WordPress is by far one of the easiest services to use. It’s user friendly navigation allows for just about anyone to become a wiz. However, WordPress does have a lot of ins and outs that take time to look into and learn if you have never been made familiar of them before. This guide is to take out the pain of learning everything yourself.
Take out all the HTML and other coding talk, and this easy to read guide will take you through simply the various aspects of your content and editing. You will not have to worry about any over the top instructions that will make your life complicated.
Do you need a post or a page? How do you edit and convert content you already have?
What if you have a tonne of images? Should you simply have a gallery?
Those are the bases, and more, that we cover in the guides.
As of 2020, it is found that almost over 33% of websites out there are powered by WordPress. In addition, there are 41.7 million posts made each month- that’s over 500 million posts a year.
Seeing as WordPress is the most used CMS out there with 59.4% market share, it makes sense to create your site on a trusted platform.
The four main areas that are covered are:
Content, images and media, appearance and configuration,
While that might not seem like much, there is a lot that goes into each section.
After this guide, you will join users from all around the world- users who make six posts each second - meaning in 24 hours, there are more than 500,000 posts.
It is insane just how big a role WordPress plays.
Table of Contents
Posts & Pages
The main two aspects of WordPress are: posts and pages. They may seem the same at first glance, but are actually quite different. Overall, a post is essentially a blog entry, a series that is constantly being updated as new entries are made. Whereas pages are still non-changing. They remain the same, static. Generally, pages give you the same information at all times. For example, a “Contact Us” or “About Us” are pages that always remain the same.
Blogs can range from simple blogged entries, to latest news, or anything that needs to be updated on a regular enough basis for it to need the blog functionality.
Your posts can be found on the left hand side, under the dashboard. Here you can see the stuff that has been published, pending, drafted- by you or by other authors you might have. You are also able to view posts that have ended up in the trash.
When you hover over the posts you can see the following options show up: edit, quick edit, trash, view.
While the options are pretty straightforward, you should know that EDIT opens up the following and allows for you to write out your blog, as well as set various preferences around it, such as categories, permalink, featured image, tags etc.
The pages option can also be found on the dashboard, along the left sidebar. The features for pages, is basically the exact same as the posts. The major differences are instead of tags and categories, you have parent pages you can connect your page to and the template you need for it to follow.
When you are ready to publish your content, the process is literally as simple as clicking a button. On the far top right, you will see the option to “Publish”. When you are ready, you can click that. It will give you a set of prompts at first, so that it gives you time to really think if you are ready to publish.
One thing to review before publishing, is your permalink at the bottom of the right sidebar. This link is your direct URL to the post and can be written anyway you see fit.
Best to use keywords, as it will be very useful when it gets searched.
If the post is done, but has yet to be looked over by another person, instead of saving it as a “Draft” you can change it to “Pending Review”. This can be found in the “Status and Visibility” section.
You also have the option to make the Post “Stick” to the front page. This means that even when you add in new posts, this particular post will always be shown before the others.
Another feature is being able to set the visibility of the post. You can choose between, “Private”, “Public” and “Password Protected”. The one thing you must keep in mind, is that the “Password Protected” option allows you to assign a password to the page or post-- meaning you have the choice to only make it available to certain people.
Block Editor or Classic Editor- Adding Content to your Site
Like mentioned earlier, Page and Posts are formatted the same way. The only real difference is that for Posts you can link to Tags and Categories.
Tags are keywords that are important to your post, such as names, subject, colour even. Categories are sections that your posts can go in to, such as features, news, etc.
The new version of WordPress now has an ever easier to use interface, called Block Editor. It is currently the default setting for when you want to add a new Page or Post. Each box is equipped with what you need to make any changes.
If you are more old school, or if the Block Editor does not work well with your theme, you are able to download the plugin for the previous Classic Editor. It is easily searchable in the plugins, simply install and activate. If in the future, you change themes or your theme updates and is compatible with the Block Editor, you can remove the Classic Editor plugin.
Within the Block Editor, there are content options for you to insert headings, images, galleries, paragraphs, various lists, quotes and other content options that were along the sidebar of a Classic Editor. You are also able to rearrange the blocks as needed, simply by dragging them around or using an arrow button to move them up or down, Additionally, each block comes with its own set of editing features. For example, the Heading block lets you choose the type of header size, and its alignment; and the Paragraph block lets you pick the font, colour, size etc. all within the block.
The best way, and easiest way to add a block is to click the Add Block option in the toolbar. Once you do that, you will have the option to which type of block you want to insert. Look through your options, and insert it in.
