Tag Archives: wordpress

5 Top Tips for Starting a Blog.

 Today we bring you 5 tips that can help you start your very own blog…….

Research- read other blogs and not just adoption blogs. Find blogs you like the look of, not to copy but to be inspired by. Think about what you want your blog to include, will it have images or even vlogs? Maybe you want it to have both, or neither, the writing may be the most important part for you.

ReviewLooking at blogs can help you decide which platform you wish to start your blog on, for example WordPress, Blogger or SquareSpace. When you look at a blog the platform the blog is built on may be obvious from either the name of the blog (eg- adoptionblog.wordpress.com) or by scrolling to the base of the home page where the platform and theme is often named.   If it is not obvious which format it is, then ask. Most bloggers will be flattered that you like the look of their blog and be happy to help.  Here we have a post on starting a blog in WordPress and in Blogger.

 Be original –whilst it’s good to be inspired by others; don’t try to copy anyone’s style. Write about what interests you and in the style you feel most comfortable with. I’m at my most happy blogging from an emotional angle, you might like to use humour or it may be that you want to be political and raise serious issues that you are passionate about.

Look Unique –Most blog themes can be customised, make your blog look original. Change the colour scheme and even design your own logo or header. Here’s a post about how to create your own header .

Share – Now you’ve gone to all this trouble make sure you share your posts, link up to #WASO share on twitter.  If you are on twitter use the same name as your blog as your twitter name or at least have your blog details on your profile. Here are some posts you might find useful.

How to link to #WASO

Starting a Twitter Account

Enjoy yourself – Don’t let your blog feel like a chore, make sure you are benefiting through writing, be it to gain support from other or in support of others. For some it is cathartic and others get delight in sharing their special and important moments of adoption. What is your motivation?

What is a ‘sticky’ post?

Have you ever been on a blog or forum, where the same post sits at the top for some time? Even though other posts are being or have been published since?

Well, that post is ‘sticky’ – it’s stuck to the top of the page. Another term is ‘pinned’ i.e it’s pinned to the top of the page (although that seems to be used less now we always use the same term within Pinterest).
There are many reasons why you might want to do this – to draw attention to a particular post, to advertise a post with a deadline in, or like we did here on The Adoption Social over Christmas – to keep our linky #WASO as the first piece that people would see when they visited our site.

So how do you do this in WordPress? Well, it’s actually very simple. Create and schedule/publish your post as usual, or find an old post that you want to make sticky. Then click ‘Quick Edit’ beneath it.

Near the right, as shown below, is a tick box called Make this post sticky. Simply, click on that box, and your post will remain stuck at the top of your page until you quick edit it again and remove that tick.  sticky postSo, that is a sticky post.
If you have any other terms that you would like explaining, then don’t be shy, please let us know and we’ll write or research a post. Chances are, if you don’t understand something, then there are others out there in the same position who would appreciate a reference point.

WordPress Tutorial – Creating and Inserting a Custom Made Header

Customise your blog, to make it your own with a personalised header…

I’m going to show you how to make a personilised header using photographs edited in PicMonkey, like the one shown below. I will be using the Theme Twenty Twelve for my example but lots of Themes will allow you t insert a customised header.


Step 1

Open Picmonkey and select the collage option, as the arrow indicates below.









Step 2

Select your photographs that you wish to use from their saved location, most of mine are on my computer. You need 4 to make the header shown above.

These photographs will appear in the left column of the screen as shown below.








Step 3

Select which configuration you want your collage to be in. For this header choose Ducks in a Row, four boxes.

Then move your photographs into the squares using your mouse/cursor.


Step 4

Now select the Edit function from the grey toolbar at the top of your screen. This will open Editor.

In Editor you can add words and symbols to your header and add effects to your photgraphs.

In my header I used the Intrepid filter from the effects.

Selected a stamp seal (white circle of stars) from the symbols and added text in Chunk Five. I also changed the colour of these items using the colour bar.


Step 5

Finally, you may need to resize your header, bottom option on main editing page of PicMonkey. Where you add your header in WordPress  ( I’ll show you how to get to that in the next step) a suggested size for your hear will be give. As I’m using the Twenty Twelve theme I resized my header to the correct with of 960 pixels. To keep the proportions of my picture the pixel height is slightly out but you should be able to edit that in WordPress, as I will show you next.


