WordPress Community of Practice Blog

  • Announcing WordPress 5.8
    Dear Bates WordPress Community, In an ongoing effort to keep our website up to date, safe, and easy to manage, this past Wednesday we upgraded WordPress to the latest version, 5.8. Thanks to Jake and SDI for keeping us on the cutting edge. Here are the key changes to look out for: Widgets/Sidebars can now use…
  • New Tutorials and Best Practices for Expandable Areas, Table of Contents, and Page Anchors
    Special thanks to Digital Communications Assistant Mei Kane ‘23 for researching and creating these new tutorials and best practices.
  • Upload Workflow to the Bates College YouTube
    Check out the documentation below to learn how we maintain a clear and consistent workflow for all Bates College YouTube uploads. Upload Workflow to the Bates College YouTube Channel (Google Doc) Upload Workflow to the Bates College YouTube Channel (PDF)
  • Embed a Google Slideshow/Presentation into WordPress
    Below are two ways to embed a Google Slideshow/Presentation within the Bates.edu WordPress environment. The “Advanced” way is slightly more lengthy but has the advantage that the slides will automatically resize to the optimum size based on the size of the screen. Open your slide presentation, pull down the File menu and select Publish to…
  • Overhauling the Editor: A New Way to Use WordPress
    So what’s the problem? And what’s a block? One of the things you hear a lot about during discussions of Gutenberg are blocks. These blocks are a unified way to style content that currently requires shortcodes, embeds, widgets, post formats, custom post types, theme options, meta-boxes, and other formatting elements. By allowing rich customization without…
  • Updates and Opportunities
    I’m pleased to announce that yesterday we upgraded WordPress to its most recent version (5.3). One change you’ll notice immediately is the little blue eye in the password field of the login screen (screenshot below). This new icon allows you to view your password if you want to. It’s a small change and nothing to be leery…
  • How to switch to Block Editor
    1. Classic Editor vs. Block Editor If you started using WordPress before December 2018, then you’ll recognize the Classic Editor. For years, the Classic Editor was the default content editor in WordPress. It’s similar in appearance and functionality to word processors like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. In December of 2018, WordPress released a new…
  • New Tutorial on Homepage Features
    1. What are Featurettes? Featurettes are the three pieces of content that appear horizontally across some website homepages between the menu and page content. By prominently featuring three pieces of visual content on your site’s homepage, Featurettes can help your visitors find your site’s most valuable content. 2. How can I add Featurettes to my…
  • WordPress For A New Semester
    A big thanks to everyone who made it out to our WordPress Community of Practice gathering on August 28th. For the second straight gathering, we fit 29 people into Pettengill’s second floor computer lab. We had great audience engagement, with shared questions and issues that we worked through as a group in realtime. If you…
  • An Early Look at the Future | WordPress Version 5.0
    Changes to WordPress? WordPress is ready with version 5.0: a major upgrade that changes the look and feel of features you’ve become accustomed to. Maybe you can’t wait to play with it. Or maybe, if you’re like most people, the prospect of yet another unsolicited WordPress upgrade is a bit bothersome! In next Thursday’s gathering,…
  • The Power of 376
    Hi Everyone, You’re receiving this email because you are able to edit part of Bates’ public website — www.bates.edu. I’m writing to let you know about a resource that can make your work easier. Bates’ public website is powered by a content management system called WordPress. The WordPress Community of Practice is a group of 376 campus web…
  • Summer Updates
