Editing REA WordPress Sites

Most of the time when editing this site you will be creating posts. In WordPress terms you will be creating posts. Since most posts are brief and self-contained, you will usually create and edit them, then never come back to them. However, if you discover errors or need to add an update to a story, you can always return and edit it again later.

There is really nothing special about creating and editing posts on this site, you can use any WordPress book to get oriented to the task. Here are just a few of the basics.

To create a story, choose “Add New” from the “Posts” section of the left  sidebar in the WordPress backend or choose “Post” from the “Add New menu on the Admin Bar. You will only be able to see this item if you have logged in to the site and have the authority to edit posts.

  • Enter the title and content you would like for the story in the appropriate fields.
  • Make sure that if you paste text from another source you are either pasting into the content in HTML mode or, if you are using Visual mode,  you paste using the “Paste as Plain Text” tool (circled in red, you may have to click the one circled in blue to see it).
  • In general, I recommend editing in HTML mode if you are familiar with HTML. This will give you much more precise control of your text. However, the visual mode works well and can be a lot easier to deal with. Just be sure to always follow the pasting instruction above in visual mode, or you may end up with pages that have awkwardly sized or formatted text. Also, be sure to take advantage of tools like the “Unordered List” tool to create proper bulleted lists, what gets pasted in will usually not take advantage of our list styles unless you do this.
  • Whichever way you edit, remember to keep it simple. Posts are fed into many contexts that you don’t control, so aggressive formatting will backfire. Avoid using formatting other than bold, italic, and bulleted lists.
  • Choose a category for your story, or more than one. Categories are an essential part of the “flow” of posts around the site. The category “Events” will get the story featured on the events page, the category “Openings” will get the story listed on the “Employment Opportunities” page, and so on. It is worth taking a moment to get this right.
  • Feel free to add tags for your story, though this is not required.
  • Feel free to backdate your story using the clicking on “Edit” next to the little calendar in the “Publish” box at the top of the right sidebar.
  • Publish! Don’t forget to click the “Publish” or “Update” button to save your changes!

Editing Pages

Once you log in to the site with an account that allows authoring pages, each page of the site will display an “edit” link on the Admin Bar. Clicking that link will take you to the WordPress backend and the editing interface for that particular page. You can also go to the backend and find the page on the list of pages, clicking on its title there will take you to the same editing  interface.

You can pick up a book about WordPress to learn more about editing pages, so here we will just concentrate on a few things that are unique to working with the REA theme in use on this site. The basics of creating and editing pages are just like creating and editing stories, so refer to the previous section for hints. Pages don’t have categories and tags, but just like with stories, don’t forget to click “Publish” or “Update” if you want your changes saved!

If this is a new page, pay attention to a few initial setup items:

  • Make sure the commenting features are turned off (unless you really want them on, which would be unusual for a page).
  • After you publish it for the first time, take a look at the “Permalink” and make sure it is brief, preferably one word. You can only edit the last bit highlighted in yellow. Do so if there is a better unique term to use in the URL for the page.
  • Make sure you have assigned the page an appropriate parent in the WordPress page hierarchy. You can do this using a popup menu to declare a “Parent” in the right sidebar.

Note that when you edit the content of a page, the old version of that content is stored in a revision history. You can access and recover those revisions at the bottom of the edit screen for a page. However, none of your changes to custom fields or other metadata such as parents or order will be saved in that revision history. Tread lightly in those areas, you are without a net!

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