This post features links to some specific pages on the WordPress.com support site that you and your students might find useful.
Please note that unless a handout appears under the Using WordPress.com category, it may contain instructions that apply only to the “full” version of WordPress I use to power my class web sites, rather than the “lite” version that powers wordpress.com
I’m also in the process of creating some resources to help colleagues who use WordPress.com. You can find screenast tutorials on these two new Vimeo channels:
For those who are new to using worpdress.com, I also want to let you know that I’m happy to give you a template to get you started with your blog. The template would help establish the site’s architecture, but you could then choose whatever theme you like. The advantage of using a template is that you could just go in and change the placeholder text without having to create new pages and posts. If you’re interested in that option, or if you’d just like to add me as an administrator to your blog so I can help along the way, let me know!
“LITE” VS. “FULL” WORDPRESS
If the links below don’t answer a question you have, try looking it up on Google. But keep in mind that the instructions you find online may not apply to the “lite” version of WordPress that powers the free blogs available on wordpress.com So make sure the instructions you’ve found apply to wordpress.com, and not to the full version, which is sometimes referred to as the “self hosted” version or even the “wordpress.org” version, although that sort of confuses the issue.
WordPress.org is where you go to download the full version of the content management software called WordPress and to find instructions on using it. But in order to use that version, you would need to own a domain name that is hosted on a server that runs PHP and that gives you access to a MySQL database. You would then install and configure the full version and manage it entirely on your own — something I do NOT recommend for most faculty members, unless you’re contemplating a career change into web design!
WORDPRESS.COM HELP PAGES
Although I generally recommend that we encourage students to look up instructions on Google rather than giving them direct links, you might want to offer a few links to WordPress.com help pages on your class blog to help avoid the confusion over the lite and full versions of WordPress. I recommend putting the links in your sidebar, under a link category such as Help Using WordPress.com.
Below are some links to some of the most useful help pages, but you could also provide a link to the main WordPress.com Support Site and advise students how to find what they’re looking for there.
Another resource worth exploring is: Learn WordPress
- Posts (including how to write a new post)
- Posts vs. Pages
- How to turn words or phrases into hyperlinks – use this method rather than pasting full URLs into blog posts
- How to embed videos from YouTube and from Vimeo
- Links Menu – how to have a menu of links on the sidebar (aka “blogroll”)
- Uploading and embedding images
- Widgets – how to customize your sidebar
- Understanding Themes
BEYOND THE BASICS
- Featured Images (for rotating headers and other changing images)
- Custom header image
- Accepted file types
- Uploading Documents
- How to integrate a Google Docs document into a post or page
- Audio – how to embed an mp3 hosted elsewhere (I’ll discuss options for mp3 hosting later; wait for that before you decide to pay for a space upgrade, as you can usually find everything you need for free)
You can also search the WordPress.com forums or post questions there yourself.
If you come across a help page that you think is particularly useful, please share the link by commenting on this post!