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 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…

Earth Day and Public Domain Photo Resources

earth day image NASA 2014
Happy Earth Day — Photo source: NASA

Recently I’ve written a couple of posts that involve the use of public domain photos.  And I just published my second newsletter in a row that was focused on delivering resources for children’s books or children’s products from the public domain.  So it seemed that delivering some resources for great public domain photos of the earth — and even the rest of the universe — would be just the right touch for Earth Day.  Following are two amazing sources of PD photos for your creative projects: NASA and the US Geological Survey.

NASA Photos:

First, I want to recommend NASA as an outstanding source of mind-blowing photos, particularly the galleries at the HubbleSite.  The one above is pretty tame compared to the richly colorful and exciting space photos available in their galleries.  Just be sure to read their terms and disclaimers. While most of their photos are PD, some are not and you need to contact the copyright owners for permission.  Check every one you use to make sure it doesn’t have a copyright on it.  It should be marked.  And don’t forget that it is customary to credit the photographer and source of your photos.  They’ll tell you how on site.

To give you an idea of how beautiful the photos are, here are some examples:

Spitzer and Hubble Create Colorful Masterpiece
Source: Hubblesite.org

The Cat
Source: Hubblesite.org

Spiral Galaxy M83
Source: Hubblesite.org

US Geological Survey Photos:

Next, I recommend the US Geological Survey for its highly professional offerings of photos, especially its landscapes. Many of its pictures will be immediately usable without any editing.  Of course, any public domain photo can be customized and used as you like.  Even if you properly credit the photo, remember to add credits and descriptions for yourself as well if you do substantial editing, remixing or derivatives.  And remember my recommendation of IntensifyPro as a standalone or plug it for rapid editing.  Since many of these photos are ripe for being backgrounds for quotes and other inspirational text, don’t forget that you can upload photos to your account at ShareAsImage.com and make them into great social media shares.

Here are some examples of USGS public domain photos for your inspiration:

How about a sunset on a California beach:

Sunset on a beach in LaJolla
Photographer: Guy DeMeo , U.S. Geological Survey

 

A rainbow over the Yukon river:

Rainbow_over_Yukon_River__Eagle__Alaska__June_2002
Photographer: Mark Dornblaser , U.S. Geological Survey

Or a gentle forest stream:

Gentle forest stream
Photographer: Cynthia L. Cunningham , U.S. Geological Survey

 

Go get some of your own.  Make your website beautiful.  Create inspirational posters. Illustrate your ebooks.  Let the government help you be more creative and productive.