If you already have content on the page, your new block will appear at the bottom. You can either move it to a specific spot, or you can even insert in the specific location. If you hover over a block, it will give you a little “+” sign, when you click that, the list of block options will pop up again. Decide what you want, and hit enter; your new block will now show up above the other block.
Another way to have it go in a specific location, when you hover over another block, in the options of this block, you will see three vertical dots. Clicking this, will allow you to either insert a new block before or after the current block.
These blocks are very versatile. They come with many options, which allow you to create the perfect layout for yourself. Depending on the block, you will have the following options:
A Classic editor, has the same features along the right sidebar. But, in addition to all of this, the Classic editor also allows for you to embed Twitter, Facebook and other social media content, as well as videos from YouTube or Vimeo. This type of editor is best when you want to work with a simple interface.
Integrating your Classic Editor format to the new Block Editor format
If you have a WordPress site that was built on the Classic Editor, you are able to easily convert it to the new format, which was a WordPress upgrade.
Once you convert to the blocks, everything will be set as an individual block according to what it is; meaning, quotes, texts, images, etc. will be in their own corresponding block. Once everything is converted to your liking, fix any changes you might want to, and hit “save” or “update”.
The last part of the Content section you should be aware of is, “Comments”. This feature enables your users to respond and make a comment on your Posts. This is a great feature, because it really allows your readers to have direct communication and engagement with you.
They are able to provide further insight on the topic of the Post, give additional resources or links, or simply tell you if the topic was good or bad.
Being able to regulate and control your comments is very crucial. You are able to do this through various filters, which include languages, content, and you can even review comments before they are posted publicly- ideal for dealing with spam comments or inappropriate comments.
In this overview panel, you are able to see the following:
You can also tell which post the comments are responding to, who wrote it and when.
When you hover over a comment, you are given the option to: approve or unapprove a comment, reply to the comment, quick edit (edit the commenters name, url, email and the comment as well), edit (same options as ‘quick edit’, as well as, whether the comment is approved, pending, spam and even change the date/time).
The selection boxes make it easy to select bulks of comments together and perform an action on them, such as, approve or disapprove.
When you go to reply to a comment, you will have pretty much the same kind of editing aspects as the Post or Page editor, but less intuitive abilities. It will be in pretty basic HTML formatting.
This block gives you the options to upload an image to your content. Once you click “add (+)” to insert an Image Block, you will be able to hit “Upload” and upload an image to your “Media Library” or directly select an image from there. If there is an image you want to insert using the URL instead, simply enter the link in “Insert from URL” option.
Once your image is uploaded, there are a few things you are able to do it.
For example, you can look into the options on the sidebar on the right. Add on text or insert a link to the image, a different WordPress page, a custom URL or simply select “None” to not have the image linked to anything at all.
There is also an option of course, to resize your image. One thing to remember is that it is always best to insert a large image that can be shrunk, instead of a small image that needs to be enlarged. The reason for this is that when you enlarge a small file, the image can get pixelated and appear out of focus.
A couple ways to resize your image are, use the width and height sections, or use the percentage buttons to change the width accordingly. You are also able to change your image to a preset WordPress image size. In the dropdown for “Image Size” you can choose from, thumbnail, medium, large or full size; if the theme you have selected has various other options, those will also be available to you in the same sidebar.
Another way to resize, is the old fashioned way of using the little handles that appear on the image. Just use your cursor to click and drag the image to the size you want.
The inserting of the “Gallery Block” works the same as the “Image Block”. Once you have inserted the block, hit the upload button or use the photos you already have in your library. You can select as many images as you want in your gallery.
Within the sidebar, you will be able to choose the number of columns that should display and can also crop the thumbnails for them to flow better on the page.
The “Link to” option in the drop down lets you connect each image in the gallery to a link- either to a media file or another WordPress attachment.
Follow the steps from the previous two sections to insert the Video Block. You can have the video on autoplay, loop and mute it. The sidebar also gives you the option to display the controls (play, pause etc.) and pick the poster image for your video.
In addition, you can also add video blocks that are embedded links from YouTube or Vimeo. They are, however different titled blocks. When you go to add a block, select the YouTube Block or Vimeo Block. If you simply paste the link of the YouTube, or other video sharing services, the block will automatically convert itself to the appropriate block.
Please note, that the embedded blocks will not come with additional options in the sidebar like the normal Video Block.
There are various types of widgets that can be added to your content.