    Hi All, Happy summer! One-on-one, in person WordPress support Whether you’re new to WordPress, need a refresher, or just want a second opinion on your website’s content, you’re in luck.BCO’s newest Digital Communications Assistant, Ted Burns ’19, can meet with you individually to provide instruction on the nuts and bolts of WordPress. To schedule time…
  • The Breadcrumbs Continue
    Parent Sites Included We’ve made an improvement to our site’s breadcrumb structure that allows site managers to articulate their site’s parent site. Previously, our breadcrumbs skipped from the root site (“Bates”) directly to the current site (in this case “African American Studies”). Old The shortcoming of this prior behavior is that parent sites weren’t included…
  • Enhancements & Fixes for Image Galleries
    Today we are releasing two new enhancements to our image galleries as well as a couple of fixes. Optional Thumbnails You can now add clickable thumbnails to the bottom of a gallery by adding the attribute thumbnails=”true” to the gallery shortcode. If you are an advanced user, you can also customize the size of the…
  • Social Media Workshop | Paid Solutions
    Overview On Thursday, November 9th 2017, Dave Ernst, Bates’ Digital Content Specialist, hosted a Social Media Workshop as part of our Communications Community of Practice. Dave’s workshop was focused on benefits and mechanics of paid content promotions with Facebook and Instagram. Why pay to make content more visible? Dave started by explaining how organic reach…
  • WordPress Upgrade — From 4.6 to 4.8
    This morning we upgraded the college’s public WordPress instance from 4.6 to 4.8.  We’re now running the most recent version of WordPress, which introduces a few new helpful features. New Features of 4.8 New widgets include Image, Video, Audio, and Rich Text. Embedding images/video/audio files in the sidebar no longer requires knowledge of HTML. Similarly,…
  • Updates, Traffic Trends, and Action Steps
    New virtual tour of campus Bates has partnered with YouVisit to create a virtual tour of our campus. From YouVisit’s website: “Virtual campus tours include 360° media, layered with interactive elements that put students in control of their journey through your campus. Viewable across desktop, mobile, and VR, tours decrease cost-per-enrollment while increasing physical campus…
  • In “fake news” fight, Facebook makes big change for Page admins
    In order to combat the scourge of real “fake news,” Facebook is implementing a change to its API (application program interface) where non-publisher pages (publisher = verified news media, sports and entertainment) including Bates will NOT be able to edit the metadata of the links they post to their Facebook page. Article about policy change…
  • March Workshop
    Download the Keynote (PDF)
  • Any Editor Can Add a New User
    “Can I have editing access to this site?” The most common question we’ve been receiving about WordPress is, “Can I have editing access to this site?” So far, the answer has always been, “Yes.” Going forward, the answer won’t change, but the person granting access will. Given how popular requests for access are, and how…
  • New sites, new features; Second workshop
    Held on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 2 p.m. wp-cop-september-2016 (PDF)            
  • #14 — WordPress Resources
    Happening on Thursday, May 19, starting at 3 p.m. in Commons 226. Download WP CoP – May 2016 (PDF) Agenda Results of A/B test and Qualaroo survey Managing Widgets Share WordPress help resources Lynda.com WordPress Tutorial Playlist Faculty Expertise and The Quad Open Forum, Office Hours
  • #13 — Copyright, The Quad, and More
    WP CoP – March 2016 (PDF)
  • #12 — January’s Gathering
    When, where January 28, 2:00-3:00pm, Commons 226 Recap Style Audit The Style Audit is a collection of visual enhancements aimed at 1) Improving the user experience of our website 2) Bringing more consistency across sites to strengthen the brand Launched December 16, 2015 Overall, launch went well Outstanding issues CTA button size in sidebar Larger…
  • #11 — November’s Gathering
    There’s a very strong precedent for effective student web workers at Bates. 12/12 supervisors surveyed reported positive experience, and recommend working with students on the web.
