iTeach Challenges

Challenge Yourself

Activity 5: Create pages and menus

Objective:

  1. Discover how pages are used on educator blogs.
  2. Create an About page and/or Resource page
  3. Create a custom menu and add the pages you just created.
Topics

  1. Why you need an About page
  2. Examples of ‘About’ pages on Personal Blogs
  3. Create your About page
  4. Making contact easy using a Contact page
  5. Examples of ‘Contact’ pages on Personal Blogs
  6. Other types of pages used on Personal blogs
  7. Setting up the links to your pages
  8. Commonly asked questions about pages
  9. What now?

WHY YOU NEED AN ABOUT PAGE

You never know how someone might find your blog – google search, twitter, facebook, or a link from somewhere else. One of the first things a new visitor looks for is your ‘About’ page.Your about page is all about letting people know who are you, what’s your interests and what you write about.Start with telling people more about yourself as people are more likely to engage with your blog if they can relate to you as an individual. Then tell them about your blog and the reasons why you blog.Not too long and not too short – include photos that help readers relate to you as a person.What’s included on an About Page does vary depending on the type of blog and its intended audience.Refer to these tips for writing About pages for Student and Class blogs.

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EXAMPLES OF ABOUT PAGES ON PERSONAL BLOGS

Check out the following blogs for ideas on how About pages are used on personal educator blogs.

  1. Tracy Watanabe’s About page
  2. Shelly Sanchez Terrell’s About page
  3. Kathleen Morris’s About page
  4. Vicki Davis’s About page
  5. George Couros’s About page


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CREATE YOUR ABOUT PAGE

Sample PageAll newly created blogs come with a ‘Sample page‘ created.

All you need to do is edit the ‘Sample page’ to change it into your About page

Here’s how you create your About page:

1.  Go to Pages > All Pages.

2.  Hover your mouse over the Sample Page title to bring up the action menus.

3.  Now click on Edit.

4.  Change the title of your page from Sample Page to About page.

5.  Edit the permalink to change it to about.

Edit the permalink

6.  Now just add your about information and when finished click Update.

About page


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OVERVIEW OF YOUR VISUAL EDITOR

The area where you write your pages and posts is by default in Visual Editing mode which uses WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) option for formatting. It works similar to any Word processing software. Simply write your post, highlight any text you want to format, and then click the appropriate button in the toolbar to add formatting such as bold, italics, or a numbered list.

The Show/Hide Kitchen Sink button is used to view the advanced formatting options including heading styles, underlining, font color, custom characters, undo, redo.

You switch between Visual Editing mode and HTML editing mode by clicking on the Visual or Text tab.

Visual Editor

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MAKING CONTACT EASY

Those that visit your blog might also have a need to contact you.  This makes it easier for parents to contact you and for other classes to connect with you. Many teachers choose to create an entirely separate “Contact” page to go with the “About” page.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • It’s best not to put your email address on your blog. A contact form (using a contact or form plugin) is better as it protects you email address from spammers.
  • If you do want to provide your email, use text and something like support (at) edublogs (dot) org or an image of your email address to make it hard for spammers to pull your email address.  Here’s an email icon generator you can use.
  • Home phone numbers are probably not something you want to share as well – but perhaps a classroom phone number is.

Other things to share might include facebook, twitter, or other social media profile information.  Some of these are also shared by adding widgets to your class blog.  We’ll show you how this is done later in this series.

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EXAMPLES OF CONTACT PAGES

Here are some examples of Contact pages to check out for ideas:

  1. Using Contact Form plugin – Mr Salsich’s Contact page, The Avery Bunch Contact page.
  2. Using the Formidable Pro plugin – Larry Ferlazzo’s Website of the Day Contact page.

CREATE YOUR CONTACT PAGE

Once you’ve decided what you want to include on your contact page, and if you want to use a contact form, it is just a case creating a contact page.

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Here’s how to create a contact page using the Contact form plugin:

1.  Go to Plugins.

2.  Activate the Contact Form plugin.

3.  Go To Settings > Contact Form.

4.  Add your email address and click Update Options.

5.  Go to Pages > Add New.

6.  Now just give your page a title, add your content, the contact form code and click Publish.

Paste the contact form code

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Here’s how to create a contact page using the Formidable Pro plugin:

1.  Go to Plugins.

2.  Activate the Formidable Pro plugin.

3.  Go to Formidable > Forms.

4.  Click on Add New, select Contact Us and then Create.

5.  Hover your mouse over the Captcha field, now click  Trash to delete it.

6.  Now just edit the contact form to customise it to your needs.

  • The * next to a field means this is required information to submit the form.
  • Clicking on the * changes it to not required
  • Clicking on the Title allows you to edit the name.

