First, sign into your dashboard http://yoursiteaddress.com/wp-admin
type in your username and password.
(If you have an extra security layer, your login address may not be the default wp-admin. Please ask if you do not get a login screen)
On the left side of the dashboard is the dashboard navigation.
Before we start:
It is IMPORTANT that you keep your WordPress install, and all plugins and themes up to date, and backed up. This is simple to do, and keeps your site safer from hackers, and also running smoothly on more platforms and browsers. Ignoring updates is dangerous, don’t do it!
- The safest way to update is one update at a time, and check your public facing site after each is finished to make sure all is well. While it is uncommon, updates DO sometimes cause problems, or even completely take down sites. For this reason, if you are a DIYer, it is best to do updates on regular business days when you have a good chance of reaching your webmaster in case of emergency.
- Make sure you have a recent backup, and store a backup in a safe place, like your computer.
- Upgrade WordPress by clicking the update link. Wait for it to finish
- Upgrade Genesis using the link (if available)
- Update all plugins using the Home/updates area
- Update all themes using the Home/updates area
If you are unsure about how to do this and would like a security consult to go over it, just let me know. I also offer a security/maintenance package if you’d rather someone else handle it.
Adding pages, or posts (or editing them):
In the dashboard navigation choose “pages” or “posts”
Choose “add new” or “edit” (for existing pages) and choose the page or post to edit.
The top white bar is for the title. This will show at the top of your page.
Right under the title is the permalink. NEVER change the permalink of an existing page without talking to the webmaster.
Below the permalink is the body of the page area. You can type text directly into the box, or cut and paste text from other documents. If pasting from Word, be sure to use the special “paste as plain text” button on your toolbar. Pasting from email or plain text files is best, then format using your WordPress editor.
Content – adding media (photos etc.)
Above the content area you will see two or three rows of icons. The first row contains the upload/insert media icon. To use these simply place your cursor at the head of the line of text where you want to add something (photo, video music file) to go and then click the appropriate icon. You will get a pop up box that will help guide you through uploading, or linking to your media file. (more on that further on).
You must select the text on your page that you want to be a link first. Do this by placing your cursor on one end click and hold then drag across the area you want to be a link.
The link icon is on the second row on your toolbar, it will light up (it is greyed out when no text is selected). Click the link icon.
In the pop up box add the URL you are linking to (copy and paste from the web address area of the actual page is the safest way to avoid link errors).
If you are linking to a page on your site down near the bottom of the box you will see “Or link to existing content” Click that to see a drop down of your existing content and simply choose the page you want.
If the link goes off of your site you should choose “open in a new window” from the “target” drop down menu. Otherwise you can safely ignore the other items in this box and click “insert”. That’s it!
Use the PREVIEW button, upper right corner, to make sure it looks right before you update, or publish your page.
Click the “update” button when you are done with your changes. Check your changes on the public facing part of the site by going to it and reloading (refreshing) the web page.
Place your cursor at the head of the line where you want you picture placed. (even if you want it to end up on the right side!) and click to see the cursor.
Click the “add an image” icon in the top row of buttons.
Browse to the pic on your computer and click “open” then “upload”
Give it a short descriptive “alt tag” (alternate) text (this is good for SEO and helpful for sight impaired visitors, or text only browsers but not strictly required)
You can add captions or descriptions if desired but it is not required.
The link URL box can be used to make the picture a link to another page, or website. Just paste in the Web address that you want the picture to open if clicked. Usually you can ignore this.
Choose alignment. Right or left allow the text to wrap around. center or none will place the pic above the text to the left of center.
Choose size. It is best to upload “email” or “web” sized photos, already cropped to the correct size to speed load time and preserve server space, but this is another way to go if that isn’t possible.
Click “Insert into post” (DO NOT use “save all changes” unless you are editing an already uploaded photo.)
If you want this photo to show up in widgets or on the front page, also choose set as featured image. (If this option is not available, you can set it on the post or page, right side, under featured image.)
Edit any existing photo by clicking on it and click the photo icon in the upper left to edit or the red circle to delete it.
***An important word about photos. It is an unfortunate habit of non-web professionals to add huge photo files to their sites which monitors are in no way capable of displaying. If you do this often enough, and add a lot of photos over time, you will eventually use up all your hosting server allotment. Google now also gives a nod to faster loading sites. Learn to use photoshop elements or another photo editing software to size your pictures for web.
Always click the “update” button when you are done with your changes. Check your changes on the actual site by reloading (refreshing) the web page.
Formatting your text
DO NOT FORMAT THE TEXT BEFORE INSERTING IT IN TO THE EDITOR! It is best not to use Microsoft Word or other formatting editor for your text. Web browsers do not “speak” MS Word.
