Author Archives: Matt Thompson

How to merge and delete tags

  1. Select “Post Tags” from the “Posts” menu in your WordPress admin.
  2. On the “Post Tags” screen, make sure the boxes next to the tags you’d like to merge are checked.
  3. At the top or bottom of the table, select “Merge” from the “Bulk Actions” dropdown.
  4. Type the name of the new merged tag, and hit “Apply.”

To delete tags, use steps 1 and 2 above, then select “Delete” instead of “Merge” from the “Bulk Actions” dropdown on step 3.

How to add email subscriptions to your site

1. Go to feedburner.com (or feedburner.google.com) and enter the URL for your site’s RSS feed under “Burn a feed right this instant.” This is probably http://yoursite.yourstation.org/feed/. Hit “Next.”

2. Under the “Publicize” tab, activate “Email Subscriptions” and the “Awareness API.”

3. In your blog admin, you’ll need to add two settings:

a) Under Settings > Feedburner Stats, add your Feedburner ID.

b) Under Settings > Feedburner Configuration, add your feed URL. Your site’s feed will now redirect there.

4. Under Appearance > Widgets, find “Subscribe by Email” and put it somewhere in your sidebar. You’ll also automatically have a subscription form in your fat footer.

5. You’re done! Go tell people to subscribe.

How to use sticky posts

The sticky post in context.

By default, “sticky” posts in WordPress look just like any other post, but they’re pinned to the top of your site. We’ve developed a special presentation for sticky posts in the Argo themes, setting them off from other posts in your main content well. But there are special requirements to making these sticky posts look good. Read on …

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How to move or delete images from your posts

There are two ways to move and remove image modules from your sites, depending on which mode – Visual or HTML – you’re most comfortable working in. HTML is slightly simpler, but Visual Mode is also pretty easy. Here are the steps to move or delete images in either case, followed by quick screencasts showing you how to do it.

In Visual Mode:

  1. Do not drag the image to move it. On Argo sites, images are part of a module that also contains credit and caption information. Clicking and dragging the image breaks the module and separates the image from that metadata.
  2. Instead, begin by removing the image module. Click on the image. A red circle with a line through it should appear in the upper-left-hand corner of the image. Click that icon to remove the image (and its credit and caption info).
  3. Then, re-insert the image module. If you’ve already uploaded your image to WordPress at any point in the past, it’s already in your Media Library, complete with the caption and credit you entered when you uploaded it before. (If you uploaded your image to WordPress while you were prepping the post you’re on, it’s in your Gallery as well.) Click the icon next to “Upload/Insert” to bring up the “Add an Image” window, then click over to “Media Library” or “Gallery” and look for the desired image. Then you can click “Insert into post” to place the image in the right spot. Continue reading

How to classify your posts & manage your tags

Classifying your posts

Properly classifying your posts – assigning categories, tags, prominence and content types – is key to maintaining a search-friendly site. Be disciplined about your classification, and you’ll reap the rewards in Google. Once you finish writing a post, there are four types of categorization we’d like you to think about. Here they are, in order of importance:

1. Which categories does this post fall under?

Every one of your posts should fall under one or more categories. (Although if you’re finding that all of your posts are falling under too many categories, that’s a sign we should adjust the categories.) This should be an easy question for you to answer. Just don’t leave your post uncategorized.

2. Which tags apply to the post?

First, look through the post and apply the names of any specific individuals, organizations, places or products that are involved, and that you might conceivably write about again. (If someone or something is named in the post that you’re unlikely to ever write about again, or is not really related to the topic of your site, omit them from the list of tags.) If you know you’ve written about that tag before, be sure to use the same tag you used previously. Whenever you use a tag, it’s best to use the full name of the entity or organization you’re referring to.

You should have a list of concepts – i.e. things that are not people, organizations, places or specific products – defined in advance. Apply any relevant concepts to the post.

Most importantly, be consistent and disciplined in your tagging. For more guidelines on this, skip down to “Managing your tags,” below.

