Beyond Blogs: Attaching Files to Your WordPress

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Over the past decade, nearly everyone has uttered the phrase, “Maybe I’ll start a blog” – and many have even hopped online and claimed a URL through WordPress or another simple blogging site. It’s what comes after creating the blog that’s difficult, though.

What can you post besides your own general ramblings? While the ultimate content of what you post depends on what interests you, the ultimate answer is that with the WordPress Media tool, you can post almost anything.

How it Works

WordPress is designed to be intuitive, even for amateur web designers, so it should come as no surprise that they’ve built in a simple process for adding downloadable media to your site. When you want to add a file to your page, all you need to do is place your cursor in the desired spot on the page, select the Add Media button, choose the file, and add the link description. Then, when someone wants to download your file, they simply click on the link.

Let’s take a simple employee schedule file as an example. Many companies and organizations upload Excel spreadsheets with their schedules to an internal page to keep everyone up to date. All you have to do is create a schedule, save it to your computer, and then select that file through the Add Media process. Then, link the file to text that says something like “Download Employee Schedule.”

Media Types

The download creation procedure doesn’t vary much between different file types – you can add an audio file just as easily as a document – but depending on the source of the original file and the purpose of your page, you might want to consider a few other options.

Sometimes people want to link PDFs found elsewhere online to their WordPress site without having to download the original file. This is also an easy procedure; the only difference between adding a file from your computer and from a URL is the tab you select under Add Media. If the file is on your home computer, you work from the “From Computer” tab, while if the file lives elsewhere online, click on “From URL.”

Plugin Potential

Podcasts are an extremely popular type of media today. Companies use them for training, hobbyists listen to the latest from their field of interest, and people even enjoy getting the news from them. If you’ve created your own podcast, you might want to make the files directly available for download and also offer a way to listen to them onsite. To do the latter, you’ll need to add a plugin.

There are several good podcasting plugins available. One of the most popular is the user-friendly PodPress. This plugin gives you the ability to not only upload and play your podcasts, but also to create an iTunes compatible feed. Since most people don’t listen to podcasts directly from websites, but take them on the go, this is a valuable option to have.

Another good option for taking the iTunes customization further is iPodCatter. This plugin is best for those who aren’t very concerned about the on-site representation of their podcasts, but who want to fully integrate all necessary iTunes data, such as file duration and tags. This can save you a few steps by putting all the iTunes components in one place.

WordPress isn’t just a place to assemble blog posts and pictures, but is truly a fully-functioning site builder if you know how to use it. By learning to add downloadable files to your page, you take an important step towards creating a great website.