The editing screen should avail you all the choices you need to format your text and keep it consistent from page to page so your site has a professional look. If you need more formatting choices, let your web designer know and she will instruct you, or add more choices in the styles area for you.
You can mouse over each button to see what it does.
Most of the icons in the next row are fairly self explanatory.
You can “bold”, “italicize” or strikethrough” text.
Add bulleted list, a numbered list (you must have a hard return between each item in the list, then highlight all the items and click the icon)
The next icons justify your text, left right or center.
The next icons are greyed out. They are for adding links. See adding links above.
The next icon is if you want to split posts so people get part and then have to click a link to “read more”
The last two buttons are toggle full screen, helpful for working with a large page of content, and the kitchen sink, which toggles more formatting icon choices. The reason these are hidden is they are to be used with caution, or knowledge of how they will affect your site.
In the third row you will find: (note… if you do not see a third row, look for and click a “kitchen sink” icon at the end of the last row.) This row is hidden on purpose because it should not be used unless you understand exactly what the buttons do.
Paragraph and Header (h1, h2) formatting (controlled by the style sheet). These are to add pre-formatted headlines so that all your headlines match from page to page.
Underline icon (note, underlines on web pages are assumed to be links.)
Justify text. (generally not recommended, use with care)
Add color to text (will override style sheet use with care!)
Paste in text button
Erase formatting, helpful if you got something weird stuck in the code and can’t get rid of it.
Insert embedded media. Another way to add video etc to your pages.
Undo and help buttons.
That’s it! Note: Because of updates, and the possibility that you were given an upgraded editor, your buttons may be slightly different.
Below the content area, you will find more choices – depending on your particular site configuration – including SEO settings for the page where you can add a keyworded title, description tag and keyword tag. adding custom fields (for supported plugins), allowing comments trackbacks and pingbacks for the blog. a list of page revisions and if included Whether your page is full size of has a sidebar, or two sidebars. You can usually safely ignore these. If not, you may need help to use these correctly.
On the right side you will find the status area. You can publish, update, save as draft etc here. Below that is the area where you can choose page attributes, sidebars for that particular page and more. Again, you may need help to use this correctly.
Widgets are cool. They are simply precoded, or as yet unformed, areas of info that you can place, move or delete from your sidebar. To work with Widgets:
In your dashboard navigation choose “appearance” then “widgets”
Choose the area you want the widget to display. You may have choices of page, post, or homepage. Sometimes you will see widget areas made specifically for side-bars for each page, or for the footer (bottom of all pages). This allows you to display different information on every page. Or, you can make them all the same if you want. Lots of flexibility here.
The most used widget is simply the “text” widget. You can add as many individual text widgets as you want. Give them a title and type in any message you want. HTML (coded) text can also be used here meaning you can insert almost anything in a text widget including video, photos, etc. Ask for help if you want to insert a video, slideshow, photos or other info besides text in a text widget.
You may also have visual editor widgets, in which case you can edit them just like you do pages and posts, above. If you need this type of widget, ask your webmaster to add the “Black Studio TinyMCE Plugin”.
IDEAS FOR WIDGETS:
You may want to use the recent posts widget in your blog sidebar, but not necessarily on your homepage (keep your audience focused on completing your transaction or contact.)
Use a text widget to make contact info easy to find on every page.
Use a widget to get people to sign up for your blog feed or email list.
The possibilities are endless. Best bet is to discuss your sidebar with your web designer so it can be used to best advantage on each page to do what you really need it to do.
Changing the way your navigation looks is easy. Maybe you want to take a page down as inactive. Maybe you want to re-arrange the order of the pages. Custom Menus will do all that for you. Most WordPress sites I build have this function.
In the dashboard navigation click “Appearance” then “Menus”.
There are two columns, in the left column you specify menu locations (you can have more than one custom menu on a page!)
This is also where you choose pages, post categories or custom links for your menu.
On the right, is the actual menu conformation. Drag and drop the labels to change the order the pages show up in on the navigation bar. You can drag under and to the side to make pages child pages of others, this allows them to show up in the drop down menus UNDER the “parent” page.
Add new pages to the menu by clicking the page on the left and then “add to menu”. Drag it into place on the right.
Make changes to the actual navigation link by clicking the triangle next to the name of the page to open the dialogue box. Here you can change the label you see in the navigation bar, for instance from “about us” to “about”. You can also REMOVE the page from the navigation entirely. This can be temporary or permanent. You can always add an existing page back in by choosing it on the left again and clicking add to menu.