With a few CSS changes, Sayontan Sinha’s Suffusion theme can be used in so many ways…
I recently started work on a new site for a photographer and we decided to try the Deep Focus theme from Elegant Themes. Since this theme utilizes the Custom Field function to create galleries based on Posts, I thought this would be a good opportunity to create a tutorial for adding images to a gallery page and editing the gallery as well.
For purposes of brevity I will assume that you have already downloaded and installed the Deep Focus theme from Elegant Themes as well as uploading some images that you want to use in some galleries into your dashboard’s Media Library. I would recommend pre-loading images because: a) with the new Media Uploading function you can upload multiple images at once and b) this will make step 1 go a lot smoother; especially if you open a second tab in your browser for creating your new post(s) and then you can switch between the two tabs to make your work-flow quicker.
How Does The Gallery Get Created?
Deep Focus as well as the Envisioned theme use a combination of Posts and Pages in their theme functions to create gallery pages for a site. If you want to create a gallery for Portraits, for example, what you do is create a new Page in WordPress, title it Portraits and then select a template for that page (Gallery or Portfolio). Once you have selected that template, you will see a dropdown menu appear that allows you to select which Category of Post will be used to create the photo gallery on the page. For example, on the site I am currently working on, I created a Page called Newborn Portraits and then a Category called Newborn Portraits.
Once you have your Page and your Category set up, it’s time to start adding images!
STEP 1: Sign into your WordPress dashboard and go to Media Library.
Choose an image that you would like to place in a gallery page. Hover over the image to get the quick-edit menu to pop up and select “Edit”.
STEP 3: Now go to Posts > Add New to create a new Post that will contain that image. When you are in the New Post window, give the Post a title. This will be what appears as the image’s title as it appears in its gallery Page. Also, make sure to select what Category the Post will be (i.e. Newborn Portraits). This is what tells the theme where the image should appear.
Wait! Shouldn’t I write something in the edit window?
You can if you want some information about the image to show when a viewer clicks on it in its gallery Page. When a viewer is looking at the gallery Page and hovers over an image, there are two options to view the image: the “magnifying glass” option will open up a slideshow window on the same page so they can view all the images that way. The “zoom-window” option will go to the image’s Post in a different window and they can see the image in Post format with the text that you added.
STEP 4: Now you are going to tell the Post which image to show. Scroll down past the edit window and you should see an option called Custom Field. (If you don’t see it, don’t worry, just go to the top right corner of the dashboard and click on “Screen Options” to select “custom fields” and add it to your editing options). There should be a dropdown menu of Custom Fields that you can choose from. You need to choose the field “Thumbnail”.
But I don’t see Thumbnail!?
No worries, you may need to simply add it in yourself. Just click “Add New” and type Thumbnail.
And that’s basically it. Any questions?
How can I change the order that my images appear in?
This can be done using the edit function for the date the post was published. In the Post’s edit window, simply click the word “edit” next to the “published on” date and alter it so that its date/time is before or after the image that you want it next to. Then, click “Update” and check that the new order is showing.
How can I remove an image from a gallery Page?
You can change the Publish status to “Draft” in the edit window and click “Update”. This will remove it from the lineup.
How can I show the same image in two gallery Pages?
Easy, just select more than one Category in that image’s Post.
Now that you have created a site using WordPress, it’s not unusual to open up the dashboard for the first time, and sit there thinking “Now what do I do?”. The greatest advantage of developing with WordPress can also be your Achilles’ heel. Sure you can edit your site at will, but for people who aren’t familiar yet with all the tools available to them, knowing what to do and how to do it can feel a little overwhelming at first. Hopefully, this will help you not only with the theory of how to keep your site fresh, but also with the nuts and bolts of editing your site as well.
First and foremost, a web site is powered mainly by great content. A web site exists to inform the user about something, whether it be the different products or services a business offers or expert advice. So the most important thing about running a WordPress-powered site is knowing how to add content in a way that makes sense and is an efficient use of a site owner’s time.
Step 1: Page or Post – What kind of content is it?
