A Beginner’s Guide on How to Use WordPress

This is a basic introduction on how to use WordPress on your own self-hosted setup – the configuration I use and recommend. Watch the video and then find more detailed information, tips, and strategies below.

LEVEL: BEGINNER TIME: A FEW HOURS

 

An introduction to WordPress

WordPress is an open-source blogging platform that comes in two versions: WordPress.com is a fully functional (but limited) blogging platform whereas WordPress.org is blogging software that you install on your own host. We recommend the latter due to the control, flexibility and power it gives your blog. This tutorial will focus on self-hosted WordPress and is intended to be a short introduction for new users.

How to get started with WordPress

If you haven’t got your own WordPress blog/website yet then head over to this tutorial and follow the steps. It should only take around five minutes and it will get you everything you need to run your own blog on your own host with a unique domain name.

The main functions of WordPress

As mentioned, WordPress is a free open-source blogging platform that you install on a web host. Once you have done this you can:

  1. Configure your blog
    WordPress allows you to change your site name, title, description, permalinks structure, comments layout, categories, tags, etc. so that everything can be setup as you like.
  2. Add posts
    Posts are generally the main part of the blog and appear in chronological order – newest post at the top. A post may be an article, photo, video, or a combination of many things. Here’s an article on the perfect blog post.
  3. Add pages
    Pages are created just like posts but they don’t appear in the chronological part of the blog but are usually static things like About Us, Contact, etc. However, feel free to make your pages do whatever you want such as galleries, landing pages, etc.
  4. Change themes
    A theme is the template that changes the way your blog looks and behaves. There are thousands of free and paid themes that people build for WordPress users. You can change your WordPress theme at any time.
  5. Add plugins
    Plugins are the main advantage that WordPress has over other platforms. With a few simple clicks you can add new features, functions, security, etc. to your blog for free. Some plugins change minor things, while others can give your blog entirely new functions.
  6. Edit the source code
    WordPress gives you full access to your site and theme’s source code meaning you can make edits to how it looks and functions, especially if you work with a developer or designer. This really means there are no limits on what your WordPress site can do.
  7. Add users
    You can give access to other people and assign them roles and permissions. Administrators, for example, can add content and edit the code, while Contributors can only add posts.
  8. Customize functionality until your heart is content
    The main advantage of WordPress is the sheer options that are possible. If there’s a feature you need you just get a plugin and if there isn’t a plugin you can get someone to make you one. It’s impossible to summarize WordPress in a short article, but I wanted to emphasize that using it can take time as no two installations are the same.

Examples of the power of WordPress

In order to highlight some of the wonderful possibilities that WordPress presents, I thought I’d show a few examples of things that can be done that make it so much more than a blogging platform.

WordPress can be an “install and go” platform or, as the video shows, you can use plugins, themes, and custom-built features to achieve a complete website package completely different from every other site.

Getting more from WordPress

WordPress walkthroughs // WordPress Codex // WordPress support forums // Envato Marketplace // WPMU DEV // Woo Commerce // Yoast // Powerpress // Wordfence Security // Click to Tweet // Sucuri // Reliable PSD // Google Sitemaps // W3 Total Cache // Shortcodes Ultimate // Pretty Links // Share buttons

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