how to set up your first wordpress blog post

So you have a new custom blog design, and you’re all fired up and ready to create your first post!  That’s great, as the whole point of blog design is to create something that frames your blog content, which is really the heart of your blog.  Setting up a WordPress blog post is easy, but it’s nice to have a step-by-step guide to show you exactly how to set up your blog post.  You can watch the video here or scroll down for a visual step-by-step guide.  Hint:  you can click on each screenshot to enlarge the image.  

If you are brand-new to WordPress and are looking for a basic introduction to the WordPress Dashboard, you can also check out this video first:
https://youtu.be/KEADHGUP5HA

Step 1:
Step 1

In your blog dashboard, go to Posts > Add New.

Step 2:

First of all, be sure that you are on the Visual, not Text tab in the upper right corner of your post editor
Step 2

Make sure the “Kitchen Sink” is enabled.  Sometimes, particularly on a new blog, the “kitchen sink” which expands the default WordPress toolbar is not enabled, so just double check that it is.

Step 3:
Step 3

Now, just like a Word document, place your cursor in the post editor and start typing your text.

Step 4:
Step 4

Probably the biggest question I get as a blog designer is how to style the text in a post.  There are a number of ways to style your text, just like in Microsoft Word.  First, select the text that you want to style.  On the toolbar, you can select the “B” icon to bold your text, the “I” icon to italicize it, the “U” icon to underline your text, and the “A” icon to color your text.  When you click on the “A” icon, a palette will open up where you can select a color for your text.

Step 5 (optional):
Step 5

As a blog designer, I am often asked about changing the size of text in a blog post.  I will just share my professional opinion, that this is not a good idea.  Wordpress specifically creates a basic “paragraph” font formatting that is meant to be used in blog posts and pages.  Adding too many different sizes makes your blog post busy and hard to read.  I feel that it is best to stick to Step 4, above, and either bold, underline, or change the color of your text to make it stand out in a blog post.  If you DO decide to change the size of your text, click on the Paragraph dropdown box in the toolbar.  Here you will find the WordPress pre-formatted font sizes.  Just highlight your text and select the style you want to use in the pop-up box.  However, one thing to remember is that your chosen text will not always appear exactly as it does in the post editor when the post is published.  This is because WordPress allows a blog designer to write additional code that will automatically format the Heading font in a blog.  So, if your blog designer has formatted the Heading 6 font to be a cursive font, the font will not appear cursive in the post editor, but when you preview or publish the blog post, the Heading 6 font will render as cursive.  This is one of the positives to hiring a blog designer to build a custom blog design template for you.  If you do want a specific style for your text that you can use again and again, your blog designer can add that feature in the blog code.

Step 6:
Step 5-1

To add a hyperlink to your text, select (which means click and highlight with your cursor) the text you want to link and click the link icon.  Paste the URL you want to link to into the popup box, and save.  If you wish to unlink hyperlinked text, just highlight the link, and click the Unlink button.

Step 7:
Step 6

Now, let’s look at adding images.  To add an image, just click your cursor where you want the image to appear, and click the Add Media button.

Step 8:
Step 7

You can either click on the Upload Files tab to select an image from your computer to upload, or you can select an existing image from previously uploaded images in your Media Library.

Step 9:
Step 8

Now, select your image (if you have used the Upload Files tab, your image will be automatically selected).

Step 10:
Step 9

 

When setting up a blog post, you want your images to be as large as possible (as blogs are visual).  So be sure to set the Image Size by clicking on the Size dropdown.  If Little Blue Deer is your blog designer, your blog will have been coded so that no matter how large your image is, it will auto-fit to the width of your post, so you can go ahead and select Full Size to ensure that your image will appear as large as it possibly can.

Step 11:
Step 11

If you click your mouse on any part of the image you have just uploaded, you will see a grey toolbar pop up where you can quickly set the alignment (right, left, center) of your image.  You can also click on the pencil icon to further edit the image.

Step 12 (optional):

You can set the alignment if you have not already, set image size, and if you want to link your photo to a custom URL , you can do that by choosing Custom URL in the Link To dropdown box and pasting the URL you want the image to link to here.

If you want to replace the image you have uploaded, you can replace it by clicking on the Replace button.  When you are done editing your image, click the blue Update button.  You can continue to add text and images to your blog post.  To add a space between lines of text or images, just use the Return button on your keyboard (just like in Microsoft Word).

Step 13:
Step 14

Now, you can place your new blog post into a category, and add tags to it.  If Little Blue Deer is your blog designer, most likely an area will have been set up in your navigation bar for your main blog categories (eg. Fashion, Style, Inspiration, Recipes).  So if you want to add your post to one of those categories, you can either check the box next to the existing category, or click on the blue Add New Category link.  Type the name of the new category you want to add, and click the gray Add New Category button.  You can add more than one category.  If you want to further classify your post, you can also add Tags (optional).  Tags might be, if you had the main category “Recipes”, you could add the tag “Desserts” to your post as well.  Alternately, if you had a main category called “Recipes” you could create a new category called “Desserts” and add it beneath the “Recipes” Parent Category.  To add a new category beneath an existing category, you would first select “Recipes” from the Parent Category dropdown under “Add New Category” above.  Then name your new category (eg. “Desserts”), and click Add New Category.  Then you could further classify the Recipes > Desserts post by adding tags like “Pastry” “Pies” or “Cakes”.  This makes it easier for readers to find the post they are looking for.

Step 14:
Step 15

Finally, you will want to scroll down to the bottom right corner of your post editor, and set the Featured Image for your blog post.  I will go into more detail about Featured Images and what they are used for in WordPress in a later post, but the important thing is to go ahead and set the Featured Image by clicking on the blue Set Featured Image link.  Upload the image you want to use.
*Keep in mind I am using screenshots from my own blog which has various extra plugins installed, please do not be confused by any extra settings that you see on the screenshots and just follow the instructions in pink!

Step 15:
Step 16

You can preview your post before publishing by clicking on the gray Preview button.  When you are ready to publish your post, click on the blue Publish button.  Remember, you can always go back and edit your post if you want to make a change to it.