About Blogging : For Teachers – Part 3(a) of 10


What is a blog?

Welcome to my 10-part online series About Blogging : An Introduction for Teachers. It is based on the course I created and delivered in 2014 and includes the notes and resources I made available to the course attendees. Twice a month I post a section of the course on the web site. At the end of the course, I will make available the PowerPoint presentation including the notes used and various resources for members of the Tech Teachers web site.


Part 3a : Using WordPress

I have chosen to go with WordPress.com as my service provider. It’s open-source and free to use. I have used WordPress for many years in a personal and professional capacity and find it to be one of the best platforms available for blogging and content management online.

An introduction to WordPress

Online Blogging Platform
WordPress.com is a blog web hosting service provider owned by Automattic and powered by the open source WordPress software. It provides free blog hosting for registered users and is financially supported via paid upgrades, “VIP” services and advertising.All you need is access to the Internet, a decent web browser and a WordPress.com account.

Content Management System
A content management system is one where the user (you) has the ability to create content in the form of posts and/or pages and control various aspects of that content such as placement of text, images, banners, widgets, ads and navigation.

WordPress, although starting out initially as a blogging platform, has evolved to allow one to run a fully-functioning, interactive and productive web site with very little HTML, PHP or even web design experience. You can use WordPress to run your site with a lot of functionality for free, making it the perfect tool to create an interactive blog for your school/subject/students.

Flexible and Extensible
WordPress is open-source. Thousands of developers are constantly working on ways to better it, improve its backend interface and keep it as one of the world’s most used online development platforms.

If you go for the self-hosted option (where you have your own web space and domain name etc.), then you will have access to many more resources to extend the functionality of the software.

Plugins
The bad news, first. Plugins are not available for the free version of WordPress – which is the one we’re looking at. BUT it’s good to know that plugins exists in their thousands and offer incredibly useful ways of extending what one can do with their web site. From contact forms to e-commerce transations, there is a plugin for just about anything and everything you would want to do with your site.

Themes
Your site can have a theme applied to it. A theme consists of images and styles that are applied to your site, saving you the hassle of having to know CSS and HTML (although, I did say that knowing some HTML and CSS is a definite bonus). All the design aspects of the site are taken care by the theme.

theme selectionWordPress has hundreds of themes available, some are free and others you may purchase.

Free from WordPress.com
A note about “free”: Yes, it’s free but you will have the creator of the theme’s link on the site including ads being displayed on your pages and posts. WordPress reserves the right to place ads on your site if you choose to use their free service. If your site gets really popular, you’re making money for someone else! Perhaps consider moving to getting your own domain and space then!


Slide17Let’s look now at the actual backend of WordPress once we’ve logged in to the WP-ADMIN interface.

Here we will go through all the basics of creating content.

This section is split into two parts due to the amount of content to cover.

Using WordPress

The Dashboard

Site 'Control Panel'
Dashboard ‹ lifesciencerocks — WordPress The Dashboard is where you have access to every aspect of your site, from the backend to post/page creation and media management. You can access your Dashboard by going to your wp-admin –> eg. http://lifesciencerocks.wordpress.com/wp-admin

Posts

Creating_a_Post
dash - sidebar - postsWhen you want to write an article, a post, a little of information to share – you use the POST link in your sidebar. This will take you to page where you can then post something to your blog.

Hover your mouse over the Posts option and select Add new.

add new post

You are now taken to the Post creation page.

create post

For now, just add a title for your post and some content.

When done, click the publish button. Your post is now live!

Welcome to my first blog!

Editing_Posts

edit bar

The toolbar above your post area is full of useful features from formatting text to inserting images. Use it for format your headings, paragraphs and colour. Take some time to experiment and explore the various options.

Media

Adding an image
Adding an image to your content is very easy. Click on the Add Media button.

addmedia1

From this point you can upload a picture from your computer.

addmedia2

See? No problem!

addmedia3

Links

Adding a link
Creating a link is not as hard as you think. Select the text or image that you want to be the link and click the link icon.

linklink

Here is an example

I selected the text that I wanted to become the hyperlink:

link1

I then clicked the link button and the following appeared:

link2

Enter in the link you need:

Click Add Link.

link4

Pages

Creating a page
Pages are for content that does not change much. They are different to posts as they can feature in a navigation bar and present the structure for your blog and guide the user as to where to go instead of browsing endlessly through various blog posts.

Add a page using the sidebar.

addnewpage

Just like the posts, you can give the page a title and content.

page1

Explore the various options underneath and also in the sidebar on the right hand side.

page5

To make the page live, click the Publish button. The page is now ‘published’ and is visible in the menu navigation.

page6

Adding a Contact Form
If you don’t want to have your email address visible or accessible, you can add a contact form with text boxes for a user to fill in. The mail with the message will get sent to you automatically when they submit the form.

contact1

contact2

contact3

contact4




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