July 5th – A Week Revisited

As we are winding down our Revisited Week with the new Google Sites, I think today will be the last post, only because things are bound to change.  Today I’ll review how to add pages and change the navigation options – then we’ll wait for the new Google Sites to be out of Beta mode and see what other bells and whistles were added.

July 5th – A Week Revisited

We’ve gone over themes, and content now lets add multiple pages.  The old Google Sites was a little wonky (does anyone else use that word?) to add pages, the new Google Sites fixes that and makes it very easy.

Adding a Page:

New Google Sites Pages

On the right side of the page you have 3 options: Insert, Pages, Themes.  Pages is the middle “tab” and you’ll see the main page and then a plus sign.  When you click on the addition sign you’ll get the option to rename the page, then it automatically adds the page below.  You can then drag the new page on top of the old page to change navigation.

Changing Navigation:

New Google Sites Pages Navigation

Once the page has been added, you can make it a subpage by dragging on top of another page, then adding additional subpages if you want.  You can also change the look of the navigation by clicking on the “gear” on the left hand side from top to side navigation.

So many more wonderful options right!  Enjoy playing around with the Beta and we’ll check-in closer to the beginning of the school year so everyone can create websites for their classrooms!

June 24th – A Week With WordPress

My final post, but certainly not everything you can do with WordPress.com, is about WordPress.org for those of you who want a little more control.

June 24th – A Week With WordPress

The final day with WordPress focuses on expanding the WordPress universe to WordPress.org which gives users/bloggers more control over the look of their blog.  Wordpress.org is a service which you need to find your own host, download and install the software and then read up on the documentation to maximize your WordPress.org blog.

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What is great about the WordPress.org platform is that a lot of major companies use it.  You might have noticed when you are logged into your WordPress account and surfing the web, some major websites have the WordPress banner across the top of the page.  These companies are using a very similar CMS (Content Management System) as you – and that’s pretty cool.  The WordPress.org website has a lot of helpful documentation and their are plenty of other resources – and like everything else on this blog, it’s worth a try!

June 23rd – A Week With WordPress

One of the most powerful things about WordPress (and possibly other website creators) is the ability to have more than one person post, and give everyone different roles.

June 23rd – A Week With WordPress

In my former school, I setup and online blog that students could write about whatever they wanted – the goal was to get them to write and reflect on their work, therefore improving their writing.  In worked, really well in fact.  I had them write a simple 2-3 paragraph piece a week, then one “personal piece” which the rough draft was due as the mid-term and then they had to go through a couple re-writes and peer reviews for a well polished piece for the final.  When students left the class they had an online portfolio of growth in their writing along with a personal piece that they researched and was very polished.

This was only possible because of the additional collaborators tool that WordPress provided.  From the dashboard on the left hand side you can add “Users” which you invite by email and give them different roles.

Wordpress Managed Users.gif

The roles include Follower, Administrator, Editor, Author and Contributor.  You can see the details of those roles above, but for mine I used the contributor and then the students couldn’t publish anything directly, but alerted me when they had something to publish.  I attempted to push them to write so much that we had 5-6 articles everyday.  It was pretty amazing and something I’d suggest in your classroom.

June 22nd – A Week With WordPress

Once we’ve gotten our content on the page and added the post to our Twitter feed, let’s discuss how to manage all that in the “universe of content” I mentioned in the last post.

June 22nd – A Week With WordPress

Management in a blog is key.  You want people to visit your site and stay, check out different things you’ve written and check out your thoughts, but people don’t have time to just search around anymore.  Using the Categories and Tags greatly helps others to navigate your thoughts gives them a means to be focused and keeps them coming back.

Wordpress Management

Continue reading

June 21st – A Week With WordPress

Once you’ve thought long and hard about when to post – now let’s think about ways to further your reach.

June 21st – A Week With WordPress

While you have decided on a time to post, you can now start thinking about the reach of your particular post.  When I mentioned “advanced posting” I meant “posting with purpose” and looking at a few of the different options you have to post with.

Skip the “Categories & Tags” section, we’ll cover that in “organization” and look down at “Featured Image”, “Sharing” “Post Format” and “More Options”.

