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First though here’s some lingo to get your head around.
The WordPress content editing interface has a number of names. They are Gutenberg, WordPress editor, and WordPress block editor.
Each of these names refers to the same thing – the page used to create and edit content.
This is done by using blocks.
Every part of a WordPress page is a block that can be individually edited and customized to suit your requirements.
But there is something else to consider before you start writing – are you creating a post or a page?
Read on to discover the differences and why it’s important to know what they are.
In the default version of WordPress, there are two ways to add and manage content. They are posts and pages.
In short; posts are organized into categories and can have tags attached to them, while pages stand alone in the website’s structure.
Posts are typically used for grouping similar content such as blog content, while pages are typically used for one-off pages such as the legal stuff, contact us, and about us pages.
Both types of content are created, edited, and published using similar screens but you must choose whether you want to publish a post or page before you start.
But don’t fret, if you later decide you want to change a post to a page or vice versa, there’s a plugin that can do that for you.
How to customize your settings at Page or Post level
Before we get to creating content, you might want to explore the various customizations you can use to make the editor work for you.
To the right, at the top of the page or post, you’ll notice this section (yours might be slightly different depending on the theme you’re using):
If you click on the three dots to the right of the cog, you get a list of options you can use to customize your experience.
I like to keep my Top Toolbar fixed in the same position at the top of the editor, so I have that option checked. If it’s unchecked, the Top Toolbar shows up near the block you’re working on, as you can see here:
I also like to hide the main sidebar menu and top bar, so I have Fullscreen mode checked as well.
Some of the main features worth looking at include:
- Spotlight mode brings into focus the block you’re working on and fades the rest into the background.
- Fullscreen mode hides the menu on the left and the admin bar at the top of the page.
- Visual editor and code editor are the modes you use for adding content. Most of the time you’ll work with the visual editor, but you can switch to the code editor if you’re curious to see what the code looks like.
- The Preferences section lets you further customize your editor.
Play around with the various settings to see what works best for you.
How to create a page in WordPress
In the left-hand menu, click on Pages > Add New
You’ll be presented with a screen like the one in the screenshot further down.
As mentioned a moment ago, WordPress uses blocks to create each section.
In this first screenshot, if you look to the right, you’ll see the word Page has a blue line under it. This indicates I’m working at page level. If you look at the second screenshot, you’ll notice I’ve added a title and some paragraphs of text.
If you look to the right again, you’ll notice the word Block is underlined, which means I’m working at Block level. You can also see the options for customizing that block.
And if you look at the content section, you can see the block I’m working on is indicated by a black square containing a + sign.
To add text content to a block, all you need to do is start writing. And to add another paragraph or sentence hit return and WordPress automatically places a new block in the correct place.
These building blocks give you complete control over every element of the page. You can increase the font size, change text color, add background color and change the space between lines without ever touching code.
Some of the more popular blocks for simple information websites include:
- Headings, paragraphs, quotes, tables and lists
- Images, galleries, audio files and videos
- Buttons, columns, spacers and separators
- Embed content from YouTube, Twitter, Soundcloud, Spotify, Flickr, Vimeo and more
To create a block for content other than a paragraph, type slash (/). When you do this, a window pops up with several options.
Alternatively, you can type / followed by the first three letters of the block type you want. As you start typing, WordPress will show you the different options associated with those letters. Just click the one you want and go ahead and add the content.
A few examples of the text you need to type are as follows:
- lis for list
- hea for headings
- img to upload an image
- emb to embed code from another site
- you to insert a YouTube video
- sho for shortcode
- quo to insert a quote
The image below is a screenshot of what’s called the Top Toolbar. Using this toolbar, you can “Access all block and document tools in one place”.
Bear in mind, that this toolbar only shows up when your cursor is inside a block. It doesn’t show up when you’re working at page (or post) level. And it changes depending on the type of block you’re editing because the options for editing a list are different to the options for editing an image.
Once a block is in place, you can move it up or down by using the up and down arrows. If you want to move a few paragraphs, highlight them all by dragging your mouse over them until they turn blue, then click the up or down arrow to relocate them.
To remove, copy or manage blocks, click on the three dots to the right of the menu. You’ll then see these options so you can choose what you want to do.
How to create a Post in WordPress
In the left-hand menu, click on Posts > Add New and follow the same process as above. Once again you work at post and block level to build the ‘page’ for your live site.
Most information websites and blogs use posts for the majority of their content. This is because it’s easy to group content together. A category can be as broad as ‘photography’ or ‘dinner recipes’ or as narrow as ‘iphone portrait photography’ or ‘vegan dinner recipes’
Before you publish a post, you should add it to a Category. If you don’t, it’ll be published in the default category of ‘Uncategorized’.
There are two ways to create a category in WordPress.
The first way is to click on Posts > Categories and then complete the on-screen form.
The second way is to click on the ‘Add New Category‘ link in the post’s sidebar under Categories.
When creating a post, WordPress lets you attach keywords to it. These keywords are called tags. Just like categories, depending upon the theme you’re using, they may appear on the page of your live site.
You don’t need to attach tags to a post, they are entirely optional, and some people don’t use them at all. While others choose to use them for navigational reasons and to provide a better user experience.
You add tags in a similar way to adding categories – through Posts > Tags in the main menu on the left, or by adding a new tag through the tags section of the sidebar of the post.
Saving and publishing content
Once you’ve added content to your website, you can save your work as a draft by clicking on the Save Draft button in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Move your mouse over the area to the left of the publish button, and two links appear. One is Save Draft and the other is Preview.
Before your content is ready for publication, make sure you use the preview feature to check how it looks on various devices. When you’re happy with your content and it’s ready to publish, click on the blue publish button to make your blog post or webpage live on the internet.
For a more detailed look at the differences between posts and pages, take a look at this article – In WordPress, What’s the Difference Between Posts and Pages?
The editing interface is easy to use when you get used to it so it’s worth spending some time experimenting with the various buttons to see what they do.