Checklist for contributors

This is a contributor’s checklist for every post to the Philly Soccer Page. It includes both a guide to getting your post set up, a style guide, and a list of general tips.


Guide to posting

1) Headlines
  • Capitalize only the first word and proper nouns.
  • Your headline must be interesting enough to prompt people to click, or they’ll never click in to read read your post.
2) Excerpt

Write an excerpt of less than 45 words in the Excerpt box, which is found below your Post box further down on the page. This will appear on the front page beneath your headline. This is what entices people in to read your post.

3) Featured Image

Here’s how to set the featured image that will appear for your post on the front page. All posts need one.

  • Click the button for Set Featured Image (under the headline, Featured Image).
  • Search for and select a photo from the Media Library.
    1. Some photos don’t turn up in the search because they have not been properly indexed by the names of players or teams. So an alternative way to find photos is to look through the photo essays, either in the dashboard or on the site itself.
    2. If you can’t find an image this way, select an image from our Flickr page, save it to your hard drive, and upload it via Set Featured Image. Include in the description the names of players and teams shown in the photo, as well as the photographer’s name.
  • Credit the photo in italics at the top of your post. Example: Photo: Nicolae Stoian.
  • Note: Featured photos should we ones that are longer horizontally than they are vertically.
4) Twitter

Under the section, write a short (113 characters or less) phrase that will be posted to Twitter when your post goes live.

5) Grammar & spelling
  • Spellcheck. There is spellcheck button on the dashboard above your posting box. (Identify the button from the ABC on top of a checkmark.)
  • Proofread. Reread your post to catch language errors.
  • Use only one space after a sentence, not two.
6) Subheadlines

Subheadlines should be done in Heading 5 format. You can set this by dragging down from the Paragraph menu.

7) Format options

Studies have shown that online readers skim more than they read. You need to pull them back into the post with clear formatting that makes your post more than just one big wall of similar text. Here are some suggested options:

  • subheadlines
  • bulletpoint lists
  • numbered lists
  • boldface images
8) Categories

Select what category your post falls into. Typically, it’s no more than one or two categories.

Examples: Union, Match Reports, Local, Philadelphians Abroad, Player of the Week.

9) Tags

Tag any proper noun you think would be searched online. This increases visibility on search engines.

Examples: Philadelphia Union, Amobi Okugo, PPL Park, Columbus Crew, Major League Soccer.

10) Save draft and email Ed

Ed will handle getting your post live on the daily schedule. Just let him know when your post is ready to go.

Details to include when uploding photos

When uploading a photo to the site, please include the following details:

  • Name(s) of player(s) in the photo
  • Name(s) of team(s) in the photo
  • Date of the photo (month/year will do)
  • Name of photographer
  • Any other details that seem appropriate (Example: PPL Park, Chester, parking lot, etc.)

This will make the photo searchable in our media library, which means the photo will be more likely to be used as a featured photo in subsequent posts. If that info isn’t in there, it becomes very difficult to find and use the photo later.

Style Guide

A style guide is something newspapers and magazines use to give guidance on commonly misused grammar or terms or ways of writing things that are standard for PSP. This list will grow as time goes on.

  • 18 years old vs. 18-year-old.

Correct: Williams is 22 years old. Wiliams is a 22-year-old player. Williams is a 22-year-old.

  • Apostrophes and plurals: Do not use an apostrophe for a plural unless you are pluralizing an acronym.

Correct: There were two MVP’s.
Incorrect: The Harrisburg Islander’s play on Sunday.

  • Philadephia Union vs. the Philadelphia Union

Correct: Philadelphia Union and D.C. United play on Saturday.
Correct: The Union and D.C. United play on Saturday.

General tips

Never use two words when one will do

Be clear and concise. Never use more words than you need to. Find a shorter way to say the same thing. Don’t feel obligated to write long.

Mark Twain once said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

What he meant is that self-editing sometimes takes time. But if you self-edit, you’ll find ways to write more fluidly so that more readers read every word you say instead of skimming some or simply checking out halfway through. The analogy is this: Reading should be like swimming through water, not swimming through tar.

How long should my post be?

Let this be your guide:

  • A newspaper “brief” is anything under 200 words. (These are usually quick announcements.)
  • A short newspaper story is 240 to 300 words.
  • The average newspaper story is 450 to 600 words.
  • The average op-ed column is 480 to 720 words.
  • A newspaper story is considered to be long once it exceeds 900 words.
  • A story typically gets the special feature treatment once it’s over 1,500 words.

The difference in writing online is that you’re not limited by the amount of space on a physical piece of paper. So you can write longer if you want to, and the above list is not a strict rule in how we have to approach. However, use it as a guideline.

You can see the word count for your post in the bottom left corner beneath your post box.

When should I use subheadlines?

If your post is over 750 words, use subheadlines in the post. They may also be appropriate for shorter posts. Use your judgment.

Should I write my post inside the WordPress dashboard or in a separate file?

It’s up to you. Lately, our server problems have made the site run slower when multiple people are in the dashboard.

If you write your post in a .doc file and then cut and paste into the dashboard, make sure to use the plain text option when you paste it in the window. You can find that by clicking the T button on the row of buttons above the post box.

How do I insert video into my post?
  1. A video should have an embed code. Copy that.
  2. Click on the Text tab in the upper right hand corner above your post box. (You’ll see it next to a tab labeled “Visual”.)
  3. Paste in the embed code where you want the video.
  4. Click the Visual tab. There should now be a big box where you want your video to go.
What else can I do with formatting?

There are a bunch of buttons above your post box. Test them all out. Most are useful.