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Adding Protected PDFs and Documents to WordPress – Or Should I?

Adding Protected PDFs and Documents to WordPress – Or Should I?

There might be a time when you want to add a PDF document or a regular Microsoft Word document to your WordPress site. You may not want this information available for download and want to allow Read-Only access from your site. Although PDF documents can be password protected and you can also restrict editing and printing of the PDF, there are times when neither of these options may be quite what you need.

Restricting or Password Protection

If you don’t mind viewers downloading your PDFs as long as they don’t print or change them, follow the steps in Thor Benson’s post. He also suggests a way to prevent visitors from seeing your PDF unless they have a password, but that would be very frustrating for most readers.

Content Protection

The only way to prevent the average visitor from downloading or copying your content, is to make a new post or page and either typing your content there or pasting it in from your original document. Then you will need to install a copy protection plugin such as the WP Content Copy Protection plugin. This will prevent visitors from right-clicking to copy text or images. I did say average visitor, because hacker-types have other means of accessing your content. However, using a copy protection plugin is the most reasonable method for preventing most unauthorized copying.

If you decide that you don’t mind if someone downloads your PDF after all, or that you will just password protect it, follow these steps to create a PDF and upload it.

How to Add a PDF:

1.  Prepare your document in Microsoft Word as follows:

  • Give it a Title that will be helpful to readers.
  • Make sure that it is as you want it to appear on the internet.
  • Do a last minute Spell Check.
  • Click File and then Save As.
  • Under the title box, there is a box that probably says, Save As typeWord Document.
  • Click the arrow in that box and select PDF (*.pdf). (It will save in the same location as your original Word document.)

2.  Open the WordPress post or page where you want it to appear and click your cursor in exactly that place.

3.  Click the Add Media button just above the Tool Bar.  This opens the Media Uploader and the Media Library.

4.  Click Upload Files to get them from your computer. (Nothing will happen if it was already selected when it was opened.)

5.  Click Select Files to browse your computer and select the PDF file.

6.  Click on the PDF file on your computer, then click Open.

7.  Type the title of your document in the Title box (on the right).

8.  Retype the title in the Alt Text box (on the right) and add the word link. For example, if my title was 2014 Catalogue, I would type 2014 Catalogue Link. This primarily provides information for visually impaired visitors; however, it also provides a helping hand for your Search Engine Optimization.  (If you are curious about Alt Text, check out this description by David Ball.)

7.  Next, in the Media Uploader, click the Insert into Post button.

8.  The file appears as a text link on your page or post.  When your readers click on this link, the document will open up in a new browser page with a download bar overlay near the bottom.*

*If you have password protected the PDF, a prompt will appear asking for the password instead of opening the document.

Adding Downloadable PDFs and Documents to WordPress

Adding PDF documents or Microsoft Word documents to your WordPress site can enhance your customer service.  Maybe you want to add a catalogue, or a downloadable form for people to fill in, or information your readers can download. Follow these steps to get started!

How to Add a Downloadable PDF and/or Document:

1.  Prepare your document:

  • Give it a title that will be helpful to readers.
  • Make sure that it is as you want it to appear on the internet.
  • Do a last minute Spell Check.

2.  Open the WordPress post or page where you want it to appear and click your cursor in exactly that place.

3.  Click the Add Media button just above the Tool Bar.  This opens the Media Uploader and the Media Library.

4.  Click Upload Files to get them from your computer. (Nothing will happen if it was already selected when it was opened.)

5.  Click Select Files to browse your computer and select the file.

6.  Click on the file on your computer, then click Open.

7.  Type the title of your document in the Title box (on the right).

8.  Retype the title in the Alt Text box (on the right) and add the word link. For example, if my title was 2014 Catalogue, I would type 2014 Catalogue Link. This primarily provides information for visually impaired visitors; however, it also provides a helping hand for your Search Engine Optimization.  If you are curious about Alt Text, check out this description by David Ball.

7.  Next, in the Media Uploader, click the Insert into Post button.

8.  The file appears as a text link on your page or post.  When your readers click on this link, the document will open up in a new browser page with a download bar overlay near the bottom.

