Making a post with WordPress – Title, Permalinks, Editor

Toolbar buttons on WordPress text editor

Making a post with WordPress is fairly simple but even when you’re familiar there’s stuff that’s easy to miss.

Title and Permalink for posts and pages

The empty field at the top of the page is for the main Title of the post. On most themes this will show by default at the top of your post. When using Visual Composer and want to show this Title, it’s known as ‘Post Title’.  This Title will be shown as a hyperlink on your site if there’s a list of posts available. This could be in a sidebar, a blog page or maybe a selection of posts.

The Permalink is the individual URL of the post. The Permalink is made after you’ve given a Title and uses words from your Title.  If this isn’t happening and you’re getting only numbers in the Permalink, it can be changed. Go to Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks where there are many options but include one that gives the Post Name. If Settings are not available to you, you either need administrator access or ask the administrator to make the change. It’s important to have the Title words in the permalink for Google and humans to read.

If you start writing a post without making a Title, WordPress will save a draft using an ID number in the permalink. You can change this using the ‘Edit’ button next to the permalink. You can use the edit button at any time but be sure to before you post links to the page on other sites. Changing permalinks after you’ve made links to the post on other sites will break these links. This goes for Facebook, Twitter and other social media. They won’t know where to look if you’ve changed the Permalink. It is possible to add a redirection system to your site if needed but can get messy.

The default WordPress text editor

I’ve skipped past the ‘Add Media’ button because the media library has its own post on this blog.

There’s two tabs: Visual and Text. Both are blank on a new post. The labels are a little deceiving as they’re both for text and ‘Visual’ isn’t exactly what users will see when the post is published. ‘Text’ view gives you only textual data. This can look horrendous if there’s content there already and some of it contains HTML code tags. A small snippet might look like: <H2>Some words</h2>. This stuff makes some people understandably uncomfortable because it’s unfamiliar. The ‘Visual’ view hides HTML code and let’s you see any images inserted from ‘Add Media’.

Text tab

The ‘Text’ tab is useful is if you need to paste some text in from elsewhere. If you paste into the Visual view, it can carry unwanted formatting. It might look ok when first pasted but can cause formatting problems when viewed as a live post. It’s best to create content that’s as clean as possible (no unwanted code that you can’t see).

When copying text from MS Word or any other web page or program, it can pick up invisible formatting code. When this code is unknowingly pasted into pages or posts, it can cause all manner of time-eating difficulties. If it’s obvious that a bullet list is made using line-breaks and not the actual bullet list option it’s really worth taking the time to use correct formatting. Although it might seem like extra work, it will save time to do it properly to begin with. Everyone who’s ever used a computer knows that feeling of “this is normally simple, but just won’t work now”!

Another reason is when changing a Theme sometime in the future, existing problems could show up. There’s a button on the Visual tab toolbar labeled ‘Paste as text’ that removes formatting on paste. It’s worthwhile trying both methods to see which works best if you have a lot of copying in to do. If you’ve already got stuff you’ve copied in earlier without checking it’s clean, try the ‘Clear Formatting’ button. It’s on the toolbar next to ‘Paste as text’ and looks like an eraser.

Visual tab

The Visual tab gives two rows of toolbar options. To see the second row, click the button on the end of the first row that reads ‘Toolbar toggle’ on mouseover. Along the first row are some classic word processing options; bold, italic, bullet list and numbered list alignment. Add Hyperlink gives you the option to search your posts and pages to make an internal link. You can also paste in a URL from another site if needed. Click the blue ‘Apply’ button before clicking elsewhere to confirm. Remove Link does the obvious but highlight the link to be removed first. ‘Insert Read More’ is for when you have a page showing many posts. Where ‘Read More’ is used, the post will only show up to where this is added unless viewing the individual post.

At the beginning of the toolbar options there’s the list of Paragraph, Heading1, Heading2 etc. It’s important to use these as they’ll help to keep posts and pages tidy. The sizes and spacing that Paragraph and Headings will be pre-defined by the Theme. Using these will create consistency through your site and keep it looking professional.  Many don’t bother and only use bold and italic to make things stand out.

The second row of options offers:

  • Strikethrough, that ‘line through the text’ effect
  • Horizontal line, not sure why anyone would need this but there it is
  • Text Colour, highlight the bit you want coloured then choose a colour. Be careful with this or posts & pages will get scruffy!
  • Paste as text, leaves unwanted formatting behind
  • Clear formatting, clears unwanted formatting if you pasted it in
  • Special character, all those special characters that you can’t remember keyboard shortcuts to
  • Decrease indent, if you don’t want what you’ve made with the next button
  • Increase indent, handy for making sub-bullets in a bullet list
  • Undo, undoes
  • Redo, redoes
  • Keyboard shortcuts, shows a list of keyboard shorts for all the above