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Undergraduate Research in History


WordPress Setup

This is a guide for Boston College's undergraduate student population in how to approach historical research.

Page under Construction

This page is currently under construction and far from complete. If you notice broken links or have suggestions, please write the subject liaison e-mail. 

What's on This Page

This page has a lot on it. You can use the following anchors (links down the page) to jump straight to a relevant box.

    Signing up for WordPress

    To get started with your WordPress page, you'll need to sign up for a WordPress Account and then setup your Page. 

    To signup for a WordPress account,

    1. Go to Opening Page(Note that there is also a, which takes users to a much more expansive suite.)
    2. Click the pink "Start your website" button.
    3. If you don't already have a WordPress account, fill out the form with your e-mail address and then select a username and password. 
    4. Verify your account (usually per e-mail).

    Choosing a WordPress page titleTo begin setting up your page,

    1. Sign into and tell them you're ready to start a page. 
    2. WordPress will ask you what kind (Blog, Business, Professional, Online Store). Select "Blog."
    3. Select a topic for your blog (I chose "History").
    4. Choose the title for your blog (I chose "History in the Library").
    5. Select a URL for your page. Note that there will be a couple of free options and then several paid choices. I recommend going with the free options.
      • Note that the next page will ask you again if you want a free site.

    And you're ready to get started. 


    Add: A Page

    Pages are your semi-static pages such as "About", "Contact." 

    To add a page:

    1. Go to your WordPress Home.
    2. On the left-hand menu, select site icon in WordPress ("Site") and then "Pages" in the submenu.
    3. Click Add a new page icon in WP ("Add a New Page") on the right side of the screen. 
    4. Select either
      • A "Blank" page to design and edit it from the ground up.
      • A template for the kind of page you are interested in working with (e.g., "About" or "Blog" pages) to use as a base.
    5. Make sure you save your drafts as you work.
    6. Publish your page when you are ready for an audience to view.

    Add: Post

    Posts are message or informational statements. 

    To add a post:

    1. Go to your WordPress Home.
    2. On the left-hand menu, select site icon in WordPress ("Site") and then "Posts" in the submenu.
    3. Click Add a new page icon in WP ("Add a New Post") on the right side of the screen. 
    4. Begin editing your text directly.
      • Make sure to include a title.
      • Write in appropriate text.
    5. To include media, click the blue + at the upper left-hand corner of the window. 
    6. To set posting dates, security settings, or add categories and tags, click the options icon for posts in WPin the upper-right corner of the window.
    7. Publish your work when you're ready for an audience to view.

    Add: Categories, Links, and Tags

    Categories and tags are both ways of organizing your posts. The first should be general organization and the second more specific. 

    There are two ways to add "categories" and "tags."

    1. Go to your WordPress Home.
    2. On the left-hand toolbar, select "Manage" and then "Settings."
    3. From among the tab across the "Settings" page, select "Writing."
    4. WP settings' tab writing screenshotUnder the "Writing" tab, you should see selections for "Categories" and Tags."
      1. Here you can add or delete categories/tags.
      2. Access which pages/posts you have marked with the corresponding categories/tags.


    Add: Media (Including Pictures, Documents, Video, and Audio)

    Screenshot of Adding Media in WordPressAdding media (i.e., images, documents, videos, or audio) is very easy. In the basic model, you have 3GB of storage space. 

    To add media to your page: 

    1. You can upload your files on the Media screen
    2. Add Alt text and make sure you appropriately attribute your work via captions with Chicago citations.

    Add: Post

    • From “Quick Links” on “My Home,” click “Write a blog post” ()
    • Add a title to the map you just uploaded
    • Write a short paragraph about your chosen map (at least three sentences)
    • Click on “Settings” () in the upper right
    • Under “Categories,” “Add New Category” at least three times with broad what/where/when
    • Add at least three “Tags” with specific who/what/where/when

    Add: Widgets and Sidebars

    Screenshot of WordPress Tools toolbar with plugins highlightedWidgets can be excellent additions to your webpage, allowing for interactive features and more. 

    For information on Widget options, visit the WordPress Options Page.

    For information on installing/creating Widgets, go to the WordPress Widgets' page and the Codex on Sidebars.


    Edit: Blocks

    Screenshot of Block editor in WPTo edit your page:

    • Click the ellipses to the right of the page you want to edit on the "Pages" list
    • Select "Edit"
    • Whether or not you've used a template, you'll likely want to add or change "Blocks." To do so, on the upper left-hand corner of the page click the Add block icon on WP
      • Blocks are styled boxes for different kinds of content
    • Select the kind of block you want to use for putting in text, images, or other information. 
    • Edit your block's content

    For more information on editing blocks, check out WPBeginner's tutorial on using WP's block editor.

    Note: You can edit a block visually or using HTML for greater malleability. 

    Manage: Appearance

    WordPress toolbarYou have a lot of flexibility with WordPress for setting up a site that looks precisely how you want it. To edit your page, go to and login.

    1. Click on "My Site"  ("My Site" link ) on the upper left of the browser window.
    2. On the left hand toolbar, click on "Design."
      • "Themes" allows you to select a template to work off of. 
      • "Customize" allows you to choose specific fonts, colors, background images, and more.

    For a sample of how to manage your site's appearance, check out WPBeginner's guide to changing font size

    Note: If you are unfamiliar with web design, it's a good idea to do an "environmental scan" and take a look at what other people have done. 

    Goals of the Guide

    • Create a website.
    • Manage a website’s appearance.
    • Create and understand the difference between pages and posts.
    • Upload and manipulate media.
    • Add links and categories.
    • Manage writing, reading, discussion, privacy, and media settings.
    • Create menus based on pages, categories, and links.
    • Manage widgets and sidebars.

    Course Handout(s)