It is straightforward to add new users to your university WordPress website. Here are some tips on doing it the right way.

First, in your Dashboard, click on the Users panel. This lists all users who are already members of your site.

To add a new user, click the Add User link in the Users panel. This gives you the option to add one user at a time or multiple users at once.

If the person you are adding to your site is a university student or member of staff – in fact, if they have a university email address – you should add them by their university username. For example, to add Joss Winn (jwinn@lincoln.ac.uk), you would add ‘jwinn’ to either of the username boxes shown above. The important thing to remember is that you should NOT user the full email address for the username. Only use the university username and NOT the email address.

If the person you wish to add to your site does not already have a University of Lincoln username i.e. they are not staff or students at Lincoln, you can still add them to your site in the following way:

First, make up a username for them. For example, if the person is called John Smith, you might give them the username of ‘johnsmith’. Don’t use the same convention for usernames that we use at Lincoln, which is first initial and surname (‘jsmith’) as you may end up adding the wrong John Smith to your site! Give them a username that is unlikely to be already in use at Lincoln. You can always check first by searching for the username you want to give them in our Staff Directory.

When you click ‘Add User’, WordPress will state that it can’t find the user in our staff directory (referred to as ‘LDAP’).

This is good! It means that you can use the username that you’ve created and just need to add their email address. When you enter their address and click ‘Create Local User’, it sends the person an email telling them that they’ve been invited to your site.

Most of the time, you’ll be adding people who are staff and students at Lincoln and therefore you simply need to add their username and they will be immediately added. For the rare occasions when you might want to add someone who is not a member of the university, please remember to follow these guidelines.

Recently, you may have noticed that the number of plugins available to you has been much reduced. This is because of the 70+ plugins that had been installed at the request of staff and students over the last five years, very few of them were being used on active websites. We have not de-activated or deleted any plugins, but we have withdrawn them from being generally available to use. During our audit, we identified a few plugins that are clearly popular among Lincoln staff and students and these remain available for you to activate from your website’s ‘Plugins’ panel.

Over the years, a number of features that were once only available via the use of plugins are now built into WordPress, reducing the need for additional plugins. If you are a user of WordPress.com, you will notice that they provide a number of features that are not available on blogs.lincoln.ac.uk. Many of these are new, ‘social’ features such as sharing posts with Twitter and Facebook and receiving email notifications, etc.

As of today, we are making Jetpack available so that you can add these additional features to your site. Jetpack is a special plugin, developed by Automattic, the company that run WordPress.com and lead the development of the WordPress software. You can think of Jetpack as several plugins in one and we encourage you to read more about Jetpack. Jetpack is very popular and has been installed on almost 6 million websites by WordPress users around the world.

If you like the look of Jetpack, there are a few things you should be aware of before deciding to activate the plugin:

  1. Jetpack requires you to connect your website with WordPress.com. This means that you must have an account on WordPress.com. Accounts are free and easy to set up. WordPress.com is the largest host of WordPress websites, hosting about half of the 68 million WordPress sites around the world. Having a WordPress.com account is also a good idea if you think you’ll ever leave the university and want to take your website with you. You can easily export a website at Lincoln and import it for free to a site on WordPress.com.
  2. To use certain Jetpack features, such as ‘Post By Email’, each user of your site also needs to connect their account to WordPress.com. This is not essential, but required for certain features.
  3. Think carefully about which WordPress.com account you use to connect to your blogs.lincoln.ac.uk website. If you are running a personal blog, then it makes sense to use a personal WordPress.com account. However, if you are running a group website, project website or department website, it might be more suitable to create a WordPress.com account for your team or department. That way, Jetpack is not connected to any single person’s WordPress.com account.
  4. Certain Jetpack features create a dependency between your website and WordPress.com that you may come to rely on. For example, the ability for people to subscribe by email to your website. If you were to de-activate Jetpack on your site, you would lose any subscribers to your wesbite. Similarly, you may have used the Carousel or Custom CSS features and by de-activating Jetpack, the design of your site would be significantly affected.

