WordPress editor

WordPress Editor Overview

I must say that the WordPress editor is an awesome tool for writing blog posts and pages. It is a wysiwyg editor (what you see is what you get) and for most part it is a pleasure to work with. In today’s WordPress tutorial, I will go over all the features of the WordPress editor including publishing options, tagging and categorizing your post and the Featured Image option.

Index of topics to be covered:

  1. The features of your default editing bar
  2. The difference between Visual and Text Editors
  3. The features of the Publishing Area
  4. Categorizing posts
  5. Tagging posts
  6. Featured Images

1. Default Features Of WordPress Editor – Visual Mode

When you first access the post editor you will arrive at the WordPress Visual editor and likely see only one unimpressive row of editing functions.

Image 1. First View Of Default WordPress Editor Options -Visual Mode

WordPress editor default editing options

Most of the options you see are self explanatory. Although I’ll be showing you how to use them when we’ll go through the post writing tutorial, I just want to mention three of them:

  1. Insert Read More tag – this option is for creating excerpts to show on your Home Page when your theme does not have an automatic option to do so.
  2. Toolbar toggle – it is an option to expand the editor and reveal more editing options.
  3. Option 15 is “Distraction-free writing mode” – when you click on this option, it hides both, the right hand and left sidebars on your screen. This is good to use when your computer screen is small. It gives you more space.

When you click on “Toolbar toggle”, the WordPress editor expands and you will see more editing options.

Image 2. Expanded WordPress Editor

Expanded WordPress editor

Of the expanded options, two deserve a mention:

  1. Option 1 – Paragraph – this option expands and allows you add “H tags” or heading tags to your text. This option is very important from the SEO (search engine optimization) viewpoint. Usually, what I do, is to create subheading in my posts and then tag them with the “H tags” (h2, h3, h4 and so on). What it does, it lets the search engines know that there is something important within the sub-heading, like a keyword. The search engines take that into consideration when they index the posts.
  2. Option 13 – Add Media – as the name suggests you use this option to add images and other media. I mainly use it to upload images. When you click on this option, you will be taken to “Media Library” where you will be adding and optimizing your images. In the next tutorial (How to write a post) I will show you how to use this option.

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2. Default Features Of WordPress Editor – Text Mode

When you click on the Text mode, on the right hand side, just above the editor toolbar you will be brought to an HTML editor. There is only a single line of commands but I find them redundant as you can use all of them in your Visual editor.

Image 3. WordPress Text Editor

WordPress text editor

The reason I use the Test editor sometimes, is that I want to add options that are not available on the Visual editor or in the Text editor. I learned a few HTML commands, copied them into my HTML hacks file and when I need to add an HTML command for a certain function, I use it as my resource.

Let me explain. For example, the default editor does not have an option to highlight text. Sometimes, when I want to stress a point I want to highlight the text. I figured out what the HTML code is and saved it in my hacks file. I retrieve it as I need it.

Here is an example:►► highlighted text ◄◄

In the text editor I added the following code and entered the text I wanted to highlight between the opening and closing tags

<span style=”background-color:#FFFF00;”>highlighted text</span>

The bottom line is, that it is worthwhile to learn a few bits and pieces of HTML code to use in the WordPress text editor to make your blog post more visually attractive and easier to read. As you will start writing posts, it will all click and you will gain more experience and confidence to do basic modifications you need to do in the text editor.
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3. WordPress Editor – Publishing Area

On top of the sidebar you will find the Publishing Area for your post. There a couple of options I will go over, because they are important, particularly for scheduling your posts and for visibility of your posts. You don’t use them all the time, but they are very helpful, when you need to do such modifications.

Image 4. WordPress Editor Publishing Area

WordPress editor publishing area

In this area you have several obvious options, such as “Save Draft”, “Preview” the draft (it opens the preview in another window), “Status”, “Revisions” and “Publish”.

The two options I would like to explain are the “Visibility” and the “Publish immediately”. In both cases, click on edit and I’ll explain what it all means.

Image 5. WordPress Editor Publishing Options

WordPress editor publishing options

I expanded “Visibility” and “Publish immediately”. Let’s see what they mean and how to use them.

1. Visibility – in general, you would only use this option if you want to make your post “sticky”, in other words you always want to make a particular post visible on your Home Page, no mater how many additional posts you posted after publishing this post. You may remember from my discussion about the differences between posts and pages, that posts are published in a chronological order, with the new ones on top.

If you publish a post that you don’t want to be masked by the new posts, you make it “sticky”. You can see the example on Blogging Spree Home Page, where the first 3 posts are sticky. It does not matter how much I post they are always there (unless I will remove the “stickiness”).

To make a post “sticky”, you simply tick the “sticky” option. If you will want to unstick it, untick it.

