Tag Archives: Jump Start

Don't Get Caught Without a Backup

5 Keys to a Good Website Backup Plan

Don’t Get Caught Without a Backup!

5 Things to Consider

When Making Your WordPress Backup Plan

What

• Database – The database contains your pages, posts, comments, users, categories, tags and links.
• Files  – The files contain your themes, media files and plugins.

Who

• Your web hosting company
• A free WordPress plugin (such as UpDraftPlus).
• A premium WordPress plugin. I recommend VaultPress as it is easy, their support is excellent. It is made by Automattic – the same company that created WordPress, so there are no compatibility or update issues. They also store your backups as part of their service. Read more about VaultPress.
• A company or someone you hire to take care of your website (including backing it up), such as Ripple Web Design.
• Yourself

How

• Manual Backups
• Automated Backups
• Scheduled Backups

When/Frequency

• Daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
• How long are the backups kept? (Ask me why this is important.)
(Does each backup replace a previous backup so that you only have one copy?)
• Before a WordPress Core and/or Plugin updates
• After you have made significant changes to the site

Where

• on your computer
• on an external hard drive
• on the web host’s server
• on the server of the backup company (i.e. VaultPress server)
• in your email account
• online (or “cloud”) storage services (such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.) free or paid.

Download the Backup Planning sheet.

Using Visual Composer

Adding Content to a Post Using Visual Composer

Updated: January 15, 2017

The instructions in this post are for those who have the plugin:  Visual Composer added to their WordPress site.  Visual Composer is a “drag and drop” page builder plugin.  It also allows the user to create formats and special features (such as clickable buttons) without coding.  Let’s assume that you know how to make a post using the “classic mode”.  (Visual Composer refers to the regular WordPress content editor as the “classic mode”.) If you are not sure how to create posts in the “classic mode”, you might want to have a look at this post: Creating Your First Post in WordPress.

Let’s begin! Go to Dashboard Menu “Posts>Add New”.  Once you have done this, you will see a screen with “Add New” at the top.  In the white text box under these words, you can add the title of your post.

Adding Content with Visual Composer

In the next white text box (below), you can type the text of your post and add images as per Adding Images to Posts. If however, you want to make columns or buttons or something special, you can use Visual Composer to help you along. You should see three blue buttons near the top on the left.

If you don’t see these buttons, have a look at the Visual Composer settings.  You may only have pages selected as in this example (click the Role Manager tab):

You will need to click that little arrow to the right of “Pages only” to select custom and then click the “posts” checkbox.

Once you are back at your post, you need to decide which blue button works best for you.  If you click the little blocks icon, you will go to the Visual Composer website.  If you click FrontEnd Editor, you will go to the front of your website and you can edit from there.  I find it more comfortable to use the BackEnd Editor.  Click that and you should see something like this:

You need to add first rows (click + Add Element) and then columns (if you want columns).  Then inside the columns, you add a text block and images.  For more detailed tutorials, go to the Visual Composer tutorials page.

The first thing that usually requires some practice, is remembering to hover over the area that you want to edit to activate the pencil icon (the edit icon) in a text box. In the image below, you can see there are three pencil icons (two gray, one white).

However, it is the pencil in the green box that was activated by hovering.  That is the one that you need to click to edit the contents of the box.

The second thing is remembering to save the text box or image, and then UPDATE THE PAGE.  So, you really need to think about “saving twice” in this way.

I encourage you to go to the Visual Composer tutorials page.  This plugin is really handy when you want something special, but there is a small learning curve.

adding images to WordPress

Adding Images to WordPress Posts

Images include photographs and other kinds of images.  Aside from the obvious appeal of images, they can also increase a website’s and a post’s searchability on search engines such as Google when tagged properly.  People are more likely to read a post with images.  The more people reading your posts, the more “reach” you have.

