So your digital marketer, social media manager, SEO guy is telling you, “You gotta write blog posts! It’s good for…. ” And you answer back, “But I don’t know how!” Honestly, you’re definitely not alone. We hear this all the time.
If you’re new to blogging AND new to WordPress, I’ve got you covered. In this blog post, I will walk you through a step by step process of how to draft and publish a WordPress blog post like a pro. It’s easy!
Are you ready? Let’s begin.
Step One: Log into WordPress
I will be using my login credentials to demonstrate. As you can see, in the address bar of my browser, I’ve typed in the name of my website followed by “/wp-admin/”. You would replace the name of your domain where mine appears.
Afterwards, hit “Enter”, and your login screen then appears. This is where you enter your username and password. You do have a username and password, right? If not, contact your webmaster.
Once you log in, you will see your WordPress dashboard. It will look something like this:
Step Two: Go to “New Post” Screen & Begin Typing
From your WordPress Dashboard, you’ll noticed to the left-hand side, a menu. Go to “Posts”, then “Add New”.
Your next screen should look something like this… (Without the yellow arrows, of course)
At this screen, you’re ready to add the title of your blog post and start typing away. Remember to always save your work, and you’re going to do this as a “Save Draft” at first. We still have a lot more stuff to do.
Step Three: Readability
WordPress has this neat little tool to help indicate how readable your blog post is. Hopefully, you want it to be in the “good” category. On the right hand side of your screen, you’ll see this:
There are several factors that go into this, but the one you should pay attention to the most is breaking up your text.
When readers first get to your post, they give it a quick scan. They’re looking for headings within your text that will give them an idea of whether or not it is about what they’re looking to learn — whether or not they want to dive in and read further.
Help your readers determine if your article is for them by giving subheadings every couple of paragraphs. An example of that in this blog post is how I give you steps and a title for each step. This will give your readers not only the ability to determine if your giving them the information they desire, but it also gives them the ability to go back through your information and help them find more easily exactly what they’re looking for when re-reading.
So once you’ve finished typing out your post. Go back and add in headings. You’re going to want to change the size of your headings, and here’s the spot on your blog post page where you do that.
To change the font size your your header, first highlight the group of words in your heading. Go up to “Paragraph” and click the drop-down arrow. The drop-down menu looks like this:
Try to use “Heading 1” or “Heading 2” as much as you can. It helps with SEO. But if you think it looks too obnoxious (sometimes it does), don’t hesitate in choosing a different heading size.
Step Four: Adding Images (or any type of media)
Another thing that helps with readability of your blog post is the addition of pictures. “A picture is worth a thousand words” holds very true here. Images not only break up your text, but they also enhance the story you’re trying to tell. So always make it a point to have images in mind to use and then add them in the appropriate places of your blog post.
To do that, you’ll be uploading images into your WordPress media, giving your images new titles (this helps with SEO), and inserting them in the places where you want them to appear.
So first, put your cursor in the place where you want to add an image. Then click “Add Media” here:
Then click “Upload Files” and follow the prompts:
Before you hit “Insert Media”, you want to give your photos a title for SEO purposes. This tells search engines what the images are about. An image that is labeled “IMG.004” doesn’t tell Google or any other search engine anything. You want to have as much positive influence over your SEO as possible. So MAKE SURE you give your photos a proper title.
The above two highlighted spots are where you want to put a title. My titles are always followed by my website, then the blog post author’s name. You can also add a caption, but I never like how the captions look in my posts. If you’re using others’ images that are copyrighted, then make sure you add that info in the caption area for sure!
Step Five: Set Featured Image
This is the image that will appear at the very start of your blog post and on the page that features all of your blog posts on your website.
This is how you set the featured image. On the right hand side of your screen, scroll down until you see this:
Click on the link “Set featured image” to proceed, and follow Step Four above on how to add media. It will be the same as in this step.
Step Six: Assign your post a category.
Categories are used to sort and group content into different sections. If you’re publishing a variety of content topics, which you will be, then you want to assign and group your posts into sections using categories.
