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WordPress School: Links

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.I’ve dreamed of teaching a class or workshop on nothing but links. Web links fascinate me. They are the connective tissue of the web, the glue that binds us all together in the virtual space, an economy in and of themselves, and links can save lives, they are that powerful.

In Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course I’m going to talk about links and all the ways to link within WordPress over the next few months. I have so much to say about links, I don’t want to overwhelm you, so let’s take this slowly.

In WordPress School: Addresses and URLs I talked about some of the various ways that WordPress generates links. In this assignment, we’re going to learn the very basics of how to make links in WordPress content. Read More »

WordPress School: Video

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.Images and video are the most common content published in WordPress and the web in general. In today’s tutorial from Lorelle’s WordPress School you are going to learn how to embed a video into a WordPress post as part of the ongoing work on the article series.

In the first article in the five-part article series you were to write an introduction article to your series. In the second post in the series you were to write a tutorial featuring headings, lists, and images. Today we are going to add video.

Your tutorial may not need a video but find something related to the subject to add to the post on YouTube, or make and upload one yourself to YouTube. Why not? It’s time to get a little more creative.

This tutorial requires you to learn two new words in WordPress: embed and shortcodes. Read More »

WordPress School: Week 5

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course last week, we started to cover a little more technical information focusing on code within the content areas and the way WordPress generates links:

In addition to the above assignments, I announced a special project assignment in our WordPress School Google+ Community, extra credit if you will. You are to choose a topic from a long list and write a short tutorial on your test site. Published tutorials have the opportunity to be republished here on this site as part of these WordPress School lessons.

Up for the challenge? Read More »

WordPress School: Forgetting the Post or Page Title

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In the last tutorial in Lorelle’s WordPress School I talked about WordPress addresses and URLs. In this tutorial, I want to cover what happens when a post or Page title is forgotten and left blank, and how that impacts the web page address. This discussion includes your first glance at the WordPress database.

We all do it. A slip of the memory, rushing to publish, the post title is forgotten, left blank. We hit publish, satisfied that everything is fine, our article flying out to the world of subscribers and social media, have a cup of tea to rejoice, then look at the front of our site and discover that the title is missing. Panic ensues.

Like the book said, don’t panic. This is all fixable, and survivable.

URLs - Forgetting the Post or Page Title - Lorelle WordPress School.

WordPress uses the MySQL database to contain and manage all the site’s options and data. When a post or Page is added to your site, the content and related data is stored in the database table and given an ID number, usually in sequential order. As covered in the previous assignment, the ID number becomes the underlying URL for that post. Read More »

WordPress School: Addresses and URLs

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.Someday someone will write a book about the complexities of website addresses, permalinks, pretty permalinks, nonces, preview links, conditional links, and all of the other linky link links that WordPress uses. Until that authoritative text book is written, you are stuck with my weak explanations.

As you move through the various assignments in In Lorelle’s WordPress School free course, you will often encounter some odd addresses, pageviews, and posts and Pages that don’t change no matter how much you edit them.

This tutorial is about the structure of WordPress addresses and URLs, those seen on the front end of the site by readers, and those generated by WordPress on the backend and part of the editing process. Understanding how the various linking systems work in WordPress helps you navigate faster and more efficiently in WordPress.

Keeping this very simple, here are some of the things you need to know about how addresses or URLs work in WordPress.

First, some terminology. Read More »

WordPress School: Paragraphs and Line Breaks

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.The previous assignment in Lorelle’s WordPress School covered the visual and text editors in WordPress. In this assignment, I’d like to focus on making paragraphs within both editors.

A paragraph in HTML is a container holding contextual content, the written word. The HTML of a paragraph opens and closes with the paragraph tag.

<p>This is a sample paragraph.</p>

If we were writing exclusively in HTML, every paragraph would have to have that tag wrapped around it.

In the WordPress Theme, specifically the stylesheet, the paragraph is styled to feature whitespace between the words and the paragraph above and below as well as within the paragraph itself, adding spacing between the paragraph and what is in it such as images. Read More »

WordPress School: Visual and Text Editors

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In this assignment in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course we are going to explore the Text and Visual Editors in WordPress. WordPress features the two editors on all posts and Pages.

The Visual Editor is the WYSIWYMG editor for writing content. This means it is the What You See Is What You Might Get editor. WordPress developers have worked hard to make the visual editor be as user friendly as possible and offer a streamline experience for the user to see how a post or Page will look on the front pageview of the site. The work continues, but until then, always preview the post before publishing to ensure it really looks like what you want it to look like, not what it shows you in the Visual Editor.

The Text Editor is literally a blank canvas onto which you may write, paste content from word processors, and spice up with a little HTML. Next week we will work on the HTML you need to know to publish with WordPress, only a few words.

Is there a right or wrong editor to use? No. These are choices. Hopefully after you work with WordPress content for a while, you will determine which editor works best for your needs, but be ready to switch if the need calls for it.

