Kick Start Activity 2: Setting Up Pages – About and Contact

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Welcome to the Teacher Challenge!

This our third post in the beginners series for 30 Days to Kick Start Your Blogging.  You don’t have to have ever published a “post” before, or maybe you’ve started to blog once or twice but haven’t quite yet stuck with it.

Wherever you’re at — we’ll step you through the tasks designed to increase your skills while providing mentors who’ll support your learning.  Don’t stress, have fun and remember to ask for help, by leaving a comment, any time you need assistance!

This series is focused on helping educators set up their own personal / professional educator blogs.  Check out Blogging with Students if you want to work through our series designed to help you set up student and class blogs!

The activities can be completed at your own pace and in any order!

The aim of this activity is to help you understand how pages are used on blogs and you will learn how to create some pages on your blog.

Click on a link below to go to the section of this activity you want to work on:

  1. Why you need an About page
  2. Examples of ‘About’ pages on educator blogs
  3. Create your About page
    1. Introduction to the Visual Editor
  4. Making contact easy using a Contact page
  5. Examples of ‘Contact’ pages
  6. Other types of pages used on educator blogs
  7. Setting up the links to your pages
  8. Commonly asked questions about pages
    1. How do you disable comments on pages
    2. Why won’t comments display on my pages?
    3. Is it possible to publish posts to different pages on my blog?
  9. What now?


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Why you need an About page

You never know how someone might find your blog – google search, twitter, facebook, or a link from somewhere else.

One of the first things a new visitor looks for is your ‘About’ page.

Your about page is all about letting people know who are you, what’s your interests and what you write about.

Start with telling people more about yourself as people are more likely to engage with your blog if they can relate to you as an individual. Then tell them about your blog and the reasons why you blog.

Not too long and not too short – include photos that help readers relate to you as a person.

Here’s my ‘About page’ on my personal blog.

What’s included on an About Page does vary depending on the type of blog and its intended audience. Here’s tips for writing About pages for Student and Class blogs.

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Check out the About pages on the following blogs for ideas:

  1. Tracy Watanabe’s About page
  2. Shelly Sanchez Terrell’s About page
  3. Kathleen Morris’s About page
  4. Dean Groom’s About page
  5. Vicki Davis’s About page


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Create your About page

All newly created blogs come with a ‘Sample page‘ created.  All you need to do is edit the ‘Sample page’ to change it into your About page

Here’s how you create your About page:

1.  Go to Pages > All Pages.

2.  Hover your mouse over the Sample Page title to bring up the action menus.

3.  Now click on Edit.

4.  Change the title of your page from Sample Page to About page.

5.  Edit the permalink to change it to about.

6.  Now just add your about information and when finished click Update.


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Overview of your Visual Editor

The area where you write your pages and posts is by default in Visual Editing mode which uses WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) option for formating.

It works similar to any Word processing software.

Simply write your post, highlight any text you want to format, and then click the appropriate button in the toolbar to add formating such as bold, italics, or a numbered list.

The Show/Hide Kitchen Sink button is used to view the advanced formating options including heading styles, underlining, font color, custom characters, undo, redo.



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Making Contact Easy

Those that visit your blog might also have a need to contact you.  This makes it easier for readers to contact you and for other educators to connect with you.

Many teachers choose to create an entirely separate “Contact” page to go with the “About” page.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • It’s best not to put your email address on your blog. A contact form (using a contact or form plugin) is better as it protects you email address from spammers.
  • If you do want to provide your email, use text and something like support (at) edublogs (dot) org or an image of your email address to make it hard for spammers to pull your email address.  Here’s an email icon generator you can use.
  • Home phone numbers are probably not something you want to share as well – but perhaps a classroom phone number is.

Other things to share might include facebook, twitter, or other social media profile information.  Some of these are also shared by adding widgets to your class blog.  We’ll show you how this is done with widgets in Activity 5 of this professional development series on class blogging.

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Here’s Contact pages for ideas:

  1. Using Contact Form plugin – Huzzah’s Contact page, Mr Salsich’s Contact page
  2. Using Formidable Pro plugin – Online Safety’s Contact page, Biologist’s Contact page
  3. Page – The Skinny’s Contact Page

Create your Contact page

Once you’ve decided what you want to include on your contact page, and if you want to use a contact form, it is just a case creating a contact page.