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 Pages and Posts – Explained

Let’s wade a little more deeply into WordPress pages and posts.  If you just want a quick definition, read:  WordPress Pages and Posts –  Defined.

Please keep in mind that each WordPress theme works a little differently.  I have written these instructions using the WordPress 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 free default themes.  

Static Site or Blog?

You can have a site that has many pages and no posts. This is called a static site.  A blog is a collection of posts – although it seems like a page, it is not.  It has a special format that is meant to be updated often. It allows you to add new content, in a post, to the top while pushing the older content (posts) further down the page. This allows your readers to see the new content first when they visit your page.

*It is important to note that you can tell WordPress which page you want your blog to appear on.

WordPress Default “Front Page” Blog

In a new WordPress site, the default Front Page is the one viewers see first and it is the one where the blog shows up and where your blog posts will appear.  If you have a new site and you have not yet made any pages, you could make a post (see Making Your First WordPress Post) and it would show up on the first “page” of your site even though you don’t have any pages yet.  At this point, if you were to click on the Dashboard Menu Pages, you would see a notation saying “No pages found.”

This can be confusing.  Essentially I have just told you that you have a Front Page where your blog shows up – that is not really a page.  Stay with me.  I can’t promise you that it will make sense just yet, but at least you will understand how WordPress “thinks”.

Why Make a Page for Your Blog?

I recommend that you make a page for your blog just to make life easier.  If the blog has no page, it is hard to find.  This might be frustrating later on for both you and your viewers.  Right now, you can easily edit the content of your blog by opening up the posts (click the Dashboard Menu “Posts>All Posts” and then select the post that you want to edit).  However, later on you might want to add other things to your Front Page (for example, a sidebar listing your most popular posts).

It is difficult for your viewers to find your blog once they have moved to other pages of your site (if your site has more than one page).  The Front Page will not appear in the navigation menu tabs unless a page is created for it, or it is linked to the navigation menu (more on that in a later post).

How to Create a Page for Your Blog

Let’s start by creating a Home page and a Blog page. We will set this up so that visitors “land” on your Home page first and then they can choose to read your blog by clicking the Blog menu tab in the navigation menu.  If you want to organize your site so that the blog remains on the Front Page and appears in the navigation menu, we will cover that option near the end of this post.

Read Adding a New Page for instructions.  Create two pages:  one called Home and one called Blog.  Once you have created your page and named it Home, you will want to tell WordPress that this will be the landing page – the first page your visitors see.

WordPress Themes Prior to 2014

In WordPress Default Themes prior to 2014, you can go to Dashboard Menu “Settings>Reading” and click “static page” and then below that select Home for the Front Page.  As you can see in the image below, I have selected my WordPress For You page as my Blog page.  Since you have just created a page called Blog, select that one for your Posts Page.

Designating a Static Page image

Designating a Static Page in 2012 WordPress Theme

WordPress Theme 2014

Designating a Home Page image

If you are using the WordPress Default Theme 2014, you can go to Dashboard Menu “Appearance>Customize>Static Front Page” and  where it says, “Front Page Displays” click “a static page” and then below that select Home for the Front Page.   Since you have just created a page called Blog, select that one for your Posts Page. Click Close to exit this Appearance menu.

Now if you haven’t done anything else to your site, you should see the two pages Blog and Home listed in the navigation Menu. If you have created menus you may have to add these pages to your menu (see Adding a New Page).

 

Now you are ready to start adding content to your Blog and Home pages!

 

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.

WordPress Posts and Pages – Defined

You can have a site that has many pages and no posts. This is called a static site because content you add to a page does not change (well, unless you change it).

A blog is a special format for a page that is meant to be updated often. It allows you to add new content, in a post, to the top while pushing the older content further down the page. This allows your readers to see the new content – post – first when they visit your page.

Think of the posts as little index cards of content that are shifted further down the page when a new index card is added at the top. Well-maintained blogs display new content regularly (every time the blogger adds a new post).