2. Publish immediately – I use this option two ways if I am not publishing an article immediately:

Scheduling – This is a really cool option because it allow you to schedule publishing your blogs posts. Why would you want to schedule your posts?, you may wonder. Suppose you write post every other day, consistently, because your readers like it and the search engines like it. One day, as you are writing, you are flooded with post ideas and you end up writing several articles.

Well, you have an option to schedule your posts into your routine, rather than publishing all the posts at once. This way, you are still consistent, when it comes to publishing, but you do not have to sit at the computer every day and write. You’ll have time to do something else for your blog.

Backdating – As you now know, posts are published in a chronological order with the most recent article on top. But when you write a series of articles, such as Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, you may not want your article Part 3 be visible ahead of Part 1. You want the series of articles to be visible in 1, 2, 3 order. Right? Well, posts, unlike pages, cannot be ordered. The only way to achieve it is to backdate publishing date of your posts.

This is exactly what I had to do when I was writing this WordPress Tutorial series. If I had not done that, my readers would see the final tutorial, before they even had a chance to install their WordPress blog. Not cool, right?

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4-5. Categorizing and Tagging Options Of WordPress Editor

On the side bar of the WordPress editor, there are another two areas you need to use before you publish a post.

  1. Categories
  2. Tags

Image 6. WordPress Editor Categories And Tags

WordPress Editor categories and tags

Categories – When you finish writing your post you MUST assign it to a category, so that it can be placed in one of your category archives. If you don’t, it will automatically be place it in the default, Uncategorized category.

When you are categorizing your posts, just tick of the category you want your post to be in and that is all that you have to do.

You may be tempted to assign one post to more than one category. It is not a good idea, generally. Try to only place it in one category.

I trust that you went through the tutorial on Categories and created all your categories. If you did not, I urge you to do it. There is no sense in your writing posts if you did not pick your categories and organized the overall theme (topic) of your blog.

Tags – tags are most underused elements of the editor. Use them! Use descriptive keywords, think of what terms your readers would use to search for your post. Use only keywords that you used within your post. For example, if you are writing about juicy oranges, enter “juicy oranges”, not “juicy apples”. You can enter as many tags as you want, but don’t go overboard.

►►Tags are important for the search engine optimization of your blog!◄◄

Some once said:

  • Categories are table of contents
  • Tags are index words

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6. Featured Image Option

Featured Image is a very nice option that WordPress gave us. It is located just below the Tags option on the sidebar of the WordPress editor. This option was not always available, it is only a recent developments as bloggers use more and more images on their blogs. When you add a featured image, this image will show at the front of your blog in whichever position you assign it. For example, on my blog, my featured image is centered and it shows above the post. Try it and see how it works for you.

As well, the featured images are shown as thumbnails (small images) on your home page, besides each post. They add a bit of a color and a flavor to your blog’s Home Page.

The Featured Images option is fun to have and you will have to explore it on your own theme and figure out which sizes and positions work best for your blog.

Note: Just in case you don’t see Featured Image option on your WordPress editor sidebar, chances are that it is not selected on your Screen Options (top of your screen, right hand corner). Select the Featured Image option. It should show up in your editing sidebar.

In summary, you have learned all there is to know about the WordPress Editor, including the difference between the text editor and visual editor. As well, we covered the Publishing details and options the WordPress editor offers, plus Categories, Tags and Featured Image options.

In the next WordPress tutorial I will show you step-by-step how to write a post, how to add images to your post, how to add hyperlinks or anchor text to your post and whatever other little tricks you need to know to create a neat looking blog post. In the WordPress tutorial on must have plugins I recommended a free plugin (WP Edit) to enhance your WordPress editor with even more functions. I suggest that you install the plugin on your blog, because the additional features it offers will make the editor even easier to use.

Next Tutorial: How To Write A Post

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2 Responses to WordPress Editor Overview

  1. Glenn Shepherd February 16, 2015 at 7:19 am #

    Hi Dita,

    That’s an excellent tutorial. For anyone new to WordPress and unsure as to how to get around, this is something they should read and could learn a lot from.

    As you know, I’m no stranger to WordPress but I learned something from this tutorial – the part about backdating. I suppose it’s because I’ve never a need to do it so the thought hasn’t come up. But now that I know that the function is there it will be useful to bear in mind in case I do ever need to use it or, indeed, help anyone else. So thanks for including that useful piece of info in your tutorial. 🙂

    Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Two Big Reasons You May Be Failing In Your Online BusinessMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine February 17, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

      Hi Glen,
      Thank you for the comment. It means a lot to me. I’ve tried to be as detailed as possible with every WordPress Tutorial lesson as I wrote the series with a beginner in mind.

      I had to chuckle, that you too found some useful tidbit here.

      Take care!
      Dita Irvine recently posted…WordPress Tutorial Conclusion – Rock’n’Roll To SuccessMy Profile