Updated March 11, 2016
Writing and publishing a post in WordPress is pretty straightforward. Here are the basic steps, as well as some handy tips.
Step 1: Login to WordPress
You will have gotten your login information when you installed WordPress. To get to the login screen for your WordPress site, simply type YourDomain.com/admin in your browser.
Step 2: Open the Add New Post window
From your WordPress Dashboard, go to Posts > Add New in the left column. Alternatively, you can hover over the “+ New” link at the top of your screen and choose “Post” from the dropdown menu that appears.
Here’s a diagram summary of the new post window with the corresponding steps below.
Step 3: Get more formatting options
Make sure you are in the Visual tab for the easiest writing. (If you need to enter HTML, switch to the Text tab.)
In the Visual tab you have formatting options at the top of the post box such as bold, italic, centering, headings, etc. At end of the first row of formatting options at the top of the post box, the last icon is called the Kitchen Sink. Click that icon (#2 here):
Once you do, you’ll see more formatting options like underlining, changing font color, adding headings, etc.
These extra formatting tools come in handy. The one I use most is the heading dropdown. When I’m writing my posts, I can highlight text, go up to the heading dropdown and choose which type of heading to make that text.
Step 4: Write your post
Tip: If you compose your posts directly in WordPress but are easily distracted by all the stuff on the screen, you can eliminate distractions easily. In your Add New Post or Edit Post window, click the icon that looks like a box with arrows pointing outward to the corners. This will remove the sidebars from your WordPress window so you only see the post box.
To get back, just click the icon again.
Step 5: Edit your permalink
Before publishing your post (not after, otherwise you may break your link!), edit the permalink if you’d like. Use keywords and make it as close to the way someone would search for your content on Google. Read my post about permalinks and how to choose them. I also recommend you read my SEO tips to understand why they’re important.
Step 6: Add media or create links in your post
To add media, like images – Simply place your cursor in the body of your text where you want the media to appear. Click the Add Media button at the top of the post box. Be sure to read my tips for using images on your site to make sure you’re preparing your images properly, and so you’re not violating anyone’s copyright.
To create a link in your post – Highlight the text you want to make a link and click the link icon (looks like a chain link) on the top row of formatting options. A popup will appear where you can paste the URL you want the link to go to.
To add a PDF to your post – Once you’ve created your PDF using something like Microsoft Word (just save a doc as a PDF) or Google Docs:
- Highlight the text in your post you want readers to click to access the PDF. In other words, you might say, “Download the printable now.” Highlight that phrase.
- Click the “Add Media” button at the top of your post window to upload your PDF.
- Choose your PDF from your computer and upload.
- Click “Insert into Post.”
To embed other media like a YouTube video – Go to that site and copy the snippet of embed code they provide. In your WordPress post, first switch to the “Text” tab (as opposed to the “Visual” tab as in step 3 above). Paste the provided code into to spot you want the embedded item to appear.
Tip: You can change the size of your embedded YouTube video.
- Go to the video individual page of the YouTube video you want to embed.
- Click the “Share” link under the channel name.
- Click the “Embed” tab.
- Click “Show More” underneath the highlighted code.
- Scroll down and choose a different size from the “Video size” dropdown menu.
- Once you choose a new size, find new highlighted code directly above the preview. Copy this updated code, return to your WordPress post or page and paste the code into the Text tab.
Step 7: Select the category (or categories) and tag(s)
In the right side of your screen, you’ll have the option to select categories and tags for your post. (To add a new category, simply click the +Add New Category link at the bottom of the Category box.) Here’s the difference between categories and tags.
Step 8: Save, schedule or publish your post
Use the Publish box in the New Post window to save your draft or publish your post. Saving your draft is helpful if you’re not quite ready for it to go live. Hitting the Publish button will make it go live immediately.
You have other options in this box as well. You can make this post public, private or password protected. Public is normal and makes it available to all. Private keeps it, well, private. Password protected means anyone who wants to see the post has to have the password you set.
You can also schedule this post to publish at a later time if you’d like. Simply click the Edit link (next to Publish immediately) and you’ll be able to choose a date and time for publication. Click OK to make the Publish button change to Schedule. Setting the date and time is not enough. You must also make sure you click the “Schedule” button so it will publish at the time you specified.
Tip: Be sure your timezone is set correctly in WordPress. To do so, go to Settings > General > Timezone. Scheduled posts publish according to this setting, so if it’s not set correctly, you’ll wonder why your posts aren’t going out at the right times! Read more in my most about WordPress settings.
If you’re ready for your post to go live, simply click the “Publish” button.
Congratulations, you wrote your first post!
Don’t forget to read my post 14 Tips for Writing Posts That Work.