WordPress 2.7 Complete
Using WordPress, you can easily create dynamic blogs and websites with great
content and many outstanding features. It is an ideal tool for developing blogs and
though it is chiefly used for blogging, it can also be used as a complete CMS for a
regular website with very little effort. You can customize the features, incorporate
your own design, and even write your own plugins with ease. Its versatility and ease
of use has attracted a large, enthusiastic, and helpful community of users. Although
it is easy to get started with WordPress, its full power is not immediately obvious.
If you want to create a powerful, fully featured blog or non-blog website in no time,
this book is for you. This book will help you learn everything WordPress has to offer
from the ground up, so you can build your complete website. You will see many of
WordPress’s hidden powers that will help you build a fully functioning website.
What This Book Covers
Chapter 1—Introduction to WordPress introduces everything about blogging, including
what a blog is, the common terms used in blogging and what they mean, what
WordPress has to offer to a blogger, and why to choose it.
Chapter 2—Getting Started explains the choices of where you can build your
WordPress website, upgrading from an older version of WordPress, and getting
familiar with the WordPress Administration Panel.
Chapter 3—Blogging Your Heart Out covers the complete process of creating new posts
for your blog, including applying categories and tags to your post, using the rich text
editor, and controlling the timestamp. It also includes more advanced options such
as including excerpt and trackbacks. This chapter also covers controlling
commenting and discussion on your blog, as well as keeping out comment spam.
Chapter 4—Pages, Images, Plugins and More… explains that blog posts aren’t the only
content in your blog. You also can control pages of static information, upload and
manage images on your site, keep a list of bookmarked links, and add plugins.
Chapter 5—Choosing and Installing Themes covers how to find and use existing themes
from a variety of reliable websites, how to choose which theme is right for your
website or blog, and the process of installing and using your new theme. This
chapter also covers enabling and using widgets in your theme.
Chapter 6—Developing Your Own Theme covers the process of creating your own
theme from soup to nuts. This includes setting up your design to accommodate
your blogging goals, converting your initial build into an authentic WordPress
theme, creating templates within your theme to serve different purposes for
your blog, making your theme widget-friendly, and sharing your theme with
the WordPress community.
Chapter 7—Feeds and Podcasting explains what feeds are and how to add them to your
WordPress website, tracking subscribers to your blog, and aggregating feeds from
other sources on your blog. This chapter also covers using your WordPress website
to create a podcast. (It’s easy!)
Chapter 8—Developing Plugins and Widgets is for the more advanced user. This chapter
shows you how to create plugins and widgets that will work with any installation of
WordPress. It includes step-by-step instructions so you don’t get lost along the way.
Chapter 9—Community Blogging covers managing and handling a multiuser blog,
including a detailed outline of the roles and capabilities included in WordPress.
Chapter 10—WordPress as a CMS covers from start to finish how to use WordPress to
create a non-blog website. This chapter includes explanations of designing your
theme, setting it up, creating custom pages that display post content in non-blog
ways, customizing the home page to contain dynamic content, and creating a
Chapter11—Administrator’s Reference covers all of the basic things a WordPress
administrator needs to know from system requirements to detailed step-by-step
instructions on installing WordPress, moving your WordPress website from one
place to another, backing up, common template tags, and basic troubleshooting.
Pages, Images, Plugins, and More
You now have the blog part of your website fully under control. By now you may
have noticed that WordPress offers you a lot more than simply posts, comments,
In this chapter, we will explore and control all of the other content types that
WordPress already has. You’ll be able to create static pages that aren’t a part of your
ongoing blog, bookmark links that will drive visitors to your friends, and add and
manage built-in image galleries to display photos and other images. You’ll also learn
how to add plugins, which will enhance the capabilities of your entire website.