Fast Facts:

Image Size Affects:

  • page or post loading speed (smaller means faster)
  • storage space on your server/webhost (smaller means more)
  • the number of photos you can upload (smaller means more)

Resolution

Images are measured in 3 ways:  pixel height/width, size in KB (or MB), and resolution.  The maximum upload size for the WordPress Media Library, is 20 MB (20,480 KB).  Unless you are uploading a photo with great detail, a resolution of 72 ppi (pixels per inch) will produce a “lighter” image.  You should aim for something under 100 KB.  72 ppi is an adequate resolution because that is what browsers display.

So, smaller is better, right?

Well, almost always. There are times when better quality from a higher resolution images is important.  For example, one of my clients is a Silversmith and displays his silver engraving on his website.  It is possible to work around this by having a smaller image load first, then provide the option to click on a larger, higher resolution image so that the fine engraving detail can be showcased.

Uploading to the WordPress Media Library

To add images to your post, you first upload them to the Media Library.  Follow these steps from the WordPress.org Codex to add your images to posts.  If you want to see some examples of the Attachment page link options, click here.

Creating Your First WordPress Post

Creating Your First WordPress Post

Updated: January 15, 2017

There are many factors which determine the most effective topics, manner and format for posting in a blog, but for today we will just walk through the steps to create your first post.

If you are still not completely sure about the difference between pages and posts, read:  WordPress Pages and Posts – Defined for a quick definition.

Let’s begin! Go to Dashboard Menu “Posts>Add New”.  Once you have done this, you will see a screen with “Add New” at the top.  In the white text box under these words, you can add the title of your post.

What’s in a Title?

Just a quick note here that titles throughout any web site contribute ultimately to your site’s searchability (which equals findability) with search engines such as Google.  So consider your title; make it catchy like a headline but keep it true to your topic.  Also think about the key words people might be typing into a search box to find a post on your topic. If you can’t think of a compelling title right now, write a straight forward title and update it later.

Content

In the next white text box (below), you can type the content of your post.  If you are wondering about the function of some of the toolbar features, read the post, WordPress Post Editor Tool Bar Demystified. Don’t forget to click the kitchen sink icon if you are missing some features!

Readability and More!

If you already have an understanding of this Tool Bar, you should read this excellent article, A Comprehensive Guide to Formatting Your WordPress Posts and Pages by Pamela Wilson,  for best effect and readability.

A “Word” About Microsoft Word

Some people prefer to type in Microsoft Word first, then copy and paste the text into their blog.  This enables them to work on their posts in a familiar program and to work off-line if they want.  Be warned however, that if you do this, the formatting from Word does not always transfer to WordPress and you will be adjusting it.  (If you have a lot of posts, you will be doing a lot of adjusting!) For example, simple text formatting such as bold, italic and underlined text transfers to WordPress, but text sizing and spacing does not.  If you have done a lot of formatting, this can be very frustrating because you will have to do it again once your text is in WordPress.  If you want to work off-line you could use Notepad or Text Editor just to get the text down, then paste it into your WordPress post and format it there.  Others use desktop blogging software such as Windows Live Writer,  which is an off-line blog publishing software compatible with WordPress.

Publishing, Visibility and Revisions

The image below shows some other options in the Publish area (near top on left) to consider as you prepare to publish your post.

Publishing Your First WordPress PostThis image is the one currently displayed as I type this post.  I have designated the Status as Draft by clicking EditIf you are part way through your post and you need to save it and come back to it later, you can save it as a draft by clicking the Save Draft button on the left near the top.

So far, I want this post to be available to the general public which is the default of Visibility: Public.  If I click Edit there is a check box which gives me the option to stick this post to the front page. This will place it at the top of the Blog page until a new post is published.

I can also make it Private which means that only I can see it; or I can Password Protect it  (which I might decide to do if I only want some of my WordPress students to view it). In that case, I would have to give my students the password so they could access it.

Revisions is a box that sits below your content editing box.  It displays revisions you have made. It will not show up at all until you have made a revision. A revision is a change saved after you have either published a post or saved a draft.  When I click the arrow on the far right, the box expands to show all of my revisions. I see:

If you click one of the dates, you will see two columns.  Each column has a different version of your post for easy comparison.  The one on the right is the one that you will choose if you click the Restore this Revision button.

