Writing to the web using WordPress

 Here is a quick, meta guide to using WordPress for publishing stories. 
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WordPress is one of the most used content management systems out there. WordPress is perfect for create a simple blog or portfolio site. It can also be used for much bigger projects, but that is another story for another day.

Step 0: The first thing you have to figure out is where you want your WordPress site. Here are some options:

  1. On WordPress.com – WordPress offers free hosting on their servers. There are numerous limitations, including: little customization, weird address (i.e., yourname.wordpress.com) and limited space for photo hosting.
  2. On your own site (auto install) – Allows you to use a customized domain name (i.e., nickgeidner.com), but is still limited in customization.
  3. On your own site (manual install) – Allows you to do anything you want.

Let’s assume that you are going to use WordPress.com to host your site.

Step 1: Go to WordPress.com and choose “Create Website.” WordPress will then ask you a handful of questions about your blog. The second question will be about the layout of the site. Basically, it is asking if you would like a blog, a static website, or a portfolio. Choose wisely. Then you’ll choose a theme, a name and a couple other things.

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Step 2: Finished answering the questions? Then your site should be ready to go. WordPress will take you to your site’s landing page, or as they call it the dashboard. To start a new post, click the “Add” button next to the “blog post” tab.

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Step 3: You can start your story with a clear 5–10 word headline placed in the “Title” area of the page. Next, your 20-word summary can be placed at the top of the box for the body copy. 

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 7.31.40 AMStep 4: Following the lead of BuzzFeed or Vox, let’s add a photo right under the summary. Click the “Add Media” button on the left side of the toolbar. Choose the photo you want to add. Once it is in the story, click on the picture. You will notice a number of display options. Play around with them.

Step 5: Once you add your photo, you can start typing the body copy for your story. Remember short — one to two sentence — paragraphs.

You might also want to format some of your text, such as adding links. Select the text to which you want to add the link or other formatting. Then you can use the toolbar at the top of the page to add links, block quotes, etc.

Step 6: Now all you need to do is publish the story. Click the publish button in the top right and you’re done.


FOR NEXT CLASS: Post the story you wrote for today’s class on Medium.

To complete the assignment, you’ll need a photo of an EpiPen, right? So you just go to Google Images and find something, right? NO! NO! NO!

You need to find a legal photo to use. We’ll talk more about more rights later in the semester, but for now we’ll using some filtering options in Google to find copyright-free photos.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 10.29.10 PMStep 1: Go to Google Images, and search for EpiPen.

Step 2: Click the “Search tools.”

Step 3: Then click the “Usage rights” button and select “Labeled for noncommercial reuse.” Once you click it, Google will update the image search with only images you can use for class assignments.