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5.2 – Posts

Posts are content entries that display in reverse chronological order on your home page. As new posts are published older posts are archived based on month and year. Posts can also be organised based on categories and tags.

Posts are included in your site’s RSS feed and will be delivered to subscribers when published. The timely nature of posts encourages sharing via social media e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc and discussion via the optional commenting features.

The WordPress post edit screen is divided into two columns. The column on the left contains the post title and post content editor. On the right hand side are meta boxes to configure post settings. Additional meta boxes can be found by clicking on the Screen Options tab at the top of the page. From the set of options that is displayed you can then decide which meta boxes are visible or not. Just check or un-check the boxes to show or hide the elements.

Creating A Post

To write a post:

  • Log in to your WordPress Administration Panel (Dashboard).
  • Hover over the ‘Posts’ tab then click the ‘Add New’ sub-tab. Alternatively hover over the + New link in the Admin Bar then click ‘Post’.
  • Enter your post title in the upper field and enter your post body content in the main post editing field.
  • As needed select a category, add tags, and make other selections from the sections below the post.
  • Click Publish.

To the top right of the content there are two tabs: Visual and Text.

  • Clicking on the Visual tab will open the visual ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) editor and display a toolbar with options for formatting the post. The Visual tab is a rough approximation of how your content will present.
  • Clicking on the Text tab will open the plain-text HTML post editor for editing the content for the post and styling it with HTML code.

Post Fields

Title/Headline Box

The title of the post. You can use any phrases, words or characters. Avoid using the same title twice. You can use commas, apostrophes, quotes, hypens/dashes and other typical symbols. WordPress will then clean it up to generate a user-friendly and URL-valid name of the post (also called the “post slug”) to compose the permalink for the post.

Post titles can be any length though keeping them in the 50-60 character range will help ensure they display correctly on the site and in the Google search engine results. This will prevent them from being truncated, or becoming too long.

Body Copy Box

The blank box where you enter your writing, links, links to images, and any information you want to display on your site. You can use either the Visual or the Text view to compose your posts.

WordPress will automatically save a draft of the post which will be temporarily stored in your WordPress database. When the post is saved and as more content is written WordPress cleans up your autosaved temporary draft and replaces it with a new one. This process ensures that you do not lose your content due to internet connection or hardware failure.

The footer area of the content editor displays the current draft autosave status and word count for the post.

Formatting options can be found in the Post Editor Toolbar above the Body Copy Box and include:

  • To bold, italicise or strikethrough text.
  • To create bulleted and numbered lists.
  • To block quote which will indent and italicise style the selected text.
  • To align left, center or right.
  • To insert the more tag to display a read more link.
  • To write your posts in distraction free mode which will take you to full-screen writing mode. To exit out of this mode, we’ll click ‘exit fullscreen’.
  • To Show/hide the kitchen sink which will reveal another line of formatting options for adding heading styles to your text, underline text or setting a full alignment.
  • To change the color of you selected text.
  • To paste text.
Permalink

Permalink stands for “permanent link”. That means a post URL that does not expose the post ID. This post name (also referred to as “post slug” or just “slug”) can be edited, depending on your Permalinks settings, using the “Edit” button. (To change your settings, go to Administration Panels > Settings > Permalinks). The permalink is automatically generated based on the title you set to the post and is shown below the title field. Punctuation such as commas, quotes, apostrophes, and invalid URL characters are removed and spaces are substituted with dashes to separate each word.

Publish

Publishes your post on the site By default, at the time the post is first auto-saved, that will be the date and time of the post within the database. The Publish panel controls the state of your post and provides the following options:

  • The ‘Save Draft’ button stores a draft of the post. WordPress also auto-saves your posts as you write them.
  • The ‘Preview’ button opens a new tab displaying how your post will look in it’s current state if published.
  • Edit ‘Status’ allows you to set a status for your post: Draft, Published or Pending Review. A Published status means the post has been published live on your blog for all to see. Pending Review means the draft is waiting for review by an editor prior to publication. Draft means the post has not been published and remains a draft for you. If you select a specific publish status and click the update post or ‘Publish’ button, that status is applied to the post.
  • Edit ‘Visibility’ allows you to determine who can see you post. It can be displayed publicly, password protected or made private. Public posts will be visible by all website visitors once published. Password Protected posts are published to all, but visitors must know the password to view the post content. Private posts are visible only to you and those with editing privileges on your site.
  • Edit ‘Publish on’ displays time and date options in order to schedule posts.
  • ‘Move to Bin’ deletes the post. Deleted posts can be found under in the bin and you can restore them for up to 30 days if need be.
  • The ‘Publish’ button makes your WordPress post public immediately unless it was scheduled, in which case it will appear on your site on the scheduled date and time. The post can still be edited and updated after it’s been published. Any changes that you make will go live as soon as you hit the Update button on the post editor screen.
Post Tags

Refers to micro-categories for your blog, similar to including index entries for a page. Posts with similar tags are linked together when a user clicks one of the tags. Tags have to be enabled with the right code in your theme for them to appear in your post. Add new tags to the post by typing the tag into the box and clicking “Add”.

Categories

The general topic the post can be classified in. Generally, bloggers have 7-10 categories for their content. Readers can browse specific categories to see all posts in the category. To add a new category, click the “+Add New Category” link in this section. You can manage your categories by going to Administration Panels > Posts > Categories.