Wordpress Advanced Posting

Featured Image:

When posting with multiple media images, this helps you select the one you want to be seen before people click on your article.  You can also include images that aren’t in your post – but why do something like that?

Sharing:

Under sharing you’ll see the ability to connect your: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Path accounts, then an option to add/change buttons for sharing.  With the connected services you can also change the message posted to your social media feed to include hashtags and other things that might help people find your blog (I do this on occasion – and I only forget to because I’m a little lazy).

Post Format:

Post Format gives you the ability to pick what you post is, which helps you organize and style your website.

Wordpress Advanced Posting2

More Options:

The slug is the ending part of the URL that your page officially links to.  Since I have a post a day, I always make sure it says the correct date then the title (which is default).  More options also allow for an Excerpt, Location Services and Discussion to allow comments and Pingbacks (links within your blog that links to past blog post).  Pingbacks are helpful to create the “universe of knowledge” all within your site – and people then start to think “This person has all the answers – I’m going to frequent this post a lot”.

June 20th – A Week With WordPress

Once you’ve setup a site and played around with some of the features – you’ll want to move on to posting.  I’ve set aside two days for this, so today we’ll review how to post and scheduling – then tomorrow we’ll discuss connecting to social media and promoting it.

June 20th – A Week With WordPress

Once you’ve crafted some amazingly brilliant blog (or just this one) you’ll want to share it for the world to see.  There are a few ways in which you can accomplish this.  You can straight up post to everyone which is then put on the WordPress featured site (maybe) and then people can see your post.

On the left hand side of the WordPress draft page you have the ability to Post directly, or schedule for another time/date.

Wordpress Scheduling

This post now jumps off the track and we have a moment of internal reflection.  When do you read post/emails?  When are you at a computer and available to read a blog post?  When are you on your phone with commuting time to take a few minutes to read the musing of, well, hopefully me.

This is what you need to think about when you’re posting.  Twitter you can’t help – that should be in the moment and what you are thinking, but blogging should be planned, especially if it’s a post that requires some time.

I schedule most of my post for 11am EST which is often around a teachers lunchtime.  My main audience is teachers (which we all are at some point or another) so I want to make it available to them.  If your post is for 9-to-5ers think about posting around 8:45am so its one of the first things they’ll see as they are settling down.  If you have a blog about sports, think about the end of the work day as people are traveling home and have some leisure time to explore your post (and the stats you include within it to make a point) further.

As I’m working with students on their websites I ask them this same question – think about your audience and when they’ll have time to sit and read your post – it’ll mean more to them and they are more likely to click “Like” or “Follow” after reading your carefully scripted work.

June 19th – A Week With WordPress

Once you’ve setup your WordPress and looked through some of the setup options (type of site, layout of site, etc.) you’ll notice that the layout you choose is very different than the view on the screen.  This is a Content Manager Website – which we’ll dive into today.

June 19th – A Week With WordPress

As previously mentioned, WordPress is a content manager website which means you type your content into a few boxes and then the “content manager” part of it.  The very top box (above the Menu Bar) will be the title, then the content is below the Menu Bar.  Yesterday I spoke about using the “Add Media” button (the first on the left side of the Menu Bar).

As we move across the Menu Bar we have some similar buttons/options that we had in Google Docs with Paragraph/Heading 1/Heading 2 and so on.  These create “anchors” which you can create links to inside of your own page.

Wordpress Paragraph Options

Two other buttons/options I want to bring to your attention is the “Insert Read More Tag” and the HTML tab at the top right corner.

The “Insert Read More Tag” is great when you have multiple authors on your site and you want to find out what people are actually clicking on.  I used this with a class blog and would have students focus on the lead, or what hooks the reader in.  Then the “Read More” tag would accurately tell us who was reading that particular post.

Wordpress Insert Read More

The HTML is handy for modifying the code and inserting Vimeo and YouTube videos.  The “Add Media” button handles videos as well but the HTML allows you to control and “embed” videos from any website.  Pretty powerful.

Wordpress HTML