WordPress editing tips
The login page for your website will be your url with /wp-admin at the end (for example yourwebsite.com/wp-admin).
Please note if your site is in development there will be a different URL to the final one when the site goes live. Your username and password will be the same.
When you’re logged in, the first thing you will see is the Dashboard – this is a summary page for your WordPress installation. It can be customised, but by default it should show things like Recent Activity, and WordPress News.
The most important part of the user interface (UI) is the bar on the left. This is the main navigation for the WordPress back-end. It will have a list of several sections, beginning with the types of content on your website. This will vary depending on your site. For example your site may have the following:
It then has links to WordPress settings, Appearance options, User settings, and custom plugin options. Be careful with changing settings. If you’re not 100% sure what something does, it may be best to leave it alone. Editing content is a lot more flexible and forgiving, there is very little you can ‘break’ just by editing content.
Users are people who have access to the back-end or admin part of your website. If you do not see a specific option, bear in mind that only users who have a role of Administrator can change important settings. Users who are Editors can usually only edit content. This control is set up in Users, where new users can be added, and existing users can have their role changed, password changed, etc.
Types of content (post types)
It is important to have a good understanding of the available content types in your WordPress before making changes, or more crucially when adding new content. Almost every WordPress site we make has its own bespoke set of content types. The main default content types are Posts and Pages. The difference is sometimes a bit tricky to understand, aside from the name, but Pages are usually ‘static’ types of content that are are individual stand-alone resources, they do not usually share common data. General articles about your organisation will usually be set up as Pages. On the other hand, Posts are more flexible, but generally used for things like Blog pages and News items. Posts can also be highly customised, and may have much more going on than just an article of text. Posts can also have Tags and Categories, these are a type of Taxonomy, which is a fancy name for classification, or categorisation.
In addition to Posts and Pages, your website may have custom post types set up. These are even more customised versions of Posts, so customised they have their own name and rules. They have different fields (places to add data) and are being used in specific and unique ways.
Please note that the content types do not necessarily correspond exactly with the front-end navigation, i.e. posts of the same type may be output in different sections of your site on the front-end.
- It is ideal to have a consistent tone of voice across all copy on a website. This creates continuity and prevents the content and organisation appearing fragmented. If there are a number of people with editorial rights to the site, you may like to have one or two central people to run copy through/sign it off to help maintain the organisation’s voice.
- Use consistent formatting when laying out text (i.e. using headings, subheadings, making text bold etc) it is best to have a standardised way of doing this.
Meet the user need
- Always keep your audience in mind when creating copy for your website. Try to think about what they would want to get from the site and what tone of voice is suitable for them. Your writing will be most effective if you understand who you’re writing for.
- To understand your audience you should know:
– How they behave, what they’re interested in or worried about – so your writing will catch their attention and answer their questions
– Their vocabulary – so that you can use the same terms and phrases they’ll use to search for content
- When you have more than one audience, make your writing as easy to read as possible so it’s accessible to everyone.
- Don’t publish everything you can online. Publish only what someone needs to know so they can complete their task. Nothing more.
- People don’t usually read text unless they want information. When you write for the web, start with the same question every time: what does the user want to know?
- Meeting that need means being:
clear and to the point
- Avoid ‘walls’ of text – break up your content into easily- digestible chunks, and use headings to create sections that humans can easily understand and take in. This is also great for search engine optimization (SEO) because headings (titles) and subheadings (summary) have greater importance than normal paragraph text for search engines. Try to think about what they contain and make the content meaningful and refer to key points of the paragraph text.
- Good online content is easy to read and understand.
- This helps people find what they need quickly and absorb it effortlessly.
Headings and titles
- Keep in mind 65 characters or less (including spaces). This is because search engines truncate (cut off) titles in Google search results over that number. Words or parts of words will be cut off.
- Make sure your title is unique. It’s not helpful for people if search results show a list of pages with the exact same title.
- Titles should be clear and descriptive. The title should provide full context so that people can easily see if they’ve found what they’re looking for
- Front-load your titles. The most important information and the words the user is mostly likely to have searched should be at the beginning of the search result.
