Tag Archives: Wordpress

Alumnae/i Bulletin Blog documentation

Note: This documentation applies only to the Alumnae/i Bulletin blog theme.

Creating a new issue homepage:

  • Create a new page with the name of the issue, e.g. “June 2012”
  • Page parent= Issue Archive (so the issue becomes part of the archive)
  • Page template= Landing Page
  • slug= month-year, e.g. june-2012 (all lowercase). This should get created when the page is published, but if articles from old issues are displaying, double-check that the slug for the page was created correctly.
  • The content of this page is the text in the grey/gold box for that issue
  • Attach the cover image to page without inserting it into the page (upload via the media uploader as usual but do not insert). Inserting the image will result in 2 copies of the cover image appearing on the Issue Page.

Create articles for an issue

  • Article posts must have a tag that matches the issue’s page name (without spaces or other characters). This must be the FIRST tag on the post. For example, if the issue page is “June 2012,” URL http://bulletin.blogs.brynmawr.edu/archive/june-2012 , the corresponding tag must be “june2012.” This is how articles get to the proper landing page.
    • If the issue tag is not the *first* tag on a post, it will not appear in the “in this issue” sidebar area.
  • Put the text you wish to appear on the Issue homepage in the Excerpt field (below the Post field on the Post screen) for this article.
  • The first thumbnail in an article should automatically be used as the thumbnail that appears on the Issue Page.

Making a new issue live:

Set the new issue’s homepage to be the front page of the blog under Settings->Reading. The first item on the page says, “Front page displays.” Select the page you want from the drop-down menu.

Embedding videos and other media:

Known issues with this theme:

  • The theme’s comments.php seems to override or ignore a default function of /wp-includes/comment-template.php — when a user comments and the comment is held for moderation, they should see a message indicating that. This happens with most themes. In this theme the comment just displays as if it has been posted.

Bryn Mawr WordPress theme documentation

The Bryn Mawr WordPress theme is available upon request for blogs that require Bryn Mawr branding. If you would like to request this theme, please contact help@brynmawr.edu and include the address of your blog if it has been created.

For the most part, the Bryn Mawr WordPress theme works like any other WordPress theme, and all of the usual WordPress documentation here applies. However, it has a few features to make it look and function like the College website that require some additional documentation– menus and contact information.


You must select a header for your blog to display correctly.

Select your header by going to Appearance->Theme Options. Most blogs should use the Bryn Mawr Only header, but there are options available for Bi-Co and Tri-co branding.

Contact Information

The Contact Us Info Box plugin must be activated with this theme.

Once it is activated, you may edit your contact information by going to Settings->Contact Us Info Box.

Contact Us info box option in settings menu

Enter contact information and format it with simple HTML:

editing the contact information

Common HTML for contact information:

Line break: <br>
Email link: <a href="mailto:you@brynmawr.edu">you@brynmawr.edu</a>
Bold: <b>bold text</b>

Left Navigation menu

Add left navigation menus by going to Appearance->Menus

To create your first menu, click the “Create Menu” button. For additional menus, click the + tab.


Add WordPress pages or categories, or Custom Links (links to any web page) to your navigation menu using the panels on the left:

Drag and drop to reorder menu items as needed. When a menu is complete, click “Save Menu” to save your changes and make your menu available to add to the navigation.

Select the menu you want to appear first in the “Bryn Mawr Top Menu” dropdown. Select additional menus to appear below it (if applicable) in the next two dropdowns:

Click “Save” beneath Theme Locations to make your menu(s) display in your left navigation.


Need breadcrumbs to link back to your department or office like this?

Under Appearance->Menus, Create a menu named “Breadcrumbs” and add Custom Links to it. Reorder items as needed, and click “Save Menu.” Your links will appear as breadcrumbs above the navigation menus, just as they do on Bryn Mawr web pages.

Left Navigation Buttons:

If you want callout buttons between the left navigation and contact information like this:

Activate the Left Navigation Button Plugin.

Then go to Appearance->Widgets

Drag the Left Navigation Button Widget into the Left Nav Callout Button widget area.

Then add your Link Text and Link URL to the widget.

