Getting Started with WordPress. A Guide to Building Your Website

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1 Getting Started with WordPress A Guide to Building Your Website

2 dfsdsdf WordPress is an amazing website building tool. The goal of this ebook is to help you get started building your personal or business website using WordPress. Bring your ideas and content and let s get started. IN THIS EBOOK, YOU LL LEARN: An overview of what makes up a WordPress website How to use one of many WordPress themes to give your website a unique look How to extend the capabilities of your website with WordPress plugins How to create posts and pages along with adding media to create the content for your WordPress website

3 Table of Contents The important things to know about WordPress are who develops it and how it is maintained, how to install WordPress and use it with your own personal or business domain, and the primary WordPress modules including themes and plugins. PART 1: IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WORDPRESS SECTION 1: WordPress Introduction 6 Why WordPress? 6 The Many Uses of WordPress 7 How WordPress is Created and Maintained 8 SECTION 2: Getting Started with WordPress 9 Managed WordPress Hosting 9 Choosing Your Website Domain 11 What Makes Up a WordPress Website 13 SECTION 3: Themes and Plugins 17 Themes: Giving Your Website a Unique Appearance 17 Plugins: Extending Your Website Functionality 19

4 Table of Contents When creating your WordPress website, it is good to know about your profile, your site settings, WordPress themes and plugins, the Dashboard, pages, posts, media and setting up users. PART 2: CREATING YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE SECTION 4: Using the WordPress Dashboard 23 Getting Help 24 Edit Your Profile/Add New Users 24 Adjust Your Site Settings 25 Installing Your Theme 27 Managing Your WordPress Site Navigation 28 Creating WordPress Widgets 29 SECTION 5: Creating Your Website 31 Option 1: Your Home Page Shows Your Latest Blog Posts 31 Option 2: Use a Static Front Page for Your Website 34 Adding Media to Your WordPress Website 38 Adding and Managing Plugins 40 WordPress Security 42 Checklist Before Launching Your WordPress Site 44

5 PART 1: IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WORDPRESS

6 SECTION 1: WordPress Introduction Why WordPress? WordPress currently powers about 25% of the Internet. That is nothing less than incredible. WordPress is much more than a website builder, it has now become an entire cottage industry. Congratulations, you have decided to build a website! You may want to create your own blog or showcase your personal hobby or interest. You may need to promote your business or potentially sell products online. Creating a website can be very rewarding. And if it s for your business, it can be very essential to attract more business and build your firm s credibility. The next decision is trying to decide how to build your website. There are a lot of choices today. Obviously you have heard about WordPress to have downloaded this ebook. So why WordPress? WordPress currently powers approximately 25% of the Internet. That is nothing less than incredible. There s no other website building tool that even comes close. WordPress is more than a website builder, it has now become an entire cottage industry. There are many, many options and addons that can tailor WordPress to fit a wide variety of needs, including yours. You can choose themes to make your site unique, you can add plugins to extend and enhance your website and you have a large community of WordPress users to network with. Part of the reason WordPress is so popular is because it s open source software, meaning that anyone can download it and edit the software. This allows individuals and organizations to extend and enhance WordPress with themes, plugins and more. We ll cover these in this ebook. 6

7 SECTION 1: WORDPRESS INTRODUCTION Another reason WordPress is popular is because it is provided to users at no charge. Anyone who uses WordPress to power their website does not need to pay the software publisher any licensing fees. While WordPress is very powerful, it has a learning curve to get started. Trying to tackle it on your own can be challenging. And that s why we created this ebook to help you learn WordPress. Our goal is to get you up and running with WordPress to develop your website and to know what things are important to consider as you build a WordPress-powered site. Because WordPress has so many abilities, we will focus on those you need to know to get started. Not everything is covered in this ebook, just the essentials you need to get started and launch your website. We encourage you to use WordPress. It will let you do just about anything you would like online. So let s get started. The Many Uses of WordPress You can use WordPress for many different types of websites. Initially, WordPress was just for bloggers. However over the 10 years it has been available, WordPress has become much more. Here is a sample list of possible websites one can build with WordPress. A blog to express yourself and invite comments An online portfolio to showcase your work A resume to help you get a new job A business website to promote a company and its products An ecommerce store to sell products online A non-profit website to help others know about it goals and objectives A community website around a common interest Major brands that use WordPress 7