How to make revisions on a WordPress post

If you drag the little arrow button to the left, it will scroll along to previous versions of your post. If you decide you don’t like this version, you can scroll again and choose another version.

Posting From Email

The built-in feature that enabled posting from an email account to your WordPress blog is discontinued. Now WordPress is suggesting using one of these plugins if you want to be able to post from your email:

WordPress App

A final option for busy people who are comfortable using their phone or tablet is the WordPress App (for Android or IOS).  Get it from the PlayStore or iTunes.

Share With the World!

Once you have finished your post, click the blue Publish button to make it live on your site. But don’t stop there – share it!  Read this article by Brody Dorland if you are ready to use other platforms to bring readers to your WordPress posts.

 

WordPress Post EditorTool Bar – Demystified!

Demystifying the WordPress Post Editor Tool Bar

 

Updated January 15, 2017

The WordPress Post Editor Tool Bar is one of the things that makes WordPress so user friendly.  The tool bar shown above is from the 2017 WordPress default theme.  If you have a different theme, your Post Editor may have more options.

The toolbar is visible in the Visual Editor mode.  By default you will be in the Visual Editor mode. It enables you to type your posts just as you would in a word processing document (well almost).  The name/function of each little icon appears as you hover over them.  Don’t be afraid to type some text and play with these features! Nothing will go live on your site until you click the Publish button.

There are two tabs at the top right of the box where you type your post.  The tab on the left says, Visual and the tab on the right says, Text.  The latter enables the Text Editor mode which allows you to write code – we will explore that in a later post.

Note:  If you don’t see these two tabs, you may have checked the box:  “Disable the visual editor when writing” in the dashboard menu.  To correct this, go to Users>Your Profile.  Click to edit your profile then uncheck that box.  Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom and click “update your profile” to save the changes.

Text

If you have used word processing programs, then these options in the tool bar will be familiar:

  • bold text
  • italic text
  • strikethrough text
  • unordered list (bulleted list – like this one)
  • ordered list (numbered list)
  • underline text
  • align left/centre/right (can be applied to images and text)
  • align full (justified – can only be applied to text)

Distraction Free Writing Mode

If you have watched videos on your computer or mobile device, you are probably familiar with the “full screen” icon. WordPress calls it the “distraction free writing mode”.  When you click this icon, it presents (an almost) blank page for your thoughts. You will notice the tool bar at the top fades away and re-appears when you move your mouse.

Now for some less common icons….

Block Quote

“Block quote” is represented by a large quotation mark icon.  If you type text, highlight it and select block quote, it becomes indented, italicized and separated from the main content.  This is useful for quotations and other blocks of text you want to emphasize.

Link and Unlink Text

There are two gray (inactive) strange little figure eight-like symbols.  These are the “insert/edit link” (a chain link) and “unlink” (a broken chain link) icons.  Once you highlight some text, they become active and you can select them.  To turn regular text into a link, follow these steps:

  1. Highlight the text that you want readers to click on to follow your link.
  2. In the tool bar, click the “insert link” (chain) icon and a pop up box appears.  The URL field has “http://” already in it.
  3. Type in the URL (web address) for the page you want to link.  The easiest way to do that is to open that page in another tab of your web browser, copy the URL from the browser, and then paste it into the URL field. If you are using this method to get a URL, first delete the http:// that WordPress has already typed for you.
  4. The next field offers you the opportunity to give your link a title.  Readers will see this title as they hover over your link. Try to make your link title as helpful as possible.
  5. Lastly, there is a check box that will open your link in a new page or tab of the reader’s browser.  Sometimes you will want to do this, sometimes you won’t.  Unless you already have a preference, go ahead and check that box.

