A Practical Guide: How To Use WordPress

WordPress is a web publishing platform that you can use to create your blog or website. Its focus is on ease of use, speed, and the best possible user experience. No matter what your needs are, WordPress can manage anything – simple personal sites with a few pages up to a huge site with hundreds of pages. Anyone can create a beautiful website with WordPress due to its ease of use.

It was released back in 2003 and it has become the most popular web publishing platform in the world. Today, more than 70 million websites are using WordPress! It is not just a simple blogging tool like a lot of people think. It’s a very customisable CMS (content management system) that you can use to build a full-featured website and manage it with just your internet browser.

And the best of all is free! This is because WordPress is an open source project, meaning that many volunteers from all over the world are continuously improving the code and creating new features. Anyone can contribute by writing plugins, writing patches, creating themes and updating documentation. Plus, there are thousands of different plugins and themes that enable you to build any type of website you want. Many of the top brands are using WordPress to build their websites, including Sony, CNN, Disney, Time Magazine, and more.

How To Use WordPress & How Does It Work?

All websites have been created using a programming language called HTML since the beginning of the internet. It uses instructions called tags to format images, page layouts, text, and everything else. When you browse a website, your browser then reads this HTML code and displays the content of the website.

With WordPress, you just need to install a software script on your web hosting which takes a few minutes. You can download it from WordPress.org. Once that’s done, all you need to do is to use its simple web-based editor to create pages and not deal with any HTML at all. You can even use a hosted version of WordPress at WordPress.com where you don’t need your web hosting and that enables you to start creating your website in a few seconds.

Here are some of the main reasons for using WordPress to build your website:

  • WordPress is completely free due to the fact that it’s open source
  • WordPress is user-friendly. You don’t need to learn HTML or hire a web designer when you need to make any changes to your website.
  • Support for WordPress is great! You can also easily find an answer to your question online or on official WordPress forum.
  • WordPress is SEO friendly. Right off the bat, your website is already well optimised for search engines. There are free plugins like Yoast SEO that can take this a step further.

 

WordPress is very flexible. There are countless themes and plugins that you can use to customise and change anything on your website.

WordPress Pages

You can put content on the website as either a page or a post. By default, posts appear in reverse chronological order on your blog page. Pages are static, meaning that the information on them doesn’t usually change (or often). Pages are not part of a blog chronology and you should use them to create information that is always relevant. Pages are also used to manage and organise the structure of the website. Some of the examples of pages would include about, contact, legal information, terms of service, etc. Pages do not appear in a blog section of your website. You can select a certain page to be a static front page on your website.

Creating Pages

To create a page, simply navigate from left side-menu to Pages>Add New.

wordpress pages

Writing a page is very straightforward. In the top field, write page title. Below the title, you can edit page’s permalink (URL). The large area below is where you are going to write the content. You will recognise the formatting button from Microsoft Word and you can use it for options like italics, bold, bullet points, inserting a link, etc. If you want to add an image, click “Add Media” above it, then browse your computer and upload an image or choose one from the existing gallery.

 You can organise pages in a hierarchy by using sub pages. For example, you can divide pages for the USA and for Canada and assign them sub pages of cities for each one. So, under page named “USA” would be sub pages for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. And another parent page “Canada” would have sub pages Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Ottawa.

To create a sub page:

  • Go to Pages>Add New
  • In the right menu, click the drop-down menu “Page parent”
  • Select the parent page to make the current page you just created a child page
  • Add content and publish

When you do this, the child page (sub page) will be nested under its parent page. This will also be reflected in the URLs.

WordPress Posts

Posts are entries that display on your blog page or homepage (depending on how you set it up). Unlike pages, posts have comments field beneath them and are included in RSS feed. Posts are essentially what makes your blog a blog. When you create a post, a date is associated with it and included in the URL.

wordpress posts

To create a new post, navigate to Posts>Add New in the left sidebar navigation. The screen for writing a post is very similar to the one when you are creating a page.

You can hit “Preview” button after you are finished writing your post to check if everything is alright before publishing it by clicking the blue “Publish” button. There are three states of a post: published, pending review, and draft. Save post as draft when you are not finished writing it and want to pick it up later. You can also schedule a post to publish on a future date by clicking edit next to “Publish Immediately”. Pending review means that is saved as a draft but is waiting for a review by someone else (usually editor) prior to publishing it.

WordPress Categories

You can assign one or more category for each post in WordPress. This is very helpful for navigation and allows you to group posts that are of similar content. Categories can be organised in a hierarchy as well, so each category may be assigned to a parent category. Categories are usually shown in a sidebar as a list of links.

To add a new category, navigate to Posts>Categories in the left sidebar. Here you can assign a name to a new category. Below that, you must write a slug and it must be unique (slug is used in the URL). Use a parent drop-down if you want to make this category a sub-category. Most themes do not use a description of categories, so this box is optional.

wordpress categories

WordPress Menus

Creating a new menu is easy, simply navigate to Appearance>Menus from the left sidebar menu. To add pages to a menu, do this:

  • In the pages pane select View All, that will bring up a list of all the pages you have published
  • Click on the checkbox next to each page that you want to add to that menu
  • Click “Add to Menu”, then click “Save Menu”

Assign your new menu a name in the indicated box and hit “Create Menu”. After that, you’ll be able to assign it to a specific location like footer or header menu.

wordpress menus

WordPress Tags

When you write a post in WordPress, you can assign it one or more tags. This way, you can group together posts that have similar content. Unlike categories, tags don’t have hierarchy and tag names must be unique. When someone clicks on a tag that is displayed under each post, the tag archive page will be displayed with all the posts belonging to that tag.

To add a new tag, navigate to Posts>Tags in the left sidebar menu. Here, you can also delete or edit existing tags. Adding tag is same as adding a category, and you have name, slug and description field. Again, description is not displayed in many themes, so you don’t have to write it.

wordpress tags

CONCLUSION

WordPress has become the largest publishing platform in the world and it’s currently estimated to power 26% of all websites. It’s very easy to use and highly customisable, making it an obvious choice for almost anyone. Because of its huge popularity, there’s a plethora of web design inspirations and online tutorials that will help you get to grips with it. This was just a short tutorial that is meant to get you familiar with the basics and explain what WordPress is and how to start using it. No matter if you just want to make a simple and basic 3-page website or you need to build a robust design with tons of features, WordPress should be your first choice.