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Creating a blog with WordPress part 3: writing blogposts

It took a while, but here it is: part 3 of ther series „Creating a blog with WordPress“. In this part I will write something about creating blogposts using WordPress. WordPress is a native blog system that has a wysiwyg editor, tags, categories and much more. Writing a blog post is actually quite simple, but even WordPress can be overwhelming when you see/use it for the first time.

The title of a blog post

The title is the line of text that has to attract the reader. The title of the blog should describe on a short and attractive way what the reader can expect in the blog post. It is a good habit to optimize it for search engines by using important keywords. Too many conjunctions like and, or, because etc. should be avoided because they have little value for search engines. I know from experience that writing good titles is as hard as writing good content, so take your time!

Using short permalinks

Permalink stands for Permanent link. The permalink is the URL to the post. The biggest part of the URL is fixed. This part will always contain the URL to the blog. At Settings->Permalinks you can define how the rest of the permalink structure should look like. This blog uses for example /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/. You could also use just /%postname%/. The „postname“ is the part from the permalink that can be changed.

WordPress takes automatically the blog post title, and converts it to a usable permalink. If the blog post title is long, then the permalink will be long. Three, four or five words in the blog post URL is pretty normal. So if the permalink generated by WordPress is too long, shorten it a bit.

Content

The content is written in the same way as that is done in programs like Microsoft Word or Open Office. You can make parts of the text bold, italic or underlined. You can change the color of the text, the alignment and the style (paragraph, headline etc.).

When the second line of tools is not visible, you should click on button number 1. Copied text from a different source should always be inserted by first clicking on button number 2. The text will be then inserted unformatted. If it is not done on the way described, problems can occur with different fonts, or double white lines.

The post title is always headline1(h1), so the upper headlines in the blog post should be headline2(h2).

Images

The method described below is for the standard WordPress media library. When using NextGEN Gallery, images are included on a slightly different way.

Clicking on the „add image“ button will make a popup appear. In this popup the writer can select which existing image he/she wants to put in the blog post. Instead of choosing a existing one, the writer can also decide to upload a new one. This image will then be automatically added to the WordPress media library.

The options that are provided can effect the positioning/size of the image, while others can have a positive effect for search engines. The table below explains some options that are available.

Image options
Title The title of an image is shown when the visitor hovers with the mouse over the image.
Alternate Text The alternative text for the image. When the image cannot be loaded, this text will be visible. This text should always be filled in because it is very good for search engines and usability.
Caption A descriptive text that will be visible under the image. Not used often.
Description Not used
Link URL The image can be unlinked, linked to itself or linked to an article URL. Most of the time the image will be linked to itself (File URL). When the visitor clicks on the image in the blog post, it will open the image larger in a popup.
Alignment The image will be inserted where the cursor is that moment. The writer can decide to align not, left, in the middle or on the right of the text.
Size The size of the image that will be included in the post.
Use as featured image When the theme supports a post thumbnail, then this can be selected.

Categories

Categories are there to; as the name already says it, categorize blog posts. Most blogs will come with a basic category structure that can be expanded. Some blogs come with 1 or 2 categories that are reserved for example for sticky posts, a featured posts slider on the homepage or for a special page. Categories are hierarchical. Keep category names short and descriptive.

Tags

Every blog post can contain multiple tags. Tags are most of the time shown in a tag cloud on the website. They also “connect” posts to each other, making them related to each other. Related blog posts are shown under a post when a certain plugin is installed. I use most of the time the plugin „Yarpp“. Tags are not hierarchical.

The problem with tags is that a tag like “Mobile phone” can be written on multiple ways, without capitals, with capital or completely capitalized. These tags that are actually the same will be seen as three different ones. That’s why it is always important to see if a certain tag already exists. The plugin „Simple tags“ is really helpful. When the writer fills in the first letters of the tag, a dropdown menu will be shown with tags. Use these tags.

The next part I will talk about a little bit more exciting stuff: How to create/edit your theme.

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