Insert More

The “insert more tag” is a link that is inserted wherever your cursor is.  It links to a new, separate page which is created for this post.  This new page contains the complete text of your post. The blog page now has only the first part of the text and a “continue reading” link.”  When the reader gets to the end of the text shown on the blog page, they can choose to click on the “continue reading” link to read the rest of the post (on the other page) or skip down to the next post. This function works well for longer posts.

There is another way to do this in the Settings>Reading dashboard menu by selecting either “show full text” or “summary” for each article in a feed.  If you select “show full text” then you can use the “insert more tag” giving you more control over where the post content gets separated.

Kitchen Sink

The “kitchen sink” is a nifty little icon that activates another row of options.  You may be familiar with:

  • text colour
  • insert custom character (symbol)
  • outdent/indent
  • remove formatting
  • help

However, you may not have used:

  • format (drop down menu)
  • paste as plain text (little clip board with a T)
  • paste from word (little clip board with a W)
  • undo (reverses your last action within the text box)
  • redo (reverses the last “undo”)

Format Drop Down Menu

The “format” drop down menu offers:  paragraph, address, preformatted, and headings 1-6. These functions are used by highlighting text and then clicking on one of them.

Paragraph

“Paragraph” changes formatted text back to plain text.  Highlighting your text and clicking “paragraph” will have no effect if you have not used any formatting.

Address

“Address” italicizes the text and decreases its width so that it stands out – the way you might want an address to look.

Preformatted

Selecting “preformatted” does nothing unless you have highlighted text or unless you start typing.  Then a new box (with a scroll bar on the bottom) appears inside the post.  This might seem a little alarming but don’t worry you can always use the “undo” option.  This preformatted box is usually used to display code and the scrolling box makes it easier to read and copy longer lines of code.  The text inside the box shows up in a basic font.

Headings

Headings help to organize your information and enhance readability.  Good headings also attract search engine attention.  “Heading 1” is the largest and they decrease in size accordingly. Use them wisely to make your posts more readable and improve your SEO!

Paste From Word

If you copy text from the Microsoft Word program, it will have formatting that does not jive with WordPress.  There used to be a feature for cleaning up Word formatting before it goes into your post but it has been discontinued.

If you find this too frustrating, type your drafts in another program such as Notepad++. Or better yet, use the draft feature of WordPress, add your content to your posts and save them as drafts until you are ready to publish.

Readability and More!

If you think you now have an understanding of this Tool Bar, you should read this excellent article, A Comprehensive Guide to Formatting Your WordPress Posts and Pages by Pamela Wilson,  describing how to format your posts for best effect and readability.

how to add a new page in WordPress

Add a New Page to Your WordPress Site

Add a New Page to Your WordPress Site

Updated: January 15, 2017

  1. Click on Pages in the dashboard menu list.
  2. Click Add New.
  3. Add your content (more about this later).
  4. Publish by clicking the blue “Publish” button on the right.
  5. View your site.  (You can do this by clicking on your site name at the top left beside the little house icon.)
  6. When you are looking at your home page the title of your new page does not appear in the navigation bar (under or above your site header). Don’t panic. You just need to add it to the menu.

Adding Pages to Your Menu

  1. In the dashboard menu list, click Appearance > Menus.
  2. At the top of the menus page, there is a box for the Menu Name.  Depending on your theme, your choices could be:
    • main menu
    • top menu
    • primary
    • top navigation
    • social menu

Unless you have made another menu, you will most likely only have one or maybe two choices (if your theme has a social menu).

  1. Choose the one that is not a social menu.
  2. On the left side of the menus page, there is a list of your pages with check boxes.  Check the box next to the page(s) you want to add.  You should see them added to the menu in the centre of your page.
  1. If you like, you can make “child” pages (sub pages) by dragging the pages to the right a little to indent them. They would appear in the drop down menu of the “parent” page title (not indented and directly above).
  1. Click to save the menu.  The tab will be at the top and will say something like:  “save menu” or “publish” or “update”.
  1. Now when you return to your website, the page you just added should appear as a clickable link in the navigation bar .