Using WordPress in ChicagoNow 2.0

This is meant for active ChicagoNow bloggers but if you're a reader feel free to soak it all in, and if you'd like to pitch us a blog go right here.

This post will review every aspect of posting to your ChicagoNow blog on WordPress. If I don't hit a topic or answer a question shoot me an email or leave a comment below.

New Bloggers: After logging in please update the following information immediately.

Changing your title, tag line and blog administrator's email address

This is something you should do before you get started. Under "Settings" select the word "Settings. A page will appear with Site Title, Tagline and Email address. You can change these at any time.

How do I login?

Go here http://www.chicagonow.com/#login and login using your existing ChicagoNow user name and password.

If it worked you will see your blog name in the black area at the top of the browser.

To access the WordPress dashboard click on the blog name. If you are an admin on more than one blog it will say "My blogs" and all your blogs will appear underneath. Click on the appropriate one.

How can I create a new entry?

When you're in the dashboard, look to the left rail and click on the word "Posts". Underneath it you will select "Add New".

There are four types of posts: Article, Link, Gallery and Video. Select the kind of post you want to create before starting to enter your content.

What is an "Article" post?

This is your basic post where text is the main type of content being shared. The headline goes in "Title for the article" and the content goes below that in the "Write it" area.

What is a "Featured Image"?

This is only available in an "Article" post. Adding a "Featured image" will display the image at the top of your post, above your text. A thumbnail of the post will also accompany your post when it's displayed on your blog home page or if it's featured on the ChicagoNow home page.

To add a "Featured image" do the following:

1. Select "Featured Image" on the right side of the entry.
2. Select "Upload an image or choose one from your library"
3. You will see the box "Add media files from your computer". Hit "Select Files" and then select the photo you want. After you've done that, hit "Open" and the selected image will load.
4. If it successfully loads you will see an information box. If all is fine then just hit "Use as featured image" and the image will be added.
5. To add a caption and edit image hold off on hitting "Use as featured image" and select "Edit Image" under the thumbnail on the left. Select "Scale Image" and put in the dimensions you want then hit "Scale." Then add your caption and hit "Use as featured image." When you're done hit he "x" in the top right corner to close the box.

Can I embed a video in an "Article" post?

Yes. To embed a video click on the "HTML" tab on the top right of the "Write it" box. This will allow you to paste in HTML. IMPORTANT: The width of the blog post is approximately 550 pixels wide, anything larger will bleed over into the right rail.

Can I embed an image in an "Article" post?

Yes. Click here to learn how.

What is a "Gallery" post?

This is the post to use when sharing photos is the main purpose of the post, or if you have multiple photos accompanying a post. You will be creating a "slideshow" of your images.

To learn how to create a "Gallery" post click here.

What is a "Video" post?

You should use a "Video" post when the main purpose of your post is to share a  single video. This will only work when using YouTube or Vimeo videos.

It works by pasting the URL into the area where it says "The URL for the video." If it's working properly it will pull in a thumbnail image and the headline of the video.

For Vimeo, make sure there are only numbers at the end of the URL. For example: http://vimeo.com/27747331

For YouTube, go to URL and click on “Share” this will give you the shortened URL, which you can’t use. But it also has a “long link” option. Click that and then copy this URL, that’s the one that will work.

Can I embed an image in a "Video" post?

Yes. Click here to learn how.

What is a "Link" post?

We will be eliminating this in the near future. Do not use.

How do I save as a draft, schedule or publish a post?

On the right side of the entry is an area where it says "Publish." Your entry will auto-publish after a couple of minutes so it will be hard to lose a post.

You can see on the left the options that are available. You can save as a draft or publish the post immediately by hitting the blue "Publish" button.

To schedule a post select "Edit" next to "Publish immediately." This will present a time stamp that you can adjust accordingly. It's on military time. After making a change to a future time hit "OK" and the "Publish" button will become "Schedule." Select "Schedule" and the post will be set to go live at the time you chose.

It isn't possible to turn a post live with a future time. If you try that the post will automatically become a scheduled post.

How can I add an "About" page or other pages to my nav bar?

Select "Add new" under "Pages" and create the page you want and publish. This will not add the page to your stream of posts. After the page is made click on "Menus" under "Appearance." All of your pages will be listed there with their headline. Check off the pages you want and click "Add to menu."

Those pages will then appear in middle under "Blog Navigation". To complete adding them select "Save Menu" on the right.

You can also add links to your nav bar. On the " Menus" page find where it says "Custom Links". Add the link you want, give it a title and then "Add to menu" as you did above with "pages."

How can I add my blog avatar?

The blog avatar is the image that will go to the left of your blog title. If you have prepared one beforehand it must be at least 256 x 256 or could risk being pixilated.

