Granny Geek Strikes Out
I fall somewhere between complete computer novice and geek when it comes to the inner workings of WordPress blogs and code. I understand the basics, but I can’t always figure out how to make plugins work. After I read the first paragraph of instructions on most plugins, I realize that I have jumped in over my head and I quickly exit the program.
My frustration this morning involved templates. I know that templates exists. I’ve heard pro-bloggers talk about how they make their lives easier. I, too, want an easier life. Every Monday I host a link-up that comes out on two blogs. I really wanted a template of the instructions so that I wouldn’t have to cut and paste and hop between blogs. After all, I already have to do a little of that when I insert the unique link-up code for each week.
I searched my favorite go-to website for help (WordPress Beginner), and clicked on the first article that came up. Their first suggestion had code and headers and files involved. I quickly clicked out before my eyes rolled into the back of my head. When I looked at all the choices in my plugins menu, I felt like Goldilocks. The plugins were either too complicated, too powerful, or cost money.
Imagine my delight when I found a plugin that would create a post template that didn’t cost any money AND I could understand the instructions? Bless those youngsters who have figured out how to write code for plugins that granny geeks like myself can implement!Want to create a post template in your self-hosted WordPress blog? I found a solution! Click To Tweet
Tiny MCE to the Rescue!
I discovered Tiny MCE to fit the bill exactly. It’s easy enough for a granny to figure out, and it does exactly what I want it to. You can find instructions for it here, but I’d add a few more pointers for the really novice.
First of all, if you’re using a Mac computer, when you hit the “Install” button, the file that you need will install to wherever you have told downloads to go (usually the download folder). The file name will be ‘tinymce-templates.4.7.0.zip’ and will be stored alphabetically in your downloads folder.
Go to the “Plugins” and hold the mouse on it until the drop down menu appears. You’ll see an “Add New” option. Select this.
2. This will take you to the plugin page that looks like this:
3. Click on “Upload Plugin” and then you’ll be able to choose the file you downloaded (‘tinymce-templates.4.7.0.zip’) by clicking on the “choose file” button and selecting it from your downloads. It looks like this:
4. Open up your “Installed Plugins” and look for Tiny MCE. Click on the ‘Activate’ button and then refresh your browser.
5. Click on the “Templates” icon and create your first template! I created a template that would have the instructions for my Sunday link up. I chose to insert the template as code, so I chose ‘Yes’ under “Insert as Shortcode.”
6. After hitting the “Publish” button (don’t worry, it won’t actually publish the template to your blog), I opened a new post. After I added the title and the text to the post, I hit the “Insert Template” button (it should show up on individual posts on the same line as the “Add Media” button) and chose which template I wanted to use.
Pros and Cons
Tiny MCE doesn’t let you completely reformat a blog post page, it only lets you create quick templates for things you use over and over (instructions for link-ups, author bios, regular feature elements, charts, etc.). I don’t mind the limitations, because the thought or recoding a page or creating my own template makes me feel ill. One day, maybe I’ll be up for that, but certainly not yet!
You can find more tips and hacks for self-hosted WordPress blog users here.
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