Welcome to The Creative Exiles Writing Group and the Creative Exiles website. If you’ve never written a WordPress-based web posting, then this document is you’re one-size-fits-all answer to producing a solid piece of SEO friendly writing or poetry. If you’ve had previous experience, I’d suggest you take a read anyway, as some of the details included are site-specific.
Once you are logged in, navigate to the dashboard, then click on the ‘posts’ subheading from the left menu (it has a pushpin as an icon) – from there, click on the large box near the top of the screen which says [add new]. You’ll be taken to a blank template for any type of post on the site. Before we get started on the details, allow me to identify and discuss each element of the template, just so you’re familiar with everything.
At the top of the screen, you’ll see bold printing that says [add new post] and directly underneath it is a box for you to enter the title of your piece. When entering your title, capitalize every word except the little ones – here is an example – We Seek That Which We Do Not Understand – or another example – Beauty is Skin Deep. Notice that the word ‘is” isn’t capitalized as are many small words. When in Doubt, Capitalize Everything.
Directly below the title block is a menu with a large open block beneath it. The large open block is for the body of your work (more on this later). The menu is quite simple once you browse through it. At the top is a box titled [add media] – if you click on it, you’ll get a pop-up which takes you to the media library; on that pop-up screen, you’ll see the option of uploading pictures which you will need for your post. We’d rather you not recycle the existing pictures already in the library and also ask that you only upload ones that will be used in the actual post. (More on inserting media later)
Navigating The Posting Page
The first box (currently showing ‘paragraph’ is used to create headings of different sizes – regular size text is considered ‘paragraph’ print and there are 6 different sizes of heading you can choose from when putting together your final piece. Moving to the right, there is a Bold button, an Italic button, followed by lists, bullets, and text alignments for formatting. The next symbol looks like a small section of chain – it is for adding links (more on this later). The second line is more of the same – formatting your text in the main body of the piece. I encourage you to experiment to get comfortable with the actions available to you as a content writer.
Looking to the right side of the screen, you’ll see these boxes in descending order. The top box is an auto-posting toggle for our Facebook page (please leave it set to yes). Below it is a formatting box which is usually seen collapsed as all posts are currently set as ‘standard” posts. Below that is a category box – your post can have more than one category, but no more than three and one must be primary. Please categorize your work to the best of your ability – do not create new categories (if you see the need for a new category, please contact the webmaster via e-mail with your request and a copy of the piece you feel warrants a need addition). Do not publish anything under the ‘uncategorized’ choice.
The next box below is ‘tags.” Tags are keywords used by Google to sort your piece to make them search-engine friendly and hopefully get them noticed. You should have at least 4 tags on each submission. As an example, if you write a poem about politics in America, some choices for key words could be from this list: politics, America, poetry, USA, political theater, American politics, inspirational poetry, etc. Try to think about it in the eyes of a person searching the web to find your work; what words would they type into the search bar?
Below that is the [publish] capsule – be advised that once you hit publish, the work gets published immediately, so use a bit of caution. If you’d like to look at it without publishing, then use the [preview] box and a temporary pop-up will open with the appearance exactly like a live piece, but only for your viewing. In the same area, you’ll see a [save draft] box – this is exactly what it appears to be; click it to save the piece to work on later. Saved drafts are never deleted unless the writer leaves the website permanently, so feel free to work on as many as you wish.
Underneath the publish box is a [featured image] box. All publications on TCE must include a featured image. For the very best results, the image should be 840 pixels wide (height accordingly). The reason for this is to keep the site overall looking clean and in blocks. Use a photo editor to size and name the photo before attempting to upload it. We discourage fuzzy or distorted pictures and you may be asked to change it if it doesn’t look sharp and neat. More on photography and picture use can be found further in this document).
The two boxes below this one are for special use and we ask that you not make any changes to them.
Main Body And SEO
Now let’s move back to the center column, specifically right below the empty content block (pictured below). This large capsule is titled Yoast SEO. Yoast is a plug-in that we use for Search Engine Optimization – think of it like a report card for your post, but one with directions on how to improve your score by making a few easy changes. There are a couple of key things to enter in this section to first create an identity to your post and then to make it search-engine friendly.
The first thing is [Focus Keyphrase] – if you click on this, expanding the box, you’ll be able to enter a word or series of words that will be the main connection to Google – more than the tags do (as mentioned above) – this word or phrase must appear in your work at least once and preferably more than once plus the title. It also will need to appear in the Meta Data, which will be discussed on the following page. You can use a single word like ‘love’ for instance if you are writing love poetry, with the understanding that it’s a very generic search phrase – if possible, use something unique or more specific such as “puppy love” or “first love” just as long as the phrase exists exactly in your text somewhere.
Once you enter a Keyphrase, you’ll see your report card show up. Don’t do anything until you have the entire post entered along with the pictures and supporting information.
The next thing you want to hit is the [edit snippet] block. It will open a metadata or snippet preview block which you can then populate. There are three required sections to complete. First is the title – it will self-populate with your article’s title from above, but you can also add additional information. Google looks at the title length as a metric; when the bar beneath it turns from orange to green, then you are good – if it’s too long then it goes to red, meaning you need to adjust the length.