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Here’s how to create a contact page using the Contact form plugin:

1.  Go to Plugins.

2.  Activate the Contact Form plugin.

3.  Go To Settings > Contact Form.

4.  Add your email address and click Update Options.

5.  Go to Pages > Add New.

6.  Now just give your page a title, add your content, the contact form code and click Publish.



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Here’s how to create a contact page using the Formidable Pro plugin:

1.  Go to Plugins.

2.  Activate the Formidable Pro plugin.

3.  Go to Formidable > Forms.

4.  Click on Add New, select Contact Us and then Create.

5.  Hover your mouse over the Captcha field, now click  Trash to delete it.

6.  Now just edit the contact form to customise it to your needs.

  • The * next to a field means this is required information to submit the form.
  • Clicking on the * changes it to not required
  • Clicking on the Title allows you to edit the name.

7.  You can update the email address by clicking on Settings > Emails.

8.  Once you’ve made all changes click Update.

9.  Now go back to Formidable > Forms and grab your Contact Us shortcode.

10.  Go to Pages > Add New.

11.  Add a page title, your content, the Contact Us shortcode and click Publish.



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Other types of pages used on blogs

There’s lot of different types of pages you can add to blogs.

The main things to remember are:

  1. Pages are best suited for information you rarely update such as your About, Contact and First time visitor pages.
  2. Too many pages can make information harder to manage and find.


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Setting up the links to your pages

Some themes automatically add a link to pages in their top navigation while on other themes you need to add a pages widget or set up a custom menu to add the page links.

Personally I prefer to set up my top navigation using a custom menu as links in the top navigation are easier for readers and it allows you to customise the links considerably more.



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Here’s how to set up your top navigation using a custom menu:

1.  Go to Appearance > Menus

2.  Give your menu a name – ‘Main’ will work great!

3. Click on the ‘Create Menu

4.  Now just select the pages you want to add to your menu then click Add To Menu.

5.  Now create a custom link for home by adding your blog URL, the name Home and click Add To Menu.

  • When readers click on the Home link they will be taken to your front page.
  • For example the blog URL of this blog is http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/
  • You can use custom links to link to any website — which is really handy!

Here’s what my menu now looks like:

6.  Now drag/drop the menu items to change their order in your menu.

Here’s what my new order looks like:

7.  Once you’ve finished changing the order click Save Menu.

8.  Now to display your new top navigation on your blog you just need to select Main from under the Primary Navigation drop down menu and then click Save.


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Here’s some other cool tricks when setting up custom menus:

1.  You can create nested pages by indenting items in the menu.

If you hover your mouse over About in the top navigation of this blog you’ll see two nested pages underneath the about link.

2.  You can create static level tabs using a custom link if you just want a link name that doesn’t go to a page that exists.

For example, if you click on About in the top menu of this blog you’ll see it is a static level tab used just as a placeholder for page  links we’ve added underneath it.



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Common questions we’re asked about pages

Here’s answers to commonly asked questions we receive into Edublogs Support:

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1.  How do you disable comments on pages?

Most Edublogs themes support comments on pages and by default comments are enabled on pages.

You can disable comments on pages using Quick Edit as follows:

1. Go to to Pages > All Pages

2. Locate the post or page you want to disable comments on

3. Hover over it’s title to bring up it’s action menu.

4. Click on Quick Edit, deselect ‘Allow Comments’ and then click on Update.



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2.  Why won’t comments display on pages?

Most Edublogs themes now support comments on pages however there are a few themes that don’t.

If the theme you are using doesn’t support comments on pages, and you would like this feature, then you will need to use an alternative theme.

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3.  Is it possible to publish posts to different pages on my blog?

We’re often asked if it is possible to add posts to other pages, rather than just the front page of the blog.    This is commonly asked by educators who want to use one blog for multiple classes or subjects.

And yes you can!  But it does involve slightly advanced blogging skills.

You do it by sending posts to different pages on your blog by assigning different categories to posts, based on the class or subject, and using a custom menu to create link to the categories from your top navigation.  When students and parents click on their category they’re taken to all the posts for that class or subject.

You can see it in action on CES Music Blog.   If you hover your mouse over Music Classes it displays links to the different Grades and all you need to do is click on a Grade to view all posts published for that grade.  For example, here are all the posts for Grade 5.

You’ll find step by step instructions on using categories to organize multiple classes or subjects on your blog here.

