Okay, alliteration aside, WordPress is pretty great. It’s user-friendly, and it’s one of the most popular content management systems available–which is great for us because that means that you can find answers to almost any question about WordPress with a simple Google search. There are even blogs devoted to helping people learn to use WordPress (like this one or this one). Since this will be the first blogging experience for most of you, I think you will appreciate having so many tools available to you.
Another useful place to go for help is the Domain documentation pages. Emory’s Domain of One’s Own faculty and staff have worked to gather as much useful information as possible for us in these pages. In particular, you may find the page about WordPress very helpful now as you get started.
We’ll talk about using WordPress in class throughout the semester, and you’ll figure things out and build skills as you go.
For now, what’s most important is that you’ve got a blog set up and you know how to post. Basically, you go to your blog dashboard (which you get to by logging into your control panel from the Domain page and then clicking on your blog under “My Applications”). Then click on the link to your blog with the /wp-admin/ at the end of it. From there you can click on “Posts” in the left sidebar and then click “Add New.”
Easy peasy. You’ll want to give your post a title to indicate what it’s going to be about. And then you just type in your content. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can upload images or link out to other sites (I’ve done a lot of linking here).
Since writing blog posts is an entirely new genre for most of you, we’ll spend some time talking about it in class, and I’ll be offering my own tips and linking out to others here on the class blog.
And here’s the first tip:
When you’re writing your post, think about what you like when you read content on the interwebs. Remember how Understanding Rhetoric talks about audience expectations determining how we write? One way to help yourself think about your audience is to think about what you like. Do you like short paragraphs? Images? Links to more information?
Also, think about your own ethos. How do you want your readers to think of you? How will you use style and tone to help shape your readers’ perception? Keep in mind that ethos is about credibility, but closely related to that is character.
One more thing on ethos. Yes, you’re doing this blog for a college class, but that doesn’t mean that you should try to affect some overly formal and academic ethos. You don’t have to write in a formal manner to build your ethos. Remember how we talked in class today about how what makes a good ethos changes depending on the audience and the situation? That applies here. This isn’t the same situation as an academic paper, and so you should develop your ethos differently without sacrificing credibility.
If you want an example, check out this blog called Mind Hacks. It’s an academic blog on neuroscience and psychology written by a couple of PhDs who are experts in the field. The blog isn’t written like a scientific paper, but the writers are able to maintain their credibility.