In the beginning, WordPress was developed as a blogging platform. People logged into a “dashboard” and created “posts” which were then displayed on the site in the order that they were created. There was an archiving system that grouped posts by 1) Publish date and 2) Category they were assigned. Then, a separate system was developed as part of WordPress that enabled people to create “pages”. Pages are a way for a site to have content that is always in the same location in the site’s navigation. That way, people who were looking for information about your site quickly, could always find it in the same place instead of having to hunt through the archives.
So how do you know which content should be a “post” and which should be a “page”? There is no definite rule, but the advice I give people is that “posts” should be considered like a press release that you would send out about an event, or a sale, or some item of news about your business or subject, and “pages” are like a brochure that gives a reader more “static” information such as hours of operation, mission statement, location etc.
Step 2: Getting the writing done.
Everyone has a writing process; a way of creating that they are comfortable with and helps them think things through. Lucky for me, I just open my site’s dashboard, select either Post > Add New or Page > Add New and start typing away. Other folks need to write it out long-hand and then edit from there. A lot of clients I’ve worked with are so used to creating content in Microsoft Word that they find their words flow better by opening a new document and going from there. All very valid approaches, but trying to “pour” the content into the dashboard editing window and end up with the correct result is reliant on a few simple practices.
Write Early, Write Often.
Put up a post about your business’s upcoming event, new client or special sale as soon as possible. And keep your audience informed about things as much as possible. You don’t need to post new content every five minutes, but you will find that if you keep up a pace that works for your audience, they will remain loyal and even bring in more readers. Pages don’t require as much upkeep, but it’s always a good idea to give your site’s pages a quick read-through every few months. That way, you can see it with a fairly fresh eye and decide what needs tweaking.
You’ve Got Competition, Make It Interesting.
Since a picture can say a thousand words, let that work for you. There are quite a few decent online stock image resources that can really keep a reader glued to your content.
Step 3: How To Create A Post
Think of the 6 tenets of journalism; Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Write the specifics down on paper if it helps. Then, go to your site’s sign-in page (http://yoursitesname.com/wp-login.php) and go to Posts> Add New. You will see a page that looks like the picture below:
The first step is to create a title. Keep if brief, and try to use words that people are likely to use in a search for similar content. For instance, if your post is going to be about an upcoming sale your business is having on lawn furniture, you could title it: Lawn Furniture on Sale During September!
Now it’s time to start creating the body of your content. Take a look at the top of the editing panel:
The 3 areas circled above are key to creating a post or page. From the left, there is the Upload/Insert media panel, the “Kitchen Sink” toggle button and the “Visual” or “HTML” selection. It’s a good idea to view a post or page you want to edit in HTML mode before you start to work. Sometimes there may be code that you don’t want to type over by accident that’s only visible when you look at the HTML of your content. If you click on the button in the far right of the toolbar, you will see the extra editing choices available in “Visual” mode.
To read a more detailed account of what the various buttons at the top of the editing window can do, check out: How To Use WordPress Part 1.
Tip: If you want to see what your content will look like “live” on the web, you can click “Preview” either in the top right corner of the edit window in the “Publish” panel, or next to the update notice that will appear above your title after you have saved your draft.
Step 4: Making Your Post Easy To Find
Posts are different from Pages not only in what they contain, but how they are organized on your site. They are automatically displayed in chronological order on the page designated as your Posts page (Settings > Reading). However, you don’t want your readers to have to hunt through your posts month by month to find something. This is where Categories and Post Tags come into play.
Categories are what I like to think of as the Big Topic labels for your Posts. Think of going into a library and having to look for a book about the Civil War. You know that you need to look in the History Section (Category) under American History (an example of a sub-category). If the library is well-organized into categories and sub-categories, you probably don’t even need to go through a card catalog right?
Try to come up with a system for creating categories before you put up too much content. If people find your posts easy to find, they’ll keep coming back for more!
Whenever you write a post, one of the last steps before hitting “Publish” is to either select a relevant category(s) from a list of the ones you have already created, or, to create a new one by clicking “+ Add New Category” and saving it. Once you have added a Category, your new post is automatically assigned to it. Categories can also have a hierarchy so you could have a Post entitled “Musings on the Battle of Bull Run” under both History, American History and Civil War history. Then, if a reader wants to find Posts specifically about the Civil War, they can select from the Civil War category or if they want to find all the Posts about history, they can select History.
