This WordPress Tutorial Series has been a blast! We’re learning all about WordPress and how to hit the ground running with our own website or blog. A lot of this is inspired by the indie web. The indie web is really something that resonates with vegibit, mainly that it encourages users of the internet to create and host their own platforms for having a voice. You should be in control of your data and online voice, and the only way to guarantee that is to do it yourself. Proprietary social networks are great for meeting and sharing, but put the bulk of your content on your own server. That’s the main goal with learning WordPress in this series. And with that thought, let’s look at even more awesome WordPress Fundamentals now!
Adding an Image from a Remote Source
We covered a lot about creating and uploading images in your WordPress site already. Those tips focused on using images from your own computer uploaded to the server via the media manager so they could be embedded in your content. It is also possible to embed images from third parties, if they so allow. You’ll want to make sure you are using an image from a source that encourages sharing and use. Don’t embed and image from the Apple website, lest you get a call from their legal department. For this example we’ll use an image from a cool site that encourages sharing images, pexels.
- Click Add Media This will open the media library
- Choose Insert from URL Paste in the actual URL which holds the image itself. You’ll know if it is an image if the end of the URL has an image extention like .jpeg, .png. or .gif
- Click Insert Into Post Click the button and you’ll see something like you do right here.
Use oEmbed to Embed Media with ease
WordPress makes use of a really cool protocol called oEmbed. So just what is oEmbed? Well, it’s a set of rules and procedures that allows one site to request from another for any HTML required to embed media from their site. So for example, we can post a standalone URL which is not hyperlinked into our editor on it’s own line. It’s really an incredible technology which mitigates the requirement of copying and pasting html in order to embed. Let’s try to embed a video. Now remember, all we are going to do is paste an url such as this one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWflyooxABM on it’s own line, then preview the post.
Let’s check it out:
You See? Magic.
By using the oEmbed protocol, WordPress makes the process of embedding rich media super easy.
What Websites Does WordPress oEmbed Work With?
This list is quite long actually, but let’s just try a few of the more common ones. How about Twitter, Instagram, and Imgur.
We’ll use this url
The Art of Creating a WordPress Post http://t.co/u3WIpgvuTH
— vegibit 💻 (@vegibit) September 15, 2014
This is our url for instagram
Photo Credit: http://instagram.com/estherleclerc
We’ll use this url
Very Slick! So we can see that by using oEmbed with WordPress, it is possible to easily add rich media to your content to great effect.
Using WordPress Revisions
As we mentioned during this WordPress Tutorial Series, WordPress makes use of a fantastic auto save feature as you are creating you content. In fact, if you pay attention, you can see in the Add New Post window a status will periodically get flashed to the screen that WordPress is Saving Draft…. This is great, and over the course of creating a piece of content, you may have many revisions. You can find these revisions by clicking the Browse Revisions link in the Publish Widget of the WordPress Dashboard. The image on the left shows what this looks like. In this case, there are only 4 revisions but when your content starts to hit two thousand words or more, you may have up to fifty different revisions saved during the course of your writing!
The Benefit of Revisions
There are many benefits to the fact of WordPress saving multiple revisions of your content. There may have been some text or an image that you had included in the post but then decided to remove it before the final post was published. What happens if you had a change of heart? Maybe you do want to include that text and image now. Well, you can come back to your post, even many days or months later and simply restore a prior revision. It’s fantastic that WordPress does this for you since at some point, you will run into a situation where relying on a prior revision will save you.
Publishing You WordPress Post
There are a few options for publishing your WordPress Post, and you can find these options in the same Publish Widget located in the WordPress Dashboard as we just covered in WordPress Revisions. They are as follows:
- Status The status can be toggled between Draft, Pending Review, or Published. For a one person operation, these will always be either Draft or Published. If you do have multiple writers for your website, you can make use of the Pending Review option in order to have an editorial chief review any pending Posts.
- Visibility This provides a few ways to change how the content in your Post is accessed. By default, it is set to Public, and when the status is Published, any new Posts will get pushed to the top of your homepage. You can also Sticky the post. You surely are familiar with the concept of Stick Posts. Sticky Posts are the ability to pin a post to the top of a section of your website regardless of new Posts being introduced into the stream. Twitter now also implements a sticky feature, and if you visit any popular discussion forums on the internet, you’ll also be familiar with the idea of making a topic or post Sticky. WordPress Posts can also be Private or Password Protected. Maybe you have a site where you only want to share sensitive information with users that should be authorized to view said content. In this case simply assign a password to the post and have the user provide credentials.
- Publish By default, this is set to immediately. This means as soon as you click the Publish button, your post will go live on the site. If you would like to schedule the post to go live at a later time, this is the area you can do that in.
