Best Practices

Jump to:

Logging In
Updating your Profile
Creating a Gravatar
Creating Posts
Creating Links
Setting Format
Selecting the Right Categories
Adding Tags
Other Tips
Animated Gifs

Logging in

Scroll down to the “Meta” section in the left sidebar and click the Log In link. You can also bookmark http://writingminor.sweetland.lsa.umich.edu/wp-login.php

 

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Updating your Profile

After logging in for the first time, you should update your profile and add in your full name, so that class and community members know whose post they are reading and commenting upon. The profile can be accessed by clicking on your account name in the top right corner of the blog (you most be logged in and in the WordPress Dashboard). Choose “Edit My Profile.”

Add your first and last name and choose to display your name publicly as your first and last name. It’s important that everyone knows who is posting and commenting on the blog.

Below the Name section, add a brief bio to introduce yourself to the Minor community! If you ever need to change your password you can do so here as well.

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Creating a Gravatar

If you would like a picture, or avatar, attached to your profile you will need to sign up for a WordPress.com account. Note: The Minor in Writing Blog is a WordPress.org NOT a WordPress.com blog. If you haven’t used a WordPress.com blog in another class then the login and password you use on the Minor in Writing blog will not work. You must sign up for a WordPress.com account.

1. I’VE NEVER USED WORDPRESS.COM IN ANY OTHER CLASS
Go to the Gravatar homepage and click the big Create Your Own Gravatar button. Enter your umich email, a username, and password. I would recommend using the same username and password you use on the Minor in Writing blog. Don’t worry if your username is not available, the most important thing is to use your umich email in the email address field. Once your account is created you can edit your gravatar and your display name using the My Gravatar and My Profile links at the top of the screen.

2. I’VE USED WORDPRESS.COM BEFORE IN A PREVIOUS CLASS
If you have used a wordpress.com blog in a previous class you may already have a gravatar. Go to the Gravatar homepage and click the big Create Your Own Gravatar button. On the sign up page click the I already have a WordPress.com account link and enter your umich email or login name and password you used for the WordPress.com blog in your previous class. Once logged in you can edit your gravatar and your display name using the My Gravatar and My Profile links at the top of the screen.

3. I CAN’T REMEMBER OR HAVE NO IDEA IF I’VE USED WORDPRESS.COM BEFORE?
Assume you have. Go to the Gravatar homepage and click the big Create Your Own Gravatar button. On the sign up page click the I already have a WordPress.com account. Enter your umich email and click on the Forgot Password link to start the password recovery process. You will be asked to enter your email again, if it has never been registered the system will immediately reject your email address. Go to option #1 above and sign up for a WordPress.com account.

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Creating posts

Once you have logged in, in Dashboard, go to Posts and choose Add New.

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Creating Links

One of the benefits of blogging vs. traditional writing is the ability to create active links to other pages on the internet. This can be done nicely by using hyperlinks that hide the long, nasty urls and allow the reader to simply click on a link to be transported to the page. Instead of copying and pasting a link into your post like this: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/coursesminor/minorinwriting/eportfolioshowcase you can instead type “Minor in Writing e-Porfolio Showcase,” then highlight the text “Minor in Writing e-Portfolio Showcase.” Click on the chain link icon up in your toolbar. Paste the url of your link into the box, click OK.

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Selecting Format

This one is easy. Don’t touch this. For this blog we want to always used Standard. Selecting other Formats may hide information in your post like the title. This is one of those features that differs from theme to theme in WordPress so if you have your own blog, test it out.

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Select the Right Categories

When you add a new post, always, always, always assign a Category that you want to publish to by checking the category with your Instructors Name – Term. If you don’t check a category, your post won’t show up in the proper section of the website for your fellow classmates and instructor to read.

Other Categories

The Community category allows you to converse with all members of the Minor in Writing program, and to maintain your sense of connection with the community, even when you are not enrolled in shared classes. Use the Technology & Tips category to share tips or resources that might be of use to other students. Use the Gateway Portfolio category when you share your final portfolio link or have a post specifically about your portfolio.

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Adding Tags

Tags are keywords that add an extra element of searchability to your posts. You do not need to Tag your cohort or gateway/capstone/community, the Categories do this. Tags may include the subjects of your topic, the assignment, or any words that could help someone find your article. You do not need to include the “#” used in social media hashtags. Tags are added to the tag cloud in the sidebar.

You can add tags one at a time by clicking the Add button or hitting the Enter/Return key on your keyboard after typing each tag. Or you can add multiple tags at a time by separating them with a comma as you type.

adding-multiple-tags  

To remove a tag from the post, click the small X icon next to the tag.

removing-tags

Consider using a pre-existing tag by clicking the “Choose from the most used tags” link.

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Other Tips

  • Did I mention categorizing your posts. Seriously.
  • Make those links active so readers can click on them. See Creating Links section above.
  • For accessibility purposes it’s recommended that links NOT be configured to open in a new window. Images should include text in the Alternative Tag field. A picture of SpongeBob would have an alt tag “SpongeBob.”
  • Wanna post a video? Copy the url from your YouTube or Vimeo video. Paste it into your post. Instant embedded video.
  • Animated gifs? Always. (see tips below)
  • Readability tips – Look at some older blog posts and you’ll notice entries that use a little formatting finesse are easily read compared to those that use the “wall of text” approach. Consider:
    • Shorter paragraphs
    • Using bullet points, numbered lists, and the quote tools in your toolbar
    • Break up text with an image
    • Using bold and italics to emphasize. However, overusing them diminishes their effect.
  • When using images try to find an image that is big enough to occupy the entire width of your post (just over 500px wide). They just look better compared to tiny images. You might choose to use a smaller image and justify your text left or right, that’s cool too.
  • The Return key will create a space between lines, such as a new paragraph. To create a line break without this space hold down Shift + Return.
  • Wanna write a poem with crazy formatting? Highlight your text and go up to the tools area. Click on the carrot next to “Paragraph” and choose “Preformatted.” Preformatted will preserve weird spacing.
    They all     kissed the bride.
They     all     laughed.
They 
    came 
         from outer space.

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Animated gifs

For animated gifs to work, make sure the image is not resized. Use Full Size as the image display setting.

You can double check your settings by clicking on the image in your post and selecting the Pencil icon to edit. When the Image Details page opens, check under Display Settings > Size, make sure Full Size is selected.

Have fun!