How people read content on the web
- Users read very differently online than on paper. They don’t necessarily read top to bottom or even from word to word.
- Instead, users only read about 20 to 28% of a web page. Where users just want to complete their task as quickly as possible, they skim even more out of impatience.
- Remember that the pressure on the brain to understand increases for every 100 words you put on a page
- Web-user eye-tracking studies show that people tend to ‘read’ a webpage in an‘F’ shape pattern. They look across the top, then down the side, reading further across when they find what they need.
- What this means is: put the the most important information first. For example, say ‘Canteen menu’, not ‘What’s on the menu at the canteen today?’
- Avoid the urge to always state the name of your organisation as the first word(s). This helps people identify the most important information to them as they scan quickly through the page and is good for SEO.
- Following these guidelines will help head off the F shape reading pattern.
- If you are viewing the site from the front end (and are logged in) you will see ‘Edit page’ in the black bar at the top
- If you are already in the back end select Pages from the main left hand side menu
- Here you will find the static pages of your site e.g. About, Contact us etc..
- Click a page to edit it – a page with a dash before the title means it is a sub page of the one above.
- Edit the text directly in the text box. The editing box is known as a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) text editor, working similarly to Microsoft Word. It has controls for creating headings, links, justification, bullet lists (like this one!), etc. More information about how to use it can be found here https:// make.wordpress.org/support/user-manual/content/editors/visual-editor/
- You can also add images and videos to the text area by clicking ‘Add media’ – See more on adding images in the ‘Images’ section.
- You might not be able to see all the editing options at first – to make sure you are click the top right toggle, and a second row of options will appear:
- Here you will be able to change the heading weight by clicking the ‘Paragraph’ drop down menu:
- Generally on a website ‘Heading 1’ is reserved for the title of the whole site. ‘Heading 2’ is for page titles and ‘Heading 3’ are sub headings within a page. Therefore in the editor you should use heading 3 for headings.
- When copying and pasting from another document it is best to paste as ‘clear formatting’ this makes sure that no code has crept in from elsewhere. To do this select the clipboard with a T before pasting in any text:
- When you have edited your text and images remember to click ‘update’ near the top right.
- To make the page you are editing a sub-page (known as a child page) of another page (known as a parent page) select the page from the ‘parent page’ drop down menu in the Page Attributes box on the right. For example the following image shows a page that is a sub page of Contact us:
- To view the page on the front end click the ‘View page’link at the top left of the screen (see image below) – it is best to always have the front end open in a different window when editing:
- Remember if you are editing content from the back-end of WordPress you will need to refresh the front-end page to view the change you have made.
- You can set the page to be visible to the public or private. This option is under ‘visibility’ in the publish panel:
- Here you can also schedule when you want the page to be published by clicking the ‘Edit’ button under the published on date. If a date in the future is entered then the page will not be viewable by the public until that date. If a date in the past is entered then the sub-pages will order in publication date on the menu page, this is useful for older news items or events.
- Gutenberg is the new editor from WordPress and uses blocks (like printing blocks) to build the content on the page.
- Here you can see a short intro to blocks
- To create a heading within your page click the plus sign to add a new block and select ‘Heading’
- Generally on a website ‘Heading 1’ is reserved for the title of the whole site. ‘Heading 2’ is for page titles and ‘Heading 3’ are sub headings within a page. Therefore in the editor you should use Heading 3 (H3) for headings (do not just use bold).
- To make the page you are editing a sub-page (known as a child page) of another page (known as a parent page) select the page from the ‘parent page’ drop down menu in the Page Attributes box on the right. For example the following image shows a page that is a sub page of About:
- To view the page on the front end click the ‘Preview’ button at the top right of the screen – it is best to always have the front end open in a different window when editing:
- You can set the page to be visible to the public or private. This option is under ‘visibility’ in the Status & Visibility panel:
- Here you can also schedule when you want the page to be published by clicking the date line next to Publish. If a date in the future is entered then the page will not be viewable by the public until that date. If a date in the past is entered then the sub-pages will order in publication date on the menu page – this is useful for older news items or events.