The recommended maximum number of buttons is 3.

RSS Subscribe Button

To add an RSS subscribe button to the right column, activate the RSS Subscribe Button plugin, then go to Appearance->Widgets and drag the RSS Subscribe Button widget to the desired location.

Updating Your Alumnae Club Blog

1. Log in to your club blog. If you are having trouble logging in, please contact help@brynmawr.edu or call the Help Desk at 610-526-7440

Once logged in, you should see the Dashboard with the name of your club at the top like this:


If you just need to update your contact information, click on Posts in the left sidebar:

And hover your mouse over your Welcome post, then click “Edit.”

You should be on the edit screen for your Welcome post. In the editor, you can update your contact information just as if you were typing in a Word document or an email.


If you need more text formatting options, you can click the “Kitchen sink” button (as in “everything but the…”) to get big headings, indenting, underlining, paste from Word, and more!


To add a link to a Facebook page or email address, highlight the text you want to make into a link, then click the link button:


To link to a Facebook page or other website address (any address starting with http:// ), paste the address into the “URL” box and click “Update.”


To link to an email address, type “mailto:”  followed by the email address (for example, “mailto:help@brynmawr.edu”) in the “URL” box and click “Update.”


Once you are done updating your contact information, click “Publish”.



Want to see your changes? Click “View post” in the yellow box that appears, and you will be taken to your new and improved post!













Close Comments on Old Posts to Reduce Comment Spam

Are your old blog posts getting nonsensical or oddly generic comments? Do these comments link to websites that have nothing to do with your post, and everything to do with selling random and perhaps questionable products?

Our WordPress antispam plugin, Akismet, should catch most of these comments, but you can eliminate a large source of them by closing comments on your old posts and pages. Feel free to leave comments open if you expect discussion to continue, but you can help reduce spam and the number of comment moderation emails you get by closing comments on posts where they are no longer needed. Many pages also do not need comments open at all, since pages aren’t always a logical place for discussion.

For more on moderating comments and identifying comment spam, please see “Moderating Comments and Spam in WordPress.”

 To close comments on a single post:

Go to Posts->All Posts

Click “Quick Edit” and uncheck “Allow Comments

Click “Update

WordPress posts screen with "allow comments" option circled

To close comments on all new posts:

WordPress has a setting to close comments on all posts after a given number of days. This is a great way to automatically close comments on posts after discussion is likely to have ended. However, it only affects posts you make after changing the setting, so other solutions are available below if you have a lot of existing posts to close comments on.

To close comments on posts after 14 (or a number you choose) of days:

Go to Settings->Discussion

Check the box for “Automatically close comments on articles older than __ days” and be sure to set the number of days you want (14 is the default).

Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click “Save Changes.”

screen capture of Discussion Settings with option to close comments on old posts circled


 To Close Comments on Many Old Posts:

If you have many old posts to close comments on, we recommend contacting Web Services via help@brynmawr.edu , as we have an automated way of doing it in the WordPress database. Please don’t spend your time clicking checkboxes on tens or hundreds of posts!

More Ways to Manage Comments and Other Features:

(recommended for experienced WordPress users) If you need to turn comments on and off on posts frequently, or need more efficient ways to manage categories, tags, post dates, etc., try the Admin Management Xtended plugin. It has the following features:  “toggling post/page visibility inline, changing page order with drag’n’drop, inline category management, inline tag management, changing publication date inline, changing post slug inline, toggling comment status open/closed, hide draft posts, change media order, change media description inline, toggling link visibility, changing link categories”

To activate the Plugin, go to Plugins, locate “ Admin Management Xtended” in the list, and click “Activate“.

Your All Posts screen will then have additional post management options– the option to toggle comments on and off is circled in the screenshot below.

screenshot of Admin Management Xtended plugin features








Changing the author name displayed on your WordPress posts

Your WordPress username cannot be changed, but the name displayed publicly on posts can be change. You can change your profile so that it uses only part of your name, or you can choose a different nickname (your personal nickname, or a pseudonym– whichever you prefer). Keep in mind that this name will appear on all posts on all blogs where an author name is included (so you can’t be “Jane Doe” on one blog and “Lisa Simpson” on another).

