WordPress.com Student Help

The library’s Writing Center is growing our WordPress.com support page to help students use WordPress.com in their classes. First-year undergraduate students will primarily use their personal WordPress sites to store assignments and to provide their professors with links to those assignments en lieu of turning in paper documents. Graduate students and upper-level undergraduate students will be transforming their WordPress sites into portfolios that will show their best work to future employers. The directions below will help you to get started with WordPress.com. Your professors will provide assist you to transform your WordPress site into an online portfolio as you progress through your courses here at Crystal Fjord University.

If you would like to see additional WordPress.com support categories, use the contact form at the bottom of this page. Also, please let us know if any of these directions become out-of-date. The Writing Center’s staff does our best to stay current, but sometimes things change quickly. Much information can also be obtained using WordPress.com’s Help function and on various WordPress.com help sites on the internet. Make sure that you specify WordPress.com in your internet searches and not just WordPress (which often yields unwanted WordPress.org results).

Creating a WordPress.com Account: Start your free website at https://wordpress.com then click on the Get Started link. Follow the four simple steps below. The exact steps sometimes change, but this will give you an idea of what to expect.
1. Fill in the simple form that asks for the site’s name, a statement about the site, the site’s “primary goal,” and the user’s comfort level with creating a website.
2. Give your site a URL (i.e. yourname.wordpress.com). You may have to change the name a few times to receive a URL that you like. Remember that the eventual goal of this site is to highlight your work so using your name is a good idea. For instance, johnsmithtimetraveler.wordpress.com would be a good idea if your name is John Smith and you intend to become a time traveler. You can always add another free site to your account for your portfolio if your goals change, but this will take additional time and effort.
3. Choose the free plan.
4. Provide personal information: email address, username, and password then click on “Continue” to create your WordPress account with the framework for a new site. Write down the email address, username, and password that you used in a safe place.

The directions below reference information from the administrative interface. You will get to this section by adding /wp-admin to the end of your WordPress.com site: yourname.wordpress.com/wp-admin. It is strongly suggested that you bookmark the administrative interface of your site for easy access as you will be using it throughout your studies at Crystal Fjord University. There is often more than one way to do something, so these instructions are not the definitive answer but will help you to get started.

Using the WordPress Help Function: Answers to simple problems cab be often found by using the Help function in the upper left corner.

Making Your Site Private: In the beginning, all student sites should be private to reduce the chances of other students copying your work. Your instructors will provide information on opening up your site when it is time for you to create your public portfolio.
1. Make sure that you are logged in to your site with the /wp-admin suffix.
2. Click on Settings in the far left column.
3. Click on Reading.
4. Look for Site Visibility (almost halfway down the page) then click on “I would like my site to be private, visible only to myself and users I choose.”

Inviting All of Your Professors: Invite your professors to be viewers of your site so that they can access your assignments. Professor will provide you with their emails at the start of each term.
1. Make sure that you are logged in to your site with the /wp-admin suffix.
2. Click on Users in the far left column.
3. Click on Add New.
4. Add each professor’s email to the Usernames or Email Addresses field, separated by commas. Do not worry if someone is missing; you can add viewers at any time.
5. Set the role that you want your professors to have. Many professors only need to be viewers, but professors who will be helping you to create your portfolio may need to be administrators in order to give you the maximum amount of assistance.
6. Click on the Send Invitation button.

Setting a Theme:
1. Make sure that you are logged in to your site with the /wp-admin suffix.
2. Click on Appearance in the far left column.
3. Click on Themes.
4. Choose a free theme. We recommend Twenty Sixteen because our professors are familiar with it and can assist you if needed.
5. Click on Customize and explore, but do not spend too much time on customizing right now. When you are ready to turn your site into a public portfolio of your best work, we will assist you to customize your site.

Adding Pictures and Documents:
1. Save pictures as jpg files and documents as pdf files.
2. Make sure that you are logged in to your site with the /wp-admin suffix.
3. Click on Media in the far left column.
4. Click on Add New.
5. Either drag your file to the Drom files here box or click on the Select Files button to upload your files.
6. Click on the edit button which appears in the bottom right corner when the upload is complete.
7. You can change the title, add a caption, alternative text (for screen readers), and make additional adjustments in this screen.
8. Click the Update button on the right side. If it is not visible, click the triangle next to Save on the right side near the top.

Sharing Pictures and Documents with Professors:
1. Make sure that you are logged in to your site with the /wp-admin suffix.
2. If you are in the edit window for the file that you want to share stay there and skip to step 4; if not, go to step 3.
3. Click on Media in the far left column then click on Library.
4. Click on the blue link between Permalink and Get Sortlink to open up your file in a new WordPress tab.
5. If your file is a pdf document, skip to step 7. If your file is an image, right click on the image then choose Open Image In New Tab.
6. Click on the address (URL) in the new tab containing only the image and copy the entire address. Skip to step 9.
7. If your file is a pdf document, click on the blue link to the document near the top of the WordPress file’s page. Your document without any WordPress banners or other extraneous information will either open in a new tab or in the same tab.
8. Click on the address (URL) in the window or tab that contains only the pdf document and copy the entire address.
9. Paste the address into an email to your professor or into the comments section of the course assignment page to send your professor a direct link to your picture or document in your WordPress media library.

Adding New Posts:
Note, posts can become pages but pages cannot become posts. If you want your information to appear both in the menu at the top of the page and in the post section of your sidebar, you have to start with a post instead of a page.
1. Make sure that you are logged in to your site with the /wp-admin suffix.
2. Click on Posts in the far left column.
3. Click on Add New.
4. Give your post a title then add your new information in the large box below the title. You may find that you have to switch between text and visual (above the upper right corner of the large box) to get the look that you desire.
5. Click Publish when you are ready to upload the post to your WordPress site.
6. If you make changes, remember to click on Update (where Publish used to be). Do not use your browser’s backspace button after you update your post or you risk having your computer pick up and publish the previous version of your post.

Adding New Pages:
Pages can be added to the menu near the top of your WordPress site but cannot be added to the sidebar.
1. Make sure that you are logged in to your site with the /wp-admin suffix.
2. Click on Pages in the far left column.
3. Click on Add New.
4. Give your page a title then add your new information in the large box below the title. You may find that you have to switch between text and visual (above the upper right corner of the large box) to get the look that you desire.
5. Click Publish when you are ready to upload the page to your WordPress site.
6. If you make changes, remember to click on Update (where Publish used to be). Do not use your browser’s backspace button after you update your post or you risk having your computer pick up and publish the previous version of your page.

Sharing Videos with Professors:
1. If you do not have one a free YouTube Account, go to youtube.com and sign up for a free YouTube account.
2. You will see the upload link when you are logged into your YouTube account.
3. Start with uploading short videos (probably, under ten minutes). You will have to verify your account before you add any longer videos.
4. While the video is playing, copy the window’s URL (address). You can pause the video, but make sure that the correct video is playing (not an advertisement).
5. Paste the address into an email to your professor or into the comments section of the course assignment page to send your professor a direct link to your picture or document in your WordPress media library.

Embed YouTube Videos onto WordPress.com Pages and Posts.
1. While the video is playing in YouTube, copy the window’s URL (address). You can pause the video, but make sure that the correct video is playing (not an advertisement).
2. Make sure that you are logged in to your WordPress site with the /wp-admin suffix.
3. Go to (or start) the page or post that you want to show the video.
4. Click on the Visual tab.
5. Copy the video’s address onto a separate line in the page or post. There should be nothing else in front of or after the URL.
6. Remember publish or update your work.
7. Test the page to make sure that the video plays on the page. If it does not, go to step 8.
8. One common reason for the video not playing on the WordPress page is that WordPress converted the URL to a link. You may have to remove the link by highlighting the entire link then clicking on the broken link symbol (for Remove Link). Remember to click Update after you finish editing the page. Do not use your browser’s backspace button after you update your post or you risk having your computer pick up and publish the previous version of your page.

Organizing the Menu:
1. Make sure that you are logged in to your site with the /wp-admin suffix.
2. Click on Appearance in the far left column.
3. Click on Menus.
4. You can add both posts and pages to your primary menu.
5. Rearrange the added items so that they are in the order that you want.
6. Menu items that drop down to show additional headings can be created with a custom link that just has # instead of a URL.
7. Items that you want to appear under a heading need to be placed below the heading and indented slightly toward the right.
8. Save your menu.
9. Go to your WordPress site without the /wp-admin suffix to test your menu.
10. If you need to make changes, return to your site with the /wp-admin suffix. This can take some practice, so do not worry if you have to work on this several times. You can make changes to the menu at any time (even after gradation if you want), so there is no need to worry that it is not working exactly the way you want it to early on.