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Managing Dashboard Blogs and Quick Links

Announcements and Quick Links in the audience dashboards (Current Students and Faculty/Staff) are managed through a hosted blog at http://dashboards.blogs.wlu.edu/wp-admin. Announcements posted to this blog are also fed as announcements to the web page of the department that created them.

Logging In:

  • Go to the dashboard page you wish to post to and scroll to the bottom left corner of the screen, where you will see a faint link on mouseover to "Log In." You can also bookmark the login page: http://dashboards.blogs.wlu.edu/wp-admin/ . Your login is your regular W&L network username and password.
  • Once successfully logged in, you will land on your blog's dashboard page. On the Dashboard, you can see all the recent stats and comments for your blog. To create a new blog post, look at the left menu and click on "Posts." You can also access the "Posts" page by clicking on the word "Posts" in the "Right Now" window on your Dashboard.
  • To create a new post, click on the "Add New" button next to the Posts title. You may also click on "Add New," found under the "Posts" item in the left menu.

POSTING A DASHBOARD ANNOUNCEMENT

Creating a text-only post: For a simple text post, give your blog a title and enter the body text in the text box below the title. You may insert hyperlinks to external sources in your text. Simply highlight the text you wish to serve as a link and click the unbroken chain link icon in the gray area above the area for entering body text.

Creating a text and images post: You may also add images to your posts. Simply upload the images from your hard drive to your Wordpress account. Follow the steps below:

  • First, place your cursor next to the beginning of the paragraph that you would like the image to be placed next to.
  • To add an image, click the icon next to "Upload/Insert."
  • A new window will pop up. Select the "Select Files" button.
  • Select the image you wish to upload from the folder on your hard drive.
  • In the next window, you will see a small scale preview of the image you are uploading. The image will automatically inherit the name of the image that was present on your hard drive. Give your image alternate text. This simple description of the image is optional but assists visitors to your site who are visually impaired. Give your image a caption. If you give your image a caption, it will also add some padding (so you won't have to do that later!) Identify the subject matter in the image. The Link URL is automatically populated but you can have your image link to an outside source. Simply replace the automatically generated URL with the URL you would like your image to link to. Set the alignment of your image within the body text of your post. Your image can be aligned right, left or center. Set the size of your image. Once you are satisfied with the editing of your photo, click the "Insert into Post" button.

Editing and adjusting the appearance of your image: You may find that you want to change the image's position from left to right, make it smaller, or add some space between the text and the image (padding). This can be achieved easily by following these steps. *This may not work in Internet Explorer 9!

  • Select your image by clicking once on top of the image. Depending on your browser, the image will either become blue, and/or an outline with small boxes on the corners will appear around the image. Two icons will also show up in the upper-left corner of the image. The first icon is the "Edit Image" button, and the second is the delete image button. Click on the "Edit Image" icon.
  • The "Edit Image" box will pop up. You can now change the image alignment and the display size. However, this box does not offer you the capability to add padding to your image. To access these options, you must click on the "Advanced Settings" tab at the top of the box.
  • The "Advanced Settings" tab offers you a lot of the same options the "Edit Image" tab did, with the exception of alignment. Here is where you can add a border to your image (we recommend 1 px), as well as vertical and horizontal space. The minimum for padding an image is 5 px and 5 px, but some may find a bit more horizontal padding is preferable and go with 10 px in that field. If the image is a hyperlink, you can edit that link, as well as check the box to have the link open in a new window.

Adding a link to a .pdf file: You may want to link a PDF to your blog post, and this can be done easily by following these steps:

  • Similar to embedding a photo into your post, place the cursor where you would like your hyperlinked PDF to show on your page. Next, go to the Upload/Insert icons directly above your main text field. Instead of choosing the small photo icon, you are going to choose the furthest right icon that looks like a small burst - this is the "Upload Media" icon.
  • Clicking on the icon will bring up a similar box, and you will select the file from your personal computer you wish to embed in the post.
  • The next window will let you change the title, as well as add a description (optional) of your PDF. The title will be the default hyperlink text when you finally insert the PDF. Click "Insert into Post" when you are ready.
  • Once the PDF is placed, you can change the hyperlink text to whatever you wish.

Featured Images: A featured image is different from an image embedded in your post because it is meant to be displayed elsewhere on the site, not necessarily on your post. On the dashboard blog, featured images display as the thumbnail on the blog feed to your main website, and as a larger image next to your blog post on dashboard blog index pages, but not on the dashboard pages themselves.

