How to Create a Shorter URL for your WordPress.com Blog Post

When you create a new blog post, WordPress automatically creates the URL slug – the last part of the post’s direct link – based on your post title. This means the link to the post will be your site name plus the date plus the blog post title.

That’s a perfectly functional link, but, particularly if you have a long title, you get a very long link. You may not care. Twitter automatically shortens links, Facebook does not show them, and people who view the posts from your blog page don’t need to see the link.

However, it’s easy to create a shorter link, which looks better when the link is visible, either on a page or in the browser address bar. It’s easier to copy a shorter link, and long links may fail in some applications, including email. And you might want a URL slug that describes the post more accurately than the title of the post.

Follow these steps to create a custom URL slug, when creating or editing your post:

  1. In the right-hand settings column, click the Document tab. If the settings column is not visible, click the gear icon in the upper right.
  2. Scroll down to Permalink, and expand that section. You can see the existing slug and URL.
  3. Type the new slug in the URL Slug box. Use hyphens or underscores instead of spaces and periods.
  4. You’re done!
Default link for this post
Custom link for this post

It’s best to create short URLs when you create the post, before publishing for the first time. You can change the URL slug of a page or post anytime, but, depending on how your site is configured, some internal links may stop working when you change it. Any external links you or someone else has posted will stop working if you change the URL slug.

If someone attempts to view your site with an invalid page or post link, they’ll get a blank page on your site, with the chance to search for what they are looking for, as well as your usual menu options, so all is not lost, but it’s a good idea to always test a link that you post.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like assistance with your WordPress.com site.

Tips for the new WordPress Editor – Gutenberg

If you work with WordPress, by now you’ve probably heard there’s a new editor for making pages and posts. You may even have tried it. If you have not yet tried it, or took a look and did not know where to start, this post is for you.

The new editor is called Gutenberg, though the name is not used for WordPress.com. This is a quick introduction to the new editor, outlining some features and providing tips from my experiences. For details, refer to the links at the bottom of the page. (Skip to the links.)

The biggest change is the introduction of blocks. In the past, your post or page was one ‘block,’ into which you’d type your paragraphs and add your photos. If you wanted to mark some text as a heading or a quote, you’d highlight it and change the format to heading or quote.

Now your post or page consists of multiple blocks. Each paragraph is its own block. There are different types of block, and a paragraph of plain text goes in a block type called paragraph. If you add a photo, it goes into a block type called image. A heading goes into a block type called heading, a quote goes into a block type called quote, a list goes into a block type called list, and so on. If you start typing without selecting a block type, you’ll be in a paragraph block, but you can change it to a heading, quote, or other type such as list.

Screen capture of a block and menu.
The block menu for a paragraph, with More Options selected. The drop down at the far left lets you change the block type. Lorem ipsum text from https://lipsum.com/

For a simple page or post consisting of some text and a photo, blocks might seem extra work to do formatting, with minimal benefit. However, they become more useful if you are doing complex layouts. You can move blocks up and down, and duplicate them. You can also save blocks. For example, if you are an author, and add a paragraph about your books and purchase links at the bottom of every post, you can save that paragraph as a reusable block the first time you type it. When you write a new post, you simply add the reusable block at the bottom.

The use of blocks brings changes to editing options. The menu that used to appear at the top of the page now floats, and appears at the top of each block as you work on it. It’s smaller, as it only has options applicable to the block you are working on. It disappears if you are typing, but moving the cursor within the block will make it show again. There are more options on the right sidebar. Use the tabs there to select between options that apply to the block, such as font size or alternate text for an image, and options that apply to the entire page or post, such as category and tags.

If you work with HTML code, you now have two options for editing the code. You can edit a block as HTML, by selecting More Options (three dots) / Edit as HTML in the block menu. Or you can edit the entire page as HTML, by selecting Tools and More Options (three dots) / Code Editor in the upper right of the screen. If you want to add some HTML such as an anchor for a bookmark, you’ll need to add it in its own Custom HTML block.

If using the new editor is not working out for you, you can go back to the old editor, now called Classic Editor. For WordPress.com, select Tools and More Options (three dots) / Switch to Classic Editor in the upper right area of the screen. For WordPress.org (self-hosted), install the Classic Editor plugin.

The new editor has other changes besides blocks. Images can now be uploaded directly to the page, instead of to the media library. They still get saved to the library. Captioning images and adding alternate text is easier. The window for adding URLs, and setting them to open in a new tab, is cleaner. Now that I am getting used to formatting by block, I’m enjoying the new editor.

If you use WordPress.com, the details of these features and lots more information is here: https://en.support.wordpress.com/wordpress-editor/#adding-a-block

If you use WordPress on a site you host yourself, the information is here: https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/

Where are you? Location on Websites

tri-countyIf your website is promoting an online service (like this one), your location is not important. I’ll edit for anyone, anywhere. If your website is promoting a physical store, a service that requires in-person meeting, or a service in a specific area, your location is critical.

The internet is a very big place, so it’s not enough to use a term that locals know, like, say tri-county area. The name of your town is not enough either. Continue reading “Where are you? Location on Websites”

Outlook Calendar Sync Cheat

Outlook calendar screen imageIf you use an online calendar, such as Google Calendar or iCloud Calendar, it’s easy to access your calendar from multiple devices. Even if you use multiple calendars, as long as they are all online, they can talk to each other and share events.

