How to Write Blog Post

Write blog post!

You must be wondering about that. You might say writing blog post is quite easy and most of the people do not need directions for that. But a guide always helps you when stuck on some technical issue. Moreover, there are many features of the article writing which one may not know in the beginning. Therefore, I thought of writing this detailed guide to post writing which also includes how to enhance the post and schedule the post.

How to Write Blog Post – Technical Aspects of WordPress

A blog post can be directly written in the WordPress editor or written somewhere else like Microsoft Word and then copied to WordPress editor.

For writing directly in the WordPress, you need to reach the editor by which can be done in many ways

  •  By clicking posts> Add New in the admin interface
  • By clicking New on WordPress bar when you are logged in and viewing your blog
  • By typing yoursite.com/wp-admin/add-new-post

In either case, you would be taken to writing panel which looks like this

Here is little idea about different fields.

Title Field

You fill title here

Permalink Field

– When you fill your title, after sometime, this field is automatically filled. You can alter this to a better suited one if your title is not what you want in URL. This is especially true in cases where title is long.

Editor Buttons

There are two kind of editors in WordPress. Visual editor and Text editor. You can toggle between the two if you desire. Each is presented with its own buttons which serve to change the content looks and formatting.
For discussion, we would mainly resort to Visual Editor.

Add Media

For adding pictures, videos and other files.

There could be more buttons depending on your plugins. For example a contact form button is visible in the above page.

Know Your Visual Editor

As I wrote above, you can either write directly in the editor or paste it by writing somewhere else like MS Word.
In either cases, you would need to use “Visual Editor” for final formatting. So let us apprise ourselves with visual editor.

WordPress visual editor allows you to create content in a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) environment.

It  is  a modified version of TinyMCE editor. A look at the Visual Editor would let you know the different buttons available. There are two rows of buttons available and second row can be accessed by pressing Kitchen Sink button.

You can get to know the short cuts by pressing ? sign in the second row. You would get a screen like this

Rather than reaching for your mouse to click on the toolbar, use these access keys. Windows and Linux use Ctrl + letter. Macintosh uses Command + letter.

Letter Action Letter Action
c Copy v Paste
a Select all x Cut
z Undo y Redo
b Bold i Italic
u Underline k Insert/edit link

The following shortcuts use different access keys: Alt + Shift + letter. Macintosh uses Ctrl + Alt + letter.

Letter Action Letter Action
1 Heading 1 2 Heading 2
3 Heading 3 4 Heading 4
5 Heading 5 6 Heading 6
n Check Spelling l Align Left
j Justify Text c Align Center
d Strikethrough r Align Right
u List a Insert/edit link
o 1. List s Remove link
q Quote m Insert Image
w Distraction-free writing mode t Insert More Tag
p Insert Page Break tag h Help
x Add/remove code tag

Focus shortcuts:

Alt + F8 Image toolbar (when an image is selected)
Alt + F9 Editor menu (when enabled)
Alt + F10 Editor toolbar
Alt + F11 Elements path

To move focus to other buttons use Tab or the arrow keys. To return focus to the editor press Escape or use one of the buttons.

Paragraph and Line Breaks

To add a new paragraph in the visual editor you need to press the Enter key. WordPress will add a new paragraph with double line spacing.  If you would like to just enter a line break with single line spacing, then you need to press Shift + Enter keys together. [If you use Microsoft Word, you would find these familiar.].

Distraction Free  Writing Mode

You press this button and you are left with blank space to write. Everything magically comes back when you move your cursor outside the writing area. And disappears again when you start typing in the writing area again.

Here is how it is done

Formatting Buttons

One look at the editor buttons is enough to indicate you about their functions as most of them are same as your Rich Text editors like MS Word.

You can change the size and colors of font, alignment of text, insert special characters in addition to common formatting tasks.

A special button as marked T on a cardboard icon which is toggle button between pasting as rich text or pasting as text. If it is on, everything you paste is pasted as text. Normally, it is off and when you paste text from MS Word, WordPress preserves the formatting.

There are plugins available for enhancing the functions like table or column creation and many more. You can explore the plugins if you are looking for a particular enhancement.

Adding Media

You can add audio, video and image files.

For Sharing you tube and other videos, you just need to paste the URL and video would be loaded. You can upload an image by dragging the image to your editor and the image would be loaded and inserted where your cursor was prior to dragging.

You also have a choice to share an image from a URL.

Spelling and Grammar

After you have written the post, WordPress can proofread and present you with suggestions.  This is good because  you just can’t correct all the mistakes by simply re-reading your articles. There is a button in the top row just left to Kitchen Sink. It can be identified by a tick icon and ABC written over that. Pressing it would cause the editor to read your article and suggest ideas for correction.

