Writing the blog post is only half the process!
In this WordPress tutorial, we’ll go over the steps to upload your fantastically written post on WordPress. We’ll cover the basics of formatting, readability, SEO, and automatically publishing it to all your social media channels. And we’ll talk about adding images, including a featured image. We’ll talk about all the other little technical niceties that will make your writing stand out and be seen, as well!
Step One: Writing the Post
The first step is to actually write your post. You can write it on paper and type it into the WordPress blog post screen. Or you can write it in a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, and then copy and paste it in to WordPress.
Writing your post starts with a topic. When you figure out your topic, use Google Keyword Planner or another keyword tool to research a keyword for your post, before you write.
When you write your post, pay attention to how you’re writing. For easy reading, keep both your sentences and paragraphs short. Every 2-3 paragraphs, you’ll want to add a header of some kind. And try to naturally work in your keyword phrase. It will make it easier when you go back to edit for SEO and readability.
Also, make sure you proofread your post! It’s super important that you have at least good spelling. Typos happen, but try to keep them to a minimum. And while formal grammar (like you learned writing essays in high school) isn’t really necessary, you also don’t want to have a post full of run on sentences or sentence fragments. Short, sweet sentences are great, but make sure they’re actually sentences — with a subject and a verb.
Step Two: Formatting the Post
Once your post is written and inside the WordPress blog post screen, you can use WordPress tools to format it.
Make sure you’re in the “Visual” screen, rather than the “Text” screen, unless you’re comfortable using HTML codes to format your post.
When you’re in the “Visual” screen, you can use a tool bar, similar to a word processing program, to format your post. You can make text bold or italic, and you can align the text to the left or right, or in the center. There’s also a “Quote” function (the little quotation marks), that will indent your text, and change the font to highlight it.
Every blog post needs headings, for multiple reasons. Headings are short phrases or sentences that are in font that is bigger and bolder than the regular font. There are several settings, from Heading 1 to Heading 6.
Headings label sections of your post, and provide a quick topical index for your reader. They can also be used to highlight phrases or sentences that you want your reader to take away from your post. Many readers will scan the post first, and read just the headers. They may then only read the sections that are of interest to them. So make sure your headings are short, sweet, and relevant.
Another function of the headings is SEO. Google and other search engines look at the headings to determine what your post is about. So make sure you include your keyword phrase in at least one of your headings — preferably more!
Use the classes of headings well. Heading 1 should only be used once in your post. Heading 2 is great for showing large topic divisions. And heading 3 makes great list point headings or subtopic divisions.
WordPress Tutorial Technique:
To create a heading, put your cursor inside the text phrase or sentence you want to be a heading. Then select the drop down menu from where is says “Paragraph” in the tool bar. Choose the heading class, and then click on it.
Alternatively, you can use tags in the “Text” window. At the beginning of the phrase or sentence, use <H#> where the # is the number of the heading class you want (ie. 1, 2, 3…). At the end of the sentence or phrase, close the heading by using </H#>, with the # being the same number as what you started with. For example, to create a Heading 3, you would use < H3> at the beginning, and close with </ H3> (only without the spaces!)
Step Three: Add Images to the post.
Blog readers, universally, are attracted by images. So you need to have images in your post!
Ideally, you should have at least 3 images per post: one for the title and featured image, one optimized for Pinterest, and one other graphic or photo just to break up and illustrate your text. But if you only have two (your title and your pin) that’s fine too. And if you have way more, great!
The image sizes will depend on your theme. But consider having images optimized for sharing on the various social media platforms too.
For example, the title graphic for this post is optimized for Twitter. It also shares well on Facebook. Then I have a pin image (hidden!) as well. I choose not to include other images, as I’m not a good photographer. And sourcing stock photos that work well for my topics is time consuming. That’s time I’d rather spend on creating and promoting great content.
How to create your graphics:
First, source your images LEGALLY!
You cannot just Google an image and upload it to your blog. Nor is saving someone’s image off Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Google, and then “crediting” your source by saying “Image via….” legal, unless you have explicit permission from the owner before you upload it to your post.
The best way to ensure your images and graphics are legal is to take your photos yourself, and then edit them. But, if you’re like me, and you don’t have the skill or equipment to take great photos, there are stock photos.
Stock photos are pictures taken by photographers and then uploaded for use on websites, through a stock photo site. They have varying licenses for use and varying costs. Fortunately for the beginner blogger, there are FREE stock photo sites. I like Pexels, Pixabay and Unsplash. I also pay for stock photos through sites like ShutterStock and DepositPhoto. And there are a few private stock photographers that offer both limited free collections and low-cost memberships for their photos.
