The iMerrill Web publishing service uses WordPress MU software and automates installation of your blog or site on the college Web servers. All you have to worry about is naming your site, picking a “theme” or design template, and adding content.
If you’re new to WordPress, your first step is to find your way around your Dashboard, the control page for your site. It’s where you pick the look or “theme,” add “widgets” like calendars and RSS feeds, and create/edit pages and blog posts.
Below are tutorials from WordPress. “Intro” explains blogging tools and lingo. “First Steps” explains your Dashboard.
Be advised that not all themes and widgets discussed in these tutorials are available through the iMerrill service. A limited number of themes are available; they are listed when you open the “Appearance” tab on the left side of your Dashboard and click “Add New Themes.” Users may not upload their own themes.
For adding pages, images and “widgets”, try these:
All of the available themes can be customized, but most design changes require knowledge of Web coding. A few themes do let you make limited design changes without knowing coding. Those options, when available, appear for each theme (but only when that theme is activated) when you open the “Appearance” tab in the left sidebar of the Dashboard. They typically are labelled “thematic options.”
So it’s a good idea to activate several themes and explore your design options before settling on a particular theme for your site. To experiment with available designs, click “Add New Themes” under the Appearance tab of your Dashboard.
For those comfortable with Web coding, WordPress has plenty more tutorials on how to modify your site theme and do other advanced customization here:
Sean Mussenden, a Merrill College adjunct who is on the staff of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, has created a series of screencasts on how to customize WordPress sites for his Online Journalism class. For detailed visual instructions on using the Dashboard and working with images, watch these videos: