Lesson # 12 – Adding Images to Your Posts and Pages

By now you are probably curious about how to insert images, those on your computer and many more on the internet.   In this lesson we will concentrate on uploading images that you have in files in your computer, like the one I have shown on your left.    Like so much of WP, there is an abundance of ways to alter and shape whatever we do, but as usual we will focus upon figuring out something simple.

To begin, open up two more tabs and upload your blog site twice.  With one tab open up a New Post on your blog so you can work along with me.  With the other tab, open up your Support page, which you can reach by pressing Help under your name in the upper right hand corner of your blog site.   (By the way, when I’m working on this blog site, I keep three tabs open:  One for the front side, one for the back side and one for Support.   That, of course, allows me to sidle back and forth quickly.)

O. K.  So, now go to the Support tab and type in “insert images” in Search.   Images will be the first note shown to your left.  Click it and note that it mentions type of images you can upload to WP.  Not a big deal as the majority of images you probably have in your files are jpg.   Ignore the note below that unless you already know a lot about uploading images.  We’re keeping is simple…….

Jump down to Upload Image from Your Computer.  Read what it says and, then when you get to the point of being able to Select File, click that to upload an image from your computer files, like my niece Christie’s college graduation picture above (she’s now in the Peace Corp in Senegal).   Once you click Select you won’t see a change unless you scroll down a bit and, ah, there’s the image.  You’ll see some stuff to the right of the image and even more stuff listed below it.

For technophobes like myself, most of what you see is just stuff that will likely trip you up until you are ready to go beyond basics.   Switch tabs to the Support page and see the brief descriptions of the Images categories.  Are you there yet?   Scroll down to find these descriptions.   Now only pay attention to what is said about Alignment, Size and Edit Image.

Size:  There are more ways than one to adjust the size of your image (for example as shown in Edit Image located right below the image you uploaded), but you can also adjust your image in the simple, folksy  way of clicking on it and adjusting it by hand (write me if you need help).  It may not be precise, but I think it good enough for starters.

Alignment:   Following a number of words you’ll see a link to Image Alignment.   That support section should  help you to move the image around, while also wrapping the words around it, as I have done with the image above.  Or you can keep the image separate and move it to the center or to the right

to give it a  more prominent place.

Edit Image:  This is a “button” below the image you uploaded.  Click it and explore turning the image on its head, cropping it and whatever.  Or forget about it for now as I have.

Of course there is much more for you to explore in this section, but now at least you can upload some images from your computer and fit them into your posts.  AND TO YOUR PAGES, TOO, AS I HAVE BY INSERTING A PHOTO INTO THE DUNCES PAGE SHOWN ABOVE.

Lesson # 11 – Aspirin for Two Widget Headaches

If  you bring up your blog, and compare Blogrolls in yours and mine, you can see you have more categories.  I suggest you look at them and get ready to delete those you don’t want (you can always change back later).  How to delete them?   Well, one would think you would go to the Links (Blogroll) category that you dragged into the Primary Widget Area and delete what you don’t want…….but even though that would make sense, it doesn’t work that way.

Instead, you look at the laundry list of stuff beneath the Dashboard to your left and click that Links.  There you will see a list of URLs your blog is linked to, including all of those included in your Blogroll.  So, look for the ones you want to delete (categories, like Blogroll, are also shown which might help if your memory is bad like mine).  If you hover over the link name, you’ll see choices, and one of them is Delete.  Press that for each link you want to break and they will no longer appear in your Blogroll.

So, that’s one headache avoided, I hope.  Now you know a little about reconfiguring a category, what if you want to create a new category, like I have with:  Example Blogs? Well, essentially you want to create a new Widget, but the road to doing that lies through the same Links we went to for Blogroll deletions, not in the Widget area.

Hover over Links and then click Link Categories.  Once there, you’ll see:  Add New Link Category.  Below that type in the name of your category (Examples Blogs, or whatever) and click Add New Link Category.  You will see it pop up amidst the other categories.   And this is where it could get confusing, as you have not finished activating that Widget yet.  Note to the far right of it, no links are listed:   The category will not appear on the side bar on the front side UNTIL YOU CREATE A LINK TO SOMETHING.

Soooo……  Go back to Links, but this time click Add New, and you will see a box at the top to add the name of the Link, e. g. Kyle’s Blog, and a little below that a box to type in the URL.   There’s a whole lot of other stuff on that page, but you don’t need it right now, so just go to your right and click Add Link.  Now your category and link should appear on the front side.   To quickly view it, hover over the new category and click View and it takes you to the front side.  Part of the headache you just avoided was not realizing you needed to link your new category (e. g. Example Blogs) to an URL before anything would appear on the front side/side bar.

