Logging in for Staff and Guest users

Logging in to WordPress is simple. Follow the link to Login from any WordPress site menu.

Login by following the link in the site menu.
Login by following the link in the site menu.

Staff and Students log in by clicking the button to “Use My University ID” using their usual username and password.

There are login options for University users, and guest users.
There are login options for University users, and guest users.

Users who are not part of the University, are called Guest users, and can click the link to Guest login here, to reveal a standard username and password field as well as a very useful Lost your password? link, which generates a reminder to the users’ email address.

Guests log in with a standard username and password.
Guests log in with a standard username and password.

Theme update 2015-11-19

This evening, we will release a new version of the Unimelb theme.

Update: Better late than never. The theme was released a day later than expected. There are some issues with images aligned left or right, but apart from that, no significant problems.

This release is mostly aimed at improving the base structure to allow addition of new features more easily and quickly. There are also significant improvements around headers and sidebars, and we’ve tightened up the styling of posts and pages.

Most users will not notice any change, and we don’t expect any problems, but if there are, raise a request via the web help desk.

About the theme

The default theme for WordPress sites is based on the Web Design System. The theme itself is still under active development with an aim of offering most of the common functions and features of the Design System, but maintaining the simplicity and ease of use of WordPress.

Our first release is relatively simple, but while we have a lot of work still to do, you can already set up a solid site which blends features of the Design System with common WordPress concepts. We think it’s a solid base from which to start. Continue reading “About the theme”

Requesting a site

WordPress is just one of the web publishing platforms offered at the University of Melbourne. It has some particular strengths, which make it more suitable than other platforms for certain situations. It’s quick to set up and get started, and easy to use, but there are trade-offs in flexibility and support.

Ideally, though, we don’t want people requesting WordPress sites because it’s a great platform (crazy eh?). What we want is people to request a site based on their needs, and allow us to recommend the best platform to fulfil those needs. It’s a subtle, but important difference.

So, head along to the web request form, provide us with as much information as you can about the audience of the site, and what they will want to get from it, as well as owns the content, and who will be maintaining it. We’ll take it from there.

Analytics in WordPress

Google analytics in your WordPress Dashboard.
Google analytics in your WordPress Dashboard.

An overall Google Analytics profile for all WordPress sites has been installed.

It will provide you with a quick overview of basic traffic, right in your dashboard.

If you need more information, for example, you want to track campaign traffic, you can raise a request on the web help desk for assistance.

If you’re really keen, you can link a different Google Analytics account to your site from the Settings > Google Analytics screen in your site dashboard.

SEO in WordPress

WordPress is very good at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You don’t need to do anything if you don’t want to. WordPress automatically creates post titles, URLs, tagging and categories, which lend themselves very well to being discovered by search engines.

If you really want to tune your site for particular needs, we can, on request, enable further options via a plugin called All in One SEO which offers a number of options to enhance your sites’ performance in search engines. It’s not an simple plugin, so you need to be sure you have the time and will to use it properly. SEO is a complex area, and search engines such as Google constantly adjust their algorithms, you’ll need to put some time in if you want to see results.

Using All in One SEO

If all you do is activate the plugin, you will still see some benefits, but if you want to go deeper, check out the SEO General Settings screen in your Dashboard.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.18.55 PM

The first panel deals with Canonical URL support. Canonical URLs are just a way of avoiding duplication in Search Engine indexes. If the same page content appears in several locations, a canonical URL can help a search engine work out which one is the original (and most important) source. If a search engine is unclear about duplicated content, it may lead to users seeing annoying duplicated results, and most search engines will penalise your ranking for such duplication. The default settings are fine, you shouldn’t need to change these.

The next few panels in the General Settings allow you to override, or change the way important parts of the page are represented. The main aim is to ensure that words that are important to your site and pages are well represented. If your content is well written, most of these fields won’t need to be changed. Tweaking these settings can make a small difference, but before doing so, you should understand about keyword density and repetition. Not enough, and it won’t have an effect, too much, and you risk having your site seen as ‘spammy’ and penalised as a result.

One option that might be useful for some sites, is the ability to add codes that associate your site with to your Google, or Bing accounts.

Noindex settings are another good option to prevent indexing of listing pages on your site. This avoids pages like blogs.unimelb.edu.au/mysite/page/5/ turning up in searches, with the benefit that users find the real pages more easily, because there’s less clutter in search results.

More features

You’ll also have access to a number of Features which you can enable and disable. Most of these are designed for self managed WordPress sites, where you have access to the server. We don’t have the required access, so you will not be able to use: XML Sitemaps; Robots.txt; or File Editor. We don’t recommend using the Bad Bot Blocker unless you really know what you’re doing.

That leaves one ‘Feature’, that we do recommend using, and it does a pretty good job! The Social Meta tool, creates a number of special tags which help social media sites display more attractive links to your page. You don’t need to configure it, just enabling it will help, but if you know what you’re doing, it can really enhance the way your site appears in social media.

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