Note:  Wordpress makes frequent updates to their features and interfaces.  We will do our best to keep this page here up to date, but if the instructions are not quite right just bear in mind that the basic ideas Wordpress don't change often, but exactly what you click on might...

Before you can even sign in

You're going to need a Wordpress account.  Simply put, there are two ways you can do this. 

Option 1: Go to and sign up for a site.  NOTE:  if you go this route, you are signing up for an account with a service that is not affiliated with Whitman.  Depending on what you are working on, this may not be a good thing.  Please consult with those you are working with or studying with.  Academic/classroom assignment sites should generally not go through

Option 2: Academic and/or classroom assignment?  Get a Whitman-administered Wordpress site.  If you don't have one yet, please contact

Once you've signed in

When you first sign in to WordPress, you will be looking at the Administration Console.  This is not your webpage, but rather a place to build your webpage.  There are a million tools here that you *don’t* need to worry about.  Here is where you should get started . . . .

To see what your web page looks like

Click on the home icon in the upper left portion of the Admin console.  To return to the Admin console, click the same icon again.


A page is a permanent block of content, that once built to the author’s satisfaction, become a static feature of a website.  Most of your work will be building pages.


Regular, time specific bits of content.  The classic description of a blog – which is what WordPress was originally built for.  These content pieces are often dynamic, and designed to build and continue a discussion via comments.  Posts live in a specifically identified page.

Setting the ‘Posts’ page, and the ‘Home’ page

<Appearance><Customize><Homepage Settings>

Gotcha Point:  Do not set your home page, and your posts page to be the same page.  Even though you likely won’t be working much with posts, the page for them needs to be defined and it must be different from your home page.

Placing content in your webpage – building blocks 

All content that you create in WordPress gets ‘packaged’ in a unit WordPress calls a ‘block’ – and these content chunks can be thought of as exactly that.  Each block, whether it is a photo, a paragraph of text, or an audio clip can be moved, edited, copied, or managed in whatever way is appropriate to the type of content.

Editing tools for blocks

When you move your cursor over a block, you will see the boundaries of the block outlined.  Click anywhere in the block to select it.  Doing so will open a set of editing buttons appropriate to the type of content in the block.

Editing tools show up as a standard set of commonly used buttons and menus.  Tools like italics, bold face, left and right justify, font size etc show up in two places:

·         A small tool bar at the top of the block being edited.

·         A sub-window to the right of the block being edited.  This window is called the ‘block settings’ window, and can be set to focus on either a block, or the entire document (aka: ‘Page’).

Note that these editing tools change depending upon the content of the block.  If your block has a photo in it, you will see a different set of editing tools than you would for a text block.

You can change the type of block (text, photo, heading –there are many different types of blocks) by clicking the button on the far left of the tool bar and selecting the type of block you want to have.

Gotcha Point:  Watch out for the ‘Plus sign’ that frequently appears on the border of a selected block.  This is a button that will add a new block.  In other words, that plus sign moves the active editing point to a new block, not the block outlined.

Gotcha Point:  It’s easy to end up with a raft of blocks you hadn’t really intended to create.  To make an unwanted block go away, click on the block (anywhere but on that little plus sign) and note the 3 vertical dots toward the right end of the editing tool bar that appears.  Click on the 3 dots, and note at the bottom of the menu that opens, the ‘remove block’ item.  This will delete the selected block.

The Media tool

A special location for all the ‘stuff’ you will assemble for eventual use in your WordPress website.  WordPress calls this location a ‘Library’.  The ‘Add New’ menu selection enables you to add new content items to the library.  When you are working on a webpage, you can insert things directly into blocks, or you can pick things that have been previously uploaded into the library.

Saving your page

After you have added, or edited content, these changes are ‘saved’ by publishing, or updating.  The buttons to do either (‘saving’ a new page, or ‘updating’ an edited page) are found in the upper right hand corner of the Admin console.  The button is labeled, appropriately enough, either ‘Publish’ or ‘Update’.

Final note

The folks at WordPress have documentation pages that are quite extensive.  Google searches for ‘WordPress Blocks’ or ‘WordPress Pages’ or other similar searches yield excellent results.  If you have a question, this is an excellent resource.

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