Send Trackbacks

A way to notify legacy blog systems that you’ve linked to them. If you link other WordPress blogs, they’ll be notified automatically using pingbacks. No other action is necessary. For those blogs that don’t recognize pingbacks, you can send a trackback to the blog by entering the website address(es) in this box, separating each one by a space. See Trackbacks and Pingbacks for more information.

Custom Fields

Custom_Fields offer a way to add information to your site. In conjunction with extra code in your template files or plugins, Custom Fields can modify the way a post is displayed. These are primarily used by plugins, but you can manually edit that information in this section.

Discussion

Options to enable interactivity and notification of your posts. This section hosts two check boxes: Allow Comments on this post and Allow trackbacks and pingbacks on this post. If Allowing Comments is unchecked, no one can post comments to this particular post. If Allowing Pings is unchecked, no one can post pingbacks or trackbacks to this particular post.

Post Author

A list of all blog authors you can select from to attribute as the post author. This section only shows if you have multiple users with authoring rights in your blog. To view your list of users, see Users tab on the far right. For more information, see Users and Authors.

Revisions

A list of all revisions made to the current post or page. Clicking on a revision will open a dedicated revision change where you can compare the current version of the post or page with any previous versions. There is also an option to restore any previous versions.

Scheduling Posts

Posts can be scheduled to publish at a specified time. To do this click ‘Edit’ next to ‘Publish on’. A drop-down option will appear to select the month, date, year hour and minute to publish the post.

Setting this will cause the ‘Schedule’ button will appear in place of the ‘Publish’ button. Clicking the ‘Schedule’ button will show that the status of the post has changed to ‘scheduled’ with details for the exact date and time it will be published on your site.

To reset the post to publish immediately click the Edit link next to the scheduled publish time and update the time to today’s date and the current time. The ‘Publish’ button will appear in place of the ‘Schedule’ button. Click the “Publish” button to publish the post immediately.

Password Protecting A Post

In the post panel look to the right of the screen to find the heading ‘Publish’. Find the ‘Visibility’ option and select ‘Edit’. This will open a list whose options are ‘Public’, ‘Password protected’ and ‘Private’. By default posts will be set to ‘Public’. When you select ‘Password protected’ a text box will appear for you to set the password. Type something in, click ‘Ok’ and publish your post.

post visibility password

When the post is viewed this is what you get: the post can only be seen after the correct password has been entered.

password protected post example

Categories and Tag

Categories and tags can be used respectively like terms in a contents and index page: they provide an organizational structure to your WordPress posts.

Categories

Categories provide a way to organise posts by a particular topic. Clicking on a category will display a page listing all posts with that category in a chronological list. That list can be set to include the complete post or post excerpts, and additional information such as the post title, author, publish date and time the post was last modified.

Add a New Category

From the WordPress dashboard go to Posts > Categories. There are four boxes in which to add relevant information to create a new category:

  • Name: Add the name of your category.
  • Slug: Add the URL slug for your category.
  • Parent: Assign a parent for your category to create a hierarchy, if required. For example, you might have a parent category of ‘Psychology’ and a child category for the author ‘Csikszentmihalyi’.
  • Description: Add a description for your category to add more details about the posts assigned to that category. Not all themes will display this information though some will and it may prove useful for readers.

Click ‘Add New Category’. The new category will be displayed in the list of categories. To assign a post to this category click the checkbox next to the category in the Posts editor.

Tags

Tags provide a way to organise posts by a particular term. Clicking on a category will display a page listing all posts with that category in a chronological list. That list can be set to include the complete post or post excerpts, and additional information such as the post title, author, publish date and time the post was last modified.

Add a New Tag

From the WordPress dashboard go to Posts > Tags.There are three boxes in which to add relevant information to create a new tag:

  • Name: Add the name of your tag.
  • Slug: Add the URL slug for your tag.
  • Description: Add a description for your tag to add more details about the posts assigned to that tag. Not all themes will display this information though some will and it may prove useful for readers.

Click ‘Add New Tag’. The new category will be displayed in the list of tags. To assign a post to this tag click the checkbox next to the tag in the Posts editor.

Post Excerpt

An optional summary of your post featured on the front page of your site as well as on the category, archives, and search non-single post pages. A Post Excerpt only appears in your post if you have modified the template file listing the post to use the_excerpt() instead of the_content() to display the Post Excerpt instead of the full content of a post. If this is the case WordPress will use as the first 55 words of your post content or the content before the quicktag. If you use the “Excerpt” field when editing the post this will be used. When readers subscribe to your website via RSS feed the excerpt can be displayed.

Featured Image

Most WordPress themes support featured images or post thumbnails for articles. These are single images that represents the post. They display as per the theme settings. Common locations include on the posts page and search archive pages. The featured image may be displayed in an RSS reader. By default each WordPress post can have only one featured image. Some themes increase this number.

To set a featured image:

  • Click on the Set featured image link to open the Media Library.
  • Select an image from the Media Library or upload a new file.
  • Click the ‘Set featured image’ button.
  • The chosen image will be displayed in the Featured Image box. After the post has been published, it will then be displayed as part of the post as per the theme settings.
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