Since I’ve spent a lot of time teaching people how to publish their very first posts (exciting!), I decided to put together a simple (and pretty) guide to doing exactly that. Also, the next how-to is going to build on this knowledge with some tips on hosting and uploading photos, so jump in when you’re ready or pass these on to someone who might find it useful.
Here is a full overview of the basic functions when publishing a post. At the end, you’ll find a link to the downloadable PDF.
How to Publish a New Blog Post in WordPress
Once you sign up for your WordPress account, you’ll receive an email from WordPress with your username, password, and your login URL. Input your username and password here.
Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be magically transported to the WordPress dashboard / admin page. There are a lot of options inside the dashboard (and you should definitely poke around and explore those)! For now we’re just going to focus on adding a new post.
The first thing to familiarize yourself with is the menu. Running vertically down the left hand side of the screen is the WordPress menu bar; these are all of the immediate actions you’ll need for your blog.
For most of the actions, hovering your mouse over the blue text in the menu bar will bring up a sub menu (as shown above). If you haven’t already, hover over the Posts bar and slide the mouse along to the right and then down to select Add New.
(You can also click on the posts menu and the submenu will open below).
Here’s a simple list guide of the options with a handy number-coded guide just for you.
1. Name your post.
This is where you enter your post title. Your post title also forms part of the direct link (also called a permalink) to this post, so try to remember to fill this in first or you might end up with an empty (and slightly confusing) URL to the post.
BONUS TIP: If you’re stuck on what to title your post, think of the words or phrases someone might search for that could land them on that blog post. For example, if you’re posting a recipe for an amazing macaroni and cheese recipe, a post titled “Recipe: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese” is much more clear (and will attract more relevant search traffic) than “Warning: This Post May Make You Hungry,” true as that may be.
2. Write your blog post.
This is where the magic happens. The posting box is where you put your post content. There is a word counter at the bottom, so you can keep tabs on how long-winded you’re getting.
3. Format your blog post.
Just above the post content box are all of your formatting options. These are very similar to the ones you’d be given for email formatting. The quickest way of figuring out what each one is for is to just hover the mouse over for a moment and the description will pop up.
4. Periodically save your drafts.
WordPress will save your post automatically at intervals during your processing, but the Save Draft button is a great safe-button. You should make a habit of using it if you’re thinking of taking a break from writing a post.
5. Preview your blog post.
The Preview button will open your site homepage in a new window / tab with a preview of the post you’re writing. This is perfect if you’re adding images or doing some fancy formatting. I also tend to proofread in Preview so I can see how it actually looks and reads on the page, rather than in a draft window.
6. [Optional] Schedule your blog post for a time/date in the future.
If you don’t want to publish immediately, select the Edit button next to number 6 of the image and you can schedule a posting time and date for your post.
HINT: If you think about what time of day you generally crawl around the internet or read blogs then it’s quite likely other people will be doing the same. Approximately 10am-11am is a great time to post as people are just grabbing a mid-morning coffee. Lunchtime is also a great gap in the day for reading online.
Once you’re posting on a regular basis, and assuming you have Google Analytics installed, you can check your stats to see which days of the week get the highest amount of traffic and then schedule your posts to match those days.
7. Organize your blog post by adding categories.
Click on the Categories box to organize your posts. Here you can add categories or select ones that you’ve already created – sometimes these take a bit of thinking about, especially if you’re going to be using your categories to set up the aesthetics on your blog.
8. Optimize your blog post with relevant tags.
Tags are different than categories in that they are more specific. Think of these more like keywords than content organization.
Categories and Tags
Let’s talk about the difference between Categories and Tags real quick. A Category is a higher-level means of organizing your posts into broader topics such as “recipes,” “travel,” and “fashion.” Tags, on the other hand, are keywords and are much more specific. Tags on a post in the “recipe” category might be, “vegetarian,” “cauliflower,” and “slow cooker.”
The final step here is the all important publish button! Remember, if it says Publish then it will publish immediately. If you’ve changed the time and date you want it to go live then it will say Schedule.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’RE BLOGGING!