Step 6

From your WordPress blog dashboard select Appearance and then Header, from the left side bar.

Click on the Choose File box and select your header from it’s saved location.

Now click on Up Load

Your chosen header should appear on the screen, with a Crop and Publish box below. As shown here.


Use your mouse/cursor to manipulate the movable lines and create the area you would like to crop.

When you are happy with the crop area, click Crop and Publish.

Now when you return to your front page your beautiful Header should be on display.


There you go…happy header designing to you all.

Choosing Your WordPress Theme.

Today is about what to think about when selecting your WordPress Theme.

There are so many wonderful WordPress Themes to choose from, some free  and some you pay for.

If you have already started to set up your WordPress blog as I showed you in our last post How to Start a WordPress blog, you will have reached the section on selecting a Theme.

Here I will tell you about three different Themes you could choose from,ones that I have used and what their features are.

If you are unsure of what Theme you might like, visit some of your favourite blogs and, if they use WordPress, scroll to the base of the home page where the Theme name is usually listed, (occasionally bloggers like to remove this information and the design is therefore unknown).

It’s important you think about what you want to be able to do on your blog, what is it about the appearance that matters to you?

Do you want to insert your own header design?

Do you want a sidebar menu? Which side would you like it?

Does the colour of the text / background matter to you?

Do you want your blog to be responsive Theme, meaning your site will adapt to  mobile devices and other formats, the site fits the screen of the device it is viewed from.

So now you’ve had a think about what it is you want here are the examples.

Twenty Twelve

This Theme looks like the image below, in it’s most basic format.


The 2012 theme for WordPress is a fully responsive theme and its features include a front page template with its own widgets, an optional display font, styling for post formats on both index and single views, and an optional no-sidebar page template. You can also make it your own with a custom menu, header image, and background.

What I love about this Theme is how creative you can be with it. There is lots of information on the web about how to customise this Theme.

Blogs that use this format include The Adoption Social and The Puffin Diaries.


Looks like the image below in it’s most basic format.


With this Theme you can customise the background, colours, header and menu. It is great for featured images and you can have a full width template to enhance the display of your images.

What I love about it is the clean simplicity of it.

I used this on the blog Freda and Me.


In it’s most basic form it looks like the image below

TAT3e Tr

With this theme you can customise the background, colours, header and menu. You can have featured images and slider images if you choose. You can have a post on your front page or feature small excerpts from your recent posts with a feature image.

This was the first Theme I ever used and I still love its clean professional look. 

Hope this has been helpful, next time I will show you how to create your own header design and insert it into your blog.


How to Start a WordPress Blog

Today we are going to show you the very first steps to take in creating a blog in WordPress.

Step 1

Go to the website wordpress.com



Step 2

the next page will require you to add your email a Username and the name of your blog.

The Blog name will be unique. type it into the section indicated below and WordPress will let you know if the name is available.

Here I’ve started a blog called TheAdoptionTimes.WordPress.com



Step 3

Once you’ve entered the required information and found a name for your blog, scroll down the page and click on Create Blog button.










Step 4

The Next page will show details of your blog which you can move on from by clicking the NEXT button, bottom right of the screen.


Step 5

Here you will be asked to select your theme for your blog. The Theme will determine how your blog looks, the layout, the colours, font and also dome of the technical attributes of your site.

At The Adoption Social we use Twenty Twelve but have a look at all the themes and experiment with them. It can be fun.

Next time I’ll talk you through Three different Themes and their different attributes.


Adding a Badge to your WordPress Blog.

 We often get asked how to add our badges so here’s the solution……

MBbadgeIt is common for blogs that do link ups to provide a badge for other bloggers to add to their sites or posts. These badges promote the link up and allow readers to link through to the host blog of the link up. Here I will show you how to add these badges to either the bottom of a post or into the sidebar of a WordPress site…


Within a Blog Post

If I join in a link up I often add the badge at the base of a post. Firstly because it is an instant recognition for the reader of where your blog is linked too and secondly, I don’t like my sidebar to be full of link up badges that I only occasionally join in with.

First Copy the badge code from the host site, usually in a text box in a post or in the sidebar, see below.

AddingBadge3Then in the Edit Post mode of your blog change the content setting from visual to Text in the top left corner, shown below.

AddingBadgeOnce in text mode you paste the code into the position you want it in the post, as I said often for me this is right at the end.