At first glance, pages look very similar to posts. They also have a title and a content
area in which we can write extended text. However, pages are handled quite
differently from posts. Pages don’t have a timestamp, categories, or tags. Posts
belong to your blog, which is meant to be a part of an ongoing expanding section of
your website, and are added regularly. Pages are more static, and the regular parts of
your site that stand alone in a separate part of the site.
When you installed WordPress, a page was automatically created for you
(along with the first post and first comment). You can see it by clicking on the
About link under Pages in the sidebar:
Adding a page
To add a new page, go to your WP Admin and navigate to Pages | Add New, or use
the drop-down menu in the top grey menu by clicking on the arrow next to New
Post and choosing New Page. This will take you to the Add New Page page:
The minimum you need to do to create a new page is type in a title and some
content. Then click on the blue Publish button, just as you would for a post, and
your new page will appear linked in the sidebar of your website.
You’ll recognize most of the fields on this page from the Add New Post page, and
they work the same for pages as they do for posts. Let’s talk about the one new
section, the box called Attributes.
WordPress allows you to structure your pages hierarchically. This way, you can
organize your website’s pages into main pages and subpages, which is useful if
you’re going to have a lot of pages on your site. For example, if I was writing this
blog along with three other authors, we would each have one page about us on the
site, but they’d be subpages of the main About page. If I was adding one of these
pages, I’d choose About as the parent page for this new page.
Theme designers often offer alternate templates that can be used for special pages.
The default WordPress theme comes with two templates: Archives and Links. Let’s
try using the Archives template.
Just give your new page a title (for example, Blog Archives) and some content
(for example, Let’s experiment with the archives template). Then choose Archives
from the Template pull-down menu and publish your page. When you go to your
site and click on the Blog Archives link in the sidebar, you’ll see this:
As you can see, your title and content both do not appear, which makes this different
from pages that use the default template (such as the About page that we looked
at earlier). The sidebar is also missing. What does appear are the search box, a list of
blog archives organized by month, and a list of archives organized by subject, that
This particular template doesn’t appear useful because all of its information is
currently in the sidebar of the rest of the site. However, this shows you the power
of a template. If you’re designing a theme for your own website, you can create any
number of templates that have special content.
The Links template creates a similar page, but it lists all of your links. We’ll discuss
this in more detail later.
By default, the pages in your page list on the sidebar of your blog will be in
alphabetical order. If you want them in some other order, you can specify it by
entering numbers in the Order box for all of your pages. Pages with lower numbers
(0) will be listed before pages with higher numbers (5).
As the WordPress developers acknowledge right on this page, this method of
ordering pages is quite clunky. Luckily, there is a plugin that makes ordering pages
You can download this from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pagemash/.
To see a list of all the pages on your website in the WP Admin, navigate to
Pages | Edit in the main menu. You’ll see the Edit Pages page:
By now this list format should begin to look familiar to you. You’ve got your list of
pages, and in each row are a number of useful links allowing you to Edit, Quick
Edit, Delete, or View the page. You can click on an author’s name to filter the list
by that author. You can use the two links at the top, All and Published, to filter the
pages by status. And you can check boxes and mass-edit pages by using the Bulk
Actions menu at the top and bottom of the list. You can also search your pages with
the search box at the top.
Word Press gives you a very powerful way of organizing external links or
bookmarks on your site. This is a way to link other related blogs—websites
you like, websites that you think your visitors will find useful, or just any category of
link you want—to your blog. Speaking of categories, you can create and manage link
categories that are separate from your blog categories.
When you installed WordPress, it created the link category Blogroll along with a
number of links in that category. You can see them in your blog’s sidebar as follows:
Adding a new link
Let’s add a new link to the Blogroll category. In your WP Admin, navigate to
Links | Add New. This will take you to the Add New Link page, which has a
number of boxes in which you can add information about your new link. Let’s
look at the first three here:
Of all the fields on this page, it’s the top two that are the most important. You need
to give your link a Name, which is the text people will see and can click on. You also
need to give a Web Address, which is the URL of the website that is linked to your
blog. You can add a description, which will show up when visitors hover over the
link. (Alternatively, you can also choose to have the description show up on the page
below the link.)