8 SECTION 1: WORDPRESS INTRODUCTION An online discussion board to discuss various topics An educational website to help others learn A wiki or website that provides documentation for a specific topic The important thing for you as you get started with WordPress is to determine what you want to accomplish with your website. Making that decision first is key, because many other decisions will be much easier once you decide what your website objectives are. How WordPress is Created and Maintained We mentioned earlier that WordPress is open source. Open source software is any software where the source code is available to anyone for modification and enhancement. Source code is the part of software that you generally don t see. It s the code software developers can modify to change how a piece of software program or application works. Software developers who have access to a computer program s source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don t always work correctly. WordPress is not only open source, but is created by a community of qualified software developers who participate in the development of new releases of the application. This brings in a wealth of ideas on how to improve the application and make it better. You have developers from different companies and independent programmers who work to continually improve the product. That is one of the reasons that WordPress is such a great solution for building your website. It is continually updated and improved for your benefit. 8

9 SECTION 2: Getting Started with WordPress Managed WordPress Hosting One of the easiest ways to install and setup WordPress is to choose a managed WordPress hosting vendor. Some pre-install WordPress for you, others provide a simple installation tool. Any website software needs to be installed and configured on a web server. That can be a bit challenging for users who do not consider themselves very technical. The good news is that there are a number of options that make it easy to install and configure. One of the best options is choosing a web hosting vendor who supports WordPress. Most WordPress hosting services provide a very easy way to install WordPress. In many cases you simply choose the username and password for managing WordPress and click go. The installation tool will do the rest. Some hosting solutions will even pre-install one instance of WordPress for you. And if you want more than one WordPress website, you can quickly install it again through a simple installation tool. Configuring WordPress can be a little more work. We ll cover some of the important things to do to get your website up and running. With many managed hosting services, you can get your own personal website domain. Many WordPress hosting services offer one as part of the hosting fee. Other WordPress hosting options do not provide you with your own domain. If you are ok with that, these services can be a good way to get started. Otherwise, you will want to choose a managed hosting provider that supports your own domain. A number of WordPress hosting services include web-based that you can use with your personal domain. This is ideal for businesses. For example, you can create 9

10 SECTION 2: GETTING STARTED WITH WORDPRESS addresses like and redirect that address to any account you want. With managed WordPress hosting, you have a wide range of hosting service options. You can start small with a shared hosting service to very high end virtual private and dedicated servers. The higher end service have fewer users sharing the same server resources. Well managed WordPress hosting services have a dedicated staff of professionals that manage servers, the network and infrastructure to insure that your site is up and performing well. A good managed WordPress hosting service will give you unmetered bandwidth out of their data center. This is helpful when your website gets traffic spikes due to a promotion or other cause. The ability to grow your traffic and not worry about bandwidth limitations is a valuable feature. And maybe most important, with managed WordPress hosting you will get a technical support staff you can contact to assist you with problems you run into. Never underestimate the power of good technical support to help you out when you get stuck or in a jam. 10

11 SECTION 2: GETTING STARTED WITH WORDPRESS Choosing Your Website Domain As mentioned above, many WordPress hosting services provide you with a domain and the option to add more as needed. There are a number of advantages for choosing your own was sold for $35 million.) domain. A unique domain name can help you establish your brand identity. If you are a small business or trying to start a new business, this can be very important. Having your own domain name can make it easier for visitors to find and remember your website. With your own domain name, there are methods you can use to have your domain be located in higher search engine results so that your target visitors will find your website more often. Finding a good domain name can be challenging. For example, short domain names are generally not available unless the current owner wants to sell it. And buying an existing domain name can be expensive, much more than what you will pay for a WordPress hosting service. (A few years ago, for example, VacationRentals.com Still having your own domain name can be important to help you achieve your website goals. The best advice for choosing a domain name is to find one that closely aligns with your brand name if you have one. If you don t have a brand name, look for a domain name that is close to your website objective. For example, if you want to create a website around hiking, look for a memorable domain name that relates to hiking. 11

12 SECTION 2: GETTING STARTED WITH WORDPRESS It s best to remember to stick with domain names that are short and simple, if possible, and easy to spell. And if this is a business website, extensions are important.com, for example, is the most accepted and used domain extension for businesses. There are a few ways to search for domain names. Some websites that can help you are: DreamHost.com LeanDomainSearch.com Domainr.com Once you find a good domain, register it! You want to hang on to that name as it may be difficult to get in the future. Some WordPress hosting services will allow you to both register your domain and set up your hosting for your WordPress website during signup. Some WordPress hosting services even include one domain as part of their hosting package. 12