It does involve slightly advanced blogging skills — so leave a comment or email us at Edublogs Support if you need our assistance.


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What now?

Now it is time for you to write your About page.   However, if you don’t feel comfortable about writing personal stuff about yourself yet — then we recommend you focus on writing another type of page.

One idea would be to create a new Page with a list of helpful resources you would like to share with others.

Once you have written your About page or Resource page come back to this post and leave a link to the page you have created so that others can check it out!

Or go to Activity 3: Writing your first post!

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123 thoughts on “Kick Start Activity 2: Setting Up Pages – About and Contact

  1. It sure has been busy lately, so I am playing catch up on the Teacher Challenge. When I created the blog, I wrote a short About page. For this challenge, I added a little more to it, but I will probably add more as my blog develops. I would love to start adding more pages that have specific content, so now I am on the search for more ideas. :) Check it out: http://techandteach.edublogs.org/about/

    • Hi,
      checked out your about-me-page and I like it. I also find it hard what to write about one-self. The thing with writing anything on the web is that it is so public, and it is hard to know where you draw the line between I as a private person and I as a public teacher. Also read your latest post! Interesting to be swaping age groups like that … I don’t know if I would be up to it.

  2. I was interested to see that you allow comments on your about page. I noticed that several of your comments were attempts to market things. It leaves me with two questions:
    1. Do these who attempt to market in this way, really think I am that stupid? If I am reading about educational technology and blogging, and there is a link to UGG boots that I won’t realize that if I click on the link I will be led to a site that sells UGG boots. And if I wanted to buy UGG boots I would have no other ways to find a pair for sale on-line.
    2. Do you ever edit the comments left on your about page?

  3. I think I’ll be keeping my pages to a minimum. I might add a blogging guidelines page for my students and leave it at that.

    My ‘About’ page is:
    http://whatsupmsdown.edublogs.org/about/

    At this point it just relates to me. Once I have a clearer picture in my mind of how I want to incorporate my students I’ll revisit it to reflect them. They might even get their own useless facts list (e.g. 55% of the class prefers to write in pencil — At least 2 people forget to brush their teeth every morning — The most liked colour in the class is blue — and so on…).

  4. I am working on the beginner and advanced challenges of activities 3, 4 and 5 at the same time, so my contributions are a little topically challenged. (I already posted to activity 4.)

    I wrote the About pages on my blogs, Digital Substitute and Stefras’ Bridge prior to and during the first activity. However, I just updated my Stefras’ Bridge About page by adding images. And I created a Find Me page which I placed on both blogs.

    I tried to also add a Contact page, using the series, Creating a contact page, on , but failed to create it, since WordPress(.com)does not allow plugins.

    I am still drafting a post combining activities 2 and 3, regarding effective posts and pages. That should be posted soon.

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  7. I have been trying to post this on the 3rd DQ, but for some reason can not seem to get it right. So, I think I’ll post it here until someone can walk me through what I might be doing wrong.

    The questions were about what I learned about pages and how what would I share about this with others? Below are my responses:

    When I saw Amy Alrawi’s Pages, it really helped me grasp the value of Pages. You can see her blog at http://century21teacher.blogspot.com/

    It allowed me to understand to the person was behind the voice, and it provided tangible artifacts such as lesson plans and discussion papers.

    I also took the tip that Sue Waters wrote above about taking comments off of Pages (or at least the About the blogger page).

    As a result of visiting blogs such as Amy’s, I’ve created a much stronger About Page of my own and added one Page of some original PBLs I had done in the past. wwwatanabe.blogspot.com So, once again, thank you for all the help!

  8. DQ #3 – How has your idea or understanding of pages changed?

    Initially, when I began looking around the blog I created, I had the hardest time understanding what made the difference. But, now I get the static nature of Page and the more vibrant nature of posts. I do like how the Page option does allow for comments, while will be useful when I try to extend the blog to students and parents.

    When working with someone just starting out with blogging, or when introducing blogging to students, how will you explain the difference between posts and pages? What content is best left for pages?

    That will be a little difficult to describe. I think what I’ll do is probably demonstrate using my blog during a lesson, and then show how editing and adding appear on both Page and Posts. Then, I will probably do a venn diagram with the students because there are some similarities that might make it confusing, but also some major differences that might help to clarify.