When you save your post and view it, the badge should be there.

In the Sidebar

Again copy the required badge code from the host site.

From your dashboard on your blog, select Appearance and then Widgets.

In the centre of the screen are a number of labeled boxes. Find the one labeled text.

Click on this box and drag it into the right sidebar, as shown below.

Adding Badge2

Open the Text box and paste the code into the box.

Now when you view your blog the badge should appear in the right sidebar.

Remember you can move the box around in the sidebar to position it between any other widgets you may have.

Hope this helps.

Adding Social Media Icons to your WordPress Blog

Adding social media icons to your blog makes it easier for people to connect with you; it’s as simple as that…..

social media Icons


Having a set of icons that represent all your social media outlets looks neat, and placed at the top of your blog page means there’s no scrolling and searching to see if you are on twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the rest. So here’s how to add them for a WordPress blog……..

 There are loads of great free icons out there, Google them and you’ll see. The Site Geek Fairy is a great safe site to find icons and also includes lots of other tutorials which can help enhance your WordPress blog. Our very own icons are from this site. When you’ve selected the icons you like click on DOWNLOAD

This will download a file that contains all the social media icons in that design.

Now you need to select the ones you want to use, and move them / copy them / save them to a file on your computer where you can find them easily. I often put mine on Desktop and remove them once I’ve finished with them.

Once you’ve done this open a New Post in your Blog. In the Post select Add Media and then upload your first icon, just as you would do with an image for your blog.

You then need to attach the URL for your social media icon, so the address of your Twitter home page or your Facebook page, for example. There are a couple of ways to do this.

In the Add Media pop up, there is a section to add a link, see below…socIcon3

Or in the post click on the hyperlink icon and add your link there.socIcon3


You may also, at this point want to resize your icon. This can be done in the image editor, when you click on the image in the post, image editor appears.

Repeat this process then with all the icons you want to include on your blog. Once this is done save as a draft and then switch to TEXT view of your post, top right hand corner. Copy all the text in the post.

Open Widgets under Appearance in your Dashboard Menu and click on Text Widget. Drag the Text Widget into your sidebar at the position you wish it to be viewed, near the top is probably best.

Copy the text into this widget and add any header you may require above the widgets for example “Come Connect with Me..” and Save.

Now check their appearance on your blog and make any adjustments required. If they look too big you can re-size them in the draft post or maybe you would prefer to re-position them in your side bar.

Save the draft post so that you can return to them at a later date if needs be.

All Done.

Adding a photo to your blog on WordPress

We’ve previously spoken about how useful and important images can be on your blog, and last week we looked at how to add images to a Blogger post. We haven’t forgotten you WordPressers though, here are some instructions on adding photos to your blog in WordPress.

WordPress has a Media Library, that you can add to any time, so if you have an image that you know you’re going to use at a later date, you can just add it to the library. However, today we’ll look at how to add a photo during the writing of a blog post.

Whether you’ve written you post already and are adding photos in, or whether you’re adding them as you go, the instructions are the same – place your cursor where you want the image. Then click on ‘Add Media’ which is just above the box you’re typing into. You’ll see a screen similar to this (but probably with no images listed):Insert media on WP

Click on Upload Images – see it up the top there, then click on Select Files. Navigate to the place where your desired image is saved and select it. After a short while, it’ll load into your Media Library and you’ll see it, like you can see some of our images above.

The next thing is to click on the image and it’ll become highlighted, and on the right hand side you’ll see some options for formatting the image. Selecting the image in WP

You can select how big or small you want the image to appear in your post, you can select whether you want it to sit the middle or either side of your post. You can give it a caption here too. Once all these options are to your liking, click insert into post.

Great, so now your image is in your post and looks fantastic. But if you want to change the caption, or decide that it might look better aligned to the side inside of the middle, you’ll need to be able to edit the image.
Moving it is simple, just click on it, then drag to move it’s position. But to edit it, click on the image and then the little image button that appears in the top left corner of the photo…Editing an image in post WP

A box will pop up where you can edit certain information, once you’re done, click Update, and you’ll be returned back to your post with the image as you want.

You can add as many images as you want to a post, some as they are if you wish, or perhaps some edited with different effects, or frames. Remember to consider pixelating faces to help keep those people unidentifiable – see our post on PicMonkey here, you can also use PicMonkey to add those effects and frames too.

Simples hey?