To change the name displayed on your posts, log into WordPress, and from the Dashboard go to Users->Your Profile

Then go to the Name section and edit your First, Last, and/or Nicknames if needed.

Choose the name you want to display from the “Display name publicly as” dropdown menu and save your profile. Check your blog posts to be sure your name is displayed correctly.

Embedding videos and other media/interactive content in blogs

Note: WordPress limits what content may be embedded and where for security reasons (e.g. to prevent malicious code from being inserted into a blog). If code is removed or changed when you attempt to embed it, please contact Web Services help@brynmawr.edu for assistance.

Content may be embedded in a WordPress post or page from most major video and image sites, as well as sites like PollDaddy and Scribd. A complete list of supported sites is available in the WordPress Codex. Please contact Web Services for assistance if you want to embed code from other sites, or if you want to embed code in areas other than a post or page (e.g. the sidebar).

Embedding content in a blog post or page:

Find the URL (address) of your video (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kyadx7KvkU ) or other content and copy it.

Paste the URL into your post or page where you want the content to appear.

Publish your post when it is done.

Changing the size of embedded content:

You’ll need to use the embed shortcode in your post or page. In the post or page where you want the content to appear , type [embed width="x" height="y"] [/embed] where x and y are your desired width and height (in pixels).

Find the URL of your content or other content and copy it.

Paste the URL in between the embed opening and closing tags, like so: [embed width="400" height="233"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kyadx7KvkU[/embed]

Publish your post when it is done.


How the heck do I figure out what size my content should be?/My content is squished!

Visual content like videos and images usually need proportional width and height (aspect ratio) to look right. If you’re changing the size of the content when you embed it, you’ll need to keep this in mind. Many sites have different default sizes for you to choose, or will help you calculate proportions for a custom size. A few examples for finding the size are provided below, for use with the shortcode tag instructions above. For help changing content sizes with another site, please refer to that site’s documentation, or contact Web Services via the Help Desk for assistance.

In YouTube:

Click “Share” beneath the video.

Click “Embed” in the menu that appears.

You cannot use the Embed code here, but you can refer to the listed width/height combinations, or use the custom size calculator (e.g. type “200” in width, and a proportional height will appear, and you can copy these into the width and height in your embed tag).

 In Flickr: (for images)

Click “Share” above the image you would like to share.

Click “Grab the HTML/BBCode”

You cannot use the Embed code here, but you can refer to the listed width/height combinations in the dropdown menu.

 In Flickr: (for slideshows)

Click the “Slideshow” button on the page for the photo set you would like to turn into a slideshow.

On the Slideshow page, click “Share”, then click “Customize this HTML” in the menu that appears.

You cannot use the Embed code here, but you can refer to the preset sizes listed (e.g. small/medium/large) or enter a custom size. Be sure to leave the “maintain aspect ratio” box checked to keep the proportions correct.



Working with WordPress themes

To see which theme your blog uses:

1. Log into your blog.

2. From the Dashboard, go to Appearance.

3. You will automatically be in the “Manage Themes” menu. At the top of the screen, you will see “Current Theme” followed by an image and the name of your theme (e.g. “Atahualpa” in the example below.)

screenshot of wordpress manage themes menu

Changing your theme:

1. Log into your blog.

2. From the Dashboard, go to Appearance.

3. You will automatically be in the “Manage Themes” menu.

4. Click on a new theme from the list of Available Themes below to see a preview.

5. If you like the theme, click Activate in the top right corner of the theme dialogue box.


6. Visit your blog to see how it looks.

Moderating Comments (and spam) in WordPress

If your WordPress blog has comments turned on, you’ll need to know a few things about how to manage them: Approving comments, getting rid of spam comments, and adjusting your comments settings.

Approving Comments

As a blog administrator, you should either set up e-mail notifications for comments (more on this in the settings section), or log into your blog periodically to check for comments awaiting approval.

If you have e-mail notification set up for comments, you may moderate individual comments via e-mail. The e-mail will include links to approve the comment, mark it as spam, or delete it.