  9. I am having trouble with my pages. Right now I have parent pages and then pages under my parent pages and when I put pages in my sidebar it lists every page I made. My idea is to have parent pages listed in the sidebar, but everything included under that parent page hidden, so that only when you click on it, it lists the pages under that parent page. Is this possible? Thanks for your help.

      • roreyrisdon.edublogs.org
        When it did not work out the way I wanted it to, I took it out of my sidebar. I can put it back so you can see it and help me out with it.

        Thanks for replying to me. I appreciate the time you are offering to help me.
        Cheers,
        rorey

        • Hi Rorey, in your case you would be better using a theme like WPMU-Dixi (which is what we use on this blog). It has nested pages so your sub-pages would be be listed below the parent in the top navigation.

          For example, if you hover your mouse over About you’ll see the sub page Participate listed. However, if you used this theme you would need to shorten the page tiles.

          • Thanks so much for the help Sue. I really appreciate all of the hard work you are putting into this and how much help you are offering teachers all over the world. I will play around with it and see what I can do with the new theme. Your suggestion sounds perfect.

          • Hi Sue,

            Can you help me with one more thing about WPMU-Dixi? How do you make it so your homepage shows all of the post, not just a snip-it with the title. I want it just like a regular blog where as you scroll down, you see the most recent post in its entirety and then you see the next one, and so on.

            Thanks so much,
            rorey

            roreyrisdon.edublogs.edu

    • Hi Lisa,

      I didn’t see any pages on your blog using this theme. Your About Me is a widget/section at the bottom of your home or posts page. Do you have the option to add pages in your Dashboard?

      If you do, you can create two pages. One About page about the blog and you. Another About page about your class and students. All that is required is that you give them different titles.

      I am not sure if that helps. In either case, good luck. I hope you figure something out.

      Shawn

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  11. I have just written my about page. It was written very quickly as I am a bit time pressed this morning. Anyhoo, it is there! It has been great looking around at other people’s blogs but I can see that I will really have to lift my game in terms of the appearance of my blog, particularly the sidebars.

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  15. This page was very useful and some of it a little self explanatory. In the “About” section I guessed that it would be about yourself. I’m a “click it and figure it out-er”. Actually, taking the time to read about how these different pages and posts work was more helpful when I went to do the activity and lessened the stress for completing the task. I’m starting to get the hang of this!

  16. My About page contains information in regards to the 1980 United States Men’s Hockey team that beat the Soviets and then went on to win the Gold Medal. Specifically, I discuss the importance of the sport of hockey in terms of politics when it came to the game against the Soviets as well as the importance of the United States victory to our overall morale at a time when people were not feeling confident about our nation’s future.

    • @Sketchfun Glad our posts are helping. Your blog is coming along really well. I love the use of the images of the drawings to show the students ideas. One thing I would add to the sidebar would be email subscription since it is targeted at both parents and student.

  17. http://writerofredleaves.edublogs.org/about/

    Feel free to click on the above link and check out my About page. My hope is that eventually, students in my classroom will be blogging with students from all parts of the US if not further, and so I wanted a general about page offering more of the purpose of our blog than just being about me.

  18. I made this about page… I mentioned my kids and grandchildren and some hobbies. I wasn’t sure at first how long to go on about myself or when to stop…not exactly as easy as I thought it’d be!

  19. On our self-hosted WordPress site I can have posts appear on multiple pages using the Blog-in-Blog plugin. Does anyone know if such thing is possible in Edublogs? Thanks.

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  27. Well I looked at this page a few times and obviously my eyes weren’t looking properly but I finally found out how to remove ‘comments’ from pages. Like all of the other instructions it was very easy. I have set up my ‘about’ and ‘contact’ pages but plan on adding a video to my about page rather than just text. A challenge for the near future!

  28. After years and years of putting it off, I finally created an About Me page thanks to the Personal Blog Challenge. (^__^) I feel very accomplished!!

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.courtneytakabayashi.com/p/about-me.html

    I tried to do a Connect With Me Page but I was having difficulties with the buttons, Ugh! I don’t know html code well enough to take away the white border around my Pinterest button. Grr.

    I suppose it’s better than nothing:

    http://www.courtneytakabayashi.com/p/connect-with-me.html

    I’ll probably add more things like an e-mail address. Maybe. . .

    Anyway, I was very inspired by everyone’s about and contact page!!

    See you next week,
    Courtney

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