Introduction to Posting
By Jo-Mae Maris, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Webmaster
So you have been ask to contribute to the Faith Blog. Congratulations! Now what do you do? First breathe. Breathing is VERY important. Next, relax. You can do this.
Oh, it’s the technical stuff. Is that what is worrying you? Don’t worry. This post will guide you step-by-step in producing your post.
Step 1: Make a Plan
As my numerous teachers and advisors have told me, “Start with a plan.” Your post can contain text, pictures, links to other sites, and if you are very ambitious, you can include audio. We will concentrate on a post containing text and images in the post. For the text you will need an outline of the major point of you post. Once you have an outline, then you can decide what images you want to include. With ideas for images and outline in mind, you can make a sketch of the layout for your post: where do you want headings; where do your want text, and where do you want images.
Step 2: Gather Materials
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to gather your materials. You will need the text content and the images you plan to include in your post.
Composing the Text
Two options exist for composing the text content of your post. Which option you choose is a matter of personal preference. If you like to format as you compose your text, then using the Block Editor in WordPress would be your best choice. If you don’t like working online or using an unfamiliar editor, then using a text editor, such as NotePad, would be your best choice.
DO NOT USE A WORD-PROCESSOR! Examples of word-processors are Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and LibreOffice Writer. Word-processors embed code in the file that interferes with formatting text when you copy and paste into your post. A text file contains no extra code. So, copying from a text file and pasting into the Block Editor makes formatting easier.
Make sure that you have the right to use any images that you include in your post. You have the right to use any images you create with the permission of any people in the image. You can use images provided by the Diocese of West Texas or The Episcopal Church. There is a category of images designated as Public Domain or CC0. Public Domain and CC0 images may be used; however, you should give the creator credit, unless the image source states that no attribution is required. If the image you want to use is not from one of the preceding categories, then you must get permission from the creator or purchase the license to use the image.
You can use .jpg, .gif, or .png image files. Give the image files meaningful names, such as 20200226bishopReed.jpg or smDWTX_Shield.png. Meaningful names make the images easier to find in a list or using a search function. If you plan to use links to images on another sight, then create a text file with a list the URLs to the images so that you can just copy and paste the URLs from the text file to your post without being distracted by searching the web for the URL while working on your post. An example of a URL for an image would be <img src=”https://www.dwtx.org/files/avatars/7.jpg” alt=”Bishop Reed”>.
Audio and Video Files
Using audio file will be addressed in another post. Video files should not be included directly in a post. Use hyperlinks to the video on another site, such as Facebook, YouTube, or Vimeo. Self-hosted video files require more bandwidth than we can safely use; therefore, please do not add video directly to your posts.
Now with all of your materials in hand, let’s get started on creating your post.
Step 3: Login
The login process requires access to a WordPress user installed on our website. Once you have user information, then you can login.
WordPress User Information
You were probably given WordPress user information when you were asked to contribute a post. If you did not receive the WordPress user information, you can obtain it from the church office. For this post we will assume that you received information for the Anonymous Author user. This would be the most common user type to have for posting. All of the images in this post come from an Author user. The login procedure is the same regardless of type of user.
To login, enter the URL given with your user information into a browser. Once your browser has accessed the login in page, you will see the login form shown in Figure 1. Enter the Username and Password that is included with your user information. The user information should include a printout of all of the keyboard alphanumeric characters to help you determine what to enter for the Username and Password. Make sure to click the “I’m not a robot” box. Then click the “Login” button.
Figure 1: Login Form
If you are having difficulties getting the Password correct, click on the “eye” to see the password that you entered.
When you successfully login, you will see the WordPress interface, similar to the one shown in Figure 2.
Once you see the WordPress interface, you are ready to create or edit your post.
Step 4: Creating a New Post
To create a new post, you will use the WordPress menu. The image in Figure 3 shows the portion of the WordPress menu used in creating a “New Post.”
Click on “Posts” in the left column of the WordPress interface. Then you will see the “Post” options: “All Posts” and “Add New,” shown in Figure 3 to the left. Click on the “Add New” option to create a new post. If you click on “All Posts”, a list of all the posts you can edit will appear.
A new post will open in the Block Editor by default. The Block Editor gives you an idea of how your post will appear when it is published. Also, the Block Editor provides a rich interface for adding content to your post, formatting your content, and configuring the page to display the post.
