Add Content Boxes to Individual Posts – No Coding, No Changing Stylesheets, No Changing Themes

 

 

Content boxes give you the flexibility to make each post different in design.  With content boxes added on a post-by-post basis, you can have a variety of  styles without complex themes or plugins.  You can simply add some “copy-and-paste” lines of code to the text editor of the WordPress and use the resulting template in the visual editor.

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All of the content boxes here are responsive and should adapt to any size post column in your blog.  That said, it is best to read this article and apply the resources on a desktop or laptop computer.  Even though the content boxes can be used easily and effectively on most mobile devices, you will best understand them and this article by first seeing them in full size and resolution.

 

  As I mentioned in an earlier update to this blog, I like to vary the formatting of my posts.  I don’t have lots of time to code.  So, I’ve tried a number of plugins meant to help with the kind of formatting I want.  Many were supposed to help replace the formats for asides, image presentation, quotes, links and status updates that WordPress used to make available in its core.  And WP still makes gallery formatting available through the “add media” button in the editor.  But, I’m not satisfied with the plugins or the gallery function provided by WP.  Also, plugins take time to learn how to use.  (Did I mention I don’t have lots of extra time?) And then there’s the expense — the ones you prefer may turn out to be the pricey ones, rather than the free ones.

So, I’ve gone back to coding my own.  It’s actually faster.  Just a few lines of html styled with css can do a lot.  Furthermore, as I mentioned in the content box above, the code I’m going to share with you is designed to work in responsive themes. The css is inline rather than relying on stylesheets, so it should work fine in any theme and won’t change with updates to themes or WP. This article is a demo and how-to for you.  It’s a bit long.  Yet, all you will have to do is copy a bit of text, select the “text” tab in your WP editor, paste it in, hit the “visual” tab and you’re good to go. 

However, there is one change you may have to make.  The editor that comes with WordPress is called “TinyMCE.”  It’s a very good basic editor.  But its visual editor strips some html that it considers superfluous from the modifications (like content boxes) that you make in the “text” editor.  So, in order to make the content boxes look and work correctly, you’ll have to get “TinyMCE Advanced,” if you don’t already have it.  And you will have to use the settings tool to prevent that stripping.

Here’s how to get TinyMCE Advanced.  First, go to https://wordpress.org/plugins/tinymce-advanced/ , install it by whatever method you usually use with your WP and activate it.  If you do not know how to install plugins or themes, you need to learn that before you try adding content boxes to your posts.  You can do that at http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/step-by-step-guide-to-install-a-wordpress-plugin-for-beginners/.  I’m assuming that anyone interested in making their posts look more stylish has the basic skills of using WP.

As I illustrate in the image below, select “settings” from your sidebar and choose “TinyMCE Advanced.”  Your screen should look much like the image.  Find “Advanced Options” and check the box “Keep paragraph tags.”  Be sure to hit the “Save Changes” button before you exit the page.  I leave it to you to find out all the other lovely things you can do with TinyMCE Advanced, but I will say you’ll be pleased with how much more powerful your editor has become.  Of course, if you already do have TinyMCE Advanced, all you need to do is make sure the “Keep paragraph tags” box is checked.

 

 

The article is long because it gives you a whole bunch of content box designs. There’s not a lot of stuff to read — it’s primarily samples of the content boxes themselves and code snippets to copy and paste. Let me start a quick demo with content box examples and code first.  In the next section, after the boxes and code, you’ll find illustrated instructions for putting them in your posts.

 

Below are some very simple centered 50% sized content boxes with white or subtly colored backgrounds. The code for each box appears directly below that box.

 

 

White centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text.  Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; border: thin solid #dddddd; background-color: white; padding: 10px;”>
<p>White centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text.  Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p>
</div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

Very light gray centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; background-color: #f5f5f5; border: thin solid #dddddd; padding: 10px;”>
<p>Very light gray centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p>
</div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

 

Very light blue centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; background-color: #f0f8ff; border: thin solid #dddddd; padding: 10px;”><p>Very light blue centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p></div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

 

Very light pink centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; background-color: mistyrose; border: thin solid #dddddd; padding: 10px;”><p>Very light pink centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p></div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

 

Very light green centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; background-color: #f0fff0; border: thin solid #dddddd; padding: 10px;”><p>Very light green centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p></div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

 

Here are the same content boxes as immediately above, but with an attention-getting thickly-stroked left border.