7.  You can update the email address by clicking on Settings > Emails.

8.  Once you’ve made all changes click Update.

9.  Now go back to Formidable > Forms and grab your Contact Us shortcode.

10.  Go to Pages > Add New.

11.  Add a page title, your content, the Contact Us shortcode and click Publish.

Add the Formidable Pro shortcode

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OTHER TYPES OF PAGES USED ON BLOGS

There’s lot of different types of pages you can add to blogs.

The main things to remember are:

  1. Pages are best suited for information you rarely update such as your About, Contact and First time visitor pages.
  2. Too many pages can make information harder to manage and find.

We’ll show you how to use posts in the Step 3 of our personal blogging series.

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SETTING UP THE LINKS TO YOUR PAGES

Some themes automatically add a link to pages in their top navigation while on other themes you need to add a pages widget or set up a custom menu to add the page links.

Personally I prefer to set up my top navigation using a custom menu as links in the top navigation are easier for readers and it allows you to customize the links considerably more.

Custom menu example

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SETTING UP A CUSTOM MENU

Here is how to set up your top navigation using a custom menu:

1.  Go to Appearance > Menus

2.  Give your menu a name – ‘Main’ will work great!

3. Click on the ‘Create Menu

4.  Create a custom link for home by adding your blog URL, the name Home and click Add To Menu.

  • When readers click on the Home link they will be taken to your front page.
  • For example the blog URL of this blog is http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/
  • You can use custom links to link to any website — which is really handy!

Create your custom home link

5.  Select the pages you want to add to your menu then click Add To Menu.

  • Click on View All to see all published pages.

Add page to menu

Here’s what my menu now looks like:

6.  Now drag/drop the menu items to change their order in your menu.

Here’s what my new order looks like:

7.  Once you’ve finished changing the order click Save Menu.

8.  Now to display your new top navigation on your blog you just need to select Main from under the Primary Navigation drop down menu and then click Save.


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Here’s some other cool tricks when setting up custom menus:

1.  You can create a drop down sub-menu by indenting items in the menu.

If you hover your mouse over Series 1: Student blogging on this blog you’ll links to every step in this series.  This sub-menu was created by indenting each step underneath the link for Series 1: Student blogging.

Creating a submenu

2.  You can create static level tabs using a custom link if you just want a link name that doesn’t go to a page that exists.

For example, if you click on About in the top menu of The Edublogger you’ll see it is a static level tab used just as a placeholder for links we’ve added underneath it.

We will show you other cool stuff you can do with custom menus Step 3 of our class and student blogging series.

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COMMON QUESTIONS WE’RE ASKED ABOUT PAGES

Here’s answers to commonly asked questions we receive into Edublogs Support:

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1.  HOW DO YOU DISABLE COMMENTS ON PAGES?

Most Edublogs themes support comments on pages and by default comments are enabled on pages.

You can disable comments on pages using Quick Edit as follows:

1. Go to to Pages > All Pages

2. Locate the post or page you want to disable comments on

3. Hover over it’s title to bring up it’s action menu.

4. Click on Quick Edit, deselect ‘Allow Comments’ and then click on Update.



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2.  WHY WON’T COMMENTS DISPLAY ON PAGES?

Most Edublogs themes now support comments on pages however there are a few themes that don’t.

If the theme you are using doesn’t support comments on pages, and you would like this feature, then you will need to use an alternative theme.

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3.  WHAT DOES THE NOTHING FOUND MESSAGE ON MY FRONT PAGE MEAN?

By default, the front page of your blog is set to display your latest posts.

If you delete the default “Hello World’ post before you publish a new post then your front page will display ‘Nothing Found’, ’404 – Not Found Error’ or something similar depending on the theme you are using.

This message is displayed because there is nothing to display on your front page.

Not found message

You’ll find step by step instructions on how to fix a Not Found message here.

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3.  IS IT POSSIBLE TO PUBLISH POSTS TO DIFFERENT PAGES ON MY BLOG?

We’re often asked if it is possible to add posts to other pages, rather than just the front page of the blog.    This is commonly asked by educators who want to use one blog for multiple classes or subjects.

And yes you can!  But it does involve slightly advanced blogging skills.

We will show you how you can do it by assigning categories to posts and using a custom menus for your top navigation in Step 3 of our personal blogging series.


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Activity 5: Create Pages and Menus

  1. Create a Course About Page that includes your course syllabus.
  2. Create a personal About Page that includes your posts about why you teach.
  3. Create a custom menu and add the pages you just created.
  4. COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THE ACTIVITY 1 COMPLETION FORM (click on link).
    1. For credit, please complete and submit after you have completed Activity 5.

 

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