And now that you have created your own category, you could create more.  And now that you know how to delete parts of a given Widget, like Blogroll, you can delete parts of other widgets automatically constructed by the theme template.  Or you could delete any or all of the automatic widgets and activate or build others.

Lesson # 10 – An Introduction to Widgets

As always, please set up a tab for your blog.  After you have brought it up, move your cursor to the upper left corner and activate the drop down below the Dashboard .  If you look below it a bit, you’ll see a sub-category of Widgets (you could also scroll down the left adjacent “laundry list” to Appearance, but this is obviously easier)

On the Widgets page you will see two columns, the one on your left headed up with Available Widgets, the one on your right saying Primary Widget Area.  Think of the left side as the Widget supply room and the right side as possible destinations for activated Widgets.    Those listed there are the ones shown on your front page.   Soon you will be able to delete the ones you don’t want and add others.

On your left below Available Widgets is Inactive Widgets. That’s a separate storeroom which we’ll address later.  On the right side below Primary Widget Area is Secondary Widget Area and then four Footer Areas.  At some point the Primary Widget Area will fill up, so those are alternatives.

Rather than me explaining the differences, let’s launch a Widget and move it around.  On my blog you can see that I added a Blogroll, which you don’t have.   Let’s add that to your blog by doing the following:  Scroll down the Available Widgets until you reach Links.  Move your cursor there and click and drag Links to the Primary Widget Area and, if you move it up and down, you’ll see a box open under each category you hover over, spots where you can drop Widgets into.  It is simpler for you to play around with this than my explaining.

You can put Links at the bottom of that list, or squeeze it somewhere between the others.   You can than press a Save button or if you don’t want it saved, press Delete.  If you’ve saved it, move cursor up to the Blog Title above Widgets, click and see what it looks like on the side bar on the front side.

Then go back stage again and move it to one of those other Widget Areas and then go to the front side and take a look.  But wait….. With those other Widget areas you first need to click the arrow to the right to open up a drop space.  And Then…..go drag your Widget to it.   The Footer areas are, not surprisingly, at the foot of your blog.   They seem areas of last resort, where you put Widgets when the sidebar is filled up.

You might want to linger awhile in this area, moving a few Available Widgets to and fro to familiarize yourself.  Remember, whatever you add, you can later delete, so don’t worry about making a mess.

In conclusion, notice how my Blogroll lacks a few categories that automatically popped up when you installed it on your blog.   I didn’t find them useful, so I deleted them.  We’ll get to that in the next post.

Lesson # 9 – Gidget and Widgets

A simple definition of Widget is a “small technical device” which in electronic devices takes the form of an application, now in abundance in smart phones, for example.  In terms of this context, you can enrich your blog in numerous ways by activating or constructing a wide variety of these “apps”.  The Blogroll that I activated is one example.

What has this to do with Gidget?  Well, she was small, hence her name (a combination of girl and midget), played in the 1959 movie by that name by Sandra Dee.  Also, the movie was small time by Hollywood standards, but it is given credit by some movie historians as ushering in the surf lifestyle image to America at large.  The Beach Boys formed their band in 1961, and from there the vision went “viral” in that limited, not net-yet, 60s sort of way – radios, records and more movie classics like Beach Blanket Bingo.

To my mind, in a powder puff sort of way, it was also a precursor of the feminism of the 60s, as little but independent Gidget became estranged from her girlfriends when at 17 they became boy hungry.    Instead of chasing or alluring boys, her goal was to become a surfer, not as easy thing for a girl in what was then an almost all male pursuit.   Her spunk winds up serving her well, in more ways than one, but just in case you want to see the movie, I won’t say how.  If interested, here’s a taste of those times and that movie.

Either way, Gidget or Widgets….. are small activators of change.  And you pick your Widgets according to the impacts you want.

That’s enough for now.  We’ll get more serious in Lesson Ten.

Lesson # 8 – Pages, Pages and More Pages

As usual I would suggest you open up another tab and type your own blog on it, so you can go back and forth.

The difference between Pages and Posts, which you probably already know, is that you are reading a post while pages can be seen listed in that row below the photo above beginning with Home.  Pages can be used for anything, of course, but they generally give material you the reader might find useful grouped together and easily accessible.