It becomes challenging to share events when you use a calendar that is not online, such as the desktop version of Outlook. Continue reading “Outlook Calendar Sync Cheat”

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Egss in basket - public domain image
Source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

The Manitoba NDP recently decided to mark the Jewish holiday of Passover with a greeting and stock photo on their social media accounts. Unfortunately, the image used was a parent and child preparing challah bread. This is a bread often eaten on Jewish holidays, but never on Passover. Continue reading “Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket”

I’ve Said it Before, and I’ll Say it Again…

Picture of old manual typewriterplease get a second reader. When I said it before, my concern was that you might go to all the work of writing and publishing a book, only to have poor sales and one star reviews. I’ve since discovered you can get five star reviews, even if those reviews include statements such as “there are a few typos and some discrepancies.” A book can have dozens of reviews, averaging four stars, despite “continuity problems,” the appearance of being “written in haste,” and “confusion with times, dates and names.” Continue reading “I’ve Said it Before, and I’ll Say it Again…”

The Invisible Gorilla

Picture of old manual typewriter

I recently completed editing an academic textbook. This was a heavy copy edit, as well as reference checking and formatting. I made suggestions for the structure, requested some clarifications, proposed a few transition sentences, and even fixed spelling here and there.  I was happy with the work, and so was the client. Continue reading “The Invisible Gorilla”

Selling on your WordPress.com site

Picture of old manual typewriterIf you use WordPress for your self-hosted web site, there are many plugins available to support marketing and selling your products. The free, or nearly free, WordPress.com service can also be used to promote a business, sell products, or request donations, but there are a few conditions. Continue reading “Selling on your WordPress.com site”

WordPress Bookmarks

0192020 Update: The new WordPress editor now support bookmarks, so this can be done without coding. Any heading can be turned into a bookmark, by opening the Advanced block settings for the heading. Read how to do it here: https://wordpress.org/support/article/page-jumps/

 

WordPress makes creating web sites easy, but there is one handy web page feature that requires a tiny bit of coding: Bookmarks. Fortunately, it’s simple coding that anyone can do. These instructions apply to WordPress.com and WordPress.org sites, and have been updated for the new Gutenberg (Blocks) editor. 

Introduction
Create a Bookmark
Link to a Bookmark from the Same Page
Link to a Bookmark from Another Page


Introduction

Bookmarks allow you to jump to anywhere on a page (or post), from the same page, from another page on the same site, or from another site. You can use bookmarks to create links for a specific point on a page, and send these via email, or use them for social media posts.

If there are sections on a page, like this one, you can create a table of contents at the top of the page, like the one at the top here, and allow users to click and go directly to that section. This is useful on longer pages, and remember that a one screen page on a large desktop monitor might already require a lot of scrolling on a mobile device. There are two steps for each bookmark: Create the bookmark, and create the link to it.


Create a Bookmark

  1. Go to the block where you want to create the bookmark.
  2. Add a new block above that one. The type should be Custom HTML.
  3. Type the bookmark code, including a name. For this section, the bookmark code is:
    <a name=“Create”></a>
  4. The name of the bookmark is between the quotes. It can be anything you want, but it should be short, simple, and descriptive, with no spaces or odd characters. You can put as many bookmarks as you want on a page, but each one must be unique on that page. This bookmark could also have been:
    <a name=“second_section”></a>
    or
    <a name=“part2”></a>
  5. You can also create a bookmark in a block at the top of the page, in case you want to offer users a Return to Top link. That bookmark might be:
    <a name=“top”></a>
  6. If you will be adding several bookmarks, you can save the code as a Reusable Block. Instead of typing everything each time, you will only need to update the bookmark name. As a reusable block, it will appear to be blank, but the code is visible if you click the block and click Edit.


Link to a Bookmark from the Same Page

  1. First you need to type the word or phrase that will be the thing to click. For example, if you are making a table of contents, you need to type the headings at the top of the page. If you want to offer a Return to Top link, type that wherever you want to offer it.
  2. Highlight the text, and click the Insert/Edit Link button in the WordPress toolbar.
  3. In the box for the link, type a hashtag, and the name of the bookmark. For the example bookmark above, you’d enter:
    #Create
    For a link that goes to the top of the page, you’d enter:
    #top
  4. Click Apply. The link is created.


Link to a Bookmark from Another Page

  1. Bookmarks can be added to a page address, so that when someone clicks a link to a page, they go directly to a specific place on the page.
  2. For example, the address of this page is:
    covell.ca/wordpress-bookmarks/
  3. To go directly to the Create a Bookmark section of this page, from any other page on the internet, the address is:
    covell.ca/wordpress-bookmarks/#Create
  4. That link can also be sent via email, or used on social media posts.

Bookmarks are also known as anchors, and “a name” is short for anchor name. Depending on your WordPress configuration, you may see anchor icons when editing your page. 

Bookmarks are a simple but powerful tool that make it easier for your readers to find things on larger pages, and for you to offer links to sections of your pages.