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Digital Tools: WordPress and Gettysburg Sites

A guide for some common DH Tools

Sites and WordPress

Creating a Sites Account

Sites at Gettysburg is the college’s platform to allow all students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to have their own web server and domain for their online presence. You can build a website from scratch using HTML, or use one of the many built-in applications such as WordPressScalarOmeka, or Drupal to give yourself a starting point.

Sites can be used for school-related websites, such as classroom assignments or independent projects, as well as personal websites, including portfolios, resumes, and blogs. The only restriction is to not use Sites to sell goods or services.

  1. Go to https://sites.gettysburg.edu
  2. Click on Dashboard or Get Started
  3. Enter your Gettysburg College username and password. If a screen comes up that asks about credentials, click Accept.
  4. You will be asked to Choose your Domain. Whatever you enter into this field will become the first part of the link of any website you create with Sites, and will remain that way until you graduate. So if you enter lincab01 your websites will always start with lincab01.sites.gettysburg.edu. You can use your website for school or personal reasons, so you will want to pick something that you can consider part of your personal brand.
  5. After entering your domain, press Click to Continue. You will be asked to Review and Checkout, press Checkout Now to continue. After a minute or so, you will be taken to the Control Panel where you can start building! You will also receive an email; keep this as you may need it later on.

Creating a WordPress Instance on Sites

A tutorial video is available at https://gettysburg.ensemblevideo.com/Watch/Yo6r7Q3Z.

Creating a WordPress instance on Sites consists of a few parts:

  1. Installing an SSL certificate using Let's Encrypt.
  2. Using the Installatron to add a WordPress instance to your Sites. You can add as many different WordPress instances as you want! These all act independently of each other, so you can have a WordPress site for each class you are in, or one for personal blogs and one for a portfolio all on the same Site.
  3. Adding an SSL plugin to WordPress to encrypt your data.

Tips for installing WordPress

Always enter a Directory when installing a new WordPress instance. This is case-sensitive as well. For example, if your site URL is alincoln.sites.gettysburg.edu and you want to have a WordPress instance for a blog, you can enter blog as the Directory. Then, if you want to install a different WordPress instance that is for a portfolio, then you could use portfolio as another Directory. Then, your links to your different WordPress instances would be:

https://alincoln.sites.gettysburg.edu/blog

and

https://alincoln.sites.gettysburg.edu/portfolio

If you don't enter a Directory name, then your WordPress instance would just be

https://alincoln.sites.gettysburg.edu

Use lower-case letters for Directory names, and hyphens (-) if you want to separate words like spaces.

When setting up your WordPress Administrator account, do not use the same password as your Gettysburg College email/network account! Choose a strong password. You don't even need to remember it, because if you login to the WordPress Dashboard using Sites, it will bypass the WordPress login screen.

Keep the update defaults the way they are! This is best for security purposes.

To get back to your Dashboard for your WordPress site, login to Sites, then go to Applications, My Apps, and then find the WordPress Dashboard you want to log into and click on the link ending in wp-admin.

WordPress Tutorials

Video Tutorials

We recommend you watch the videos in the following order. These use the new Gutenberg/Block Editor.

  1. Introduction
  2. Using Media
  3. Creating Posts
  4. Publishing and Organizing

Creating and Editing Your Posts and Pages

If you've used WordPress before, there is a new editor called the Gutenberg (or Block) editor. By default, WordPress uses the Gutenberg/Block editor. If you have used WordPress in the past and are more comfortable using the Classic editor, then from the WordPress Dashboard, click on Profile, switch to Classic Editor, then click Update Profile.

  1. Login to the WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Click Posts on the left side of the screen.
  3. Click Add New to create a new post, or click on the title of an existing post to edit it.
  4. Enter a Title for your post, one that is descriptive of your topic, and draws the reader to want to click on it.
  5. The new WordPress Gutenberg editor uses Blocks to organize content. You can start typing in the block provided, or click the + to add a new block. The block you select will depend on the type of content, such as paragraph, image, heading, etc.
  6. Once you have added blocks to your Post, you can move them around by dragging them up and down.