Outside Writing Area

The post editor screen has other sections known as metaboxes, arranged on right side and below the writing area, for many other things such as categories, author, custom fields etc. You can rearrange them to your own liking and even remove the one you do not like. You can choose if you want a featured image for your post which would be displayed as thumbnail. This featured image could be different from the one in your article.

If you are interested, you could also add manually written excerpts in the Excerpt field.

Saving Draft, Publishing and Scheduling Posts

When you write a complete post, you can publish it by clicking Publish button. But sometimes the post is not complete or you want to make changes in formatting which need to be completed. You can save your current work by saving the post as draft.

[Pending Review option is for blog users with a contributor role. They can contribute to  blog, but all their articles must be approved by an administrator].

By default the post is public. But you can make it password-protected, so only users with the password can see the post. When you click on the Password protected radio button, another field will pop up where you can insert the password. When a user sees the post, it will say the post is password protected, and it will ask them to enter the password.

Another option is to make the post status Private and only admins and registered users can view those posts.

Scheduling The Post

You can schedule the post. This feature comes handy when you write your content in quite advance and you can create a publishing schedule. This feature is also useful when you are on vacation and you want your blog to continue publishing.

Make sure you have Time Zone set up in Settings so as to post the publish without fail at your desired time. If your Time Zone is not right, you may want your post to publish at some time and the post gets published at a different time because of Time Zone difference.

SEO Works For Your Post

For effective search engine placement, you must work on SEO aspects of post. This includes keyword research and structuring of post.

It is beneficial to have installed a SEO plugin such as WordPress SEO which would remind and guide you to make your posts SEO friendly.

in WordPress perform important functions of organizing the posts so that if your user is interested in a particular section, she would be able to browse all the articles assigned to that category.

For example, if you want to search about WordPress related articles on this blog, you can search them by clicking the “WordPress” category.

As a new blogger you might wonder what are categories in WordPress and how to use those categories for your maximum advantage.

Categories have just one function. They organize your content.

With this understanding we discuss how to add categories and how assign posts to categories.

How to Add Categories in WordPress Blog?

Most of the WordPress functions appeared intuitive to me when I started using WordPress. But I had explored the web enough to get hang of things and how to look for things, and how to seek help in case you are stuck.

But some people need directions. Adding categories in WordPress is very easy. You need to go through following process. Here is the technical stuff.

Click Posts on left hand admin column. Then click on categories.

You would reach this page.

On  right side is the list of categories in this blog. On the left side is space for adding new categories. Let us zoom on that

On this page, add following

  • Name of Category
  • Slug
  • Description

You can leave the slug blank and your category name would be converted to the slug. For example “Time Management” name would be converted into “time-management”. So your category URL would become

http://yoursite.com/category/time-management

But if you want it to different, then you write the slug in the field. Say you want the url be

http://yoursite.com/category/time

Then, you would write ‘time’ in the slug field.

Write description of the category in the field description. Some themes might display description.

There is another field labeled parent below the slug field. This is to be used when you are creating a subcategory or a category within the category. For creating a subcategory, you assign it to a parent category [from the list of already created categories].

Adding Categories in WordPress while Writing Post

Another quick way of adding category is adding it when you are writing a post. Often when you are writing an article, it might not fit some of your other categories and you may want to assign a newly created category. This feature allows you to create and assign category page without leaving the post creation interface.

On right hand side of your editor in WordPress would be  a link called “Add a new category’. When you click that, it expands into

 

You can then create a category or subcategory as you desire.

Creating Subcategories in WordPress

Sometimes, you would need to create categories under the categories. These are called subcategories.

This is especially true when you want a broader category to divide into many smaller categories.  This way your blog is even more organized. Note: Do not create category for every single post.

For creating a  and you would also assign a parent category from the list of already created categories.

With this method you can further create categories under subcategories and so on but a word of caution. If you make many levels of categories, it becomes confusing.

How to Change Subcategory to Main Category

Changing a subcategory to main category is also very easy.

You need to go to your categories page by going to Posts -> Categories and select edit from the menu that appears when you hover on the category name.

On that page, change the parent category to none. Your subcategory has become main category.

How to use Categories in WordPress

All the above stuff was technical. It has set pattern of doing things. How you use categories is your imagination.

In the beginning of blogging, you would be tempted to create many categories, sometimes, too overlapping. I also did that. You would like to categorize things into unique sections and end up in many sections which from outside appear quite similar too.

Before you delve into that, let us see how people reach you and browse your site and would they further explore the site.

People reach your site by clicking a link either in search engine listings or from other hyperlinks on the web.

After they read your content, they might want to read the related content. They would either click the related articles you display under the post or search from your site using search button.

Very few would browse by category names.

In addition, even those who search by category name might miss your some of wonderful content if you are too rigid about categories.

In my view categories should be broad enough.

How to Apply Category when You Write Post

After or before you complete the post, just choose the relevant category or categories from the list on right side of your writing editor. WordPress would automatically apply those when you save the articles.

