Category Archives: Best Practices

Dealing with Spam

We’ve all had junk come through our e-mail – but the same thing can happen on our web site.

Spam actually comes in two kinds of forms – posts from live users and posts from computers.

Posts from Users
When we allow discussions on our site (see Settings–>Discussions) we allow people to express themselves and their opinions. By approving discussions first, we can control what appears on our site, but sometimes that’s more trouble than it’s worth. Quite often all we want to do is ensure people participate in a respectable way.

For many of us, respectable does not include swearing, so WordPress provides a way to create a list of words that if they appear in a post, that post must first be approved by an administrator. From the Discussions settings, just add the words you want to the list (to get you started you can use this sample of curse-words.)

Posts from computers
Like the spam that hits your e-mail, there’s much generated by computers. Rather than try and manage these yourself, you can enable the WP-SpamFree plugin. It will look after deleting any computer generated spam before it even is posted to your site. As a side benefit, WP-SpamFree can also generate a simple contact form for your users to submit message to you directly.

Create a post excerpt & using the “more” tag

When all your posts appear on one page, having long posts can mean a lot of scrolling. You can manually insert a “more” tag into your post so your reader sees a short piece and clicks on the title to see the full story.


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Adding categories and tags to your posts

Creating content for a site is easy, but finding it can be a difficult task for visitors. WordPress provides two ways of organizing your information – categories and tags. Categories are general areas where you can group similar types of information. Tags are like keywords – you can assign a number of tags to a post, making it easier for users to find information (be sure to make use of the Tag widget).


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Tips for writing a post

The following is an excerpt from WordPress.org

Best Practices For Posting
You can say or show the world anything you like on your WordPress site. Here are some tips you need to know to help you write your posts in WordPress.

Practice Accessibility
To be compliant with web standards for accessibility, be sure to include ALT and TITLE descriptions on links and images to help your users, such as WordPress Codex.

Use Paragraphs
No one likes to read writing that never pauses for a line break. To break your writing up into paragraphs, use double spaces between your paragraphs.

Using Headings
If you are writing long posts, break up the sections by using headings, small titles to highlight a change of subject. In HTML, headings are set by the use of h1, h2, h3, h4, and so on. By default, most WordPress Themes use the first, second, and sometimes third heading levels within the site. You can use h4 to set your own headings. Simply type in:

Subtitle of Section

with double lines before and after and WordPress will make that title a headline in your post. To style the heading, add it to your style.css style sheet file. For more information on styling headings, check out Designing Headings.

Spell Check and Proof
There are spell check Plugins available, but even those can’t check for everything. Some serious writers will write their posts in a text editor with spell check, check all the spelling and proof it thoroughly before copying and pasting into WordPress.

Think before you post
Ranting on blogs is commonplace today, but take a moment and think about what you are writing. Remember, once it is out there, it can be seen by many and crawled by search engines; and taking things back is harder once it is public. Take a moment to read what you’ve written before hitting the Publish button. When you are ready, share it with the world.

Write frequently
Write as frequently as you can, may be even more than twice a day, but don’t let quantity get in the way of quality. Your viewers come for content, don’t give them useless stuff.

Don’t use too much slang
Not all the readers will be from your part of the world so make sure people can understand easily.

Consider your readers
Perhaps this sounds weird, but consider who needs to know about your blog before you tell them about your new blogging hobby. Will you be able to write freely if you tell them? How much should you let your readers know about you? Is it ok if your boss or girlfriend reads your posts? If you don’t want them to read, take anonymity measures accordingly.

Make use of comments
Comments let people share their ideas. Sometimes, they might not be good, but you can ask such people to shut up. Most of the times, they will and if they don’t you can delete their comments. Blogging like real life, can be both fun and not so fun at times. Be prepared. Also, give your people a place to contact you in private if they want to write to you.

Worry about blog design later
Blog design matters, but only to an extent. Don’t give up on blogging just because the design isn’t coming up as you’ll like it it to be. Sooner or later, you’ll get around the design problems with ease. But continue writing. Content is what attracts your readers, not just the look of your blog.

Use pictures and videos
They make the pages colorful and viewers get to see a little of your part of the world. They feel connected.

Save your posts
Save your posts before you press the publish button. Anything can happen with your computer or with an internet connection. You don’t need to lose your post.

Submit your blog to search engines

Placing a link to your blog from your MacEwan contact record is just one way to ensure people can find your site – but the more links to your site, the easier it becomes for people to find you. And of course, you’ll need to ensure search engines can find you as well.

There are applications and services available for a fee that will submit your information to search engines, (and many search engines just natuarally find our web pages)  but it’s just as easy to pick a few engines and submit the site yourself. Here are just a few to get you started:

Put the Admin Bar where it’s useful

When you view your Dashboard, WordPress also provides an Admin Bar at the top of the page with the same functions (Can you say duplication?).

The solution to this is remove the Admin Bar from your Dashboard (commands are still on the left). You can also add the Admin Bar at the top of your actual site (only you see it when you’re logged in) which gives you quick access to add new posts to your site.

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First steps after creating your blog

mangreenCongratulations on setting up your blog! Now, I know you’re all excited about exploring what this tool can do (and how you can change the colors and all) but there are some basic things you need to do:

  1. Change the name of the site (Settings –> General)
  2. Update your profile information (Users –> Your Profile)
  3. Add information about yourself onto your site. Easiest way is to add a Text Widget (Appearance –> Widgets). Add the widget to the column, select the Edit button and add your text. When you visit your site, there’s your information.

That’s it – your site’s ready to go!

Additional Help

There are many online resources available  in regards to using WordPress including WordPress.org , WordPress.tv and YouTube.

MacEwan’s Faculty Commons can also provide you with training on using your WordPress blog. You can contact them directly for more information.

Please note that ITS will only support the templates and plugins currently installed; please do not ask us to install any new items.

Want to discover more you can do? Check out the First Steps category!