- You can also select ‘pending review’ if you have an internal content sign off system in place.
- When you have edited your text and images remember to click ‘update’ or ‘publish’ near the top right.
- Images should ideally be no less than 2000px on the shortest side. It’s best not to go below this size so that the image remains at good quality for high retina screens. Images for the web must be in .jpeg, .png or .gif format
- Avoid using ‘rogue’ characters in file names. When saving any image or document for use on the web you should not include any characters other than those from the alphabet (lowercase) and underscores (_) – this includes spaces. If you do include characters such as spaces or & or , in file names this may cause problems displaying them.
- To insert an image into a page or post click the ‘Add Media’ button at the top left of the editing panel.
- The ‘featured image’ is usually the image that will be the main ’chosen’ image to represent the page and will appear in any listing pages. (e.g. if it is on an event this is the image that will appear in the listing of all the events).
- Featured Image is usually found at the bottom right of the editing page
- When selecting ‘Add Media’ or ‘Set featured image’ you will see a library of all the media (images, sound files, video files) you (and everyone else) have uploaded so far.
- You can either select an image from the library or upload a new one from your computer.
- Although the media library isn’t ordered you can search for images using the search box. The search will look for any text associated with that image, so filling in the title and alt text field is really useful for this.
- Click ‘insert into page’ or ‘set featured image’
- When the image is in the page you can click on it it to reveal some editing options which appear at the top, this allows you to make some basic edits to the image e.g. left, centre or right align the image:
- Clicking the pencil icon will bring up some more editing options such as resizing the image.
- There is a drop down list of built in image sizes under ‘size’ – often when you first insert an image into a post it is too small, so it is a good idea to check this and make sure it is set to the appropriate size for the page.
- Linking images– The default option for linking the image is ‘Media File’ – this means when an image is clicked it will show a larger version of itself in a modal. If you want the image to link to a page on the site then you can change it to ‘Custom URL’ and enter the URL of the page you want it to go to. If you don’t want it to link to anywhere then select ‘none’ from the list.
- Image alt text is used by screen readers to describe an image to people with visual impairments when having a website read out aloud to them. Add captions and descriptive alt text to all photos, images and maps used throughout the site.
WHY: Adding information and alt text to every image makes visual content more accessible to partially sighted magnifier users and blind screen reader users as well as compatible with other assistive technologies. A short text description of an image can unlock the information within a picture and enrich the experience and understanding of a story for users. Without alt text the screen reader just reads the word ‘image’ when reading the webpage. As you can imagine this can be very frustrating for the user.
- There is a field in the media library called ‘Alt text’ – you will see this on the right hand side when an image is selected. Enter your description of the image here. Search engines will mark the site down if the alt text field is left blank.
- You can also edit the alt text by clicking on the pencil symbol
- Images help to liven up the content, ensure that images used are simple and with high contrast if possible.
Cropping and editing images
This can be done within WP, find some useful instructions here: https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/crop-image-wordpress/
- To add an image to the page either click the plus sign and select image or choose image from the quick buttons on the right:
- You will be given the option to upload from your computer or from the media library which includes all of the media (images, sound files, video files) you (and everyone else) have uploaded so far.
- When you have inserted the image into the page you can resize it by clicking on it once. Two blue dots will appear – on the right and at the bottom, which you can drag to change the size (you can also use pre-determined sizes in the options panel on the right hand side) :
- You can also add a caption to the image here.
- When you click once on the image you will also see some options appear at the top right:
- Here you can left or right align the image. When you select this the text below will wrap around the image.
- On the right hand side panel you will see more options for the image:
- A gallery is useful when you need images to appear in a grid such as a collection of logos or small images
- In the WYSIWYG editor select Add Media
- Click Create Gallery on the left hand side
- Select all the images you want in the gallery and click Create a new gallery in the bottom right
- You can reorder the images by dragging them
- On the right hand side edit the settings –
- If it is a gallery of nice images you can select them to link to the media file, this will mean you can click on them and they will appear larger in a lightbox view. If they are logos or the images are too small for zooming in to be of any benefit then select them to link to ‘none’.