We’ve been testing Jetpack with a few staff over the last month and feedback from people is very positive. While there are some caveats to using Jetpack, we feel its a useful plugin and it addresses some of the main ‘social features’ that staff and students regularly ask for. It’s up to you if you want to use it.

To activate Jetpack, go to the ‘Plugins’ panel in your Dashboard and click ‘Activate’. You’ll then be prompted to connect your site to WordPress.com. Having done that, you can explore the new features under the Jetpack menu in your Dashboard.

Please ask questions or tell us what you think about Jetpack by using the comment form below.

If you’re new to WordPress or the University blogs, there are a few ways that you can find help and support.

  1. Download WordPress Guide for Research Groups (PDF)
  2. Browse the official documentation for WordPress.com. In most cases, it will apply to your site, too.
  3. There is a contextual ‘Help’ button in the top-right corner of every WordPress administration page.
  4. Read First Steps With WordPress
  5. For a good overview of how to understand and use the WordPress Dashboard, watch these short video tutorials
  6. Read the WordPress community documentation about each of the administration panels.
  7. Watch WordPressTV
  8. Ask Google ;-)
  9. Ask EDEU to join your class, team or department meeting or faculty away day.
  10. Book onto a WordPress workshop (staff) via the Portal.
  11. Log a support request.

Although we have over 170 different themes for you to use in your sites, sometimes they don’t quite fit the bill: some are old, some lack functionality, and others are just plain ugly. We are planning to weed out some of the worse themes and remove them over the next few months to leave you with up-to-date, functional themes.

However, if you would like a little bit more flexibility, I would like to introduce a new series of themes based on the Upfront framework.

Upfront gives you a completely different way of building a site (more complex, but more flexible) as it works as a drag-n-drop page builder. Upfront allows you to:

  • Upfront enables you to create full posts and pages, as you see them.
  • As well as manage all of your posts, pages and media
  • Without ever having to enter the WordPress Dashboard
  • What you see is *really* what you get
Upfront themes currently available
Name Info
Scribe An artisan portfolio theme with elegant typography, full-screen front page and classy long-form pages.
Fixer A flat and vibrant business theme for selling your services and standing out from the crowd.
Spirit A professionally crafted, high-end portfolio theme with a fresh, natural design inspired by stunning photography and clean, bold typography.
Panino A friendly one-pager theme inspired by the delicious coffee, tasty food and familiar faces at your favorite cafe. Panino is the ideal theme to satisfy any craving.
Parrot Showcase your app with Parrot, a flexible and no-nonsense business theme that makes light work of selling your new product.
Luke + Sara Let your images speak for themselves with Luke + Sara, a contemporary photography theme for the discerning shutterbug.

You may notice that these themes are not education-specific, but they provide a starting point for developing the look and feel of your site.

To access the Upfront themes, please email Marcus Elliott (melliott@lincoln.ac.uk) to request access.

You will then find the Upfront-powered themes in the Appearance > Themes folder on the Dashboard. Once you have activated an Upfront theme, click the Upfront logo on the top toolbar to get started.

Support resources

Joel Murray, working in the College of Social Science, has produced a WordPress Guide for Research Groups. It’s a useful and comprehensive guide for anyone using WordPress at Lincoln. Please send any feedback on the guide to Joss Winn. The guide covers very similar ground to the two-hour staff development workshops held each month (book via the Portal).

Download WordPress Guide for Research Groups (PDF)

A recent upgrade to WordPress introduced oEmbed, a new and easier way to embed video and some other media in your blog post.Whereas before, You needed to either copy the raw HTML embed code and paste it in the WordPress HTML editor, or activate Viper’s Video Quicktags plugin, you can now simply copy and paste the URL of the video you wish to embed.

It only works for services that support oEmbed, but the number of those services is growing. Today, the following services will allow you to use the oEmbed method of embedding a video:

To embed media using one of these services, the tutorial is simple:

  1. Copy the URL of the video/image/audio i.e.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFsCFUCzwf0
  2. Paste it into your WordPress editor.
  3. That’s it!