Generally WordPress sites comprise of two parts –
• the front end which is that seen by visitors to the site on the internet;
• the back end which is where the administration, updating and design of the site takes place
In the case of this site, the back end can also be broken down into two parts
• the native wordpress section which incorporates the theme and is where data (articles, images etc) are added and edited
• a design part which utilises the Elementor page builder package
In addition, the site uses a number of plug-ins both free and paid for, which assist with the dynamic nature of the site and also has some bespoke coding which creates custom post types which are appropriate to this site. This coding is particularly important as its removal will break the site completely. In order to prevent this the site theme is a ‘child’ of the original theme (Neve) and it is within this child theme that the bespoke coding is kept. This means that updating of the main theme (for security reasons or to adapt to changes within the core WordPress platform or PHP version) will not affect the bespoke code and the site should carry on operating as expected.
Under normal circumstance an editor of the site should not need to be concerned with the design or coding and will only use the native WordPress portion (in some cases modified by the bespoke coding) to add, edit or delete information to the site.
Specific instructions on the various task will be given later but it should be noted that changes to the Elementor parts of the site could result in major changes to the sites appearance and operation and rectification of such changes would not be seen as normal maintenance activities carried out by me – in other words I would reserve the right to charge for such work.
I would of course assist in the event that changes were needed that required modification of the Elementor parts of the site.
Considerations for the smooth running of the site
The site is hosted under a standard package with a company called BestHosts in the UK. This package provides a limited amount of storage space (8Gb) for all the infrastructure of the site, the database and the associated data – text and images. In order to avoid additional costs (to acquire more space) it is important that consideration is given to the size of images that are uploaded to the site – these are the biggest factor in using up space. It is therefore recommended that before uploading new images they are converted to 72dpi and the dimension are kept with 1000 x 750 pixels. This will also help to ensure the rapid loading of the site – particularly the galleries – giving the user a better experience.
There are many ways to shrink the size of an image – from professional packages such as Photoshop to free apps. Windows 10 actually comes with a clever bit of software that will do the job for you but – and this might be a big but – I found that the naming convention used by the Heritage group did not play well with software. Although the images were converted and looked fine I found that my Windows File Explorer subsequently crashed every time I tried to open the folder with the reduced images.
Maybe just an anomaly with my computer. Unfortunately the Windows 10 software does not allow you to change the file name in the process.
You could copy the files you wish to upload and change the names of the copies before you shrink them (see also next paragraph)
Whilst on the subject of uploading images, another reason to consider changing the name of files is that the name can be displayed on the Lightbox (the enlarged image you see when you click on a gallery image). Alternatively you can hide the tile and show the description instead – or if you choose both. The description has to be added when you add an image to the WordPress Media Library.
This is a quite straightforward process but please see the paragraph above on files sizes.
Images are stored in what WordPress refers to as the media library. Once you have logged in to the site you should see a menu on the left hand side of the screen. Towards the top you will see the entry for Media. If you hover on that entry you are given a choice of Library or Add New. Click Library to explore the set up. All images are displayed in a grid – this is a regular grid so some images will appear cropped – this does not represent how they will appear when displayed on the website.
Click on any image to see it full size and to see the meta data associated with it. All this meta data can be edited and some of it can be revealed on the site to users. Accessibility convention states that you must provide Alternative Text. This is because screen readers used by visually impaired visitors will read this text out to them so they will not what the image is of even if they cannot see it.
The Title will be that of the file when uploaded, but can be changed to anything you wish. The title you use here is displayed when a user clicks on an image in the gallery.
Caption is optional but may be used in other parts of the site and Description is the same and is currently used in galleries when an image is enlarged
You can also delete an image from the library from this page – see red text at bottom of section.
Please ignore the Add to Gallery section
Close the detail section by clicking the X in the top right hand corner to return to the library. At the top of the page there is an Add New button – click it to reveal the add files dialogue.
You can add image files in one of two ways –
- open a file browser on your computer and and drag an image to the box within the dotted lines, or
- click Select Files to open an explorer window which will allow you to browse for an image. Click Open once you have selected it. .
With either method, the file will be uploaded to the library at the top left of the collection. Click it to edit the meta data. Note that changes made to the meta data are automatically saved when you click the X to return to the Library. (Tip: Do not start to enter the meta data until the image is fully loaded or it will be lost).