3. How prominently should this post be featured?

Right now, there are two tiers of prominence – “Featured” and “National” – and we will likely add a third – “Best Of.” Marking a post as “Featured” and setting a featured image will send it into the skybox at the top of the site (and into the site’s footer once it rotates out of that top position). Marking it as “National” will send it into that skybox as well, but will also allow the post to appear in the “Argo Network Highlights” widgets visible from individual post pages on other Argo sites.

Managing your tags

For the Argo sites, every time you create a tag, you create a topic page. As much as possible, we’d like the topic pages to be robust and authoritative on their subjects – both for user clarity and for search engine optimization. We also want to avoid making you have to consider which of hundreds of tags to attach to your posts. So we recommend being fairly disciplined about the use of tags. Here are some recommendations:

1. The best tags are the discrete entities (i.e. specific individuals and organizations) named in your posts.

Entities are the easiest topics to identify in your posts (you know if you wrote about the US Department of Education). They’re also the easiest for us to automatically aggregate links for in the Latest Links widget. If the entity is one you’re unlikely to write about again, or if its relation to the topic is only ancillary, you can skip it. Not every name that appears in your posts is worthy of its own tag.

Also, in general, it’s best to use full names rather than abbreviations. Instead of tagging posts with “Obama,” use “Barack Obama.” It’ll look better as the title to a topic page, and it will aid search engine optimization.

2. Begin with a list of tags in mind.

Tagging frees us from having to think in rigid hierarchies. But it definitely helps to start off by creating a set of tags you know will be salient to your beat, and thinking through which types of posts each tag would apply to. For every site, we’ve asked the editors to do this work in advance, so you should have a good list to start from.

3. Avoid overlap or redundancy in your tags.

If you’re producing a site about organized labor, you want to avoid having a tag for “bargaining” and another for “negotiations.” Having two overlapping tags dilutes your search engine optimization and increases the likelihood that neither topic page will represent an authoritative view of the topic in question.

4. Use WordPress’ “auto-suggest” and “most used tags” features.

After you start to type a few letters into the “Add New Tags” input box, WordPress will suggest options from your existing tags that match what you’ve typed. (See image at right.) If you don’t remember exactly which version of a term you’ve used as the tag (<em>Have I been using “television” or “tv”?</em>), type the first few letters, wait a moment, and see which words pop up. Or click on the link below the input box to view the most used tags, and select your options from there.

5. Keep your audience’s needs front-and-center.

Only create a tag if you think there’s a plausible chance it will be useful to your community. If you’re producing a site about organized labor and you write a post that mentions Scrabble, consider the minute likelihood that your audience will find much use in a Scrabble topic page, and avoid using it as a tag.

How to add photos, videos and featured posts to your site

The screencast below walks you through the process of adding photos and videos to your posts, and featuring posts in the skybox at the top of your site. Several aspects of the process of adding photos and videos to posts merit special attention:

  • When adding a photo, be sure to add a caption. That signals the site to display the image properly, with the caption and credit in the appropriate places.
  • Cropping images: As you’re learning the system, refer often to Wes’ post about the best dimensions for image crops. You can crop photos from within WordPress by clicking “Edit image” within the “Add an image” dialogue box. (See this in action at 2:19 in the screencast below.)
  • Featuring a post requires two steps:
    (1) Make sure the post has a featured image (look for “Set featured image” from within the post composition page; when you’re adding an image to your post, you can also click on “Use as featured image” from within the “Add an image” dialogue box). (See this in action at approx. 4:38 in the screencast below.)
    (2) Make sure one of the boxes is checked under “Post Prominence” in the post composition page. (See 6:25 in the screencast.)
  • Adding video: To add a video from YouTube, Vimeo, or another popular video site, don’t drop in the embed code. Just paste in the link to view the video on the original site (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjtzbLdPahg). (See this in action at 7:31 in the screencast.)