Tags are an even more detailed way to organize your Posts by “tagging” them with keywords. To continue the analogy of a library, you can have very specific topics within the category of the Civil War such as “Bull Run”, “Manassas” and “Shiloh”. In order for readers to find posts that are about specific things, it’s always good to create a tagging system based on keywords that you think readers are likely to use to search for your content. I am always a big fan of the Tag Cloud, a widget (sidebar feature) that displays your Tags in a cluster of words sized according to how often a Tag is used. For example, I do a lot of writing about WordPress for this site, so the tag “WordPress” is featured in big letters in the tag cloud you see to the right of this post. If you can’t remember if you have used a particular tag before, you can always click on “Choose from the most used tags” to see.
Step 5: Creating and Editing Pages
Pages differ from Posts in a few basic ways: 1) They stay in the same “location” of your site as components of your site’s navigation bar (such as the one running across the top of this page). 2) They can be organized into Parent Pages (for example: About) and then Child Pages (such as About Jenn). 3) Pages do not have Categories or Tags assigned to them.
To create a new Page, you simply go to the left toolbar of the Dashboard and select Pages > Add New. The editing window that appears is basically the same as the one for Posts so no need to go into too much detail here.
To edit an existing page, you can access it a couple of ways. If you are logged into the site, you can see a small link on each Post or Page called “edit” (when you are looking at the site itself). Click on “edit” and you can go immediately to the edit window for that page. For my clients’ sites, I usually use a plugin called “Dropdown Page Manager” that installs a list of all a site’s published pages under the Page section of the toolbar. Then it’s just a matter of clicking on the title of the page you would like to edit.
However, if you don’t have that plugin installed or, you want to work on the draft of a page you began in an earlier session, click on “Pages” at the top and you will see a list of all your site’s pages, including drafts. You can either click on the title of the page to open it up, or you can click the Edit link that you see when you hover over the title.
Quick-Edit is another feature that pops up when you hover over the Page title (or Post for that matter) and it can be useful when you want to change certain things about the content. Clicking the words Quick Edit will open a small window directly on the same page where you can change the title of the Page, its place in the Page hierarchy (for example, selecting a Parent page so the page will now appear in the navigation’s dropdown selections) and other features as well.
You could change the template a page has assigned, if you have other ones available, whether to allow readers to comment on what you have written, the status to Draft, Pending Review or Published and even the date something was published (handy for when you don’t one one post appearing before another chronologically). Password or Private is used for content that you may only want to be accessible for people with the right credentials.
Coming soon: Part 2: Images.
Once DeathWish Piano Movers owner Greg Keane stepped in front of the cameras for the Travel Channel’s new show, DeathWish Movers, he realized that his company would need to update their website to a more dynamic version that would also function as their online storefront. Since hoisting Black Sabbath-worthy mixing consoles and antique Steinways out of Boston loft spaces and brownstones can be a little time-consuming,
No Christian, Thank You! I was completely caught off-guard on Oscar night when my friend who had asked me to work on Dickeklund.com, sent me a text message that the site had been mentioned at the Oscars. I thought it was probably something along the lines of Christian Bale sporting a Dickeklund.com cummerbund or something. So this morning I got curious and googled “Christian Bale Oscar Speech” and got this.
One of my first clients, Beacon Insurance, had a site that was a good candidate for a WordPress makeover. Even with using the Library feature in Dreamweaver, changes to the navigation and content were cumbersome, especially when they wanted to add a new newsletter page. After creating a sample site and letting them check out the dashboard end of things, they decided to give me the go-ahead.
“The Fighter” has been getting a lot of great reviews and press lately and if you look closely, you can see Christian Bale, who portrays Lowell boxing legend Dick Eklund in the film, sporting a shirt that says Dickeklund.com.