13 SECTION 2: GETTING STARTED WITH WORDPRESS What Makes Up a WordPress Website It helps to understand all the components that make up a WordPress website. Dashboard. The WordPress Dashboard is where you manage your website and add content. Database. Each WordPress website requires a database to store most of its website information. This includes all content, settings, posts, comments, categories, links, user information and data about your images and other media. Posts. Posts are your blog posts. If you are creating a blog website, this is where you create each of your individual blog posts. Even if you are building a website to promote your business, you can have a section of your website for blog posts. Pages. Pages are for every page on your site that is not a blog post. These are the main pages when creating a static website. Even for a blog only website, you may want to create pages about yourself and how to contact you. Categories and Tags. Categories and tags are tools to make it easier for your visitors to find the information they are interested in that is in your blog posts. Categories, for example are a broad grouping of your post topics. Tags are similar to categories but generally get used to describe your post in more detail. Media. The media section is a library of all of your images and videos. Once you include an image, you will be able to use it on any page or blog post. You can also use the media library to 13

14 SECTION 2: GETTING STARTED WITH WORDPRESS store PDFs or other files that you may want to share with your users. Comments. The comments section allows you to view the comments from people who have visited your website and commented on a blog post. You can reply to your visitor s comments. If they are inappropriate, you can un-approve them. WordPress also includes a free add-on tool to check for spam comments. Menus. The menus set the navigation for your website. You can choose how to organize your website and create navigation links to help users go to different sections of your website. Themes. Themes determine the appearance of your website. WordPress comes with a few built-in themes just to get you started. One of the themes is set as active by default. WordPress also allows you to search from within the Dashboard for a different theme. And you can also install a new theme on your website that you acquire from a third party theme developer or provider. Widgets. A widget is a small block on your website that performs specific functions. These are typically used to create and customize a sidebar or footer. You can add a search section, links to your most recent posts, categories of your posts, links to specific pages and much more. Plugins. Plugins are extensions to WordPress that add the features you want or need. Not every WordPress website needs the same set of features. Plugins allow you to choose only those features you need based on the objectives of your website. WordPress comes with a few default plugins installed, which you can choose to use or disable. Users. Users are anyone who has access to the dashboard of your WordPress website, whether to add or edit content, to manage the appearance or any number of tasks. If you want 14

15 SECTION 2: GETTING STARTED WITH WORDPRESS Administrator Editor Author Contributor Subscriber Customize dashboard Manage plugins Manage themes Edit theme options Manage users Moderate comments Manage categories & tags Edit & delete posts & pages Upload media files Publish posts & pages Delete posts & pages Edit posts & pages Read public posts & pages to have a guest author, for example, for your blog website, you can set them up to write their own posts. There are five basic types of users: 1. Administrator anyone who has access to all administrative features for your site such as installing new themes and plugins, approving users, and more 2. Editor anyone who can publish and manage posts including the posts of other users 3. Author anyone who can publish and manage their own posts 15

16 SECTION 2: GETTING STARTED WITH WORDPRESS 4. Contributor anyone who can write and manage their own posts but cannot publish them 5. Subscriber anyone who can manage their profile and view the site Tools. If you have created any blogs on another system, there s a good chance that WordPress can import them to use on your WordPress website. There are a number of import tools to import your blogs and categorize/tag them. One of the built-in tool allows you write a quick post whenever you come across something on the web you d like to write a post about. In the Available Tools page, drag the Press This bookmarklet to the menu bar on your browser. Then whenever you want to create a blog about something you see on the web, simply press it. Settings. WordPress allows you to choose from a number of settings your site title, tagline, WordPress address (URL), timezone, date format and more. You can also define settings for creating posts, what your home page will display, default post and comment settings, default image sizes and set up your URL structure as you add new posts and pages (these are called permalinks ). 16

17 SECTION 3: Themes and Plugins Themes: Giving Your Website a Unique Appearance The WordPress theme you choose will create your unique website appearance. The appearance of your website is one way to distinguish yourself or your business. One important step in getting started with WordPress is choosing a theme. The WordPress theme you choose will create your unique website appearance. The appearance of your website is one way to distinguish yourself or your business. An attractive website will be appealing to visitors and encourage them to not only visit your site often but to stay there when they do visit. There are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from. Many WordPress themes are free, others must be paid for from theme vendors. There are so many themes out there, it s hard to chose which one to use. Some guidelines for choosing a good theme for your website are listed below: Align the theme with your website objective. This is one of the areas where deciding the goals of your website is important. You ll want to choose a theme that aligns with your goals. For example, if you are creating a blog, you will want to choose a theme that is designed for blogs. Some themes are designed for specific types of businesses, such as a real estate agency, a restaurant or a law firm. Keep things simple. Some themes add lots of complex layouts, flashy animations and more. Sometimes you need those options, but most of the time you do not. You want your website to look good without sacrificing usability and simplicity. Support for mobile phones and tablets. More and more internet users are using mobile 17

