Find the heading Meta. Click on the link Login link underneath it. You will see a new screen with a place to type your user name and password. Enter the user name and password given to you by the general editor; then, click on the Login button.
Logging in will take you to the WordPress Dashboard. Near the top, at left, you will see a set of tabs: Dashboard, Write, Manage, Comments, Profile. The Dashboard tab is highlighted, meaning you are at the Dashboard “home”.
A short digression: our newsletter website is not a traditional HTML page or a set of HTML pages. When someone navigates to a page on the site, the page is made “on the fly” using WordPress, which assembles site content into web pages using templates written in a scripting language called PHP. All WordPress sites have one key thing in common. They have a front page which has a header (usually an image and a sort of masthead), one or two sidebars, and the rest of the page. The rest of the page is where most new material appears. This new material is attached piece by piece, the pieces being called “posts”. Because WordPress is actually a tool for blogging, it was designed so that posts appear with the newest on top, the older ones being pushed down. After a while, a post is archived and does not appear on the front page — but it can still be accessed by clicking on a menu or by using the site’s search tool.
That said, you want to know how to write a new post. Once you’ve logged in click on the Write tab in the Dashboard.
THE WRITE TAB
The Write tab will now be highlighted. Below it, you will see only a single tab, Write Post. Below that is a simple form.
At the top is a place to enter a descriptive one-line title for your post, the Title text field.
Below the Title field is the Post section, which contains two tabs — Visual and Code. Ignore the Code tab unless you know HTML — you don’t really need it, anyway. The Post section consists of a toolbar and a text-entry box. If you click the right-most icon on the toolbar, you will get a second line of toolbar icons. (The right-most icon is the one that looks like a row of tiny colored bits above two rows of tiny colored bits.) You can guess what most of the icons mean, assuming that you are familiar with a word processor that still uses this kind of toolbar. Most are pretty obvious, and if you pass the mouse cursor over each one, a pop-up hint appears.
I suggest that while you read this, you open a second browser window so that you can log in and follow along. Either that, or print out this page so that you can log in and follow along in your browser as you read this on paper.
WRITE POST TOOL ICONS
Here are some of the less obvious tool icons:
- chain-link: insert a web link [available only when text or an image is selected]
- broken-chain-link: delete a web link [available only when a link is selected]
- pretty-green-tree: insert a picture from a file on your computer
- white-box-dotted-line-more-white-box: insert a “more” tag [This breaks your post so that everything above the tag is a "teaser" which appears on the front page; the rest of the post appears only when the reader clicks on a "more" link that appears in the published post. If your article is longer than paragraph or so, use a "more" tag so that visitors to the newsletter's front page will not have to scroll down so far to see other recent stories.]
- suitcase-with-a-T: paste something into the window, but forcing it to become plain text, no matter how it was formatted before
- suitcase-with-a-W: paste something into the window from MS Word, preventing Word from inserting all the junk formatting codes it wants to add [This one is very important. Do not try to copy-paste from MS Word without it!]
brush: "clean up messy code" [never tried it myself]
INSERTING A PICTURE
To insert a picture into a post, you must first upload the picture from your computer. You cannot simply copy-paste (this is unfortunately a fact of life when working with web pages). Scroll down to see the Upload tab and everything down to the Upload button. To identify the image to insert, click on Browse. Navigate to the file on your computer, select it, click the Open button (in Windows, anyway) in the file selection dialog. The file name will then appear in the text area next to the Browse button. Click the Upload button. The file will upload. When the upload is complete, you will then see two tabs -- Upload and Browse (a new tab), with the new Browse tab highlighted. You will also see that the Upload button is gone, and there is now a Send to editor button. Leave the File radio button checked and click on Send to editor. This will make the image visible in the post. Note: the left-center-right-full justification tools do not work with images. It's best to leave them left-justified in a post. Images should be set off from the text, not on the same line as any of the text.
CONTROL PANELS IN WRITE POST
Below the Upload tab and also down the right sidebar of the page are a number of control panels. You can safely ignore the ones at the bottom. Only the top two in the right sidebar are really of importance to you most of the time. The top one is the Categories control panel. It is just a place where you can check off what topical category or categories the post belongs to. The Discussion control panel is where you can allow comments and pings. Comments (by readers) by default are turned off. It is rare in a newsletter that you would want them turned on. Pings allow search engines to find (and thus to index) the post. By default these are turned on so that Google, Yahoo, etc. can find our news items.
Other buttons and links of importance include the following:
- Delete this post button [near the very bottom of the page -- scroll down if needed to see it]
- Save and continue editing / Save buttons [just below the section where you type your post; clicking either saves the post]
- Publish button [next to the Save button; the post is not actually visible on the website until it is "published"; once you publish a page, this button goes away]
- View site link [near the top of the page; links to the site's front page; if you want to see the front page to see how your post looks but also want to keep the editor open, just right-click on the View site link and choose open in new window / tab]
Next to the Write tab is the Manage tab. Under this tab, you can edit (or delete) your existing posts, or upload new images or delete images you have previously uploaded. If you have allowed comments to any of your posts, you can moderate those comments (allow / disallow individual comments) under the Comments tab. The Profile tab allows you to update your user data, such as your name, e-mail address, and so on. It is also where you can change the password you use to log on to the newsletter website.
When you are finished working in the Dashboard, log out via the Sign Out link in the upper-right of the page.