By a stroke of luck, a client of mine also worked as a grip on The Fighter and since he’s a local boxer as well, he and Dicky really hit it off and he offered to find Dicky some help with getting a web site together for his training business. One thing that became apparent right away was the need to showcase all the testimonials that Dicky’s students had about his training method. The JQuery Featured Content Gallery plugin was a great solution for putting as much content as possible on the page without taking up a lot of real estate. Out of curiosity’s sake, I went with the default “Twenty Ten” theme and styled it into the page below.
The header contains the JQuery Featured Content rotating banner images which rotate to show the various testimonials along with a photo of the person quoted.
It’s a great plugin to work with. The instructions are easy and fairly self-evident. There’s an option to link each banner to a different page and the styling and sizing are a breeze. Warning, it’s so easy to use, I have to restrain myself from using it everywhere.
When I first took the project on, it mainly because I had actually worked a couple of days on the film and I thought it would be fun to do a site that connected to another area of my life. I totally didn’t expect Christian Bale to throw his weight behind it and start wearing Dickeklund.com swag everywhere! He was fascinating to work around. I don’t think he ever “broke” character and he’s hugely supportive of Dicky. At one point, when the courtroom scene was being filmed, a production assistant accidentally dropped a clipboard that fell onto Bale as he was waiting for his cue. Everyone froze, probably thinking he would go off on another Youtube rant sensation but instead he turned to the quaking kid and said “Hey buddy, ya trying put a hit on me?” in a flawless Lowell accent. The site’s doing really well thanks to his support and I hope it brings Dicky some new fighters to train!
Jenn Mears Web Design has just launched a site for Patsy Ann doll enthusiasts that was designed for Marblehead resident, Debbie Essig. After collecting Patsy Ann dolls, furniture and ephemera for many years, Debbie decided to combine her love of this unique doll of the Depression Era with her gift for creating vintage design doll clothing into a site that would showcase her extensive knowledge of Patsy Ann as well as providing a way to sell her unique hand-made outfits online.
Debbie wanted to emulate the style of Effanbee’s 1930s advertising flyers, so I needed to incorporate vintage Depression Era graphic elements into the overall design. I found the Fairfax Station font to be a good choice for the main header as well as the side navigation and the page headers.
I built the page template based on the Silver Dreams theme (available at WordPress.org), and it was a highly adaptable, lightweight theme that provided a solid foundation to bring Debbie’s vision online.
Mona Hersey, the proprietor of To Do! Ta Done√, a personal assistant/home organizing business, hired me to do an overhaul of a site that had started out as a hosting company generated template.
Since Mona’s business is all about helping people to clear the clutter and confusion out of their lives, it made sense to use a cleanly organized theme such as Corporate Globe by Rankerz SEO Services. I was able to develop a new template via CSS that used the To Do! Ta Done√ colors of light green and violet and also incorporated hints of orange from the original theme. The end result is a site that is organized, colorful, easy to use and that showcases a great local business!
Last year Carrie Stack of the Say Yes Institute and a certified Life Coach, asked me about helping her to launch a s site for her new project entitled EO. EO stands for Emotional Orgasm which is a term she and her business partner Michele Lazcano came up with to describe a moment when you connect with another person and the both of you realize that the connection has moved both of you forward to living your life fully.
I have to say I had a few EO’s of my own with this project. In collaborating with Katharine Navins of Tallow Studio for the visual aspects of the site, I came to realize that the “splash page”, long considered a no-no among designers, can actually be a very effective tool in focusing the user’s attention on the site’s various sections before they dive right into the content. Katharine’s use of the gentle blue and white gradient tile in the background and the clean look of the EO logo makes for a very soothing inital impression and prepares the viewer for a relaxing enjoyable time spent reading about Carrie and Michele’s vision of how we can all connect with each other and live our lives more fully.
Social networking, by its very nature, is also a big part of EOyourlife’s focus. In addition to the text links to Twitter and Facebook at the bottom of each page, I also installed the Add-to-Any plugin so users can easily share the site with friends. Also in use are the plugins; MailChimp/Analytics 360 to help maintain the newsletter email list and monitor site traffic, Cforms, for the site’s contact forms and All-in-One SEO pack to enhance the use of page titles and optimize the site’s content.
Check out EOyourlife.com and share the good vibes!