Now let’s look at the next two boxes in the following screenshot:
The first box in the screenshot above should look familiar because it’s very similar to
the Categories selection box for posts. Keep in mind that link categories are separate
from post categories. On this page, you will only see link categories. You can assign
a category to the new link that you’re adding or create a brand new category by
clicking on the + Add New Category link. Your links will be organized by the
categories on your website. The second box lets you choose whether your visitors
will be taken to a new window, or a new tab, when they click on the link. I generally
recommend always using _blank when sending people to an external website.
The other boxes on this page are used less commonly. You can use the two new
boxes to specify XFN (XHTML Friends Network) relationships between you and
any individuals you link to.
Learning more If you want to learn more about XFN, take a look at this website: http://gmpg.org/xfn/.
The final box at the bottom of this page will allow you to specify:
- An image that belongs with this link (for example, the logo of the company
whose site you are linking to)
- The RSS feed for the website you’re linking to
- Any notes you have about the site, beyond what you entered into
the Description box
- A rating for the site from 0 to 9
To make use of any of these pieces of information, you need to have a theme that
recognizes and makes use of them.
At the top right of the page is a Save box with a checkbox that you can check if you
want to keep the link private, that is, if you don’t want it to show up on your site to
anyone but you. Click on the Add Link button in that box to save your new link.
I added a link for a recipe and food website using this form. I filled in only the first
three boxes as seen in this screenshot:
Now when I save and then re-load my website, I see my new link here:
Managing links and categories
You can ma nage your links just as you manage posts and pages. Navigate to Links
and you will see this:
From here, you can click on the name of a link to edit it, click on the URL to visit it, and
see which categories you’ve chosen for it. Using the View all Categories pull-down
menu, you can filter links by categories, change the order, and do bulk deletes.
Just as with post categories, you can manage and add new link categories on the Link
Categories page. You can access this page by navigating to Links | Link Categories:
From this page, you can both add a new category using the form at the left and also
manage your existing categories using the table at the right.
The media library is where WordPress stores all of your uploaded files—images,
PDFs, music, video, and so on. To see your media library, navigate to Media in the
This is the now-familiar management table. My media library has only one photo
that I uploaded when I posted about the butternut squash soup recipe. As you can
see from this table, it shows me the following:
- A thumbnail of the image. If this were another type of media, I’d see an icon
representing the type of media.
- The title that I gave the file when I uploaded it, along with the
- The author.
- Information about which post or page the file is attached to. This will be
important when it comes to making an image gallery. The uploaded file will
be attached to the post or page that you are editing while uploading a file.
- The number of comments waiting on the attached post or page.
- The date when the file was uploaded.
If you hover over the row with your mouse, links for Edit, Delete, and View will
appear. You can click on the file’s title or the Edit link to edit the Title, Caption, and
Description. You cannot edit anything else about uploaded files.
You can also add a new file to your media library. Navigate to Media | Add New to
get a page similar to the upload media page that you got while uploading a file for a
post. When you click on the Select Files button and select the file to be uploaded, it
will upload it and then give you the options shown in this screenshot:
Enter a title, caption, and description if you want, and click on the Save all changes
button. Your new item will appear in the media library, which will be unattached to
any post or page. However, you’ll still be able to use what you just uploaded in any
post or page.
To do that, click on the Upload/Insert button as you did before. But instead of
choosing a file From Computer, click on the Media Library tab on the top of the box:
When you click on the Show link that is next to the image you want to use, you’ll get
the same set of options you got after uploading an image. Now you can click on the
Insert into Post button.
Adding an image gallery
You can add an image gallery to any page or post in your website without needing
any kind of plugin for WordPress. The following are the simple steps to do this:
- Choose a po st or page for your image gallery.
- Upload the images you want in that gallery.