  • #10 — September’s Gathering
    When, where September 29, 10:00am-11:00am, Commons 226 Presentation Download the presentation (PDF) Agenda Recent changes in WordPress New Fonts, server upgrade, Qualaroo survey, columns shortcode, toolbar configuration, WordPress 4.3.1 upgrade, email newsletters and blogs. Looking ahead Style Audit, The Quad. Open Forum Q: Who can we contact when Nick isn’t available? A: Barry Costa, BCO’s Senior…
  • #9 — Device usage trends, scrolling vs. clicking, recent changes in WP
    Our 9th WordPress Community of Practice Gathering was held on March 25th, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. in Commons 226. Description Global Navigation: New vs. Old The current iteration of the global navigation (launched Nov. 3) receives 2.1x more clicks than the past iteration (known as the Ubermenu). Trends in device usage In the past 3 years, desktop…
  • #5 — The News bates.edu: Part I
      Our 5th WordPress Community of Practice Gathering was held on October 28rd, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. in Commons 221. Description We all know what our sites look like on a desktop computer, but how do our sites look on a tablet, or smartphone? This Gathering will allow you to see and interact with our remodeled website before it goes…
  • #4 — Analytics
      Our 4th WordPress Community of Practice Gathering was held on September 23rd, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Commons 221. Description This Gathering will start with an introduction to web analytics: What they are, how we can access them, and how they provide insights on visitors’ behavior. No prior experience with web analytics is needed. Keynote WP CoP…
  • #3 — Back to School (WordPress 101)
    Our third WordPress Community of Practice Gathering was held Tuesday, August 26th, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Commons 221. Description This Gathering aims to provide insight on many of the fundamental WordPress tasks related to the start of the semester. No task is too basic for this Gathering, so feel free to ask questions, or to suggest a specific topic anonymously online.
  • #2 — Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    Thanks to everyone who attended July’s WordPress Community of Practice Gathering, held in Commons. For those unable to attend, here’s what was covered: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – View the keynote PDF Sneak peek of the new frontpage sliders/carousel design Open forum Customizing the WP dashboard’s meta boxes, and Screen options Setting featured images on…
  • #1 — Introducing the WP CoP
    Thanks to everyone who attended our first WordPress Community of Practice Gathering, held in Commons on June 24 and 25. For those unable to attend, here’s what was covered: Introduction of the WordPress Community of Practice Sneak peek of the new features in the soon to arrive upgrade to WordPress version 3.9.1 Open forum Deleting…
  • WordPress Upgrade: Version 3.9.1
    We will be upgrading WordPress from version 3.7.3 to version 3.9.1 in the near future WP version 3.7 was released on October 24, 2013 and version 3.9.1 was released May 8, 2014. Here are some of the key changes and improvements: The admin menu and admin bar are dark gray instead of light gray. This…
  • WordPress Upgrade: Version 3.5
    “If you’ve been around WordPress a while, the most dramatic new change you’ll notice is a completely re-imagined flow for uploading photos and creating galleries. Media has long been a friction point and we’ve listened hard and given a lot of thought into crafting this new system. ” Keep reading about WP 3.5 at WordPress.org…
  • A New Menu Structure & Search Refinement
    The WebTeam has been working on updating the navigation menu structure for the Bates site. The new menu structure is based on analytics, feedback, conversations, industry best practices and departmental directives. We have prepared the video above that illustrates the upcoming changes. We plan to update the site at the beginning of next week. Some…
  • WordPress Upgrade: Version 3.3.1
    Greetings All, We write to you now to inform you of a WordPress update performed early this morning. We have updated Wordpress to v3.3.1 – Though mainly a security & maintenance upgrade, you’ll notice a refined admin/login interface, too. If you have any questions about this maintenance update, please feel free to email the WebTeam webteam@bates.edu.
  • The new homepage is different. Why?
    In terms of the homepage strategy, we’re embracing the fact that while most people will pass through the homepage, the majority of their experience with bates.edu takes place deep within the website. Compare the homepage strategy to that of a museum luring visitors inside. Is the Field Museum in Chicago obsessed with horses? Do they believe…
  • Live: www.bates.edu
    Dear Colleagues, Good morning. If you have not already visited the Bates website today, I urge you to go to www.bates.edu and experience the college’s new window into the global educational experience we know as Bates. Designed with the audience of prospective students and their families in mind, the site also takes a sophisticated message to alumni,…