Should You Include Category in Your Permalink

What do you want

http://yoursite.com/category/category-slug/post-title

or

http://yoursite.com/post-title

I follow the latter. I use to include permalink with category but I changed because

  • Shorter URL
  • I can change the category names without worrying about permalink change. A change in permalink may lead to 404 errors for already published links on web.
  • I can change wrongly assigned category without affecting URL

Some people do mention that keeping category offers SEO value but then contrary school also exist’

How to Strip Category URL of Categoty

See this.

http://yoursite.com/category/category-slug/post-title

Would you want

http://yoursite.com/category-slug/post-title

instead of above URL.

You can do this with WordPress SEO just by ticking a box.

Writing Tips for Better Writing

A blog article could be a short or long article depending on how much you want to write about the topic. But search engines do give better preference to length of articles. The reason is that a long article is supposedly able to touch more depth and breadth of the topic.

Structure of the Blog Article

Title

Title is most important part of your article. It is the first thing to catch an attention. For SEO purpose, title should contain the main keyword you are going to focus on.

Subtitle

Subtitle is a more descriptive sentence about your articles. It is usually no longer than a sentence

Content

Content is actual piece of writing.

Write Blog Post – Tips for Better Writing

As blog mania has caught on, many people want to have a blog of their own. Coming at the web from the perspective of a writer, it can be easy to despair. You might be used to writing for all sorts of media: newspapers, magazines, books, or even radio, film or television. The web, though, is different enough to what’s come before that it demands you sit up, pay attention, and adjust your writing style if you want your writing to work on the web.

Use Subheadings, Lists and Tables

Subheadings divide the article up into clear sections, letting reader scan more easily, read the bits she is interested in. Subheadings also allow to  go back and read in case someone misses something which is little difficult if the article is just a long paragraph.

Make Sensible Paragraphs

Paragraphs are used when you start a new idea or thought or perspective. Your aim at all times is to make your page as easy as possible for a reader to scan..

Link

Your article might reference to things which could not be covered within your articles and some readers might want to look these things up. Providing links to detailed and related pages within your site and outside is way to provide more value to your reader.

Avoid Typos and Spelling Errors

Typos and spelling errors give writers a constant headache. Not only it makes the reading unpleasant but also it puts a doubt on your credibility.

Readers are too harsh when it comes to judging an author. They can overlook the content to some extent but typos and spelling errors are unpardonable. Unfortunately every body is a victim of these errors and sometimes these are realized after your work is published. And every time you have a look at that typo or spelling error, you will feel the twinge.

It is best to prevent them. Here are few tips to avoid and minimize your typos and spelling errors.

After you finish your article do run it through a spell checker. But do not trust this software completely. It is also limited by its input and programming. It will catch only those errors which it knows. It may miss the terms used in specialized fields. So concentrate on that aspect.

Moreover the spell checker will not understand the need of the words in a particular sentence. It will not differentiate between hear and hare because both are correct words in their own right. Your spell checker will not tell you anything wrong in the sentence whereas only one of them will fit the need of your sentence in a particular line.

  1. Read yourself aloud articulating each word when you scan the article to find and correct the errors. If you just scan it silently you might miss you few errors.
  2. Put aside your article away for some time. Come back later and scan once more.

Your chances of letting a typo or spelling error to pass becomes quite minimal.

It is well known that eyes catch only what mind knows. No matter how much we know it is not too much to learn some more. Read regularly to keep your language and spellings fresh.

SEO With Your Articles

I firmly believe that articles must be written first for the human readers. It is the reader who is end user of the information and not the search engine. Search engine is just like a place holder for your content which it ranks the way its algorithm dictates it to do.

But because we want our article to get exposure bring visitors to your website, it is worthwhile to include search engine angle too. If we could maintain user and search engine balance we have maximized the usability of the articles.

To get maximum SEO benefit the article should include following tasks and activities during and after creation.

Well Structured

It is pertinent that article should be well structured. It should have proper title, headings, subheadings and content.

Keyword Rich

A keyword rich article is better in the eyes of search engines than a non keyword rich. Most noteworthy keywords are in title and reference tags. However the keywords should not appear stuffed in. They should appear natural content of the article to make the most of the effect.

Link Internally

Link to other relevant pages in your website. This has dual benefit. One the reader finds it as ready refrence for more information. Second, the search would go for deeper indexing of your website. Adding a sitemap helps search engines a lot for spidering the site. The site map must be regualrly updated.

External Linkage

Give external links to useful sources. This increase overall value of your article in your reader’s mind. You can email people about the article and ask them to link to your articles. Submit your article to article directories getting more inward links.

Keep Them Fresh

It is the most important point in my view for retaining the readers and search engines on your site. Both readers and search engines would love regularly updated content and keep coming back often.

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