Do you feel like you’ve established who your ideal customer is (if you need more help with this, check out my Attract & Boost course to learn how to identify and attract your ideal customers) and you know you need to write blog posts? You may even have a topic in mind.
The problem is that you’re just not sure how to use your WordPress site and you’re scared to death that you’ll mess it up if you try to publish anything.
Last week, a lovely business owner confessed that this very fear has been holding her back from writing blog posts. As she put it, she’s “absolutely terrified of the techy stuff”.
If this sounds at all familiar, the next few blogs I’m going to publish are for you! I’m going to help you push through your techy fears to get that all-important first WordPress blog live.
Let’s get started with the first in the series – How to log in to WordPress and write your first blog.
Step 1: Log in to WordPress
Go to yoursite.com/wp-admin and log in with your username and password. This will let you in to the WordPress dashboard, which is the behind the scenes area of your website where you can add or change content.
Check the “Remember me” box if you’re the only person who uses your computer.
Click Log In.
You will have set the username and password when you first installed the theme for your website. If someone else built the site for you, they should have provided you with the username and password.
Step 2: Create a new post
There are several ways to add a new post to your WordPress blog.
Method 1: The easiest option is to float your mouse pointer over Posts in the main menu (which runs down the left-hand side of the screen) and then click on Add New in the expanding menu.
Method 2: Another way of doing this is to let your mouse pointer float over + New in the top horizontal menu and select Post from the dropdown menu.
Method 3: A third option is to click on the Posts tab in the main navigation menu (instead of just hovering your mouse pointer over it).
This will bring up the Posts screen, which is where you can see all of the articles/posts either published on your blog or saved as drafts. Click on Add new to start a new post.
(I’ll explain more about the Posts screen later in this “How to” series ?)
Step 3: Give your new post a title
All of the above methods will bring you to the Add a New Post screen.
In my next article in this series, I’m going to walk you through the anatomy of a perfect blog post and what this mean in relation to all of the different options you can see in the Add a New Post screen.
For today though, let’s stick with the basics.
You need to give your new post a title. I’ve marked the field in red below (you’ll also see that it says Add title here):
You’ve probably heard me talk about H1 headings before. The H1 tag is essentially a label that tells search engines that this what the post is about. It’s the most important heading on the page. The title you put in here will be your H1 heading for your new post.
Try to accurately describe what the post is about, making it as compelling as possible to keep people reading.
Step 4: Write your blog
As you can see from the screenshot above, the large box below the title field is where you put the text, images or any other content that you want to appear in your blog. You can type straight into this box if you want or you can copy and paste the text from a Word document (most people do this).
You’ll notice that there’s a formatting toolbar above the content box.
In my next blog in this series, I’ll be looking at formatting your blog in more detail as we want to make it as readable and SEO-friendly as possible.
As an overview though, the formatting box lets you do things like:
- Format your headings and give them heading tags (click on the little dropdown menu that defaults to Paragraph to do this)
- Turn text to bold or italics
- Add bullet points or a numbered list
- Format text to show that it’s a quote
- Align the content to the left, right or centred
- Add in a hyperlink
Other options may appear on this toolbar. It will depend on which plugins you’re using on your website. For example, you’ll see on my formatting toolbar that I have options to add in a pop-up, include a form or add social sharing buttons.
As with formatting tools in programmes like Word, for example, just highlight the text you want to apply the formatting changes to and click your chosen button.
Want to see what the formatting changes look like before you publish your blog?
Just click on the Preview button in the Publish panel to the right on the main content box:
This will open a new tab in your browser showing what the post will look like when it’s published on your website.
Step 5 (optional): Insert images into your WordPress blog
Pictures or other visual media can help to break up the text in a blog and make the content easier to scan. They can also highlight the points your written content is making.
If you want to add a picture or infographic somewhere in your post, simply click on the Add media button above the formatting toolbar.
This will bring you to the Add Media screen where you can see all of the images already being used on your website. If you want to add a new image, click on the Upload files tab that I’ve highlighted in red on the picture below.
As you will see, you can either drag and drop an image file from an open folder on your computer or click on the Select Files button. This will let you browse the directories, folders and files on your computer. Click on the image file you want to add and hit Open.
I’ll be talking more about optimising images in my next blog in this series ?
Step 6: Set the featured image
When you publish a blog post, the “featured image” is the picture that will appear on your main blog list page of your website to promote the post.
Here’s an example of the main blog page from the SEO+ website:
Of course, how the featured image is used will depend on the design of your website. If you have a feature on your website that shows “Blog articles you might also like” or “Recent posts”, the featured image for each relevant article will display in these areas too.
In some blogs (again, it will depend on which WordPress theme you’re using), the featured image may appear at the top of your WordPress blog article.
