to include it in the title, in some of your headings, and in multiple places throughout the post. Yoast, a WordPress plugin, has great information about keywords to get you started.
Even if you’re not using an SEO plugin like Yoast, including a keyword or keyphrase throughout a post or page will help search engines to find your work. Want to learn more? The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Mozilla is a great place to start.
Once you are done writing your post, be sure to add one or two sentences that describe your post or page in the WordPress Excerpt field. You’ll find it in the right hand navigation bar, under the Document tab. The excerpt should include your keyword or keyphrase, and can also be used as the meta description for the post or page; Yoast calls this the snippet and it will appear in search results. You can also use the excerpt as your first paragraph to help readers know what your post is about before they dive in.
Collaborate with Google Docs
Google Docs makes it particularly easy to write and edit content collaboratively. We usually can’t be in the same room when we collaborate, but with Google Docs we may as well be. Even if you’re writing solo, it can still be helpful to write in Google Docs so you have a record of your work outside of WordPress.
Compose your Text
Simply type your text into a Google Doc. WordPress will format your text to your theme font after you import. Simple formatting like bold, italics, numbered or bulleted lists, and hyperlinks will import as expected. Do not add extra breaks between paragraphs. Instead, select all text in the document, click on Format, then “Add space after paragraph.”
Do not add images in Google Docs as they do not paste into WordPress. Instead, add images directly to WordPress. You can note your captions at the bottom of the Google Doc for easy pasting into WordPress. Be sure to keep track of the sources of your images. You can also note your SEO keyword at the bottom of the Google doc to keep track.
Use Heading 1 to indicate the title. Do not use Heading 1 in the post or page content. Use Heading 2 to mark primary headings, and Heading 3 to indicate any secondary headings.
Keep it Simple
Even if you are writing technical content, shorter sentences, active voice, and transition words can help your readers. Further, search engines today “read” your text effectively the same way a human would. Use a readability tool to make sure that your text isn’t too complex. Once you import into WordPress, the free Yoast plugin can make some readability recommendations for you.
Once your draft is ready, click on the Share button in the top right-hand side of the Google Docs window. Type in the email addresses of the collaborators or editors you wish to share the document with. They will receive an email that they can now collaborate on your document. Collaborators can make comments, add suggestions, and edit the text directly.
Add Content to WordPress
Once everyone is satisfied with the document, the next step is to copy and paste the text into a WordPress post or page. The Gutenberg editor usually adds headings as heading blocks and adds each paragraph as its own paragraph block, but be sure to read through your text before publishing to make sure the content pasted as you expected. You’ll then need to add images, anchors, fill in SEO details, and set up social media sharing for the post before you are ready to publish.
Post by Email
If you have simple posts without much formatting, one very easy way to add a new post is to email it to your WordPress site! Learn more about Post by Email from WordPress.
First, you’ll need to turn on the Post by Email option. Login to WordPress, then scroll to the bottom of the left hand dashboard and select Settings. Click on Writing at the top of the page, then scroll down to Publishing Tools and turn on the “Publish posts by sending an email” option. WordPress will generate a special email address you can use to create new posts via an email.
Once you have your special email address, all you have to do is compose an email and send! You can use basic formatting like bold and italics, and basic HTML such as to designate headings. Shortcodes can add additional information such as setting the category of the post.
Be careful – any content you send to your special email address will post to your website automatically. A good option is to add the shortcode [status draft] at the beginning of your email to tell WordPress not to publish. Instead, your content will be saved as a draft post and you will need to login to WordPress to finalize the post and publish.
Note: Specific tools and websites are mentioned to assist the reader and do not necessarily indicate an endorsement.