The same process works for Pages, just select Pages in the Dashboard instead.

When editing a Post pr Page, the right-hand side of the screen will switch between Document and Block tabs. The Document tab affects the entire Post, the Block tab only affects the Block you are currently working on.

Common Block Types

  • Paragraph: Use for text. You can edit the style and add links similar to Word or Pages. Every new paragraph that you write is considered a new block.
  • Image: Adds an image and a caption
  • Heading: Use if you want to have multiple headings to break up your post
  • List: Bulleted or numerical lists
  • YouTube: Embeds a YouTube video in the post
  • Quote: Creates a block quote to emphasize a concept
  • Classic: Creates a block that uses the traditional WordPress editor
  • Embed: Embeds a link inside the webpage so that the content of the page shows instead of the link. There are several pre-determined types of sites that will embed with no extra work, such as YouTube, Twitter, and Flickr. For other types of sites, you may need to find an embed HTML code that starts with something like <iframe> or <embed> and then paste it into the Custom HTML block type. For example, here is how to embed a Google Map into Wordpress.

Using the Media Library

  1. From the Dashboard, click on Media
  2. Drag the file from your computer to the box that says Drop files anywhere to upload, or click Select Files to search for them on your computer
  3. Click on the image after you've uploaded it to add Alternative Text, a title, a caption, and description.
  4. Click on Edit Image to crop the image, rotate it, or adjust its size.

Adding an Image to a Post​ or Page

  1. From the editor, add an Image block.
  2. Select Upload if the file is on your computer (this also adds it to the Media Library), Media Library if you've already loaded it to WordPress, or Insert from URL if you have a link to an image that is elsewhere on the Internet. Links to images already on the Internet need to end in .png, .jpg, .jpeg, or .gif in order to work. If uploading or adding from the library, you'll need to select the image.
  3. Your image will appear in the editor. You can then move and resize the image as you see fit on the page, change how it is aligned, and add a caption. 
  4. In the image block, the caption will appear below the image itself.
  5. In the Caption field, enter your caption. This should give the reader some context as to why you are including the photo in the first place. You should also use the caption to provide credit to the original author of the image. At minimum, you should have the title of the image, author, and a link to the original image.

Working with Images

Once you've added an image to the page, you can set the alignment of the image (left, center, right, none) or click on the pencil icon to go into the editing mode. You can change the size of the image, or add a caption here. You can also drag the edges of the image to adjust its size.

Adding a YouTube Video to a Post or Page

  1. Add a YouTube block (under Embeds)
  2. Paste in the link to the YouTube video.
  3. Include a caption for your video.

Adding a Category (for Posts) and Publishing

  1. For Posts, add a Category for your Post (be sure to be in the Document tab in the editor).
  2. Click Preview to see how your Post/Page looks live, and Publish when you are ready to make it public. If you're not ready to publish it and want to come back later, click Save Draft. WordPress will save your post draft automatically every few seconds.

To create new Categories, go to Posts > Categories and then type in the name you are using for the Category. Click Add New Category to add it.

Adding Pages to the Menu

After you've created a Page, you can add it to the menu.

  1. From the Dashboard, click Appearance > Menus
  2. Under Add Menu Items, find your Page and check the box, then click Add to Menu. By default this box is Most Recent; to see all Pages, click the View All tab.
  3. Once you've added a Page to the Menu, you can drag it to change the order, rename it by changing the Navigation Label, or make it a sub-Page of another page by dragging it under another Page, then making sure it is indented to the right. By default all Pages are at the top level of the menu and are named with the Title of the Page.
  4. Click Save Menu to save the changes.

Resetting your Password

  1. On the Dashboard click on Profile
  2. In the Profile screen, scroll down to the New Password section and click the Generate Password button.
  3. If you want to change the automatically generated password, type in the password you want to use instead. The strength box will show how good (strong) your password is.
  4. Click the Update Profile button.

Changing your Display Name

 

  1. In the Dashboard click on Profile.
  2. On the Profile screen, go to the Name section and edit your First and Last name, then change the Display Name dropdown to your full name.
  3. Click the Update Profile button.