WordPress 101

View the WordPress 101 presentation (pdf format)



As privacy on the web goes, WP is perhaps one of the best.  But of course if you are in doubt, you should consider asking for legal advice on behalf of your organization.


Some things I recently discovered:

  • click Kitchen Sink in the WYSIWYG editor for any page or post (found among the rows of icons), and note the “Paste from Word” icon.  I used it for some of the text here- a convenient feature of WP.
  • check out Support Topic: Media  There are a lot of new things that can be added.
  • See help on shortcodes for some neat things to add to your blog. I finally figured out how to add a Google Calendar from this reference.
  • regarding keywords, better named metadata, read http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/how-do-you-insert-metadata?replies=6   If you set up your title, tagline, and pages correctly, you will get good SEO (search engine optimization).  Note that  text in a banner won’t be indexed by search engines.
  • Slideshows can be inserted and controlled within your WP Dashboard-Media.  See http://en.support.wordpress.com/slideshows/


The web is meant to be universally accessible.  However, some people have disabilities that prevent ease of use, perhaps even any use at all.  Visual impairments are particularly difficult, but there are ways to make your blog more easily readable for these individuals.

If you use WP, you have already taken a big step in this direction.  It is widely acclaimed as one of the most accessible content management systems (CMS) on the web.  However, it isn’t perfect.  There are at least three considerations:

  • Not all themes are equally accessible.  TwentyTen is probably one of the better themes.
  • Computer screen readers are a class of software that translate text on web pages to spoken words.  However, they have difficulty if you don’t help them along in two areas: links and graphics.  Regarding links, when you use the link icon in the WP WYSIWYG editor, ALWAYS ADD A TITLE.  Then when the pointer hovers over the link, the reader will speak the title.
  • Regarding graphics, when you add a picture to your page or post, always add a Title and Description (they may be the same; in general, the more descriptive, the better it will explain the picture to the person using the reader).

These steps can be a bother at times; I doubt that my WP blogs have 100% compliance, but I make the effort.  Consider that this small bother for you makes your blog readable to all the people who might be using the readers.

Here are some links that explain accessibility.  Note that the first one is a Firefox extension that checks your page for accessibility issues.


Web users expect relatively simply-stated, easily-read text, and pictures and links as well.  If you don’t meet these expectations, they may well pass over your site.

My goal for a Home page- not always met, but the ideal- is to write at a fifth-grade level.  This is not an insult to anyone, merely a recognition that a Home page written simply is the most attractive and useful option.

Writing at this level is difficult- the most critical part is using SHORT words.  Here are a two useful links for testing the readability of a web page or any text:

The first link tests a page by its URL; the second allows you to paste text.

So keep the Home page snappy and easy to read with some attractive pictures and useful links.  Then use supporting pages to get the heavy ideas across.

MOBILE THEMES: Appearance- Mobile has the option to :”Enable mobile theme” for the increasing number of users who will reach your site by mobile devices.  There are also apps  for a wide range of devices.

USER ROLES: WP has four levels of roles Change role under Users- All Users; select the user (check in the box), then find the desired role in the “Change role to…” drop-down box at the top of the page.

PARENT/CHILD PAGES: In planning your web site, try to keep the main menu to no more than 7 or 8 pages.  Use “Page Attributes” in the sidebar of the page editor to group related (child) pages under a parent page.

ECONOMICS OF WP: About 1/6 of all web sites are WP-powered, but why aren’t its creators billionaires?  Here’s an interesting article about the economics of WP.

Your comments and questions are welcome below!


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