Getting Started With WordPress

When we build websites for other people (whether with WP Symposium or just for their business), we provide a printed booklet – or a guide – on how to get started with their WordPress website.

The administrator of the new website is normally new to using WordPress, and so this “getting started” guide takes the first steps in how to manage their new website. The following is the text from the printed booklet.

Getting Started

Your website is run by a content management system, or “CMS” called WordPress. It has been around, and constantly developed, for over 10 years, and runs nearly 20% of websites on the Internet.

 

Logging in to your website

To log in as your website “administrator”, you would usually go to the following web address (URL) in your web browser when connected to the Internet (whoever setup your website may provide different details):

http://www.your-web-site.com/wp-admin

And then log in with the following user credentials:

Username:

[username] Password: [password]

After logging in your will see the admin “dashboard”, from which you can manage everything to do with your website, such as:

  • Adding and deleting web pages
  • Editing content on web pages
  • Managing the site menu

WordPress gets easier the more you use it, and the more you “play” with it. If you want to know how to do something, try going to Google and searching for “how do I … in wordpress”.

To start with, you will want to edit content on web pages that already exist.

Editing page content

On the admin Dashboard (see to the left), click on Pages, and then select All Pages. You will see all the pages on your website.

After selecting Pages from the admin menu down the left of the screen, and then All Pages, you will see a list of all your site web pages.

Notice that when you move the mouse of each page title (or “hover” over the page title), four extra links appear below – Edit, Quick Edit, Trash and View.

Click on Edit for any page and you will be able to change the content of the page.

The main part of the screen is the content editor, which works like a cut down version of word, or your email client.

You can enter text, images, hyperlinks and much more!

Using the content editor, when editing a page, is just like using a simple word processor – only much more simple and easy to use!

Making changes

To change the page content, in the content editor (the large white area), just click and type your changes.

It’s that simple.

When you’ve finished, click on the “Update” button and your changes will show on your website.

Bold, italic, underline and so on

Above the content area is a toolbar with a set of icons. Similar to those found in popular word processing packages, or email, use them to make your content bold (or whatever).

You can also use your keyboard; CTRL & B (or CMD & B for Mac users) for example, will make your text bold.

Uploading images

To upload an image, to be used on the website, while you are editing the page, click on the “Add Media” button that’s just above the content editor toolbars.

After clicking on it, you may see some images already used on your website.

To upload a new image to use, click on “Upload Files”, and select one or more images to use. Once uploaded, they are ready to be used on your website.

To insert your uploaded image into your webpage, make sure it has a blue tick on it (as shown below), and click on the “Insert into page” button.

Making your image look nice

Once inserted into your web page, if you click on the image, two buttons appear over the top of it, the second will delete it.

Clicking on the first well let you change the size, alignment, what happens when someone clicks on it (usually a good idea to set to none).

It is also highly recommended that you enter the alternative text as Google, for example, uses this when people are trying to find your site.

Make sure the alternative text describes the image!

“Before you change your site, find a similar company’s site to see what works and what does not“

With mobile phones taking photos so easily, and cameras being able to capture such huge images nowadays, it’s very easy to upload an image for use on your website without considering the problems it can cause.

So to keep your web pages loading quickly (which is important for your visitors, and for website to “score” high with search engines like Google), re-size your images before you upload them.

You don’t need them to be an exact size, but getting them down to a reasonable size before uploading is really important.

The website www.webresizer.com will let you upload an image, and then resize it.

But it will do even more, as after uploading you can try different sizes (without re-uploading), you can crop the image to get rid of irrelevant parts of the image at the top and sides, you can even rotate it!

Once re-sized, click on the “download this image” link below the new version, and upload this new version for use on your website.

Using images on your website

When looking for images to use on your website, do not go to Google and download images.

Put simply, they are not yours.

Put legally, the person who took the photo, or made the image, owns that image. If you use it without permission, you can be held accountable and charged for damages – in other words, it may cost you a lot more than you realize.

Large photo and image companies (like Getty Images) employ people (and use computers) to find images that have been used without purchasing a license, and you – as the web site owner – will be liable for a large bill.

So instead, consider the following ways to get images:

  • Take your own, they will be personal to you and your business, and show the personal touch
  • Use images that do not require a license (do a Google search for “royalty free images”). You may need to credit the author, but can avoid a fee.
  • Use stock photos that, although a license has to be purchased, you will get high quality images/photos and you are covered legally. For example, check out www.istockphoto.com, or a pricey option, www.gettyimages.com.

When you upload an image, re-size it first or your website will slow down tremendously! Try www.webresizer.com if you don’t have your own software.

 

Saving the page content

Once you have finished changing the page content, click on the “Update” button down the right of the screen.

This will immediately update your website with your new content!

Adding a new page

Via the Pages menu, on the admin dashboard, choose Add New and enter the content just like when editing a page. You can click on “Publish” to make your page live at any time, and the edit the content from the Appearance, All Pages menu.

Don’t forget to add your new page to the menu! (covered below)

Viewing your site

To switch to your site, click on your site name at the top of the browser window – it’s the dark grey row across the top of your browser.

Another quick way is to have two browser tabs or windows open, one with http://www.your-web-site.com to view your site, and the other at http://www.your-web-site.com/wp-admin for the admin dashboard and flip between the two.

Changing your site name

In the admin dashboard, go to Settings, then General. You can change the site name and it’s description.

This is what gets picked up by Google when it’s indexing your site, so make it relevant to what people will be searching for, when looking for your site on search engines (like Google).

Changing your site’s “home” or “front” page

To change the page that is first displayed to visitors to your site, go to Settings, then Reading.

Choose “a static page”, and from the drop down list, choose the page that you want your visitors to see when they type in http://www.your-web-site.com.

Your site menu is managed via the admin dashboard, under the Appearance then Menus. When you add new web pages, don’t forget to update your menu!

 

Changing your menu

Access your site menu via the Appearance menu on the admin dashboard, and then choose Menus.

You’ll see the menu structure. As the pages are listed down, they will appear across your web site.

To add a page to you menu, tick the box beside its title and then click on the “Add to Menu” button.

To remove a page from the menu, click on the downward point grey arrow to the right of the word Page, in the box that represents your page in the “Menu Structure”.

The box will slide down, and click on “Remove”.

Note that in the box that slides down, there is an option to change the “Navigation Label” – this is the text that appears on your menu, if you don’t want to use the page title itself (sometimes you want a shorter version on the menu).

Moving items around in your menu

You don’t have to display your menu in the order that’s currently showing. Click and drag the pages around to change the order.

Not only can you change the order up and down (i.e. left and right on the website), you can drag them to the right to make items appear as a drop-down menu item on your website.

Drag them back to the left to put the page at the top level again – think of the menu structure as a hierarchy or family tree.

It’s easiest to try it and see!

Don’t forget to click on “Save Menu” to save your changes!