- Add the special code to the page or post, and save it.
Let’s get started.
Choosing a post or page
For my food blog, I’m going to create a new page called My Food Photos for my
image gallery. You can always do this on an existing page or post as well. Here’s
my new page:
Note where I have left my cursor. I made sure to leave it in a spot on the page where
I want my gallery to show up, that is, underneath my introductory text.
Now click on the Upload/Insert image icon and upload some photos. Each time you
upload a photo, enter the title and then click on the Save All Changes button. You’ll
be taken to the Gallery tab, which will show all of the photos you’ve uploaded to be
attached to this page:
If you want to up load more photos at this point, just click on the From Computer tab
at the top and upload another photo.
When you’ve uploaded all the photos you want (you can add more later), click on
the Insert gallery button. This overlay box will disappear and you’ll see your post
again. The page will have the gallery icon placeholder in the spot where you left the
cursor, as seen in this screenshot:
If you’re in the H TML view, you’ll see the gallery shortcode in that spot:
Note that because I ‘m uploading these photos while adding/editing this particular
page, all of these photos will be “attached” to this page. That’s how I know they’ll be
in the gallery on this page. Any other photos that I’ve uploaded at other times will
not be included. For example, even though I uploaded the Breakfast Shake photo
once already, I had to upload it a second time so that it would be attached to this
Now publish or save your page. Now when you view the page, there’s a gallery of
your images as follows:
Tweaking your gallery
There are a number of tweaks you may want to apply to your gallery.
Adding captions to thumbnails
You may want the cap tions to show up underneath your thumbnails on the gallery
page. To do that, just add captions to the images—go to your media library, edit each
image, and give it a caption. The titles that you give the images will show up in the
Changing the size of the images in the gallery
By default, the gall ery shows thumbnail versions of your images. If you want, you
can change that to be a medium or large version. You just have to edit the gallery
shortcode. In your WP Admin, navigate to Edit Page for this page (in which we
have placed the gallery) and use the HTML editing mode instead of Visual. Change
your gallery shortcode from
be too wide to fit into three columns, so you should change the number of columns
to 1. To do this, change your gallery shortcode to this:
Changing the image page
When you click on on e of your thumbnails on the gallery page, you’ll be taken to
the image page, which shows the medium version of the image along with next and
previous thumbnails as follows:
I find this page to be quite unsatisfactory. The main image is too small and the
thumbnails are too large. In fact, instead of thumbnails, I’d prefer to use text—that is,
just the image titles. Unfortunately, the gallery feature in WordPress is still relatively
new, and they haven’t made these things easy to change. You can change this page to
be better, but it requires you to roll up your sleeves and dig into the code a bit.
To change the image size on this page, you have to change the dimensions of your
medium images on the Media Settings page. (You can access this page by navigating
to Settings | Media). This change will be applied only to the images you upload
after the change. So any images that you’ve already uploaded will keep their current
size unless you delete and re-upload them.
You can find a great explanation for replacing thumbnail navigation links with text
links on Michael Fields‘ blog: http://mfields.org/2008/04/26/adding-textlinks-
Plugins are little pa ckages of code that you can add to WordPress to increase its
functionality. Developers all over the world create plugins, some of which you can
use for free, whereas some others are available for purchase.
The steps for instal ling a plugin are simple:
- Find your plugin.
- Download it.
- Upload and activate it.
- Configure and/or implement it (if necessary).
Finding your plugin
The best place to find plugins is the WordPress Plugin Directory at
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/. There are more plugins every day
(as of this writing, there are nearly 4,245) and millions of downloads (22,152,788
and counting). You can search plugins by topic and by tag, as well as see a list of
the most popular, newest, and recently updated plugins. This is the best available
plugin resource and you should always go here first when looking for a plugin.
You can also do Google searches. I recommend searching for the problem you’re
trying to solve and see what plugins other users recommend and why. Often, there
are multiple plugins that perform similar functions, and you will find the feedback
of other WordPress users valuable in choosing between them.