- You can edit the number of columns the grid will appear as, set the order as random (so they appear in a different order on every load of the page)
- There might be a certain size that you need to select – check with the developer
- Click insert gallery
- Avoid lists of links, instead try to incorporate them into paragraph text. This gives them more meaning and puts them into the context of how they may be useful. People are unlikely to scroll through lists of links looking for what they want and search engines will mark you down if you have links pages.
- To create a link in a body of text, highlight the text that you want to be a link and click the chain symbol at the top of the text panel.
- You can either paste in a link straight away if you know it or select the cog for more link options:
- Here you can search for pages within your site.
- If you are linking to an outside web source you must put the whole URL in including the http://
- Use meaningful links–Avoid labelling links as ‘here’ or ‘click here’ as out of the context of the page they don’t tell the user anything about where they’ll lead them.
links need to make sense even if they stand alone, as many assistive technology users will short-cut to a list of links on a page as a way of getting a quick impression of what content is available on that page. Making links look consistent follows standard conventions for navigation and will make the site as usable and accessible as possible, as users will know what to expect as they explore the site.This is also beneficial in terms of search engine results as they tend to look for links when searching.
- Pasting the original url into the site can look ugly, instead highlight some descriptive text and insert the link by clicking the chain symbol. This is also best for SEO as Google reads all the links in the site.
- Do not tick the box for the link to open in a new window. This is very bad for accessibility as it can disorientate the user
- Avoid using directions when highlighting a link e.g. ‘Click the link on the right hand side of the page’ It may be on the right hand side when you are editing the site but won’t necessarily be every time as there are different layouts for different screen sizes and devices.
- It is best to decide up front the tone of the site so it remains consistent– this can differ in different sections, for example a blog post or story feature can be more conversational and from the first person.
- For consistency, decide on preferred formats, terms and conventions for commonly used content e.g:– Dates (e.g. 25th Nov 2017 or 25/11/17)
– Times (12 or 24 hr clock)
– Period dates (e.g. 19th Century or 1800s)
– Measurements & units
– Pricing / costs (£1 or 1GBP)
– Wars (WW1 or First World War)
- This should follow what is in your print and promotional material
- Make sure everyone who is contributing to the site is aware of these.
- Adding a page under Pages will not automatically add it to a menu
- This must be done manually under Appearance > Menus
- Select a menu to edit from the drop down menu, here you will see all menus that appear on the site
- All the pages are listed underneath as blocks, the ones that are indented appear as child pages of that section (will appear in the drop downs)
- You can re-order pages by clicking and dragging
- Try not to go above 3 levels of indentation
- By clicking the downward arrow on the right you can rename the page, or Remove it (this will remove the page from the menu, it will not delete the page itself)
- To add pages you can search and select them from the list on the left hand side
- Select the page using the checkbox and click Add to Menu
- The page will appear at the bottom, drag to where you want it to be
- Do not add any extra top level pages to the Primary Navigation menus without checking with the developer, as this may break the layout.
You site may not have this feature if it was not part of your original brief. If you are interested in adding alternative translations to your site please contact us.
- At the top right hand site of each Post or Page there is a box labelled Languages:
- To add the Cornish version of that particular post or page click the plus sign next to the “cr”, this will take you to a blank version of the same post ready to input the content.
- When the content has been added the plus sign will turn into a Pencil icon (as above), clicking this will take you to the page to edit.
- This is also available on media items so you can add a translation for an image caption for instance.
- The easiest way to do this is to go to the media library and make sure that it is in list format as apposed to grid format (top left icon):
- You will then be able to quickly see which has translations by seeing if there is a plus sign or pencil sign on the right hand side under the alternative language:
- You can also go into each media item individually and select the language from the drop down:
- Selecting Languages > Strings translations from the left hand side menu will bring up a list of all the most common words and phrases used across the site, this means that when they are filled in here they will automatically translate across the site. This is useful for buttons etc..