Notes for Backend Users

Using WordPress with the CUSP Website

Some good tutorials can be found at these sites both for beginners and experienced users.

Often it works just as well to simply enter “how to ……..” in a search engine.

Word Press Editors

There’s an option to use either a plain text editor which shows HTML code or a “visual” editor which doesn’t show code and gives a fairly close representation of the resulting post or page. [See beginner tutorials cited at the start of these notes for the difference between posts and pages.]

Up until now (May 23/16) we have been using the text editor. Here are the main reasons why.
• It’s easier to troubleshoot.
• You can control the layout better. The “visual” aka “wysiwyg” editor often changes what was intended, e.g., it doesn’t like double line spaces and will remove them from any page loaded into it. Extensive searching has revealed many complaints but no foolproof fixes to the problem, other than avoiding the visual editor.

A disadvantage of the text editor:
• The presence of code may be annoying to some, but it’s not necessary to understand it all. A good explanation of this is at The author contends that good HTML knowledge is needed for the text editor; this is not necessarily true, but it does help. There are useful buttons at the top of the editor for adding code without typing it. (Also there’s a “plugin” for adding new buttons, but you do need to know a bit more HTML to manage it.)

For multiple users, it would likely be best to all agree on one editor and stick to it.

Custom Menus

For creating a custom menu, a very good tutorial with plenty of screen shots is at (If this leads to a pop-up, bypass it by using the browser’s Reader View icon – in Firefox at least. Also ignore the last part of the article on “Elegant Themes” – not relevant to our site.)

One benefit of Custom Menus is that they allow pages to be published without including them in any menu. This helps for pages that don’t need to be conspicuous, such as this one. The page’s link can be be inserted into another page, or simply not shown on the site. Yet, unlike unpublished “Private” pages, they can be viewed without logging into WordPress.

Create Menu Item that doesn’t link to a page

Often, it’s preferable to have an overall title with no page link, but simply a sub-menu under it.

Like this:
  Dogs (as a title only)
    – Collies (leading to a page)
    – Spaniels (leading to a page)
    – Terriers (leading to a page)

** Instructions here are important because it’s very difficult to find a clear answer on the web.

1. Go to the menu page. (Appearance > Menus)
2. Click the down arrow next to “Custom Links” at the bottom left.
3. In the “URL” box remove the text that’s there and type #  - nothing else.
4. In the “Link Text” box, type the menu item title you want to show on the website.
5. Click “Add to Menu” – this will add the item to the bottom of menu list on the right.
6. Go to this item and click its down arrow. Delete the # sign and click the up arrow. That’s it for the entry. (This step is necessary to prevent any mouse action on the menu item.)
7. Drag and drop the item to the desired position on the list, adjusting, by indentation, whatever items you want in its submenu.   The drag and drop feature can be uncooperative – just need to persist and perhaps look at options in the drop-down for each item.
8. And remember to remove any former page links from the menu that are no longer wanted – go to the drop down box with the item and click Remove. (This doesn’t delete the pages – just takes them out of the menu.)
9. Make sure to Save Menu when you’re done.

Adding New Categories for Blog Posts

As of Dec 2017 we have 2 main categories, Topics and Writers, each with a bunch of sub-categories.

To add a new Topic or a new Writer, either when first publishing a new post, or when editing it later:

1. Scroll down and click the item “Add New Category” – it’s below the category list.
2. Type the new category name.
3. From the Parent Category drop-down menu, choose either Writers or Topics.
4. Click the 2nd “Add New Category” label on the right.

The same procedure would work for adding a new topic category to a post published previously.

If an error is made in the assignment of sub-categories, it’s possible to edit them by going to Posts > Categories in the left side main menu.

It’s also possible, though not as convenient, to add new categories via Posts > Categories. Overall management of categories is also done here.

Sub Categories Widget for the Blog

“Sub Categories Widget” is a WordPress plugin that creates the the blog menu’s structure displayed in the published “widget area”, in our case the right column.

It provides for display of the parent categories as titles only, without requiring them to have any content of their own. (ie, parents with so many children, they’ve lost their marbles.)

Note: This is the best plugin I have found for the purpose, but it is not ideal. It does the job well but the setup is confusing with at least one section seeming unnecessary and unusable.

To find the set up area choose Appearance > Widgets. The label, “Sub category” is among the choices on the left side.

(The following has been done, but it may need to be repeated if something fails or if a new menu structure is wanted.)

1. For each list of sub categories that you need, drag and drop this widget to the installation area on the right. In our case, this is 2 drags and drops, one for Topics and one for Writers.
2. Set the display options:
  a) Type in the title you want, eg, Topics or Writers.
  b) From the drop-down menu select the name of the parent category. (There should be just two selections here – the Parents – instead every subcategory is in the list.)
  c) Apply check marks in the required boxes. For now I have found it best to check “Show post counts” and “Hide empty subcategories”.
3. Click the Save button to save settings. Then check the outcome on the published view.

Note: I have yet to fathom the bottom area above the Save button called “Categories to exclude”. I haven’t been able to do anything with it even if I wanted to. It doesn’t seem to be needed for anything except to sow confusion.

Optimizing Images

Best Practices For WordPress Images, by Priya Florence

In order to improve load times, and reduce your visitor’s bandwidth requirements, it makes sense to optimize your image sizes and resolution before uploading them.

I like to use a free tool called RIOT (Radical Image Optimization Tool) to compress images by over 50% before uploading them to my WordPress blog. The best part is that it doesn’t significantly reduce the quality of the image while compressing it. The compression and the results are comparable to those of commercial products.

It also has an easy to use interface to compare the original with the optimized image in real time and instantly see the resulting file size. You’ll be able to control compression, number of colors, metadata settings and much more, and select image format (JPG, GIF or PNG) for your output file.
    – an excerpt from:

RIOT is also available as a plugin for IrfanView, GIMP, and XnView.

[fd: In case you’re unfamiliar with these free donation-ware or open-source programs, they are well proven. I have used IrfanView for over a decade; XnView is also highly rated; GIMP does many more sophisticated tasks, likely overkill for our website purposes.]

RIOT as IrfanView plug-in:
Once the plugin is installed in Irfanview, access it by selecting File > Save for Web…(Plugin).
Also, there is an option for JPEG images when using Save. In the small window that opens on the right, see: Set file size [xx] KB (RIOT plugin)

RIOT as XnView addon:
The RIOT addon for XnView is accessible after installing by selecting Filter > RIOT if an image is viewed, or Tools > Plugin > RIOT in the XnView file browser.

RIOT as GIMP plug-in:
The RIOT for GIMP plug-in is available in the GIMP repository. After you install the GIMP plug-in you can access it by selecting File > Save for web using RIOT.