To create a Page, you go to the Dashboard, then down the laundry list past Posts to Pages.   Below that click Add New, and there you’ll be staring at a space to write and title a page.   Then do what you’d normally do to put up a Post or edit or whatever.  Also, you could put some links on that page just as you can with Posts.   By now you might see that you can link just about everything to everything.

The Pages will appear in alphabetical order, which is OK with me on mine.  There is a way to change the order, but I don’t want to deal with that right now.  More important in my mind is the option to add Pages to your Pages, i.e. as sub-pages.   For example, under Help! I have added Tutorials as a sub-page and later might add  General Support or a number of other sub-categories of Help!

And under Tutorials, I have added Posts (what will be a tutorial on posts), so you  see how to pile up a lot of related info in this way.

Now it is your turn to create a sub-category.    Open up a new Page, title it and scribble something or leave it blank.   Then look at Page Attributes to your right and below that Parent.  Below, it says No Parent, but if you open up your list of pages there and pick one of them IT WILL INSTANTLY BECOME A PARENT, i. e. your new page will be listed under the title of your old page, as is my Tutorials page listed below my Help!.

To conclude, lower down below Page Attributes is the topic of Order.   Therein lies the path to change your page order, but I’ll leave that for you to figure out if you must know right now.

I’m moving on to Lesson Nine.

Lesson # 7 – How to Link Your Posts

Two posts back, I directed you to that tutorial on Posts, which included a section on hyperlinks.  Perhaps you have already learned linking through that information.   If so, you can forget this post.  If not, open up a new tab for your blog site, and once there go to a post you have written and open it up for editing.  (You can do this either through the back end by going to  Posts (All Posts), or through the front end by going to the post and scrolling down below your self-description and click a little edit on the right of line of options.)

Let’s Link something now.  I just highlighted hyperlinks and then pressed the Link button in the format options above (just to the right of page Align Right), and then will do what’s instructed, filling in a link to Cbssports.com.  Why?   Because I like sports.  When I Update this (look to your right) , my “hyperlinks” above should be linked to that URL.

Now you go to your blog and pick a word(s) to link to some URL.  Remember the link won’t be activated until you update your post, i e. if you press it now, nothing will happen.

Assuming that went well, now let’s link to one of our Posts  within our blogs.  I’m going to link to Lesson Five, the Post I did on Posts.  So I highlight the word, click Link above and then look for Lesson Five in the list of posts and pages shown below left.  I click the Post I want to link to, and I’m linked (once I press the Update button to the upper right).

Finally, I will create a link to the tutorial section on creating links, so you can learn a few more things, if you want to, about links.  For me, this is enough for today.  Other than to link you to Lesson Eight.

Lesson # 6 – Changing Your Blog Title

By now some of you probably regret the title you first chose and, if you haven’t figured out how to change it, here’s how.  Go to Dashboard and click so the laundry list of options unfolds on the left hand side.  Scroll way down, click Settings, then General beneath it, and you will see the title you want to change if you look around a bit.  Also, there is a subtitle (Tagline) which automatically is:  Just another Word Press Blog…..  You may want to change that, too.

Initially my title mirrored my site address:  WordPressforDunces…  I just went back and put spaces between the words, but I might like the spaceless option better and change it back.  The point is you can always make little changes.

At school, didn’t you love it when on a occasion a class was cut short for an assembly or something?  We will get back to Posts in the next post, but now:  Class dismissed.

Lesson # 5 – A Tutorial on Posting and a Recap

The center pieces of your blog are the Posts that you write.

WordPress provides a general tutorial at http://learn.wordpress.com and the part on posting is particularly useful and found under #6 – Get Published.  In a minute, I suggest you go read that part of tutorial , explore some of the options and write a post or two.

A couple of suggestions:  When you arrive at Get Published, scroll down past the post vs. pages (we’ll get into that later), and begin with Create a Test Post.  Read that and do a test post, but don’t read their Edit Post section, as I think they give you too much too soon.  When you’re ready to edit your post, come back here…………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………Are you back yet?

Here’s what you most need to know about editing your posts.  Once you view them, you can scroll down below the post  and you’ll see a little edit button at the end of a line of buttons.  OR, YOU CAN SAVE TIME AND DO WHAT I DO AND PRESS THE RETURN ARROW IN THE TOP LEFT CORNER AND BE BACK AT YOUR POST AND READY TO EDIT IT.   After editing, press the Update button to your upper right (it is the editing version of the  Publish button in your the initial post). View your post and either be happy with it or return to edit.