 

 

White centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Gray left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; border: thin solid #dddddd; padding: 10px; border-left: 10px solid #dddddd;”>
<p>White centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Gray left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p>
</div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

 

Very light gray centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Gray left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; background-color: #f5f5f5; border: thin solid #dddddd; padding: 10px; border-left: 10px solid #dddddd;”><p>Very light gray centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Gray left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p></div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

 

Very light blue centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Blue left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; background-color: #f0f8ff; border: thin solid #dddddd; padding: 10px; border-left: 10px solid blue;”><p>Very light blue centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Blue left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p></div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

 

Light pink centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Red left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; background-color: mistyrose; border: thin solid #dddddd; padding: 10px; border-left: 10px solid red;”><p>Light pink centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Red left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p></div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

 

Very light green centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Green left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.

 

 

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<div style=”margin: auto; width: 50%; background-color: #f0fff0; border: thin solid #dddddd; padding: 10px; border-left: 10px solid green;”><p>Very light green centered 50% content box. Very light gray border. Green left stroke. Select and erase the text in this box and and replace it with your image and/or text. Click your cursor immediately above or below this box to type or place other content outside this box.</p></div>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

 

 

Now, here’s how to get the code into your WP post editor.

 

 

  Select and copy the code for any one of the content boxes you see above.  Like this:

Open your WP post editor and select the “text tab.”  Click inside the editor window and paste the text.

 

 

Select the “visual” tab to return to your usual visual editor, and voila! — there is the box waiting for you to edit the text.  The further instructions for using the content box are actually written as content in the box itself. 

 

   

Next, let’s look at some content boxes that take the entire width of your post area.

 

 

Continue Reading This Post! There’s Lots More…

A few words on formatting posts.

Quick Update

I’ve spent some time in developing some blogging resources for you mini- and micro-entrepreneurs out there who do your own WordPress blogs.

Many of us have discovered how difficult it can be to find and adapt themes to our own styles of presentation.  Themes and theme-builders can get expensive.  Plug-ins for making the themes do what we want add up the $$ too.  And most folks don’t have time to learn how to use complex themes or plug-ins, not to mention learning how to modify WP manually.

Like many others, I’ve found it difficult to get WP Post Formats (like aside posts, status posts, gallery posts, etc.) to work with my favorite themes.  And I really want some variety in the way my posts look.  So, what I’m doing now — again, as I used to do — is simply adding html to my new posts to create the looks I want.

You’ll notice that this post is styled a bit differently than the ones below. It’s an example of a subtle change that can create more visual interest and attention.

In the next few days, I’ll be showing you examples of ways to present your content differently and add variety to your post styles with a quick and simple code.

You’ll get both the demo of the style and the code for it from the article.

(Also, in other posts, I’m still going to be expanding the elements of performance and productivity that I promised in yesterday’s post.)

Source For Free Images That Will Knock Your Socks Off

maldivespavilliononpierI’ve mentioned Unsplash.com before as a site to get copyright-free stock photos.  Indeed, there are several sites that have sprung up over the last couple of years that provide excellent photography with either no copyright restriction or with very generous royalty-free licenses.

But today, I want to talk just about Unsplash.com.  It has become a repository for spectacular landscapes.  That’s not its mission.  It serves up all kinds of subjects.  However, more landscapes appear to be submitted than other kinds of photos.

This is a great opportunity in so many ways.

Think about it this way: look at the photo at the top of this post.  What associations does it bring up for you?

When I first saw it, I thought I could smell the wood of the pier and the salty sea water under it.  I could almost hear a gull cry.  I thought how nice it would be to take a book and a folding chair down to that pavilion at the end of the pier and just sit, read and enjoy the silence, solitude and sea breeze.

Pictures like this are wonderful for inspirational posters.  Or inclusion in inspirational videos (maybe even with the sound of a gull dubbed in.)  They’re great in greeting cards and postcards. They are valuable to use as conceptual art for stimulating ideas for posts and articles of all sorts. They make fine backgrounds for compositing to create illustrations for books and ebooks.

There is no end to their uses.  They are a treasure trove for putting together products quickly.  Or making a point that you can’t fully express with just text.

Their greatest value, however, is in the fact that they make you feel something.  They speak to the emotions of your readers or viewers.

Nature photography — especially landscape– and art actually has been shown in scientific research to quickly and effectively reduce stress and lift spirits.

Because of the emotional connection, folks who read your articles and books may be more engaged and more likely to write comments or reviews.  People who view your nature/landscape themed videos may be more attracted to see more of your channel.  The products you make from photos that are excellent in and of themselves will probably sell better.  Especially if you are good at enhancing them and fitting them to the right products.

As I said, free public domain photos that are so good are a real opportunity.  What are you waiting for?

Take it.  Create something even more wonderful than the photos per se.