18 SECTION 3: THEMES AND PLUGINS browsers. You need to make sure that the theme you choose works well on a mobile device. Those themes are called responsive and a good responsive theme will allow your website to be viewed on any device, from a small smartphone to a large monitor. Google searches will show mobile friendly websites at the top of their search results. Good performance. You want to choose a theme that doesn t add a lot of extra features you aren t going to use. Often these extra features will cause your website to perform poorly. Performance can affect how many site visitors you get and how well your website ranks in search engine results. Provides Technical Support. Consider whether or not you will need support. One of the disadvantages of free themes is that they generally do not provide any support options. A good premium theme will typically come with good documentation and one year of support. That can be important when you run into an issue that you cannot resolve yourself. SEO optimized. It is possible for a good looking theme to generate poor code that can affect performance on search engines. Look for a theme that says its pages are optimized for SEO (search engine optimization). Ratings and reviews. Many themes will provide reviews from current or previous users. These are worthwhile to give you an idea of the value of the theme. Look for a theme that has good ratings. 18

19 SECTION 3: THEMES AND PLUGINS So where do you find a theme? There are a number of ways to choose the right theme for you. The WordPress Dashboard, where you manage your WordPress website, has a theme section. This includes a theme browser where you can view themes hosted on WordPress.org which are free to use. Theme providers. There are many theme providers who offer free and premium themes. Good theme providers will usually have tools to help you filter the options to align with your website goals. WordPress.org also provides a theme directory of commercially supported themes. While these premium themes will are paid for, you will receive some form of technical support. Also, these themes are generally updated on a regular basis. Some popular WordPress theme providers include StudioPress, Creative Market, and Pixel Union. They offer both free and premium themes. Plugins: Extending Your Website Functionality Plugins are an important component of a WordPress site. Plugins extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site. There are over forty-thousand available on WordPress.org alone. That s one of the big reasons to use WordPress. There are plugins that can do just about anything you might want to do with your website. Some plugins are primarily for administrative use, such as backing up your WordPress site. 19

20 SECTION 3: THEMES AND PLUGINS Others change how your site behaves for visitors. You need to be careful what plugins you add to your site, as many are not performance optimized and can slow your site down. Visitors don t like slow performing websites. Performance is especially an issue for visitors on a cellular network or slow connection. Plugins are created by independent developers. Ones hosted on WordPress.org are reviewed when submitted, so they abide by the best coding practices and guidelines of the WordPress respository. Select them carefully and plugins will serve you well. Like themes, there are free plugins and premium plugins. There are many good free plugins, but you do need to be careful about selecting them. With free plugins, you may not get any support to help you with them. With premium plugins from a reputable vendor, you are generally going to get highly quality, more features, ongoing development and support. 20

21 SECTION 3: THEMES AND PLUGINS Types of Plugins to Consider The types of plugins you will want to consider are really based on the goals of your website. Some of the more common ones you may want to consider include: Caching plugins. Because WordPress is built on a database, it has to generate each page for every visitor. This requires a database request to retrieve the page information. Caching will hold the page contents in memory which is much faster and will greatly speed up the performance of your website. Some WordPress hosting services include caching support for you. In those cases, you do not need to install caching plugins. Security protection. There are some great plugins to help keep your website secure. See more in the WordPress Security section. Backing up your data. You are going to want to backup your website on a regular basis. There are some good plugins that can enable this. Again, some WordPress hosting services will provide a good backup solution as part of the service. Contact forms. If you want people to be able to contact you, a good plugin, such as WPForms, will simplify creating a contact form. Default plugins. Your default WordPress installation includes some plugins from Automattic, such as Akismet and Hello Dolly. Akismet checks comments on your blogs to see if they are spam or not. Hello Dolly is an example plugin to show how to create plugins (for individuals who have programming skills). SEO. To be more easily found on the web, a good SEO plugin will help optimize your site for search engine optimization. Fonts. Font plugins will make it easy to use free Google fonts on your website. There are many others you will want to consider. You can find reviews of many of the available WordPress plugins at wordpress.org. 21