Adding an article to the site
All uploads to WordPress sites (apart from images) are considered to be a type of Post. I have created a modified custom post called Article to help with the way these posts are displayed and categorised on the site. This type of post is particular to this site so no generalised info about Articles will be found elsewhere.
To add a new article choose Add New from the Articles entry in the left hand column of the dashboard. Please note that you should not use the Edit with Elementor button unless you are familiar and confident with using Elementor as this could potentially change the display. The Article is designed so that you don’t need to do that and so that a consistent design is used for each article.
From the dashboard choose Add New Article
To get started click Add title (editable later if you change your mind) and type in the title of your article.
Although you can type directly into the WordPress Article page you may find it easier to create the text of your article in Word or another word processor and cut and paste it into WordPress. However please note this important point: If you are copying text from Word make sure you paste it as plain text (Ctrl+Shift+V). Whichever method you choose, start by clicking the text that says Start writing or type/ to choose a block. The text will disappear and you can put your text in its place. Once you have some text a toolbar will appear giving you a limited set of options to format your text – bold and italic, text alignment, hyperlinks etc. You can get more options by clicking the down arrow.
The area you are entering the text into is known as a block – specifically a text block – but there are many other types of block you can use to format your article. Click on the white cross in a blue square to the top left of the screen to see all the available Blocks. In the main you will only need the blocks in the first two sections – Text and Media – and not even all of them.
You can add Headings, create lists, add tables and so on. Spend some time exploring – if you want to remove a block you can click on the three dots in the toolbar associated with that block – or press Shift Alt + Z (making sure you are in the right place before you do that). Until you publish a document it does not appear on the website so you can experiment for a while and use the preview button to see how things will look.
Deciding where your article will appear on the site
All posts, including articles, can be categorised. Currently there are four options – Elvington, Eythorne, Tilmanstone and Waldershare. The categories can be found in the right hand panel – if you cannot see them it will be because you are currently viewing Block options – click Article at the top of the column, and if necessary click the down arrow to reveal the categories Check the one which applies to your article.
Adding an article to the related articles column of a gallery
Note this is best done after you have finished editing an article and published it.
From the Dashboard, choose Galleries – All Galleries and hover on the gallery appropriate to your post. Click Edit – note that it is important to click Edit and NOT edit with Elementor.
When this page opens scroll right down to the bottom of the page until you see the related articles section. This comprises two columns – the left hand column shows all articles posted to the site and the right hand column shows articles that have been categorised as relating to this gallery. To add an article to the left column just click it. To remove it, click it in the right hand column. You can change the order of the related articles by dragging them up or down. Don’t forget to click Update when you are done.
Adding a featured image
All articles should have a featured image – this is the picture that will appear at the top of the article and will also be previewed in any list of articles. On the right hand column find the Featured Article entry and click in that space to open the Media Library. Locate the image you want to use or upload a new one and click Open. This will set the featured image. If you need more help with images see the section on Adding Images and particularly the section titled Considerations for the smooth running of the site
Adding an Excerpt
When articles are listed in the Related articles column or on the Article Archive you can show an extract of the article to explain what the article is about. Paste or type your text into the Excerpt field in the right hand column and click Update. It is best to limit the excerpt to around 25 words to maintain the formatting on the site. Also remember that if you are pasting from Word or a similar application, paste as plain text (Ctrl, Shift + V). You do not need to save the excerpt = this will happened automatically when you Publish or Update the article.
Publishing your article
Once you have completed the above tasks you should not need to make changes to any other sections on the Edit page.
You can Preview what your article will look like with the Preview button at top right. Click Publish at the top right hand of the screen. Click on the device type you wish to preview – it is good practice to use the Preview in New Tab option. If you are happy with what you see, proceed to Publish on the edit tab. Initially you will see options about when you want to publish and who should see your article but in most cases the defaults here will be correct. Click Publish again and your article will go live.
If you want to see what a member of the public (ie someone who is not logged in to the site) will see you can either log out or open another browser and go to the site.
Your article should now be listed under Articles about and if you put it into a related article section within a Gallery if will appear there too. You should also be able to search for it from any page