Below that is the slug – it will also be pre-populated. The slug is what the website uses to sort and database every entry. Make sure the keyword appears in the slug but shorten it to just what you need. An example would be as follows. Say a poem was entered called ‘The Voyage to Neverland, How I made it Through Alive” The slug would show up as the-voyage-to-neverland-how-i-made-it-through-alive (obviously too long and filled with unimportant words that cannot be indexed). Let’s say the keyword you chose was Neverland – your slug could be shortened to voyage-neverland.
Finally, the last main box is the meta data description. Meta description is a very short overview of what the piece is (when searchers are looking on Google, it’s the short preview that they see). Meta data must include the keyword and the length must be long enough to have the bar go green but not so long as it goes into the red. Again, try different combinations of words until you find ones that fit. You need a minimum of 120 characters to get a green score.
If the [focus Keyphrase] score is green – then you’ve satisfied the site requirement (even if the readability score is orange or red) – since most of the submissions are poetry, this metric doesn’t usually give you a green score, so we don’t put a lot of weight behind it.
Entering Your Post
If you follow this tutorial in order, you’ll have an easier time accomplishing both your writing goals and meeting the SEO requirements of the site. Do all of the “edge” things as noted above and then type or cut/paste your work into the main box in its entirety. This should put you at the nearly-ready to publish stage. Now it’s time to review and add in some extras to help boost your post on the web, should you wish to.
Google has established a baseline for blog posts of 300 words or more to be considered ‘friendly’ to search-engines, however shorter posts can achieve the same status through other methods. Do not let SEO dampen your approach to writing on TCE. Scroll back down to the [focus Keyphrase] box and expand it. You’ll see a list of green, orange, and red bullet points; these are your report card scores. Look at the red ones first and work them back one at a time to improve the overall post score. Some are simple, such as add a photo, or include the keyword in your metadata. Others may require some thinking, but are still attainable. Some key areas to add value to your posts are additional pictures and internal and external linking.
If you would like to add pictures or a video link to the main body of your work, it’s quite easy. First, prepare the photo as noted above (840 pixels wide) – Position your cursor to where you would like the media added, then click the [add media] box and upload the picture. If the picture is too large, the site will reject it, but if you’ve resized it as noted, it should always work. Once it’s uploaded, insert it into the post and you’ll see it appear momentarily. If you want to add a video link from a site such as YouTube, copy the link from YouTube, position the cursor where you would like it and paste the link – it will populate with the standard YouTube block that automatically sizes itself to the overall work.
Google also likes subheadings for larger documents, like in the example below.
This was extracted from a lengthy piece on humor in different situations. As you can see this subheading “when riding an elevator” is larger and bold text and breaks the piece up into manageable pieces for easy reading. To create a subheading, simply type the text in normally, then use you cursor to highlight it, then go to the menu and scroll down to ‘heading 3’ and the highlighted text will become bold and in subtitle form.
Some ways to improve your score is to have your keyword or phrase appear more than once. Or add links to other sites or your own work on TCE. Adding a link in WordPress is pretty simple from a mechanic standpoint. Open up the website you wish to link to your story and copy the page address. Next, find the word you want to attach it to and highlight it (your link is still on your clipboard, so it’s safe). Once the text is highlighted, go to the menu and click on the box for link creation (remember it looks like a piece of chain). Then scroll back down to where you wanted it and you will see a pop-up box – paste the link in the space provided and then hit the bent arrow on the right.
In this example, I wanted to link the definition of the word embarrassment from a dictionary site – you can see the area to enter the link and the bent arrow that allows you to confirm or add the link. Once you’ve done this, the text will show up underlined. To edit a link simply click on it and the box will reappear for changes. To delete it, click on the gear icon for options.
Media and Pictures
On TCE, we are particular about copyrights and ownership of photography. If you want to add a picture already being used on another site, you must list the copyright information under the picture. Right-click on the picture after it’s inserted and fill-in the appropriate information; if you use original photography, it’s not necessary for any citations. Do not use anything that is trademarked such as cartoons of Marvel superheroes, Disney imagery, Professional sports pictures, or AP, Getty, or other images unless you can show proof of purchase for the license. If the management see’s anything like this, the post will be unpublished and the writer contacted. Also, this is a family friendly site, so no pornography or offensive material. We do allow tasteful nudity or artwork with some nudity – if you have a question, ask before posting.
Anything deemed as plagiarism will be taken down and the writer banned from TCE – there is no appeal on this subject. This site is for original work.
Read the FAQ’s and other information found in the footer of the main website page for answers to your questions.
Do not under any circumstances attempt to publish anything under [cornerstone content] – it’s reserved for a few posts that define TCE and must be approved by management.
This tutorial is a basic “get started” one – once you are up and running, there is much more to see and learn while writing for TCE.
We do not own any of your work – you are free to do with it as you wish, including posting on multiple sites (we do discourage this since it hurts the SEO score if Google can find it all over the web)
All maintenance, hosting, design, and SEO costs are funded by the site owner. Any advertising done on the site is at the owner’s discretion.
We have a site editor who will from time to time make SEO improvements to posts – no content will be altered or changed by the management as noted throughout this document.
Commentary is encouraged on other’s posts.
For all site questions, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
For direct inquires to the site owner, send an e-mail to R.J. Schwartz at email@example.com