22 PART 2: CREATING YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE

23 SECTION 4: Using the WordPress Dashboard In Part 1 of this ebook, we focused on WordPress and each of the components of a WordPress website. In Part 2, we will explore using the WordPress Dashboard to create your website. At this point, we will assume you have WordPress installed. Using the WordPress Dashboard The WordPress Dashboard is where you create your website. You add pages, posts, media and manage your themes, plugins, users and settings in the dashboard. First thing you need to do, of course, is log into your dashboard. Go to your favorite web browser and enter your domain name followed by /wp-admin, such as mydomain.com/wp-admin You will need to add your username and password. The first time you get to this page, you may not have a password yet. In this case, click the Lost your password? link. This will send you an to create a new password (typically the address you used to sign up with your web hosting service provider). First thing you will see after you log in is the Dashboard Home. The dashboard home offers ways to get started. You can customize the look of your site, write your first blog, set up one of the default plugins and more. The home page includes a set of option panels. You can choose which of these panels you want displayed by clicking on the Screen Options button in the top right. On the left hand side of the dashboard, you will see the Administration Menu. You will see navigation links to Posts, Media, Pages, Comments, Appearance, Plugins, Users and more. 23

24 SECTION 4: USING THE WORDPRESS DASHBOARD Getting Help Because WordPress is so popular, there are many articles and support forums for you to go to for help. The WordPress Dashboard includes an important button to find this help. In the top right of dashboard, you will find a Help button. This button will assist you wherever you are in the dashboard. If you are on the Themes page, for example, it will guide you on how to use that page. It will also include links to documentation and support forums. Help is usually available at any time you need it by clicking on the Help button. Edit Your Profile/Add New Users You can change more about the dashboard to suit your needs. Hover over Users in your Administration Menu and click on Your Profile. At the top of the page are your options for your dashboard color scheme. On this page, you can also customize how your name is displayed on your website, by adding in a first and last name, and picking the display name of your choice. If your changes you can edit it here. You can also set up a new user to help manage or write content for your site. Go to the Add New User page in this section. You will need to provide a username, address and password as a minimum. You can optionally add their first and last name. You will also definitely want to set up their specific role based on what they need to do. We covered these roles in part 1 of this ebook. 24

25 SECTION 4: USING THE WORDPRESS DASHBOARD Adjust Your Site Settings There are many settings you can select and change to tailor WordPress for your website. It is important to do this early on. Hover over Settings in the Administration Menu and click on General. The Settings section of the dashboard is organized into different areas. Here are the settings you will want to review and potentially change. The others not outlined below can be ignored when you are just starting out. In General settings: Change the title and tagline of your site. It is a good idea to include keywords that your visitors will search on in your tagline if you can do so naturally. This will help them find your site easier. Make sure the address is a working when your WordPress site applies updates, it will this address with information. Update your prefered date and time zone settings. In Reading settings: Select what you want to use for your Home page (front page displays). If this is a blog site, you may want to leave the front page at the default Your latest posts. You can also choose a static front page, which will display the content of the selected page. If you want your front page to be a landing page, you ll want to change it to a static front page, which you need to create first. After you create the page, come back to make this change. (Note: Some themes do this automatically, customizing your front page with a specially designed layout.) 25

26 SECTION 4: USING THE WORDPRESS DASHBOARD Select how many posts you want shown on your post listing pages throughout your site; somewhere between 5 and 10 is a good option. Last, do you want search engines to index your site? If this is a public site, the answer is Yes! Make sure the Discourage search engines from indexing this site option is unchecked. In Discussion settings: Since WordPress is a great blogging site builder, it includes options for conversations via comments. Here you create the default blog settings (which can be overridden on a single post). One decision you want to make is whether you want to allow visit to post comments on your posts. If not, uncheck Allow people to post comments on new articles. Allowing comments on posts will not turn them on for your pages, however, just your posts. If you do allow visitors to post comments, leave the option to require users to register to leave a comment unchecked. Unless you re a private site for registered users only, you do not need this. You may or may not want to receive s each time there is a comment to one of your posts. You may or may not want to manually approve a comment before it is shown. In Media settings: Here you define the default image sizes. There are three settings: thumbnail, medium and large. You can also have WordPress organize how your media library folders are organized on the server. The recommended default is by month and year. In Permalinks settings: Permalinks are the URL of how your new posts and pages will be created. It is recommended that you change the default setting to Post name, although permalinks with year, month and day are fine too. These structures make URLs easier for your visitors to read and can boost your search engine optimization. 26

27 SECTION 4: USING THE WORDPRESS DASHBOARD It is not recommended to use the Plain setting. It is not the best for your website s search engine optimization. Installing Your Theme Once you choose a theme, you will need to install it. Hover your mouse over the Appearance navigation link and click on Themes. Here you will see the default WordPress themes. At the top of the Themes section, you will also see an Add New button. Click on this button. The Add Themes page shows, by default, a searchable selection of themes hosted on WordPress.org and a button to upload your own theme file. Let s review both. Theme Browser. The theme browser gives you a way to review a wide selection of free themes hosted on WordPress.org. Some themes will be featured, some marked as popular and others market as the latest. There is also a filter to narrow the selection down to a specific color, layout, important features or subject. If you choose to use the theme browser, select the Feature Filter and go to the layout section. Click on Responsive Layout. This will make sure you choose a theme that supports mobile devices. Then browse the themes until you find one you like. You can preview any theme first by clicking on the Preview button within any theme frame. The Install button will install the theme. Then you can activate it to use that theme. 27