To add it in go to "Settings" on the left rail of the dashboard and select "Blog Avatar". You'll select "Browse" and get the image you want to use then hit "Upload". Crop the image as needed. If you want to add a different one hit "reset" and then upload a new image.

How can I moderate my comments?

If you are using the ChicagoNow comment system, select "Comments" to see all your comments listed in chronological order. You can reply to any comment from here, and you also can unapprove or trash a comment. We use Akismet so spam should be at a minimum but here is where you can also remove any spam that gets through.

If you are using the Facebook Comments click here.

How do I add a blogroll?

Every blog already has a category called "Blogroll" set up so it will be up to you to add links to it and then place it on your right rail if you wish.

To get started look on the left rail under "Links" and select "Add new". A page will appear that will ask you to provide a "Name" and a "Web address". There is also a "Description" field but that is optional.

Fill out the information and then in the "Category" area check off the category you want this page added to, in this case it will be "Blogroll". There are other advanced options at the bottom of the page, please use as you desire but all are optional.

When you're ready, find "Add link" on the far right. You will then see "Link added" at the top of the page.

The "Blogroll" is really just a "Link Category" that is connected to the "Link" widget. So to place this on your right rail go to "Appearances" and select "Widgets."

Adding separate "Link Categories"

After you drag "Links" under the "Sidebar Layout" you will be prompted to choose which of your "Link categories" you want listed. If "Blogroll" is the only one you have then there's nothing to do but hit save and you're done.

The "Link" widget can be added multiple times so you can share another group of links separate from the "Blogroll." To do this first go to "Link Category" and fill out the name and slug fields. The description field is optional. When you're ready, select "Add New Link Category" near the bottom of the page.

You will now need to add the links for this category. Go to "Links" and then "Add New" as you did above for the "Blogroll". You CAN add the same link to separate "Link Categories."

If you have existing "Links' created you can click on "Links" and then select "edit" to add the link to your newly-created category. This is also where you can remove a link from a category.

When you're ready with the new "Link Category" go to "Appearances and select "Widgets". Repeat the process of adding the "Link" widget but this time you will be able to choose between which of the "Link Categories" you want.

How do I remove a link from Blogroll?

Under "Links" click on "Links Categories" and you'll see "Blogroll" to the right. Under "Links" click on the number given, in your case it's 10 at the moment. When you click on that you'll go to a page with all the links in the blogroll. Scroll over each name and there will be a "delete" option. Delete as needed.

How do I add/remove users from my blog?

Under "Users" select "Add New". The user will already have had to have created a ChicagoNow user account so you'll need either their email address or their user name. Enter either the email address or the user name and assign a role to the person.

- You are an "Administrator" which is the top level access.
- An "Editor" is somebody who can publish and manage posts and pages as well as manage other users' posts.
- An "Author" is somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
- A "Contributor" is somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish them.
- A "Subscriber" is somebody who can only manage their profile.

After adding the user they will get an email and will need to click on a link to complete the process. To remove a user go to "Users" and then under it select "Users" again. Scroll under the name of the user you want to remove and the word "remove" will appear. Select it to remove the user.

How do I edit my profile?

Under "Users" select "Your Profile". You can make any changes in here, including changing your profile photo. You can never change your user name.

How do I add right rail features?

Under "Appearances" select "Widgets" and you will a page of "Available Widgets." Anything we've put there will be available to you but we will be updating continually so expect changes. To turn a widget live just drag it over to the area under "Sidebar Layout". As soon as it's there it will be live on your blog.

Your right rail has more features, flexibility and control for you than you had in Movable Type. You can use HTML and, as a result, you  have the power to make something look bad. Here are some things you can easily add to your right rail and also some tips on keeping the presentation clean.

The widget labeled simply "Text" is the only one you can edit and add content to. You can add as many "Text" widgets as you want. To activate one, grab the word "Text" and drag it under "Sidebar Layout" on the right side of the dashboard.

When you drag it a box will open asking for the "Title" and also presenting an open area. You can put any kind of content in here, from regular text to HTML.

As with everything on the right rail, the width can't be more than 300 pixels. Copy the code and paste it into the "Text" box for the appropriate widget.

How do I set spam filters?

We have a spam filter called "Akismet" that is set to off when your blog first starts. To turn it on click on "Settings" and you'll see "Akismet comment spam protection." Switch the setting to "on" and then select "Save Changes."

The reason we have it initially set to off is because Akismet isn't perfect, it can sometimes read a good comment as spam and that's understandably very frustrating for readers who don't know why their comments didn't show up.

When should you turn Akismet on? Whenever you want, it's up to you. But you should especially consider it if you just don't like having spam on your blog or if you're getting an inordinate amount of spam and don't want to constantly spend time removing it.

There is also an important feature called "Comment flood protection." This prevents quick commenting often used by spammers and allows commenting by a user only every five seconds. However, on blogs that have a high level of fast commenting this can get in the way of discussions so you have the option to turn it off.


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