- Publicize Not included by default in the WordPress base install, but a part of the popular WordPress JetPack plugin is the Publicize feature. This great tool allows you to link your social profiles to your WordPress account. This tool will monitor for new posts from your website, and when one goes live, the new post will be automatically distributed across any social networks you have connected. Most users will want to add Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ however you can also include Tumblr, LinkedIn and Path if you like.
Using More and Excerpts in WordPress
Once you have a collection of Posts published to your WordPress website, you can customize extensively how they are displayed. Some websites like this one, will allow the content to display fully, rather than giving a short snippet with a continue reading link. Even though we’re not using this feature per se, let’s take a look at how you can implement this if you so desire. All you need to do is to navigate to the point in your article at which place you’d like to have it truncated when viewing on the front page, then click the Insert Read More tag button in your visual editor.
This is how you can achieve that summary effect on your front page, like you would often see on an online magazine style website.
Custom WordPress Excerpt
In addition to being able to use the Read More tag within a post, you can also make use of custom excerpts provided that the theme in use supports this. The way this works is to enable the Excerpt feature by navigating to screen options at the top of the Add New Post window, and make sure that the Excerpt checkbox is ticked. It is not checked by default, so you will need to turn it on if you’d like to try using a custom excerpt on your post. Once you have it checked off, a new form field will appear at the bottom of your editor where you can write a quick excerpt to replace the automatically generated text from the Read More tag. It’s a bit more labor intensive, but if you’re looking for the utmost in control of how your post will be presented on the front page of your site, then maybe this route is good for you. You’ll not that as you toggle options on and off in the Screen Options window of the admin dashboard, the updates to the screen happen in real time. There is no need to click a Save Changes button or anything like that. It just goes to show you that the developers of WordPress have really paid a very close attention to detail in providing the best possible content creation tool to you.
WordPress Post Formats
WordPress in its current iteration have support for different types of Post Formats. When you’re starting out creating your posts in WordPress, you’ll most likely be making use of the Standard Post Format. This is the format we have been working with throughout this WordPress Tutorial Series. There are several other formats available, let’s have a look.
- Standard The most commonly used format for creating your WordPress Posts.
- Aside The aside format is more of a status update, similar to something you might find on Twitter or Google Plus.
- Image Use this is the focus of your post is largely on an image.
- Video Likewise for focusing on a video as the main focal point of your post.
- Quote To create a post that is a quote, you can use this format type.
- Link Lastly, if you simply want to share a link with your readers, you can use this post format type.
Creating a WordPress Page
We mentioned earlier in this WordPress Tutorial Series what the difference is between WordPress Posts and WordPress Pages. We mentioned that WordPress Posts are going to be the primary means of creating new content for your website. WordPress posts will always get placed in the very top most position of your front page in a reverse chronological order. As such, we have spent a lot of time reviewing how we can create, update, and edit posts for our WordPress Powered website. Let’s now take a quick look at WordPress Pages, since they serve a useful purpose as well.
Used for Static Content
The perfect use for WordPress pages is something like an About page. For example, for VegiBit, we have an about page that lists basic information about the website. It would make sense for your website to include an about page as well. There are several things you can include such as:
- General Information For general information you want to include a good overview for your new visitors that are curious about the topics covered.
- Social Accounts Does your website have one or many social accounts? The about page is a great place to include them so your readers can connect with you.
- Advertising If you offer advertising, the about page is also a great place to provide a means to purchase ads.
This is an example of a WordPress Page.
Pages in WordPress can have comments turned on or off, in addition to having social sharing buttons turned on or off. It really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to use either of these on your static pages. With this static content, it will be updated only once in a great while, users will not likely have a need or desire to comment and share these pages. In addition to having an about page, it might makes sense to have several static WordPress Pages. Once your company grows to a point where you need to hire additional help, you would likely create a Careers page. Maybe you are getting asked the same questions over and over again about your company, website, or blog. Guess what, that’s another opportunity for a WordPress Page – an FAQ page, or Frequently Asked Questions page. These pages can then be customized and organized as needed.
The WordPress Awesome Fundamentals Conclusion
With this being our sixth episode in this WordPress Tutorial Series and over ten thousand words later, we’ve covered a lot of ground! We started by talking about what WordPress is and how we can best use it ourselves. By looking at all of the very popular people, businesses, and brands using WordPress, we validated it’s ability to support large high traffic websites. We also had a look at things like the WordPress Toolbar, the WordPress Dashboard, and how to create a new post in WordPress. There were a lot of details, but we got em covered! Then there was the process of dealing with hyperlinks and images in WordPress and the best way to organize them. Lastly, we took a look at even more WordPress fundamentals like using WordPress oEmbed for rich media, Post Formats, Page Formats, and more.