Editors WordPress Content - Screenshots of the Text and Visual Editors.

Today’s assignment is to learn about the differences between the two and how to use them. Read More »

WordPress School: Images

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In the previous Lorelle’s WordPress School tutorial we covered preparing images for uploading to WordPress. Today’s lesson is on how to upload and embed the images in posts and Pages.

As a reminder, the sequence and data required for uploading an image to WordPress is:

  1. Using the Media Uploader in a post or Page, the image is copied and transferred into a folder (directory) on your web host server typically named for the year and the month (wp-content/upload/2015/02/).
  2. The following information is collected and stored in the WordPress MySQL database. WordPress stores the file name as the title (database unique key) and sets the image size options based on the full-size of the image (the largest the image maybe displayed):
    • Location of image file
    • Date and time of upload
    • File name
    • File size
    • File type
    • Dimensions

I’ve spelled out most of the information you need to know about uploading and managing images in WordPress in “How to Add Images in Your Post Content.” In this tutorial and assignment, I will go into greater depth about the things you need to know about the process.

Also note that images on the web come under international laws for web accessibility. While these laws are not strictly enforced yet in the United States, they are elsewhere in the world. The laws apply to commercial websites owned and produced by public agencies and companies, non-profits, and companies either representing or affiliated with government agencies and offices. Personal and private websites are not impacted by the laws in general. Still, like speeding, while everyone speeds, ignorance of the law is no excuse. We learn it like everything else. Read More »

WordPress School: Week 4

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course last week, we covered:

This week, the 4th in this year-long series, we continue with the Article Series on your test site.

We will cover:

  1. Uploading images to WordPress
  2. Aligning and embedding images in WordPress
  3. Embedding Videos in WordPress
  4. The Visual and Text WordPress Editors
  5. Add a Gallery of images in WordPress
  6. Continue on with the article series on your test site where you will add images and video to the second post in the series, and a gallery in the third post in the series.

Want to Join Us?

Lorelle WordPress School Tips and Techniques Badge.While this course started the first of February, it is a year-long course designed to go at your own speed. Just because a few people started from the beginning, you are welcome to join at any time.

You do not have to rush to catch up. As one of the participants explained, “you will be ahead of us because you will learn from our mistakes.”

When you complete an assignment, you may share the link from test site in the WordPress School Google+ Community post for that assignment. No matter how far along the others are, and everyone is moving at a different pace, they will be there to cheer you on and help you through the process, as will I.

Come join us by introducing yourself to the other participants and tell us why you are here. We love meeting new folks!

It is going to be a busy week.

In addition to the above assignments, you will be signing up to do a presentation in our WordPress School Google+ Community about a WordPress and feature. I’ve announced the structure and process of the special assignment on Google+, and the list from which you will choose your topic will be available by the end of the week. You will have two weeks from acceptance to submit your presentation on Google+. It’s going to be so much fun to see the creative ways participants will teach us all how to use WordPress.

The next week we will continue to work on the article series, learning even more about how to publish with WordPress, dive more into WordPress multimedia, and start to look at WordPress Theme customization.

Our WordPress School Google+ Community has become very active. Join us by by responding to the assignment posts rather than starting your own thread on the assignment discussion. This keeps the discussions together so we can learn from each other as we work on each assignment.

Ready to rock?

This is a tutorial from Lorelle’s WordPress School. For more information, and to join this free, year-long, online WordPress School, see:

Subscribe to Lorelle on WordPress. Feed on Lorelle on WordPress Follow on Twitter. Give and Donate to Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on WordPress.

Web Writing HTML Entities Cheat Sheet

Blog writing tips and articlesOver the years I’ve copied and saved HTML Character Entities that I use on a regular basis, and I thought I’d share my cheat sheet.

These are important to me as a technical web publisher specializing in writing blogging and WordPress tutorials, so I’ve explained why and how I use them in the table below. They might not work for your needs, and they do not represent all of the HTML entities available, but they might inspire you to create your own cheat sheet. I’ve included a list of HTML Entities references at the bottom of the post to help you.

I keep this list in a text file in my constantly open text editor, NoteTab Pro. You may copy and paste these into a file in your favorite text editor, too. Do not put these in Word as it will probably mess them up.

Also note that these characters and symbols will look different on your site depending upon the font you are using. Read More »

WordPress School: Image Preparation

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In the assignment for Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course today and over the weekend, you are to work on preparing images for uploading to WordPress.

You will be adding a variety of images to your WordPress test site such as images to accompany your posts and Pages, portraits, images for galleries, design elements, sidebar pictures and graphics, call-to-action badges and images, header art, background images…you could paint your entire site with images.