To moderate comments while logged in to your blog:

In your dashboard, you’ll see comment statistics– a total number of comments, approved comments, pending comments, and spam.


Click on Pending to deal with pending comments, OR click Comments in the left sidebar:


If a comment looks like it’s legitimate and appropriate to your blog (more on determining this below), approve it by mousing over the comment and clicking the green Approve link that appears.


If you have many comments to approve, check the checkbox next to each comment you wish to approve, and then in the Bulk Actions dropdown menu at the top or bottom of the comments window, select Approve, then click Apply.


Note: If a comment is not spam, but is somehow inappropriate (off topic, contains personal attacks, etc.), you may not wish to approve it. This type of moderation is at the discretion of administrators of individual blogs (as different types of discussions have very different moderation needs), but we recommend having a clearly stated moderation policy on your blog so that your users know what’s expected.


The Akismet WordPress plugin automatically flags a lot of spam for you (this is why you may already have comments listed under the “spam” category). However, spammers are persistent, and often make comments that look legitimate to a computer, but to a human are obviously irrelevant. These spam comments usually only contain phrases like “Hi, I like your blog!” and serve only to post a link to the spammer’s website. Here is an example:


Mark comments as spam to get them out of your blog, and to teach the spam filters to recognize yet more spam and keep it out of your blog.

To mark an individual comment as spam:

Mouse over the comment and click the blue spam link that appears.


To mark many comments as spam at once:

Click the checkboxes next to individual spam comments, or click the checkbox above all comments (next to Author in the heading) to select them all.


Then select Mark as Spam from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu at the top or bottom of the comments window, and click Apply.


Finally, click Delete All Spam to get rid of all the spam you’ve marked!


Adjusting Comments Settings

To adjust your settings, go to Settings in the left sidebar, then Discussion.


The WordPress Codex describes discussion settings options in detail.

Our recommended comments settings:

These recommendations are designed to minimize spam while allowing discussion to continue without too much difficulty.

Check the following:

  • Comment author must fill out name and e-mail
  • E-mail me whenever:
    • Optional: If you wish to closely monitor a discussion, check: Anyone posts a comment (Note: This will also allow you to approve all comments via links in the e-mails, as shown in the Approving Comments section above)
    • A comment is held for moderation
  • Before a comment appears:
    • Comment author must have a previously approved comment
    • Optional: If you are having a serious problem with spam or wish to closely moderate a discussion, check:  “An administrator must always approve the comment”
  • Comment Moderation: Hold a comment in the queue if it contains 1 or more links (The default is 2 links; we recommend adjusting to 1– most legitimate comments will not have a link, while all spam comments will have at least one link. Most legitimate comments with links should be easy to identify when held for moderation)

Finally, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

WordPress Basics

WordPress is a blogging tool that allows you to share thoughts, reflections, and other communications over the Internet.  WordPress blogs can be customized to look and feel the way you want and content can easily be added, removed, archived, or changed.

So you have a blog…

Once you’ve set up your blog, there are many ways to customize it to give it the look and functions you want. This guide gives an overview of the most important features of WordPress and their options.

Here are some different Bryn Mawr blogs to give you an idea of the range of appearance and features possible with WordPress:

NELI Jobs Blog
Student Government Association
Flexner Book Club

Basic Elements of WordPress:


While WordPress is known for its blogging capabilities, it is also easy to create a more static site with WordPress by using Pages. For blogs, pages are useful for displaying information you’d want to always be available to your readers– an “about the author/blog” page, or mission statement page (as the art club does ) , for example. The Solomon Asch Center site demonstrates extensive use of static pages in WordPress as well as the blog capabilities. The About, Activities, Summer Institute, etc. links across the top are all static pages.


Posts are blog posts. Normally, these appear in chronological order, but WordPress has additional features to allow you change a post’s date, or to schedule posts in advance. This is good for periodic meeting reminders, other content that can be prepared in advance and posted on a schedule, or for queuing up content to post during a blogger’s absence. The WordPress codex has instructions for writing posts.  Please also see our recommendations for composing WordPress posts.

Note: If you don’t see the full list of formatting options in the Post window, click the “kitchen sink” button to see them all.



