Press It, the semi-secret WordPress content generating tool

To create this post, to teach you how to use the Press It function of WordPress, I thought it was best if I actually used it to write the post. So, just like you would, I did a Google Search for “How to use WordPress Press It”. To get to the top of Google, it never hurts to link to content that’s already at the top (lesson 1).

Looking at the Google results- I saw the WordPress Codex link. And while it’s number one, I’ve often found the codex a little rough for reading. Looking over it, I was right. So, I looked to my online “friend” Lorelle. Her posts are usually pretty on the money. So, I clicked on the link and it took me to her post. Note- this is IMPORTANT- it took me to HER POST, not her site. For Press it to work, you need to select an article or post that has a unique url. Her site url is www.lorelle.wordpress.com

this post has the url:

http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2005/09/15/wordpress-power-user-features-just-press-it/

See the difference? A post can be one of 10 or 20 or so in reverse chronological order, or it can stand alone. You need the post alone. In most blog applications, and most CMS (content management system) systems- the way you do this is to click on the headline, or look for a link that says “permalink”. This will isolate the article you are interested in.

Now, I should mention, you need to do what Lorelle explains here at the beginning as a “click and drag to your link toolbar”- or what WordPress says to “Right click on the following link and choose “Add to favorites” to create a posting shortcut.”

However, there were changes from WordPress 2.5 to 2.7. In 2.5 you made the Press It link  from the “Write post” page of your WordPress admin area- it’s at the bottom of the page. In 2.7 it’s been moved and renamed, now appearing in the Tools are of your left Dashboard column. However, you still do the same thing- drag the link to your toolbar, or bookmark/favorite it.

So, I’ve clicked to Lorelle’s post- then I highlight the part of her post I want to put on my blog to comment on. Then I look to my toolbar where I have the “Press it” bookmark stored- and click it. Voila- her highlighted content is in my write post pane- with her headline (more about this in a minute).

It’s below- and to show that I didn’t write it, I’m going to select it all and use the “Indent list/Blockquote” button from my Visual Text Editor tool bar (it’s the 7th icon over- with a blue arrow pointing at lines to move them right).

WordPress Power User Features – Just Press It « Lorelle on WordPress
With every installation of WordPress comes a little gem called Press It. It is a javascript “bookmarklet” found on the Write Post screen in your Admin. It’s at the very bottom. If you click and drag the link to your Link Toolbar in your Internet browser, it will put the javascript on the bar for you to quickly click and use.

When visiting a site you want to create a link and post about on your blog or website, just click the link and a window will pop up with either your site’s login or, if you are already logged in, a condensed version of the Write Post screen. Inside will be the title filled out with the title of the website you are visiting if there is one and a link in the Editing textarea. You just fill in the text, mark the categories, then save it as a draft or private or publish it.

Now, this is even more powerful than you first may think. If you select text on the page and then click Press It, the text you highlighted will be copied and pasted into the post. Wow That is cool and I love it. What a great feature.

You can learn more about how to use the Press It in the WordPress Codex.

When I want to return to my writing, I use the “Outdent” button (to the left of the blockquote button) and we’re back to normal. Depending on how your theme is configured, your “blockquoted” text could have a pair of apostrophes {“} or a line on the left side, or appear in a bubble, or shaded area. All this says is: “this content is quoted.”

I never use the Title of my quoted text for my title- instead, I write my own. Their title will appear as the link at the top of the blockquote. Remember, this is my take on it- not a wholesale steal. One thing about Pressit- it doesn’t know what to alt title the link- so you have to do it. Select the link, click the link tool- and write a descriptive explanation of what the link is to. While Lorelles post title is pretty clear- it’s not great: so I wrote: Link to Lorelle on WordPress explaining the PressIt function (roll over the link to see this text). The “Title” function is critical for blind people- and a good habit to adopt. Think of one of those Amazon.com links with a million digits and letters, a blind person wouldn’t know what the link is taking him to- and remember, Google is just like a blind person.

So, we’re almost done. Only a few things to pay attention to.

If we’re Pressit’ing from a WordPress site- this works like clockwork. But, if you are quoting a TypePad site or other CMS- you may need to find a “Trackback” address that may be different than the article’s “permalink” or direct URL. This is because WordPress is elegant- and the others, well, they aren’t.

So- get that “Trackback” url and paste it below your post window in the area called “Trackback” (it’s below the upload tool- and usually under the “optional excerpt” pane). Put it in and then make sure to add your post to some categories- and hit “Publish” and you are done.

Now, while you are so proud of yourself for adding someone else’s content to your site, legally- there is one other fringe benefit, if all of this works right: there will now be a comment (or trackback) on Lorelle’s site, with an excerpt and a link to this post. Voila, we’ve built a link and a relationship! Yee-Haw!

Some people with a lot of readers don’t allow comments anymore- just trackbacks to their posts. Need an example- look at Seth Godin’s blog. Note- I have to use one URL for the post, and a second to create a trackback since Seth use TypePad.

Now- while that may seem like a lot, it’s really easy once you get the hang of it. Hopefully, this step-by-step instruction post will help.

Remember, good content brings more readers, more links, and more google love, so make sure what you add to someone else’s content actually adds value to their post.

Lorelle, how’d I do?

Here is a video tutorial from the WordPress crew:
Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.

« »

Leave a Reply

*

5 Responses

  • George says:

    Great post! Can you explain, however, “Select the link, click the link tool…?”

    Thanks again!

  • David Esrati says:

    Hi George- good catch.
    I select the link- that PressIt automatically makes back to her post. It’s underlined in blue – and is the title of her original post. I then click the link tool in my editor- to bring up the link tool dialog box- where it has the link to her post- but no description of that link.
    This is important because links aren’t always self explanatory- if you look at an Amazon.com link it can be a mile long – and never say anything about what item it is linking to- so a blind person would have his screen reader read a really long link- instead of a description of that link: link to amazon.com for the book “Radical Careering” by Sally Hogshead for example.
    Alternate text is important meta data about the link- and WordPress is smart- but not that smart- so you have to give it the alt text.
    I should add some screen shots to this post. Thanks for your question.

  • jon soroko says:

    This is exceptionally helpful! I just used it – smooth the first time. (And I’d been ignoring this feature, imagining a steep learning curve. Thanks!

  • Alex Leonard says:

    I’ve never actually looked at Press It. I must have a gander now, although I tend to use Google Notebook to collect notes from around the place for later use in posts.

  • David Esrati says:

    Pressit was removed from the 2.5 release- see a how to make it work:
    http://www.websitetology.com/?p=303