28 SECTION 4: USING THE WORDPRESS DASHBOARD Upload Your Own Theme. If you choose to use a free or premium theme you got from a theme developer or third party theme provider, you can upload it here. To do this, click the Upload Theme button. Clicking this button allows you to choose the theme.zip file you downloaded from the theme provider. (Don t unpack the.zip file, leave it as is.) Simply choose the file, click Install Now. Once the theme is installed, you can preview it, experiment with customizations and activate it. If you like the theme, click the Activate link. Your new theme will now be in use, with any of your previous customizations intact. Some themes will include documentation. It is a good idea to view this before you activate the theme to see what options the theme provides. There will also be a link to this documentation once you have installed and activated the theme. Usually this is in the Appearance section of the navigation. Managing Your WordPress Site Navigation Every good website has a good menu solution to make it easy for site visitors to navigate around your website. WordPress provides a way for you to create a custom menu. The theme you chose will define the appearance of your menus, but you define what they are and what pages they link to. There are two ways to manage your menus: The Menus Page. Hover your mouse over the Appearance link in your Administration Menu and click on Menus. 28

29 SECTION 4: USING THE WORDPRESS DASHBOARD To create a menu, click on the create a new menu link. Choose a name and then click the Create Menu button. As you add new pages or posts, you will be able to add them to your new menu. Simply choose one or more pages and click Add to Menu. In the panel on the right, you drag each item in the order you want them to show in your Menu. You can even have a page be a submenu item by dragging it under one of the menu items. When you are done, click the Save Menu button. Manage in the Customizer. WordPress includes a feature called the Customizer. At the top of the Menus page is a button Manage in Customer. Invoking this will take you to the Menu section of the Customizer, where you can also manage your menus. Each page or post can be renamed in the Menu. This is useful to keep Menu names short especially when the blog post or web page has a long name. In addition you can create menu items that are custom links to a different page outside of your website. You can also link to your site s categories, tags and posts. Some themes support more than one menu. For example, the theme might support a header menu and a footer menu. You can have a different menu for each location. 29

30 SECTION 4: USING THE WORDPRESS DASHBOARD Creating WordPress Widgets A widget is a small block of text that is generally used for a custom sidebar or footer. You can have different widgets that are used on different pages. The theme you choose may use widgets for different sections of your website. They may be used for an about us section, a testimonials section and any number of blocks within a page on your site. There are a number of things that can be included in a WordPress widget. Default widgets include: Archive a monthly archive of your site s posts Calendar a calendar of your site s posts Categories a list or drop down of your categories Pages a list of your site s pages Recent comments your site s most recent comments Recent posts your site s most recent posts Search a search form for your site Text a text block or HTML block (which can include links) To populate your sidebars with individual widgets, all you do is drag and drop the widget into the desired area. You can drag as many individual widgets into the sidebar as you want, for example. Once you drag a widget into a sidebar, it will open to allow you to configure its settings, such as the Title. When you are happy with the widget settings, click the Save button and the widget will go live on your site. If you click Delete, it will remove the widget. 30

31 SECTION 5: Creating Your Website Now that your site design is complete, it s time to start creating your website. The next two options will get you started one if you want your home page to show your latest blog posts and another if you are using a static page for your home page. The first decision you need to make when creating a WordPress blog is what you would like the home page to be your latest blog or a static page. Both options assume you have: 1. Selected a WordPress hosting provider 2. Selected a domain (if your hosting provider supports it) 3. Installed WordPress 4. Logged into the WordPress Dashboard 5. Selected and activated a theme 6. Set up the main WordPress settings Option 1: Your Home Page Shows Your Latest Blog Posts To create your first blog post, go to the Posts navigation link in the Administration Menu. First thing you will see is that there is a sample blog Hello world! If you want to view the sample blog, hover over the blog title and click Edit. This post isn t really needed and you can delete it. Hover over the blog title on the All Posts page and click on Trash. (WordPress doesn t completely delete any posts you mark as trash. It holds them in a temporary section called trash for 30 days. This makes it possible to undo the action if you make a mistake.) 31