WordPress makes it easy to add images, video, or audio content to posts or pages. You can add media via the media library or from the New Post or Page panel.



Themes determine the look and layout of your WordPress blog. Many departmental blogs have a theme that looks like the Bryn Mawr website; those wanting to use this theme must contact Web Services to have it configured correctly.

There are many themes ready for your use under “Appearance” and then “Themes” in the WordPress dashboard.


While Web Services cannot develop custom themes, there are several customizable themes available. The following themes can use custom image headers (the large image at the top of the page):

  • Atahualpa
  • Carrington
  • Tarski
  • Twenty Eleven
  • UnLimited 1.0
  • Yoko

The following themes offer some customizable font and/or color options:

  • Atahualpa
  • Carrington
  • Mandigo
  • Tarski
  • Twenty Eleven
  • Yoko

Some themes allow CSS customization, which allows a lot of flexibility for changing the layout and look of a blog, if a user is familiar with or wants to learn CSS . Atahualpa is one such highly customizable theme.

We also offer themes (Bryn Mawr Refresh and Bryn Mawr Refresh with Menu) that look like the College’s current website design, for use with official College and departmental blogs. Please contact Web Services via help@brynmawr.edu for assistance in implementing these themes.

Categories and Tags:

Categories allow you to organize your posts, and allow your readers to find content of interest to them. Categories, unlike tags (which also allow you to identify posts with particular content), can be hierarchical, thus allowing for further organization. One concise way of describing the difference between the tools is that categories organize content, while tags identify it.

To see categories and tags in action, take a look at the TECH Bar blog , which uses categories to identify the main topics for documentation, and then uses tags to identify more specific topics. For example, there is an Adobe category, and then tags for particular pieces of Adobe software, such as Contribute and Illustrator. This could also be theoretically accomplished with categories (e.g. child categories could be created for Illustrator and Contribute, and then listed under the parent category of Adobe), but would likely make for an extremely long list of categories if there was one for every possible TECH Bar documentation topic.

Categories may also be used to create separate RSS feeds for content from a given category.

How to manage categories

Tags can also be utilized to form a Tag Cloud, which indicates which tags are used most often by making those tags larger. Here is a Bryn Mawr blog that uses a tag cloud in the left sidebar.
You can add a tag cloud to your blog using the Widgets panel.


Under “Appearance” next to themes.  Widgets go in the sidebar- they can add things to your blog like simple lists of pages, posts, archives, categories.  They also include extra add-ons – for example, Feedburner subscriptions. Many widgets are installed via plugins (see the Plugins section for details). See the WordPress codex for further descriptions of widgets.


Plugins extend the built-in functionality of WordPress.  They allow you to do things like automatically display a list of attached files, customize your menus or  allow users to receive blog posts via e-mail, reduce spam, and more. Plugins often appear as widgets for the sidebar. Plugins already available in Bryn Mawr’s WordPress installation can be found under Plugins (between Appearance and Users) in the WordPress Dashboard.


Those already activated for your particular blog will be listed under “Active” like this:



Links:  WordPress’ official help page.

Recommendations for Composing WordPress posts

We highly recommend composing your blog posts in the WordPress rich text editor itself. WordPress allows you to compose and format in rich text or HTML, while autosaving drafts.

Write your post in the window that looks like this. Not enough room to write? Click the button that looks like a blue computer screen (circled below) for full screen editing. Click it again to return to the normal Edit screen.


You can click “Save Draft” if you’re not ready to publish and need to come back to your draft later.


And you can format the post as you compose (or after) exactly the way you want to see it published in WordPress. Use WordPress’s Preview function to see how your post looks.


If possible, please do NOT compose posts in Microsoft Word. Copying your post from Word generally also copies excess formatting code from Word, which produces unreliable results that are difficult to correct.

Here is the kind of code generated by pasting directly from Word.:


If you must copy content from Word, please use WordPress’s “paste from Word” button to paste the content into the WordPress editor. This should remove the problematic code and allow you to correctly format your post.


That results in nice clean code like this:


No second row of buttons? Click the “Kitchen Sink” button to display all options.