Example: A news website can have categories for articles filed under News, Opinion, Weather, Sports, etc.
If no category is specified for a post, then the post is automatically filed into the default category, which is ‘Uncategorized’. A WordPress post can be filed under multiple categories and can have both categories and tags. I recommend using a single category per post, then multiple tags. We’ll get to tags in a moment.
To select or add a category, look on the right-hand side of your screen for:
As you can see, I have several categories set up that I use. If you don’t have any categories set up already, it’s very easy to add as you can see “+Add New Category”. No need to get too specific with your category. It is a very general label.
Step Seven: Adding Tags
While categories cover a broad range of topics, tags are smaller in scope and focus on specific topics. Think of them as keywords used for topics discussed in a particular post.
The purpose of tags is to relate your posts together. Think of tags as the index at the end of a book. This makes it easy for users to find your posts, especially when they are using the WordPress search. Here’s a sample of some of my tags to give you an idea.
Again, you’ll find the ability to add tags to your post on the right-hand side of your screen. When adding tags to your blog posts, don’t go crazy. I really don’t recommend using more than ten. I usually use around three to four.
Step Eight: Proof-read your work!
I used to be a medical and court transcriptionist back in the 1980s. There was so much proofreading going on, you would never believe. Yet there were still mistakes afterwards. Now you don’t have to proofread to perfection, but give your blog post a once over at this point. Make sure there are no obvious punctuation errors, your sentences make sense, and check those red squiggly lines underneath any of your words. There might be a misspelled word or two. Grammatical errors don’t stand out as obviously as misspelled words, so you’ll want to check your grammar.
Step Nine: Are you ready?
Okay. You proofread your post, right? Now… Scan over it quickly in preview mode. Make sure nothing stands out like a sore thumb. Go to the top right-hand corner of your screen and hit “Preview”. Your post will open up in preview mode in a new window. Reread it one last time.
Step Ten: PUBLISH!
So you’ve typed out your blog post, you’ve added your headings and images, you’ve categorized and tagged. Proofread. Here you go. You’re now ready to hit “publish”. You can see where to do that in the above image.
Also in the above image, you can see where I’ve added my social profiles to publish to. When you hit the “Publish” button for the first time, WordPress automatically sends your new posts to your social feeds, so long as you’ve set them up here. I always open up this section and untick mine before I hit “publish”. I never like the way the images look or some other thing when they appear in my social profiles. Instead, I use scheduling software in my own platform where I can control much better how everything looks and feels. The choice is yours, though.
So there you have it. That’s the basics of writing and publishing your own blog post in WordPress.
“How many words should my blog post be?”
I hear this question a lot, and it annoys me. Not that the question is asked, but that some people (meaning professionals) out there put too high of a value on quantity. If your blog post provides value to your audience with quality information, don’t worry about how long (or short) it is. Search engine technology is getting smarter each and every day. It quickly picks up on those old “tricks” to gain higher rankings in search results. Word count is becoming less and less significant, and quality more and more important.
Blog with being helpful, informative, and entertaining in mind. Don’t worry about anything else.
“Can I write my blog post in a Microsoft Word document and then copy & paste?”
Yes, you can. You can certainly prepare your post in any word processing program, and then copy and paste it into your WordPress blog post. Just save the formatting of your headings, text, and image insertions for when your in WordPress itself.
Short on time?
If you have someone helping you or need to cut corners for time, you can certainly get away with doing only steps one through three, and step five. You can then go back and add or have an assistant do the rest, even after you’ve hit the “publish” button. That’s totally up to you.
If you have even less time than that, do steps one and two, BUT DON’T HIT PUBLISH! Have your SEO guy, assistant, whomever do the rest!
I have a favor to ask…
When you’re going through this process as outlined and something doesn’t work quite the way it’s spelled out here, please reach out to me or leave a comment below. I’d love to know, so I can better help you. Also feel free to share this information if you think it will help someone else. I’d really appreciate that!
’til next time…