I’ve noticed that most new blog writers, or even new writers using a word-processing program like Microsoft Word, don’t really know about the power they have to structure and style their story. If they use headings, they just make them bold or italic and don’t think about using a different font style (like the one in the title to this post). Nor do they think about size, spacing or making a hierarchy of headings for longer material.
If you neglect the structure and style of your post (or magazine article or book for that matter), it will make it harder for readers to follow your ideas. Besides, you have this cool WordPress theme for a reason, and you’ll miss out on your beautiful headings if you don’t use them!
So, let’s go through the three basic parts of building the text of a blog post.
Type in a title first (you can change it later if you want).
Just write. In the WordPress block editor, you will see that every paragraph, heading, image, etc. is in a bordered block of its own. You’ll also see options on the right for the block that’s active (because you’ve clicked in it).
When you get to the end of a paragraph, simply tap the return/enter key on your keyboard or keypad and WordPress will automatically assume you want a new text paragraph.
OK. Rough draft done. Got those ideas down. Now let’s give them a bit more structure.
In the screenshot above, you will see some styling options running across the selected paragraph. With a text paragraph, those options include basic things like paragraph alignment, making selected text bold or italic, or creating a hyperlink from selected text. There’s also a small down arrow with more options. The three-dot square is the same for all blocks (headings, images, whatever) and gives you options to delete the block or change the whole block in some way.
Let’s focus on the square at the far left where the paragraph symbol is shown in my screenshot. See the little down arrow next to it? More options!
You have a number of choices to change the format of this paragraph. Right now, we want to make a heading. You can start a new regular paragraph and type in the heading words first, or if you already have a text written in plain paragraph format, you can change it to a heading. Just click on that paragraph symbol and a little box will pop up with options, including heading, list, and quote formats.
If you choose the heading option, it will change all the text in that paragraph to the second level heading style programmed into your theme (the first level is designed for your post title).
You can also see the same heading level options plus the ability to align your heading horizontally in the block settings on the right. Do preview your blog post before you decide that the H2 default heading is too big, etc. It will show here in your editing panel in the right font and size, but it’s still not quite the same as seeing it surrounded by the white space and sidebar in what will be the published version. If you still feel strongly about changing it, you can choose the smaller heading styles.
Or you can use one of the smaller heading styles for some special paragraph you want to create or just to make a proper hierarchy of topics based on the content if it’s a long post. Most of the time, your post will be short enough that you’ll only need the H2 heading style.
Aside from regular paragraphs and headings, the most common element you’ll use in a blog post text is a link to another post or page. That link can go to other places in your own website or to web pages at other websites.
You don’t have to copy and paste entire URLs (website addresses that start with “http”) directly into your post (or a page on your site, for that matter). WordPress has a much prettier way to create links.
Start by highlighting a word that indicates something about the content of the link, like “contact us” or “Jean’s site” or the title of an article, etc. In any kind of paragraph block, you will see the chainlink symbol in the options above the paragraph. Click on it and a little popup will appear with a box that gives you the option of pasting in a full website address for a location inside or outside of your site.
Or, if you just want to link to another page in your own site, you can simply type in one of the words in the title or even the content of that page, and the box will expand to show you all the options. The system will insert the full website address for you when you choose a location.
That takes care of the basic text elements in a blog post. I’ll cover best practices on images in your posts and pages in another post.
If you’d like to have this instruction handy, you can download the procedure I use in my tutorials here.
If you have specific questions or would like me to go through the process with you, just contact me.