32 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE At the top of the page, click the Add New button. This will open an Add New Post page. The Add New Post page has quite a few areas for you to use. Adding a post title and content for the post are pretty obvious. But there are others that may not be, which are reviewed below: Content Editor The content editor has two modes: Visual and Text. Visual is the one you will generally want to work in when getting started. The Text mode shows raw HTML text for fine tuning. Unless you know HTML, you ll probably want to stay in the Visual mode. Above the content editing window, there is a toolbar to assist your editing. By default it only shows one toolbar line. Clicking the far right icon will expose a second line for further tools which are quite useful. Add Media Above the content editor toolbar is an Add Media button. You can add images and video anywhere in your post. Permalink The permalink is the URL that will be used. We changed the settings so that the permalink would be based on the post title. Still, you can manually change the permalink and as long as it hasn t been used elsewhere on your website, the change will be saved. This will allow you to customize your URLs, removing words like the or and from the post. 32

33 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE Publish You can save the post as a draft or pending review for others to review before it is posted. Once it is saved, you can preview it to see how it will appear, even if it is not published yet. The Publish button will make it live so don t click until you are ready. Once it is published, you can change the status back to draft and make the visibility private or password protected. You can even change the date and time the post was initially published if you need to and schedule posts to be published on a future date. Post Format The theme you choose can use these post page formats differently, but generally these post format options are: Standard the default post page format Aside generally styled without a title, which makes it similar to a FaceBook note update Gallery a post with a gallery of images Link a link to another site post Image a single image Quote a quotation Status a short status update, similar to a Twitter status update Video a single video or video playlist Audio an audio file or playlist, which could be used for a podcast Chat a chat transcript 33

34 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE Categories and Tags Categories and tags help your users find what they are looking for on your site. You can add new categories and tags in the respective sections and then select the ones appropriate for the post you are creating. Categories are the main groupings, tags are more refined ones. Featured Image You can set one image to be featured on the top of any post. This is called the Featured Image. You can add a new image or select one from your media library. (Note: some themes handle this differently.) To create additional posts, just repeat this step over and over again. Option 2: Your Home Page Uses a Static Page In Option 2 you create a static front page and change the settings to use that page. You ll want to get started by creating your Home page. To do this, go to the Pages navigation link in the Administration Menu. You will see that you have one page created with the installation, called Sample Page. If you would like to view the page, hover over the title and click Edit. This page isn t really needed and you can delete it. Hover over the page title and click on 34

35 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE Trash. (WordPress doesn t completely delete any posts you mark as trash. It holds them in a temporary section called trash for 30 days. This makes it possible to undo the action if you make a mistake.) At the top of the page, click the Add New button. This will open an Add New Page page. Give your new page a title in the field labeled Enter title here. Permalink Once you add the title, WordPress will give the page a permalink. The permalink is the URL that will be used. We changed the settings so that the permalink would be based on the page (or post) title. You can still manually change the permalink. As long as it hasn t been used elsewhere on your website, the change will be saved. Content Editor The content editor has two modes: Visual and Text. Visual is the one you will generally want to work in when getting started. The Text mode shows raw HTML text for fine tuning. Unless you know HTML, you probably want to stay in the Visual mode. Wiles Free WordPress Blog Theme Above the content editing window, there is a toolbar to assist your editing. By default it only shows one toolbar line. Clicking the far right icon will expose a second line for further tools which are quite useful. 35

36 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE Add Media Above the content editor toolbar is an Add Media button. You can add images and video anywhere on your page. Publish You can create the page as a draft or pending review for others to review before it is posted. Once it is created, you can preview it to see how it will appear. The Publish button will make it live when you are ready. Once it is published, you can change the status back to draft and make the visibility private or password protected. You can even change the date and time the page was initially published if you need to and schedule pages to be published on a future date. Page Attributes The page attributes allow you define important settings for the page: Parent This defines whether or not the page will be a toplevel page or subordinate to another page. This is important for the menu of your website. Template Based on the theme you have selected, you will have one or more page layouts. Here you can choose the layout that matches the objective of the page. Order The order of the page is where it fits in the Menu structure. This only applies to the auto-generated menu list that WordPress can create if you select that option. If you make your own menus, you can ignore this. 36

37 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE Featured Image You can set one image at the top of any page. This is called the Featured Image. You can add a new image or select one from your media library. To create additional website pages, just repeat this step over and over again. Set Home Page Once you have created the page you want to use as your Home, you now need to go back and set it up to be the home page. Navigate to the Settings link in the Administration Menu and choose Reading. In the Front page display, click on Static page radio button and choose the Home page you created in the drop down menu. Now click on the Save Changes button. Your new page will now be your website Home page. Menu Structure As you add new website pages, you need to define how to get to that page in the Menu option. Go to Appearance and then Menus. Here you can add new pages to the menu structure and show where they will appear in the Menu. One of the options you can select in Menu Settings is to Automatically add new top-level pages to this menu. Every page that does not have a parent page will show up in the Menu. The order option you define in each page s attributes will define the order if this option is selected. 37

