Welcome to the UMass Boston Sites Network!
- To access your site, go to blogs.umb.edu and log in using your UMass Boston email credentials.
- Accounts activated for the first time can request a site using the Site Request Form.
- You can request additional sites for yourself, for your course, or department, using the Site Request Form.
- CampusPress has a searchable Knowledgebase for using WordPress.
You might also find the following guidelines useful:
Best Practices for Designing your Blog/Website
- Check if your site is Mobile Friendly
- Choose a professional looking theme
- Ensure your post title contains key words from the post content
- Include Alt text in images for better accessibility
- Update website content consistently
- Share and promote your pages and posts on social media
- Add Share buttons for social media platforms. See more information at https://help.edublogs.org/sharing/
- Make sure your website is organized and easy to navigate
- Improve search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. Consider enabling the Simple SEO plugin. See more detail at https://help.edublogs.org/simple-seo-plugin/
The Block Editor was launched in late 2018 and is a major change to the Classic Editor that WordPress users used previously.
The Block Editor, also known as Gutenberg, uses a totally different method by moving to a block-based approach and each item you add to your post or page is a block. You can add blocks for each paragraph, images, galleries, videos, audio, list, tables, and more.
The Block Editor is enabled by default on the UMass Boston WordPress site. Admin users can switch between editors as explained in the following guide:
LinkedIn Learning Training
LinkedIn Learning (formerly “Lynda.com”) is free to all UMass Boston students, faculty, and staff, providing access to a huge number of training videos and courses on a wide variety of topics. Here are some LinkedIn Learning courses on WordPress:
Logging in to the Dashboard
The dashboard is the place to create new posts, pages, add media, select themes, and create custom menus. You can also manage sharing to social media, blog settings, domains, invite and remove users, and more.
To get to your blog’s dashboard, first login to blogs.umb.edu, then click on My Sites from the top left-hand corner of the Admin bar, and select the blog you would like to work on. The Dashboard will contain a menu of options for managing your blog.
The Media Library, located on the left panel of your Dashboard, allows you to upload new media, including images and videos, without having to start a new post or page.
A few things to note:
- A file has to be smaller than the maximum file upload size (50 MB) to be uploaded.
- Your blog has limited storage space, so only upload the smallest size possible for a file.
- Your storage space allowance is displayed in your media library (Media > Library) and is based on all the files in your media library.
- File formats accepted on the media library are: .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .doc, .pdf, .mp3, .ppt, .wmv, .mp4, .xls, .ins, .isf, .te, .xbk, .notebook, .m4a, .ist, .kmz, .kes, .mov, .flp, .avi, .swf, .wxr, .xml, .wav, .fjsw, .docx, .pptx, .xlsx, .xml, .m4v, .max, .kmz, .zip.
Menus are extremely important for any website. They offer a means to navigate your site and its content. Navigation menus allow you to present a site structure to your users. They help users find information and browse through different sections of your website. Since navigation menus are so important, they are usually placed close to the header in most WordPress themes. WordPress comes with a navigation menu system that makes it quite easy for beginner users to create and manage menus. The location of the menus can vary from theme to theme. Almost all WordPress themes come with at least one menu location. Some WordPress themes come with multiple menu locations to accommodate for more complex websites.
You can create menus in WordPress by visiting Appearance > Menus in your WordPress admin area. This will bring you to the Edit Menus screen which is divided into two columns. The column on your left has your pages, categories, and custom links tab. The column on the right is where you add and adjust menu items. Provide a name for your menu, for example “My First Menu” and then click on the create menu button.
Best practices for setting up your navigation menu
- Make sure your menus works well on a mobile device.
- Use descriptive labels in your navigation to make it easier for search engines to find your site
- Use fonts that are easier to read (sans-serif) and ensure there is appropriate contrast with the background.
- Keep the menu uncluttered; less is more.
- Reserve the more prominent locations on the menu for the most relevant links in your site.
Plugins in WordPress
A plugin is a piece of software that adds functionality to a WordPress website or blog. UMB blogs has a number of plugins already installed and available for use.
The Plugins link is located on the left-hand menu on your Dashboard.
A plugin needs to be activated for its features to be added to your site. To activate a plugin, select a plugin from the listed categories (Appearance, Forms & Surveys, Social, etc.) and click Activate.
Posts vs. Pages
To add content to a blog you use posts or pages.
Posts are used to create continuous content (a daily journal; a weekly newsletter). Posts are the most commonly used method of posting content in a blog.
Pages are used for delivering content that will not be changing regularly (static content). With pages you can create specific template styles that can be used for different content, while maintaining a uniform look and feel.
The Settings menu inside your dashboard is where you configure how your site works. Visit the Settings Overview to learn more.
Themes provide the overall visual design framework of a site, including page layout, font type and color, background color, etc. There are a number of attractive and functional themes to choose from on the UMB WordPress network. All themes can be further customized.
Changing the Theme
New sites at UMB are created with a default theme. If the default theme does not meet your needs, see Change Theme (Including a Video).
Tips for Choosing a Theme
- Use the Live Preview to see a demo of how your content will look like in the new theme: Look at how the theme is broken up, the different sections it gives you, and how your own content might fit into those blank spaces. Does the theme present content in a way that will make sense for your needs and how you want your readers to react when they visit your site?
- Themes will have some kind of description and often in that text lies some of the features (mobile responsiveness, etc.). Read through it word for word because it could hold critical information that helps you make that final decision.
- Most themes don’t let you see the backend or settings via the Live Preview demo. But they will show you different color schemes, page layouts and other options. You can usually learn a lot just by checking out the navigation bar.
- Feel free to ask our team for recommendations.
- Our network contains over 100 accessible themes many of which are also mobile compatible. Our default theme is both. We highly recommend you consider all of your users and select one of these themes.
- Not sure which theme to use? CampusPressFlex, an accessible and mobile ready theme, is built for the Block editor. See the CampusPressFlex Theme User Guide.
The Users menu on the Dashboard allows the owner of a blog to invite additional user to contribute to the site. WordPress provides a number of user roles, each with different permissions.
Here is a basic overview of the different user roles and the permissions associated with each one:
- Subscribers can read comments/comment/receive newsletters, etc. but cannot create regular site content.
- Contributors can write and manage their posts but not publish posts or upload media files.
- Authors can publish and manage their own posts, and are able to upload files.
- Editors can publish posts, manage posts as well as manage other people’s posts, etc.
- Administrators have access to all the administration features.
There are a range of different options for managing users and your user information. For more on managing users and your user user information visit the Users overview.
The term widget refers to any tool or content that you add, arrange or remove from the sidebar(s) of your blog — these are the blocks that make up your sidebar.