Uploading a featured image:

  • The featured image field can be found below the body copy block on the "New Post" page. Click "Set featured image," and a familiar box will pop up.
  • The "Set featured image" box will allow you to either upload a new photo to serve as your featured image, or select an image from your existing image library.
    • If you select a file from your computer, the image will upload, and all that's left is to give the image alternate text (describe the photo) and select "Use as featured image" at the bottom of the post. You can then "Save all changes" and close. DO NOT CLICK "Insert into Post" or it will insert a copy into your post.
    • If you select the "Media Library" tab at the top, it will give you access to all other images in your blog. Click "Show" next to the image you wish to use, and the image will expand. Follow the same steps as before, clicking "Use as featured image" and "Save all changes" and you are done.
  • If you change your mind and wish to choose a different featured image, simply click the "Remove featured image" link below the featured image and start over.

Saving and Previewing: If you wish to save your work and come back to it later, but do not wish to publish it, you can click the "Save Draft" button. If you want to preview what your post will look like in the full-blog environment, click the "Preview" button. Your spelling can be easily checked by clicking the spellcheck button to make sure you haven't been typing a bit too fast.

Publishing Your Post: Not so fast! Once you have created your post and added any images or links, you must choose a category and dashboard association prior to publishing. See below.

Categorizing your Post: Once you are done entering your text (and any images), select a category for your post. If the category that you are posting under is a "Child" (a subcategory of a main category) of a "Parent" (a main category), you must select both the "Parent" and the "Child" category. The Parent category name is what displays in the green box next to your post title on the dashboard pages, and what associates your posts with others from your department on the blog.

Associating your Post with a Dashboard: To make your post appear on one of the dashboard pages, select the appropriate audiences from the Dashboards menu beneath the Categories box on the lower right corner of the screen. Your post will appear on the dashboard pages that correspond to the audiences you selected. Note that in this case, faculty are included in the general audience of Staff.

Adding Post Tags: Post Tags are short expressions that help describe what your post is about. If you are writing a post that is associated with Dining Services (which would be your category), but the topic was about food allergies, then you would benefit from adding a post tag titled "allergies." Post tags are meant to be the topical tags that help associate your post with other similar posts, and thus make it easier for a student to find all posts related to "allergies" or "marketplace," no matter what category the post first appeared under. (Remember, categories are what are used to mark and deliver your content to the correct page it is supposed to display on - a post tag will not achieve that!)

Now You Can Publish: Once you've previewed your post and added the appropriate categories, dashboard association(s) and tags, you are ready to publish. To make your post live immediately, simply click "Publish." To schedule your post for a later date/time, click "Edit" next to the words "Publish immediately" in the Publish box and choose the date and time that you want your post to publish.

MANAGING QUICK LINKS

The Quick Links and Forms that appear on your department's dashboard "tab" are also managed in this WordPress blog. To edit existing links or create new ones, simply click on "Quicklinks" in the left-hand menu of the blog. You should see a list of department names. Click on your own.

Within your department's Quicklinks page you should see a list of links with field for Link Text, Link URL and Link Audience. Link Text is the name of the link as you want it to appear on the dashboard tab (i.e. "Drop-Add Deadlines"). Link URL is the full address of the link (including http://). The Link Audience indicates which dashboard you want the link to appear on. Some offices (Registrar, ITS, Library) have tabs on multiple dashboard pages and can choose to associate the link with two or more audiences by holding down the Control key (Command key for Mac users) as they select the audiences from the list.

Editing/Deleting Existing Quick Links: You can edit links on this list by clicking in the individual fields to make changes, or delete links by hovering your mouse to the right of the Link Audience on the link you wish to delete and clicking on the minus (-) icon that appears.

Adding a New Quick Link: To add a new Quick Link, scroll to the bottom of your list and click "Add Row," then fill out the Link Text, URL and Audience Fields.

Adjusting Quick Links Order: You can adjust the order of your Quick Links by clicking and holding the number in the left column next to the Link Text field. While holding your click, drag the link up or down in the list to adjust its position. (Note that Quick Links will automatically sort into two even columns in descending order on your dashboard tab.)

Forms: Links to Forms appear in a separate list from Quick Links on your department's dashboard tab for ease of browsing. You can add/edit/delete forms using the same procedures as above in the Forms box below the Quicklinks box on the edit screen.

Previewing Your Changes: While Quick Links appear most prominently on your department dashboard tab, they also appear in the sidebar of your pages the dashboard blog. When you click "Preview Changes" on the Quicklinks page in WordPress, you can see/check your changes on the dashboard blog.

Publishing Quick Links and Forms: Once you are satisfied with your changes, you are ready to publish. To make your post live immediately, simply click the blue "Publish" button in the Publish box on the right side of the screen. To schedule your post for a later date/time, click "Edit" next to the words "Publish immediately" in the Publish box and choose the date and time that you want your post to publish.

QUESTIONS? NEED HELP?

If you have any questions about posting to the dashboard blog, please contact a member of the Web Team using our Web Tracking Form: http://go.wlu.edu/webtrack/