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Writing Your First Article

A guide to understanding the post system

When you first sign in to our dashboard, it can all be a little intimidating. The first thing that you probably want to do is head to the ‘Profile’ section and update your account details. Link your social media and ensure that your password is something complex. Make sure to also add an avatar.

Next, we can get started on adding our first post. We’ll start with a standard post, which may be an opinion piece or general guide. Mainly because these are the most common types of content that you are going to produce. We’ll cover reviews and listicles (an article which primarily consists of a list) in a separate post.

Remember, if you are ever struggling with anything in this guide or the others, you can submit your queries to the Discord channel or email the administrator found on the contact page. Lets get started. On the left hand side, choose the ‘Posts’ area.

Getting Started

Here, you can see all of your own posts that you have either published or are in draft mode. You can not see other users posts, nor can you delete your own. You can see the Posts area on the screenshot below. Note that the colours may be different depending on the settings under your profile area. Press the ‘Add New’ button to begin writing an article.

Now, you will be brought to a rather intimidating looking screen. There are a lot of options and areas to manage, so we’ll go through it bit by bit. Hopefully, you will be able to understand all of this stuff within a few days, and writing posts will be a seamless task.

Main Post Information

Lets start with the actual post content. Near the top of the screen, you will see an area for the post title. On the image below, I’ve just entered ‘Post Title’. This area is how the post appears on both the site and in search engines. Currently, we use the method of ‘Game Name: Guide here’ for guides. For example, ‘Fallout 4: How to get to Diamond City’. You could also do ‘Why Fallout 4 is the best one yet’, or ‘Fallout 4 Review: A step up in the series’. The title should be engaging, and contain the game name you are covering.

Underneath the title, you can see the ‘slug’, which is the URL for the post. It’s near the text ‘Permalink’. This will be created automatically based on the title, but you are welcome to change if needed by pressing the ‘Edit’ button.

Moving down, we have the main content area. Here is where you do your actual post. In the image above, I’ve done a breakdown of the post in the content area, but we’ll go through it a little more here. Start with an introduction, talking about what you are covering, your thoughts etc. This should be around 100 words. You should aim to keep your paragraphs to around two-three sentences each before starting a new one.

Next, we move on to the second area. The actual guide or whatever it is you plan to discuss. To introduce that, we use a heading. There are 6 heading tags available in WordPress, seen in a small drop down in the top left corner. On the image above, it’s seen with the text ‘Paragraph’ inside. You can highlight a title and then choose a heading from the dropdown. By default, the title of the post is Heading 1, so we don’t need to use this again. We can use Heading 2, or H2. If you want to expand on a topic inside of a H2, use a H3 etc. Using headings is very important, and is an important aspect of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

After our next heading, we can switch back to normal text. Discuss your topic, whether it be a guide, news release or general information. Try to include at least two images, each which should have a caption and ALT tag. You can do this by selecting the image and pressing the pencil icon. Adding images can be done by pressing the ‘Add Media’ button. The caption appears underneath an image, whilst the ALT tag should explain what the image is. For example, ‘diamond city in fallout 4’ if the picture was to show Diamond City.

Format, Categories & Tags

Now we have our post done, we’re almost ready to publish. We just need to do the final bits. On the right hand side, you’ll see a few areas where you have options to choose from. These are Format, Categories, Tags, Featured Image & Featured Video. Lets start with the first three of those.

Unless you plan on doing a review, you can leave the format to standard. This is just how the top of the post appears, whether it is a picture or video at the top of the post. The Video option will only work on the review template.

Next up is ‘Categories’. This is quite messy with it showing a list of games. We don’t use this system anymore. If you’re covering a game, you will want to first check ‘Gaming’. Scroll down a little further to see a list of consoles. Fallout 4 is available on PS4, PC & Xbox One, so we can check those three too.

Next up, we just want to write a game name for the Tag. This is just so that we can group all posts of the same game together under the same tag. In our case, we’re just going to do ‘Fallout 4’. By doing that, the post will show up under the Fallout 4 section of the site, as well as related articles at the bottom of a post.

Featured Image/Video

The final area we want to look at is the Featured Image/Video section. This is mandatory, posts won’t be published without a featured image. This is the image that appears at the top of a post behind the title. In this post for example, it’s hands typing on a laptop. Featured images should just be relevant to the game, whether it be a screenshot or promotional image.

If you need images for a game, you can type ‘Fallout 4 press kit’ for example. There, you will have a directory of images you can choose, usually on IGDB. A featured image doesn’t need a caption, but it should have an alt tag. Just make the alt tag the same as the title of the post.

Post Settings

Below the post content, you will see an area labelled ‘Post Settings’. You don’t need to change too much in this area. At the top are a few tabs. If you are doing a listicle, check out the ‘Smart List’ tab, whilst if you’re writing a review, take a look at the ‘Review’ tab.

For the post template, you should leave this set to ‘From Panel’. In the case you are doing a review, select ‘Review Template’. Whilst the primary category should be set to Gaming if you are covering a game. Sidebar position should always be set to the right hand side, whilst you can leave the ‘Custom Sidebar’ to Default.

Next up is the Subtitle. This is a small excerpt of text. It appears under the title of the post at the top. In the case of this post, its “A guide to understanding the post system”. You can scroll up if you want to see how it appears. You should always aim to do a small subtitle.

The quote on blocks is never needed. If you are using someone else’s data, or your article resolves around someone else, you will need the next section. You can choose a source name, then place an URL to the source. Whilst you can also choose to write a name for the source and a link to their profile, although this isn’t necessary. I use this feature quite often when covering a mod for a game. If you check out this mod, you can see where sources have been quoted at the bottom.

Yoast SEO

We have a final section to look at. It’s labelled Yoast SEO, and can be found at the very bottom of the new post screen. Yoast basically gives an overview of how user friendly and SEO compliant your post it.

It also gives a preview of how your post will look in the search engines. You have the title of the post, the URL and the meta description. You should leave all this as it is by default unless changes are needed.

By pressing the ‘Readability’ tab, you can see how improvements can be made to the post to make it more user friendly. It will recommend changes to your post such as increasing readability or splitting the content up a bit. You can aim to turn the frown face into a smiley if you want, but it isn’t too important. An editor will always read over your content and make appropriate changes.

Press the ‘Focus keyword’ tab to see how your content does when it comes to search engine optimisation. Making sure you’ve made all the necessary changes in here will help your content rank as high as possible on Google search, increasing your traffic. Again, this isn’t too important to look at.

Publish your post

Its time to publish our post, making it visible on the website. This may just be your first piece of work ever published. You can find the publish area in the top right corner of the screen. You can choose to put it up straight away by pressing ‘Publish’. Or you can set it to publish at a certain day/time by pressing the ‘Edit’ button next to ‘Publish immediately’.

That’s it, your post is ready. It will be looked over by an editor and approved before becoming visible. Whilst you can share your post online with the link, it may not be visible on Google for around 12 hours. That’s how often it usually takes for Google to check the site for new content.

If your article isn’t getting traffic, don’t worry. There are a lot that don’t. Sometimes, the industry is too congested and it’s already been covered before. It can also take a few weeks for Google to find a final place to rank the content.

Phillip
Original founder and main writer of PwrDown. I'm a huge Movie and TV enthusiast, with a lot of interest in the Thrillers & Mysteries. I'm also an avid gamer, enjoying games such as Fallout 4 & League of Legends. I write guides for games that are out on PC, PS4 and Xbox One!

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