The next section discusses using the Block Editor to set-up your post page.
Step 5: Set-up Post
Now you have a blank post in which to put headings, text, and images. The Block Editor has three accordion panels below the content editing area and a tabbed column to the right of the content editing area, as shown in Figure 4 below. The “W” in the upper left-hand corner returns you to the WordPress interface.
The three accordion panels are “Post Meta Box,” “Page/Post Header Options,” and “Select Sidebar.” The two tabs are “Document” and “Block.” You will use “Page/Post Header Options,” “Select Sidebar,” and “Document” to set up your post.
First Action to Set-up a Post
The first thing to do in a new post is to type a title in the “Title” field and save your post as a draft. Once you have typed your title in the “Title” field, you should click “Save Draft, ” which is in the upper right hand corner of the Block Editor’s interface. This assures that your post will have a name rather than a number.
You do not have to create your post in one sitting. If you “Save Draft” as you work on your post, you can exit WordPress and return later to “Edit” your post. The “Edit” option is found under the title of your post in the list of posts that you can edit. Hover your cursor over the title of the post in the list of posts, and the options for that post will appear.
Many of the default setting are sufficient for your post’s settings. For example, you can ignore the “Status & visibility” section of the “Document” tab. Likewise, the “Permalink” and “Discussion” sections of the “Document” tab can be ignored. You may have a preference for the “Featured image”; however, if the image is not one that you upload, an Editor will find it easier to set than an Author.
Making changes in the “Categories,” “Tags,” and “Excerpt” sections of the “Document” tab make your post more identifiable. The settings in the “Header Options” and “Sidebar” accordion section affect the content and appearance of your post. Below is a check list of the setting for your post.
Set-up Check List
- Categories: Select “Faith Blog” and any of the Faith Blog subcategories that pertain to your post.
Note: Kids’ Cove and its subcategories form the children’s blog. If you are blogging for Kids’ Cove, then select “Kids’ Cove” and any of its subcategories that pertain to your post rather than Faith Blog.
- Tags: Type in any tags that you believe classify your post, such as “Genesis,” “creation,” or “consecration.”
- Excerpt: Enter a VERY short description of your post. Some lists of posts only allow ten words.
- Choose Header Type: Select “Banner” from the “Choose Header” dropdown list in the “Page/Post Header Options” accordion panel. The remainder of the settings in the “Page/Post Header Options” can be ignored.
Note: If want a specific color for your banner you may set it; however, do not use white or any other very light color. The title font is white and will not appear on white and nearly white backgrounds.
- Select Sidebar from list: In the “Select Sidebar” accordion section, select “Faith Blog Sidebar” from the dropdown list “Select Sidebar from list.”
Note: If you are creating a Kids’ Cove post, ignore the “Select Sidebar” settings. Kids’ Cove posts don’t have a sidebar.
- Select Sidebar Position: Select the “Right” radio button in the “Select Sidebar” accordion panel.
The default values of “One fourth” for “Column Layout” and unchecked for “Show no sidebar” are satisfactory.
That concludes the page set-up. Click “Save Draft” to save your work. Now you can go get a cup of coffee, tea, or water. All of the dreary work is done.
Step 6: Enter Text Content
At last! We come to the fun part. You get to put in your content. How you enter your content depends on how you like to work. If you have your text already in a .txt file, then you can copy the text from the .txt file and paste it on the line that reads, “Start writing or type / to choose a block.” On the other hand, if you want to compose your post in the Block Editor, just start typing on the line that reads, “Start writing or type / to choose a block.“
Helpful Hint: To remove blank lines or spaces at the beginning of a block, start at the beginning of the white space and use the “Delete” key. To remove blank lines or spaces at the end of a block, start at the end of the white space and use the “Back Space” key.
Remember to click “Save Draft” frequently. No one likes to re-do work.
Step 7: Basic Text Formatting
Now that you have some text, you can make it easier to read by formatting headings, making important text bold, adding emphases with italics, and inserting links to external references.
The toolbar that appears at the top of a block provides tools for formatting your text or changing the kind of block that appears in your post. The toolbar appears as shown Figure 5 below.
