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This is the fifth of a five-part series for newbies to WordPress.
*See Definition of Technical Terms
Are you twitterpated, or smitten, with *social media? If so you will really love the way your new blog or website will be able to incorporate all your social connections. Actually my first suggestion before delving into adding social media resources and links to your site is to decide on which social media resources you want to add, and if they are new to get those set up separately first. Facebook (pages for Facebook if your site is a business site) and Twitter are the most common social media applications. I also use Pinterest and Flickr, and have a link for my Etsy site. It did take some time to get each of those properly set up before the information from them could be added to my website, but it was well worth the effort, so have fun and enjoy the process! (Update 4/1/14-My site is now set up differently, still learning how to integrate various forms of social media into my site is crucial.)
*Social Media ~ refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Examples are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.
You will also want to add a social widget (again if not already installed) that will allow you to display *icons that link to your social media sites. The social widget allows you to select a category, establish/order/limit your icons, and show icon images. You will see these in the top-right corner of my website. There are so many great icons available, some free and some for purchase. I purchased my custom chalkboard social media icons via Etsy seller ShinyMagic. Be sure when making your choice to select icons that have several sizes available, in case after installation you realize that you really needed something larger/smaller. The icons you choose will need to be added to your *media library via your site’s dashboard. Open your media library, select “add new”, and drag your new icons into the “drop files here” box, or select the “upload new media” choice.
*Icons-Picture, image or other representation
*Media Library – WordPress online library for stored images/photos
And, just so you know, this is a three-part process! After you have both your social widget and social media icons installed, you will still need to establish your links to your social media sites. This is done via the “links” menu in your dashboard. Click “add new” and for each social media you want linked add the name, the category “social”, the rating or order you want them in, and the actual link to your social media site. Now double-check your actual page to make sure your social media icons are linking correctly to your external social media sites.
The last social media item you will want to include on your site is a way for any readers of your posts or pages to easily share your information within their own social media, or via a bookmark, message or email. This can be done via an “Add to Any Sharing” widget. This widget by Lockerz is a great all-inclusive sharing platform, and makes it easy for visitors to share your content using any service. This results in:
“Add to Any Sharing” will show up under your “settings” section via your dashboard once installed. It can then be accessed and configured as you choose. Looking for another way to share? Check out this Smashing Magazine blog with suggestions.
When it comes to adding media to your site, WordPress has recently made that process easier. To add photos, simple open your “media library” site and again select “add new”, where you can drop in photos from your desktop. Photos must be kept to a maximum size of 2MB. Once added to the library, you can enter the photo’s title, any text, and can save to a preferred size. When creating a new post, you will see a box to “add media”. Photos already in your media library will pop up, and you can choose a photo already saved, or upload new files. Via the menu on the left, you can also set a featured image or create a gallery of photos. Practice and play with these features to get just the look you are after!
This is the fourth of a five-part series for newbies to WordPress. Be sure to join me each Monday for the next two weeks to learn how to set up a WordPress site.
*See Definition of Technical Terms
So exactly what the heck is a widget? Well, according to Wikipedia, in computing, a web widget is a “software widget for the web. It’s a small application with limited functionality that can be installed and executed within a web page by an end user. A widget occupies a portion of a webpage and does something useful with information fetched from other websites and displayed in place.” When you are browsing the web, it’s typically the information contained in sidebars and footers that hold these widgets or small applications.
Within your own WordPress site, you can view your available widgets by selecting Appearance-Widgets from your dashboard. Some of the available widgets will be from WordPress, and some will be via your selected theme. Once on that screen, you can drag widgets to a sidebar on the right to activate them. Simply drag widgets back to the left side of the screen to deactivate them and delete their settings. Drag to the bottom left of the screen to deactivate them without deleting their settings. You may drag a widget into different sections of your sidebar, or into different sections of the footer. Once you have dragged a widget to the right sidebar, select the drop-down menu to open that widget up and change any settings, or add text or an image. There are many widgets to choose from, including calendars, *tag clouds, and recent posts.
*tag clouds – a display of the most common tags used in your posts
Let’s suppose you have seen a widget on another website that you really like, but don’t see it available within your choices. You will also see a section called “Plugins” on your dashboard. View your installed plugins to see what is currently active. This is also where you can select “add new” and do a search for the type of plugin you would like to add to your site. For example, I wanted an image plugin to display the large “Visit My Etsy Shop” circular banner displayed in my sidebar. So I simply did a search for “image widget” and then looked at the ratings and reviews of the plugins produced from my search to decide which widget I wanted to install.
One important note here is that if there is anything that will “break” the code on your website, it will probably be a plugin. So do your research before installing, and install additional plugins one at a time, checking to make sure with each individual install that your site looks/works correctly. You can also easily deactivate, or delete, a previously installed plugin from this page. Once installed, your new plugin will be available on the widget page, or in some cases, directly available on the plugins drop-down menu within your dashboard.
Join me next week for a review of using social media and images on your WordPress site!