Preparing images for WordPress may mean more than what I’m going to discuss in this course. It could involve scanning historical images and documents for sharing online through your WordPress site. It might include photographing artwork, products, services, or people associated with your site’s topic. It could involve creation of graphic images, digital artwork, to share and publish. It could involve editing images to manipulate them or merely crop or tweak them.

How you prepare your images for the final stage of uploading to WordPress is your process, and you are welcome to share your experiences and methods with our active WordPress School Google+ Community, but we are going to focus on the final stage, the preparation for uploading to WordPress and publishing the images.

Family History documents, photographs, film, and records for inclusion in a family history site.

There is much confusion about images and multimedia in general with WordPress. Many think they can just drag-and-drop or copy and paste from any source and paste it into WordPress much like they might into a word processor. While WordPress feels much like a word processor, it isn’t. We are getting closer and closer to making it easy to take a picture with our smartphones or wifi-enabled digital cameras and have it publish with little or no stress to WordPress. Until then, there are a few steps that must be taken before an image is ready for uploading to WordPress. Read More »

WordPress School: Terms – Administration Screens

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.One of the greatest challenges I have in teaching WordPress to clients, students, and in workshops and online courses like Lorelle’s WordPress School is the fact that WordPress keeps changing the interface and the names of the various interface bits and pieces. They are doing it again on with a “new and improved” interface and via their Jetpack WordPress Plugin with the new “one stop united Dashboard” feature.

A little history is needed in today’s tutorial on the naming of the WordPress interface, the backend, administration screens/panels, dashboard, codey-hacky part of WordPress.

In 2004, a small team that included me and early WordPress developers started naming all the interface elements in WordPress. The overall interface was called the Administration Panels. Today, these are called the Administration Screens, not far from the original.

Each panel or screen represented a collection of options and features in WordPress. Things were very simple, and I miss that simplicity. We had Dashboard, Write, Manage, Links, Presentation (Themes/Appearance), Plugins (only on self-hosted or managed versions of WordPress), Users, and Options. It made sense. If you wished to publish, you clicked Write and chose between publishing a post or Page by WordPress version 1.5. It was clean, minimalistic, and easy to use.

Then they started messing with it.

WordPress clearly had to improve the interface as the content management system became more and more complex and intricate. Posts and Pages were divided into separate screens, Options became Tools and Settings, and Presentation morphed into Themes then Appearance. I’m waiting for it to be called “Customization” soon as that is where the trend is going. Read More »

WordPress School: Contact Page

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course we are going to take a break from the article series and work on your next Page in WordPress. Save the second post in the article series as draft. We’ll come back to it.

As a reminder, WordPress Pages are content elements that exist outside of the reverse chronology of post content. They are the timeless content on the site. On your test site for this course you edited the About, a Page installed on WordPress by default. Today we add a second Page.

The Contact Page is the next most important content area on your site. It is the path through which someone might contact you, bringing you money, ideas, offers, business, and relationships.

A typical contact web page on a site consists of an introductory paragraph and a contact form. Read More »

WordPress School: Headings

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.Many people will tell you that the images you use in a published post are the most important visual elements on a web page. Don’t believe them. It is an HTML content tag that is often overlooked that is the most powerful visual element on a web page: the heading.

At this point in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course you should have written and published your first post and working on the second post, the tutorial, in an article series featuring a minimum of five posts. On that unpublished post, which we will work on this week and into next, you will have added lists and today we are working on headings. As we progress forward with the second post, you will be learning how to add images, bold, italic, links, and other content elements in WordPress.

Headings are section titles in an article. They are usually bold and slightly smaller than the post title font. They may feature some graphic design element depending upon your WordPress Theme’s design.

Headings break the content into digestible chunks, keeping related content together. They also serve to pull the reader’s eye through the content as they search for the information they need. Headings also add whitespace, blank space that adds space and room for your content to breath and rest in.

The structure of a typical WordPress blog post.

Think of headings as part of your article outline, a visible section title that helps the reader know where they are in the reading order of the article.

Headings are the second bit of HTML you need to learn in web writing. We’ve learned about the HTML in making an ordered and unordered list, today we learn about the basics of heading HTML tags. Read More »

WordPress School: The Second Post

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.Last week in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course you were to create your first post on your test site, the first in an article series to help you learn about how to publish posts in WordPress and start of the section in this course on “What Can You Put Into WordPress.”

This assignment is about the second article in the series, a tutorial.

The first article introduced the subject of the article series. This second article is a tutorial, a how-to, a guide, instructions on how to do, make, create, build, research, study, or accomplish something. You introduced the topic in the first post, and this one begins to educate your reader on the process. A tutorial or “how-to” article is excellent for learning all the various ways to present material to a reader on the web to improve their reading consumption experience. It is also the most common type of published content next to general editorial commentary.

In this article series consisting of a minimum of five posts, you will learn how to add headings, images, bold, italic, links, and other content elements in WordPress. So far, we’ve covered lists, and headings are next. Read More »


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