Downloading the plugin
Let’s install a plugin that I think everyone should have. It’s called WP-DB-Backup
and it adds the ability to easily create a complete database export of your blog. This
offers a more thorough backup than the built-in Export function.
You can download the plugin from this page: http://wordpress.org/extend/
Before downloading any plugin, check to see which versions of WordPress
the plugin is supposed to work with. If you’re downloading a plugin from the
Wordpress.org website, you’ll see everything you need to know on the right
side of the page:
This plugin requires Version 2.0.3 or higher and will work with all versions up to 2.7,
so we are safe. Now just click on the orange Download button and save the resulting
ZIP file on your computer where you can find it again.
Uploading and activating the plugin
Unlike with themes, you don’t have to unzip the ZIP file. Just go to your WP Admin
and navigate to Plugins | Add New. There are a lot of things on this page, but just
look for the Install a plugin in .zip format section:
Browse to your plugin and then click on the Install Now button.
If the installation is successful, you’ll get a page telling you that the installation was
successful and giving you the option to activate the plugin right from this page:
Click on the Activate Plugin link and you’re done activating your plugin.
If this automatic uploader doesn’t work for you, you can do this the old-fashioned way:
First extract the ZIP file you downloaded so that it’s a folder, probably called
Using your FTP client, upload this folder inside the wp-content/plugins/ folder
of your WordPress installation. You’ll also see the two plugins that WordPress came
with in that folder—akismet and hello.php.
Now go to your WP Admin and navigate to Plugins | Installed. You’ll see the three
plugins on this page. Just click on the Activate link in the WordPress Database
Now you are ready for the final step, which is to actually make use of this plugin.
Configuring and/or implementing—if necessary
In the case of this plugin, all you have to do is use it. You’ll have a new link in your
menu that you can navigate to. It’s Tools | Backup. When you go to this page, you’ll
be able to choose which tables to back up. If you’ve installed any plugins that add
additional tables, you’ll have the option to choose them as well; I always do. I also
always check the two boxes to exclude spam comments and post revisions.
You can now decide if you want to save the backup to your server, download it, or
have it emailed to you. I suggest downloading it every time.
There is also an option to schedule regular backups. This is not 100% reliable, so you
should probably set up a reminder to check if your backup has been emailed to you or
not. The frequency you choose should depend on how often you edit your site—once a
week is probably often enough for most people.
For other plugins, the configure and/or implementation step may be different.
- You may not have to do anything. Some plugins simply change the way
WordPress does some things, and activating them is all you need to do.
- You may have to configure a plugin’s details before it begins to work. Some
plugins need you to make choices and set new settings.
- There may not be a configuration page, but you may have to add some code
to one of your theme’s template files.
If you’re unsure of what to do after you’ve uploaded and activated your plugin, be
sure to read the readme file that came with your plugin, or look at the Faq on the
Many plugin authors accept donations. I strongly recommend giving donations to
the authors of plugins that you find useful. It helps to encourage everyone in the
community to continue writing great plugins that everyone can use.
The newest version of WordPress, as of 2.7, offers a way for you to search for,
choose, and install new plugins directly through your WP Admin interface. You can
do this by using the Search area on the Plugins | Add New page. If you already
know what plugin you want, you can type it in and follow the onscreen instructions.
I still recommend that you do your research carefully to be sure that you find the
plugin that you want and that it’s compatible with your version of WordPress. Also,
although most of the great plugins are on WordPress.org, there are still more that
can be found elsewhere on the Web. So be sure to do a thorough search.
This chapter explored all of the content WordPress can manage that’s not directly
about blogging. You learned about static pages, bookmark links, the media library,
image galleries, plugins, and more.
You are now fully equipped to use the WordPress Admin panel to control all of your
website’s content. Next, you’ll want to control the display. In the next chapter we will
start discussing themes.