Second, create your own graphics by editing your images, adding backgrounds, borders, icons and text.
You can do this through graphic design software such as Canva or PicMonkey. I prefer Canva, but there are lots of free and low cost graphic design software out there. Play around with it and have fun creating graphics.
Graphics you can create:
- title graphics for your blog post
WordPress Tutorial: Uploading your image to your post
To upload your image to your post, position your cursor where you want your image to be. Then find your image in your computer’s folders, and drag it to your post. Your post screen will turn blue when it’s in the right spot. Release your mouse, and WordPress will upload your image to your site, through their Add Media function.
Alternatively, you can position your cursor where you want your image to be and then hit “Add Media” at the top of your WordPress blog post screen. From there, you can either use the button “Select Files” to browse to your image in your computer’s files, or your can drag and drop your image in that screen.
Then you can edit the position, description, caption, and title of your image. To do this, click on your image in the post, and a small popup menu will appear. While you can change the position of your image right there, click on the pencil icon to edit the image in your post.
When you edit your image, check that both your title (the image name and url), and the alternate text contain your keyword phrase for SEO. You can also use the preset sizes in WordPress (small, medium, large, full size), or you can stretch and shrink the image by using the image border.
**Note: be careful! Too much adjusting of the size may result in a blurry image!**
Step Four: Publish the Post
Once you are happy with your post (and you have green lights on the Yoast plugin!), you’re ready to publish your post.
But wait, don’t hit that publish button just yet! You need to optimize your post for publishing and sharing.
First, choose a featured image.
The featured image is the image that’s on your blog post that will be shown in your archives and when you share your post. To set your featured image, make sure that the “Featured Image” option is ticked on your screen options. To find screen options, scroll all the way up to the top of your WordPress blog post editing screen, and you’ll find a white box marked “Screen options” with an arrow pointing down, in the top right hand corner of your screen. Click on the arrow, and a drop down menu will appear. Now you can tick the “Featured Image” box, and while you’re there, tick the “Excerpt” box too. Click the arrow again to close the menu.
Now scroll down your post, until on the right-hand side bar, you see the option for “Featured Image”. Click on “Set Featured Image” and choose your image that you want to represent your post. I recommend choosing your title graphic.
Second, edit your Excerpt box.
You should have already filled out the relevant fields for the Yoast SEO plugin. Now you can use what you’ve put there to fill out the rest of your boxes. In the Excerpt box, you can put your Yoast SEO meta description. Just copy and paste.
Third, add in any relevant links.
If you haven’t already, scan your post and find places where you can naturally link to other of your posts. These internal links will help both your SEO and your bounce rate, by keeping your readers on your blog longer, reading more of your posts.
Fourth, connect your email subscription form.
Make sure you are connecting your email subscription forms with every post. This is the main “Call to Action” that you want your readers to take. You want them to subscribe, so that you can send them more cool stuff (like great content!) as well as possibly sharing your future or current products and programs!
If you have a relevant subscriber gift, you can advertise it here! But even if you don’t, at least put a link to your email subscription form, or add the shortcode to it.
Fifth, choose your category and add tags.
Every post belongs in a category on your blog. The category not only helps your SEO, but also helps keep your readers on your blog longer. If they like this post, they can check out more posts in that category. Use no more than two categories per post — preferably only one!
Also, tag your post with relevant keywords. Of course, you’ll put in the keyword phrase you want your post to be searched for, but you can also add other keywords and phrases that describe your post. You can use as many as you like here.
Sixth, preview your post.
Click on the preview button at the top of the right-hand sidebar. Review how your post will look once it’s published. Make sure to check the different screen sizes too. Just because it looks fine in a desktop view doesn’t mean all is well for mobile view. Make any adjustments as needed.
Seventh, schedule your post.
On the right-hand sidebar, where it says “Publish: Immediately Edit”, click on edit. You can then choose the day and time you want your post to be published. Click “OK” and it will change to “Schedule for: DATE @ TIME Edit”.
Eighth, publish the post!
Now you can hit “Schedule” in the right-hand sidebar, and once WordPress saves your settings, your post is scheduled to publish!
And that’s it! Congratulations on yet another successful (or maybe your first!) WordPress blog post.
Share your blog post in the comments, so we can all enjoy reading!
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