The paragraph symbol indicates that the block is a paragraph. The block can be changed to a Heading by hovering over the paragraph symbol and clicking the recycle-like symbol. Then select the “H” icon from the pop-up box. The entire block is now formatted as a heading. You can select the size (or level) of the heading from the “Block” tab in the right column. Use the “Heading Setting” section to select “Level” of the heading. H1 is the largest and top level heading. H6 is the smallest and lowest level heading. Headings form the outline of your post.
The symbol beside the paragraph symbol is for the text alignment. The default is left aligned, which is shown in Figure 5 above. To change the alignment, click on the alignment icon and select the alignment that you want. Alignment choices are left, center, or right.
The “B” and the “I” icons are for making selected text bold, B, or italicized, I.
The icon that resembles three links of chain is for creating a hyperlink. The hyperlink will use the selected text for its displayed text. You need to know the URL of the destination to create a hyperlink.
The downward pointing arrowhead next to the hyperlink icon provides additional text settings, such as changing the color of selected text within a block rather than changing the text color for an entire block.
The three dots icon is for more options, such as “Remove Block.” The “Remove Block” option removes the entire current block. Other options allow you insert a new block above or below the current block.
To change the background color of a block use the “Color Settings” option under the “Block” tab in the right column. Under “Background Color” are some preset background color options. The “Text Color” options will change the text color for the entire block. Below is an example of a light blue background with red text.
This is an example of light blue background with red text.
The text is center aligned and bold.
Remember to click “Save Draft” frequently. You don’t want to repeat the formatting, because you forgot to save.
Step 8: Add Images
How images are added depends on the type of user account you are using. Contributors are not allowed to upload images or access the Media library. If you were assigned Contributor access, you will need to contact the church office to have someone insert your images.
If you have an Author’s access, then you can upload and insert your own images. You may have difficulty trying to use images uploaded by someone using a different user. If you are using an Editor or Administrator user, then you are free to upload and insert any images. Editors and Administrators can use any of the items in the Media library without difficulty. The instructions below assume that you are using an Author user. The instructions work equally well for Editors and Administrators.
Inserting an Image
To insert and image, select the block before the image’s location and create an “Image” block. To create the image block, click on the three dots icon, and select “Insert After.” This will create a placeholder for a block. The placeholder has the prompt “Start writing or type / to choose a block.” Click in the prompt, then click on the + in a circle (“Add block”) icon. From the pop-up options, select “Image.” The options for inserting your image will appear, as shown in Figure 6 below.
As an Author, “Upload” is the easiest option to use. Any image you upload will be put in the Media library and immediately attached to your post. To use the “Insert from URL,” you need to know the URL of the image. An Author can use the Media Library; however, images are not immediately attached to the post and if the Author is not the user who uploaded the image, then a forever spinning in-progress indicator may occur for the image. If you are reluctant to insert your images, then create a block with the notation “[ Insert image-filename here].” One of the Editors will insert the images for you.
Once you have inserted your image, remember to click “Save Draft.”
Formatting an Image
An image can be aligned left, center, or right. Left aligned images allow text to their right. Right aligned images allow text to their left. Center aligned images have no text on either side. Figure 3 is an example of a left aligned image. Figure 5 is an example of a right aligned image. The remainder of the images in this post are center aligned, except Figure 1. Figure 1 is part of a SiteOrigin Layout block. The SiteOrigin Page Builder Editor will be discussed in the post on creating Web pages.
Once again it’s time to click “Save Draft.” Remember, frequent saving of your post reduces your re-doing work later. Is that thunder in the distance?
Step 9: Submit for Review
Once you are happy with the post that you created, its time to Submit for Review. To submit your post for review, click “Save Draft” once again. (Yes, you can click it in your sleep by now.) Now click the “W” in the upper left corner of the interface. This takes you back to the list of posts that you can edit.
In the list of posts, find the post you want to submit for review. Hover your cursor over the post’s title. Some options will appear below the title, select “Quick Edit.”
In the “Quick Edit” interface, find “Status.” “Status” is located in the right column. Change the Status from “Draft” to “Pending Review,” then click “Update.” This should return you to the list of posts that you can edit.
You submitted a post to the Faith Blog. Your post will appear in the blog after an Editor has reviewed the post. I always appreciate the services of editorial review. I hope that you do too.
Thank-you for your time and inspiration. You have improved our faith community.
Featured image: https://github.com/emojione/emojione/graphs/contributors
Other images: All other images were screen captures created while working on this post. They are by Jo-Mae Maris. WordPress policy for image use applies.