38 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE Add Blog Posts to Your Static Front Page Website If you want to create blog posts for your website that has a static front page, you will need to create a main page for your posts. If your website only includes static pages, you can skip this step. Instructions for creating posts is outlined in the Option 1 section above. To create a static page for your blog posts: 1. Go to Pages then Add New in the Administration Menu. This will bring up the Add New Page window. 2. Give this page a title, such as Blog. 3. Leave the content section blank. 4. Do not use a custom page template for this page. 5. Hit Publish. 6. Go to Settings then Reading in the Administration Menu. Under Front page displays choose A static page. Set the main posts page to the page title you selected in step Save your changes. 8. Determine where you want your blog posts to show up in your menu. Set up where they need to be in the Menu Settings section of the dashboard You can now add as many blog posts as you want and the latest ones will appear on this page. Adding Media to Your WordPress Website WordPress includes a media library for you to manage and organize your images, audio and videos that you host from your website. 38

39 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE Clicking on the Media link in the dashboard takes you to the media library. There are two views the table view and the gallery view. The table view shows you a thumbnail image of the media object along with the title, file name, author who uploaded it, where it was uploaded (what page or post), any comments about the media item and the date it was uploaded. The gallery view just shows a larger thumbnail of each media object in a galley layout. When you start having lots of media object, for example, this can help you locate a media item quickly. Along with these two views are filters to narrow down which media objects are displayed. For example, you can limit what is shown down to just images, audio or video. Or you can show objects by date (month and year). And you have a search field to find a media object. The Add New button at the top of the library allows you to upload additional items. When you click on the Add New button, the Upload New Media page is shown. Here you can drag in your media object from your computer s file manager. If you experience issues with the dragand-drop interface, you can choose the browser uploader to load in one media object at a time. Uploaded media objects do not slow down your website until you use them. Only when a visitor goes to a page with an image or video is performance impacted. Uploading media objects does impact your hosting service storage, so you need to be mindful of that. Media is very important to your website. Not only does it make it more appealing, but good media can also improve your search engine results. 39

40 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE Adding and Managing Plugins Plugins give your WordPress website the unique features you need. This is optimal as you don t want to have an application that tries to put everything and the kitchen sink into one application. That application would be too slow to handle even the most basic websites. Instead WordPress focuses on the core abilities and plugins allow you to pick and choose only what additionally you need to create a great website. View Current. To view your installed plugins, hover over the Plugins navigation link and click Installed Plugins. This takes you to the main Plugins page. You will notice that there are a number of pre-installed plugins that come with WordPress. Some of these are from Automattic, the primary software developer behind WordPress. Others may be from the hosting company that you are hosting your WordPress application with. Just because a plugin is pre-installed does not mean you need to use it. Installed plugins are not used until they are activated. Active plugins are highlighted. To activate a plugin, simply click the Activate link. To deactivate one, click the Deactivate link. The main Plugins page shows a table of each plugin that has been installed on your WordPress installation. A row is included in the Plugins table for each installed plugin. The plugin listing gives the name of the plugin and a description of the plugin s features. A number of options are provided: 40

41 SECTION 5: CREATING YOUR WEBSITE Activate to turn on the plugin to be used by your website Edit an advanced programmer feature to fine tune the plugin Delete to delete the plugin files off of your server Publisher link to learn more about the plugin publisher View Details shows a modal (popup) window that outlines the features of the plugin and can provide installation, screen shots, a log of the plugin s versions, an FAQ and reviews about the plugin Add a New Plugin. To install a new plugin, click the Add New button at the top of the Plugins page. If you know the name of the plugin you want to use, enter it in the search form and hit enter. If you are just browsing for a new plugin to use, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, always check out the user rating and the number of active installs. This will be a good indicator of how good the plugin is. Second, make sure that the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress. You will see a checkmark and the words Compatible with your version of WordPress when you are searching for a plugin. Just because a plugin isn t marked as compatible doesn t mean it won t work on your site, but keep it in mind. If you have issues with the plugin, this may be why. Updating Plugins. One important thing to remember is that you need to upgrade your plugins when new versions are available. Good plugins are enhanced and updated on a regular basis. You generally want to make sure you are using the latest plugins to get the full benefit from them. 41

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