Category Archives: First Steps

Adding a Page

For many themes, creating static menus at the top is done by creating pages. Pages can contain any information you want. Some good examples of pages are About Me or Contact.


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Creating a simple contact form

Contact FormOne the first things we want to do is provide a way for our visitors to contact us. The plugin WP-SpamFree, which protects you from spambots (an automated process where a computer can submit spam through your comments or contact forms), provides a simple contact form for us to use .

Adding the form is easy! After you have activated WP-SpamFree, create a Page (Contact) and in the editing window select the HTML tab. Type in whatever text you want before the form and then paste in the following:

<!–spamfree-contact–>

Once you save and view your page, you’ll have a form! You can customize some elements of  the form by viewing the WP-SpamFree plugin’s settings.

What plugins should I use?

gearPlugins allows us to expand on the basic WordPress tool. Not, there are thousands of plugins available for WordPress, but we’re only going to be provding a limited number of them on the site (the more plugins, the more chance for something to go wrong).

You can see a complete list of the what’s available by selecting the Plugins menu. You can find out information about the plugin by clicking on the name and you can activate the plugin by selecting the Activate link on the right.

Many of these plugins are intended for other sites that site on our server, but you’re more than free to use any of the plugins (Note: it’s up to you to read the material and figure out how they work with your site).

Basic plugins that everyone should use are:

  • WP-SpamFree (no spam on your site and provides a simple contact form)
  • MobilePress (Provides a better experience for visitors on mobile phones)
  • All in One SEO (provides information for Google to use when indexing your site)

Plugins that are nice to have include:

  • SlideShare MU (embed your PowerPoint presentations on your site using SlideShare.com)
  • Viper’s Video Quicktags (easily embed videos from YouTube and other sources)
  • ShareThis (allows visitors to post links from stories to social networkds like Facebook, Twitter and event email)
  • Event Calendar/Widget (these two plugins provide you with a way to list events as text items, not just a calendar)

Unless you’re real hardcore WordPress geek, the rest of the plugins really won’t do much for you.

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:

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!