The featured image may also be used as a thumbnail image for the article if it’s shared on social media so it’s a good idea to make sure it reflects the topic of the blog or even includes the blog title.
To set the featured image, you will need to scroll down the Add a New Post page where you’ve already added the title and written the article. You will see various panels on the right-hand side of the screen. You’re looking for the one titled Featured image.
Click on Set featured image. This will take you to a Featured Image screen where you can upload a file from your computer or click on the Media Library tab to the top left to choose an image that has already been uploaded to your website.
In next week’s blog, I’ll explain how to add an “alt tag” to this picture for SEO and accessibility purposes.
Step 7: Select tags and categories
People visiting your website may not know what blog posts you’ve published. Just as you would find content in a library organised by genre/category or the topics within a genre, you can do the same with your blog posts.
Categories cover the broad over-arching topics you will be tackling on your blog. For SEO+, the main categories are Analytics, Content Marketing, Google Updates, SEO and Social Media.
Of course, I blog about all sorts of information within each of these topic areas. Tags let you be more specific about the content within each category.
For example, imagine you’ve written a blog about a beginner’s guide to painting a seascape in watercolours.
The category might be ‘painting’ but the tags (which are more specific) could be ‘seascapes’, ‘watercolours’, ‘painting tips’ or ‘painting for beginners’.
Visitors to your site could search via the category or the tags to find the post – and other related content.
Quick tip: Don’t make your tags and categories too general (this will return too many articles as your blog grows) but don’t make them so specific that they only relate to a single article.
Ideally, each blog should only sit in one category but it can have multiple tags.
You can find the Categories and Tags panels on the right-hand side of the screen (they’re usually the two panels above where you just set the featured image).
To apply a category to an article, simply click the most relevant check box – here’s an example from my own WordPress blog:
To apply tags to a post, you can just type a list (making sure to separate each tag with a comma) and then hit Add.
Once you’ve been blogging for a while, you may find that you use some tags regularly. To check whether a tag has been used before or to choose it for a new article, just click on Choose from the most used tags and then pick from the list that appears:
You’ll notice that WordPress displays your most commonly used tags in a larger font to help you see your favourites at a glance.
Here’s a snippet from the tags on my site to show you what I mean:
Step 8: Give your article a bespoke URL
When you write a new post, WordPress gives the article a default URL, which is usually numerical. You will find this just under the field where you added the main title for your post:
A generic, numerical URL like this doesn’t tell visitors or search engines what the page is about. Before you hit publish, I recommend changing to a short, keyword/topic-focused URL. You can do this by clicking on the Edit button.
Type in the URL you want to use and click OK. You’ll notice that the first half of the address (your domain) is fixed. If you’re using more than one word in the post URL, use hyphens (–) to separate them.
(I’ll be talking a bit more about blog post URLs in my next blog in this series).
Step 9: Hit Publish!
You’ve done it! You’ve covered all of the essentials for publishing a WordPress blog post.
Yes, there are some more advanced things you can do to optimise an article – I’ll be covering these points in my next blog – but let’s not worry about them for now.
Remember, if you want to doublecheck what your article will look like before you commit to publishing, click the Preview button in the Publish panel (top-right of the screen):
If you want to save the article and come back to it at a later date without publishing, click on Save Draft, which I’ve highlighted in orange above.
We can see from the same screenshot that this article is just a draft because that’s listed as its Status. (You can find any draft articles you’ve written in the main Posts screen that we mentioned in Step 1.)
If you want to delay when an article is published (perhaps because you’re adding a batch of blogs to your website that you want to release at regular intervals), then you can click on Edit next to the Publish immediately option in the panel.
This will bring up a calendar display where you can manually enter the date and time you want the article to be published to your blog. Hit OK when you’re done.
Ready for your blog to be seen? It’s time to hit Publish!
Once you’ve been through this process a few times, it will become second nature. You honestly can’t mess anything up.
Just have fun and enjoy the experience of blogging.
Short of time?
If you’d like more help, we do provide a complete Monthly Blog Post Service. Do you want us to write them, optimise, publish and provide you with some posts to share on your social media platforms? We can do that all for you!
Or perhaps you know exactly what you want to write because your business is your area of expertise after all, but the thought of logging onto your website to upload and format it yourself fills you with horror?
No problem, we can do that for you and we’ll also fully optimise your blog post too which will of course increase its visibility and appeal in search so that more of your ideal customers discover and read it. Find out more about our Optimised Individual Blog Post Service here.
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Hazel Jarrett, director of SEO at SEO+, is well-known in the SEO space, has won many awards during her 20-year career and has been published on various well-known sites. Through her services and training programs, her SEO strategies have generated 10s of millions of sales for her clients, earning her a big reputation for delivering the results that matter.
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