Using WordPress

Why WordPress?

You are all set to create the hub of your online presence and cannot wait to start blogging.  WordPress is arguably the best blogging platform out there and something of a standard-setter when it comes to content management systems. It is powerful, fast, reliable, free, secure, almost infinitely customizable, and introduces you to a global community of bloggers.

Getting started:

To begin, watch this short clip, and go through this user-friendly step-by-step guide to creating a WordPress blog.

What name should you choose for your blog?

Probably the hardest of those first few steps on the road to blogging greatness is picking a name for your blog. Remember that you’ll have to commit to the URL that you choose at this point, and the name forms part of this, although you can adjust the exact title that appears on the home page as often as you like later on.

So this is a moment to look ahead, and think strategically about your online identity. Keep in mind that your online presence will be with you throughout your journey in the BCMS degree, and you will be populating it with content from various subjects.

The blog name you pick should be:

  • open enough to suit all possible subjects you will blog about—so ‘My BCM110 blog’ is not a good idea;
  • professional in tone—you want this blog to become a portfolio that’s representative of your work;
  • something you are happy with—you might choose your own name (although chances are it’s already taken), something generic, or a unique phrase

Picking a theme and adding features

You settled on a name and now you have your very own blog—congratulations!

Now spend some time getting acquainted with your blog’s dashboard—don’t worry if you don’t understand what all the options are for, you will have plenty of time to figure them out later.

But take a moment to check out ‘Appearance’ in the left hand menu on the dashboard. This allows you to customise the blog’s look and feel, as well as add customisations such as widgets and menus. Try out several themes until you find one that suits the style you’re aiming for, and remember that you can change this as many times as you want as you go along—you’re not stuck with the first choice you make.

If you are unsure how to proceed go through the guide to personalizing the appearance of your blog.

First post

Now you are ready to write your first post. WordPress makes it incredibly easy to publish content on your blog from any platform—computer, tablet, or even your smartphone. First, watch this short clip, and then go through the step-by-step guide on publishing your first blog post:

Make sure to preview your post before publishing it, and save it as draft if you are not finished. Don’t forget that you can always go back to it and edit what you have written.

As this is your first blog in the BCMS degree, it makes sense for your first post to be an introduction. You might choose to tell your readers something about who you are, what interests you have, and the career you want to pursue. It’s OK to feel a little nervous at this point, but you’ll find that you quickly get used to it, and as you read other people’s blogs, you’ll get a clearer sense of the right tone for you.

Tags and categories

One of the powerful features of WordPress is that it lets you include both tags and categories, so that you can quickly search through and find posts you’ve written on particular topics. You control the taglist that you set up, but as this is one of the ways you’ll attract readers to your blog, it makes sense to use tags that are meaningful to others. Both your categories and your tags are easy to edit and adjust as you go along—WordPress is really flexible about this sort of thing, which makes it an ideal blogging platform that will grow with you as you become a more confident user.

Comments

Make sure that you’ve chosen a theme that makes it easy for your readers to see where they should look to add a comment. Some themes display comments, or just the fact that there are comments, more effectively than others, so try a few.  But the best way to encourage others to comment on your blog is to use Twitter to tell them that you’ve posted, and to comment on their blogs.

Happy posting!

Dr Ted Mitew