By the way, if at any time you have trouble and want some help go back to the top right and hover over your name and look for the Help button below it.  Click that, type in a topic and a number of informational aids will pop up.  You can also click Support under the Blogroll to the right and arrive at the same spot.  Also, a link to learn.wordpress.com is located right below Support.

In the previous lesson, I introduced you to what I think of as the Theme Park.  Just to get a sense of the wide variety of  “looks” for your site you might go to Themes and swap out mystique for a few others – if you haven’t already done so – just to have a sense of future options.  You can change them, or change them back more easily than you can your clothes.

And you can explore quickly by pressing the View button next to the Activate button under the mini-image of  any theme, and then return to try another theme by clicking the “x’ button to the left of the new theme you see.  It is interesting how with a click the same information can be lain out so differently, with very different looks that prompt  such  different feelings.  But keep this in mind, the themes vary in the automatic apps given.   Mystique provides more options than some of the others, one reason I’m using it.  Another is I like the look.

Again, while the theme templates offer many possibilities, don’t get carried away with them right now.   To build a basic blog, your present concentration should be on Posting.  And then later, on creating Pages and later still on creating Links and developing Widgets which I’ll explain later…..and so on until you have a basic, functioning blog site that looks very much like mine.

You can branch out to your hearts content later.

Now on to Lesson Six.

Lesson # 4 – Diving into the Dashboard

The dashboard is the control panel for the blog site, but it looks more like that of a 747 than  that of a car, so it may seem overwhelming at first.   Move your cursor to hover over your name in the upper right.  When options open up, go down to your blog title and to the left should open up categories with Dashboard at the top.  Press that and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, you’ll be in a strange new world:  The Back End of Your Blog.

Now take a look at that laundry list of topics on the left side in search of Appearance.   If you hover over that,  a bunch of sub-topics will appear with Themes at the top of the list.

Your blog site was automatically molded by a theme when you signed up, and they call this theme Twenty Eleven.  As I indicated earlier, I changed my theme template to Mystique (maybe I didn’t mention my new theme’s name).  And I would like you to change yours to Mystique as well, to make comparisons easier.  At a later time, you can easily change to another theme or add another blog, but for now please stick with me.

Click Themes and you will be in a world of opportunities you might ponder for days, but not now.  Focus!  Note the theme they show at the top is Twenty Eleven, the theme they gave you.  To change your theme to mine, go to the Search box toward your right side and type in mystique.

A mini-image of that theme will pop up to your left.  It shows an activate button, and if you click it, your blog will look very different from what you have and very much like what I have.

Congratulations!  You now have a blog site shell like mine and we can work together to develop them in upcoming lessons.  Let’s go to Lesson Five.

Lesson # 3 – Let’s Linger and Look for Awhile

Instead of diving into the dashboard, the control panel in the back end, let’s linger a moment and look at what’s in front of you again.   In Lesson One I pointed out that most of what you see is the home page created automatically by a theme template.  

Why this theme?  Well, like you, I was given a theme by WordPress and used that to set up this blog site.   However, gradually I got tired of it and looked at other themes in search of a format with a bit more pizzas that also offered most of the the same options (themes differ in that regard), so that’s why you see what you see.   With a couple of clicks I could reformat this site to what I had before.  That’s one of the great things about WP themes.

As mentioned, the topics below the photo are Pages which I will help you set up.   You can add more pages and create sub-pages to those pages, but that will all  come later.

Now go back and forth between your blog site and this one.  If you look at the topics in the Side Bar to the right, you will see some match mine while I have added a couple more at the bottom.  Also, I deleted one topic, “Categories“, because it has little use to me now, and probably not to you.

“Categories”, along with other topics you see on your side bar, are automatically installed by your theme template.  These categories are installed by what WP calls “widgets“, which work like applications on a smart phone.  The theme template automatically installs some,  and you can delete or alter them, or install other standard ones.

Bloggroll is a standard widget I activated, while Example Blogs is one that I created and then activated, so we have three categories of Widgets:  1)  Ones automatically inserted by your blog theme template 2)  Ones you can select from a list of options in the Widgets section (under Appearance) and 3) additional ones that you create.   Probably there are more categories of widgets, but I don’t know them yet.

Now I suggest you click the various topics in my side bar to the right just to see what they are linked to.   As indicated, I have gotten rid of one topic and added two more that I think will be more useful.  I can easily change or get rid of them, or alter the entire site by choosing another theme.

Next post:  A tour of the dash board focused upon what I think you need to know most right now.