Tag Archives: compose

What Are All Those Buttons For? (Or, Formatting Your Posts)

formatting-toolbarHave you ever been writing up a blog post and wanted to add a little flourish? Most of us have. But have you also found yourself wondering just what some of those buttons do? Some are easy, but let’s go though all of the toolbar buttons anyway.

bold

Bold. Makes selected text bold. Should be used to make something stand out – if everything is in bold, it can’t do its job.

italics

Italics. Makes selected text italicized, or emphasized. Like bold, if overused it loses its meaning.

strikethrough

Strikethrough. Puts a line through the text, as if to cross it out.

bulleted-list

  • Creates
  • a
  • bulleted
  • list

numbered-list

  1. Creates
  2. a
  3. numbered
  4. list

blockquote

Blockquote.

“Makes the selected text stand out, great for highlighting quotes you may have used.”

– Kailey

left-align

Standard left-aligned text.

center-align

Centers the text. Use as needed but keep in mind not everything is meant for centering. For example, long blocks of text or recipes with ingredients lists and step-by-step directions become hard to follow when centered.

right-align

Makes text align to the right.

link

When you have selected text, this button will become active. You can enter a URL and turn the text into a link, or even search through and link to your past posts and pages.

unlink

Removes a link.

more

Use this to break a post into a ‘teaser’ with a ‘read more’ link.
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Making Friendly URLs

You may have noticed that when you write a blog post in WordPress, your post’s title becomes part of the URL or permalink for that post. This is really handy and prevents “ugly” links like yoursite.com/?p=1837. But if you have a nice long title, the automatic URL that’s created can be a little overbearing – and sometimes even uglier than the question mark style, especially when key punctuation gets removed.

Additionally, these nice casual human-friendly titles don’t always lend themselves to search-engine-friendly (SEF) URLs. Of course, I’m not telling you this so you’ll start writing short boring titles for your posts, since you are, after all, ultimately writing for people. I’m telling you this so you’ll be interested in making your blog posts good for humans and robots (as I like to call the search engines we do these things for).

For example, you might have written a post something like this:

1-default-slug

But then your URL ends up like yoursite.com/get-ready-for-the-annual-tulip-festival-april-15-18-2013/ Not terrible, but it could be better.

Let’s start by clicking the Edit button at the end of that permalink.2-click-edit

Now our “slug” (the lowercase, hyphenated version of our title that’s used in the URL) is editable.3-editable-slug

Let’s change that slug to something short and sweet.4-change-slug

And just click OK when it looks good.5-clicked-ok

Now you’ll have a really nice, to-the-point URL like yoursite.com/2013-tulip-festival/ which is nice for robots and humans.

WordPress won’t let you create 2 identical links, so be careful about making the slugs too simple. If you do end up choosing a slug that’s already been used, WordPress will append “-2″ at the end.

Important! Once a post or page has been published, you shouldn’t go back and change it unless you really, really, really need to, and in that case you should be sure to setup a 301 redirect (you may need the assistance of your web developer for this one). This is because if you change the permalink, the original link, which may already be indexed and bookmarked, will stop working and lead visitors to the dreaded “404 Page Not Found” error. A 301 redirect will notify search engines that the page has permanently moved and redirect any visitors, but it’s best to have a good link from the start.

Alternative Ways to Start a Blog Post

You know you need to blog more, but you just can’t seem to get in the habit. Right?

We know it can be a real challenge to stare at the “Add New Post” screen and just write something. And then there are days where you have a dozen ideas and no time to write! Let’s look at a couple WordPress tools that might make it easier for you to remember those ideas or even write quick posts on the fly.

QuickPress

QuickPress is a great tool found right on your WordPress Dashboard. Many people find it too small to write anything of length, but it can be very useful to just write down a title and finish the post later when you have time. Just be careful not to hit Publish till you’re ready! I like to use QuickPress to create quick drafts with a few notes that I can flesh out later before I publish.

PressThis

If you’re a big use of social networks like Pinterest, you may have learned about bookmarklets. Bookmarklets are like regular browser bookmarks, but instead of going to a website, they do something to the page you’re on. The PressThis bookmarklet (found under the Tools menu of your WordPress site), lets you quickly create a post based on any page you’re visiting. Perhaps there’s a news article praising your business or a new recipe you love, you can very quickly create a new post featuring a link to that site.

Check out the video below for a quick introduction to both QuickPress and PressThis.