Archives, Categories, Latest Comments, Latest Posts, and Shortcode.
In the Archives Block, you are able to display a monthly archive of the posts. They can be seen as a list, or as a dropdown; along with if you would to show or hide the post counts in each month; you can choose in the Settings Sidebar.
Categories Block, allows you to display the list of various categories on your site. Similarly to Archives, you can display it as a list, or as a dropdown; along with if you would to show or hide the Category hierarchy; you can choose in the Settings Sidebar.
Latest Comments, display the comments on your posts that are recent. Switch between showing the avatars of the person commenting, to hiding it; show or hide the date, and use the “Number of Comments” control how many comments should be shown.
Latest Posts, display the most recent posts. Select the order in which they appear, show or hide the date, and whether or not you want posts from all categories or just one. Also, how many posts are displayed at a time.
Shortcode Block, allows you to insert a shortcode into the content.
Using the categories option, you are able to define sections in your site and put together related posts. When you first make a post, it will by default be labeled as “Uncategorized”; you can go into the setting and pick the category you want easily.
Two easy ways will help you create a new category.
When you add “Categories” through the Post, the Post will automatically be assigned the newly added category. However, when you in through the Categories menu, will add them to a list of categories available.
Adding a new category is simple; fill out:
Once the category is added, it will appear in your list of “Categories”. The drag option will allow you to rearrange the order of your categories and how you want them to appear on your site.
Using your cursor to hover over a category, you will have the option to open the full Edit option, make a Quick Edit, delete a category, and View the list of Posts in the Categories.
Take note, when you delete a category, you will not delete the Posts within it. They will simply become Uncategorized, which is a default setting. If you want another category to be default, go to “Settings” then “Writing”.
Also, Pages cannot be assigned to Categories.
Tags are essentially keywords that help to identify the important information within your Post. This can be subjects, names, key points etc. Tags are not related to one another like Categories are, but just like Categories, they cannot be assigned to Pages.
Adding them also works the same way as adding Categories. Head to the “Tags” section in the Post menu, it will show your list of Tags, if you already have some. If you, fill in the blanks to add in a new Tag; name, slug, and description. Once you add in the new Tag, you will have the option to open the full Edit option, make a Quick Edit, delete a category, and View the list of Posts under the Tag.
If you want to delete a bunch of Tags altogether, click the checkboxes. Once you do that, in the dropdown list for “Bulk Options” click delete, then apply and all the Tags you selected to delete will be gone.
If you want to add a category or tag directly from a Post, select to edit the Post of your choosing. Along the Settings Sidebar, you will see the option to assign Categories and Tags. Once you decide, simply hit the Update button to save your settings.
Appearance & customizing your site
The options in this section will allow you to change and manage how your site and its functions look/work. Not all themes come with all customization options, many times you are given very few options. When you choose your theme, unless you really nail a theme that has everything exactly the way you want it, it is important to try and find a theme that allows you to make changes as you please.
When you first start out on WordPress, picking a theme can be a very dreary task- especially if you are new to the game.There are endless paid and free options to choose from; and choosing the right one for you is hard, seeing as you feel like there is always better out there! This guide is to help you find the theme that is right for you, and the things you should consider when picking a theme.
WordPress caters to all kinds of sites and the services they provide. If you are a blogger, you want a theme that translates well to the readers and is readable. If you are selling products, you want the theme you choose to go smoothly as an e-commerce.
Each theme has various ways you can customize it. Most themes are much easily customizable, whereas, others require a lot more attention. However, each theme you have the ability to go into its back end coding and cater it specifically to what you want it to do. We recommend you do not do that, unless you are very good at coding. Otherwise one error, and you can mess up the whole theme.
Your brand’s identity should be reflected in the theme. It is your users first interaction with your company online.
Have an idea of what exactly it is you want your theme to do. In the WordPress site, you can use various filters to help you. You can choose from free to premium themes, whether or not you want columns, how you want your header to look- the options of filtering are endless.
The themes can be found in the Appearance tab on the Dashboard. Once you find the one you like, you can either hit the “Preview” option to see the look and feel of the theme, see the “theme details” to view any details on the theme, or you can simply hit “Install” then “Activate”.
You can install as many themes as you want. Simply go to “Add New” each time. You can search up themes in the “WordPress Themes Directory” or if you have purchased a theme from a different site, you can upload it as well.
In order to customize a theme, use the “Customizer” function that can be found on the Dashboard, under Appearance. Your options for customization depend on the theme you have activated. In the image below are some options that we had, you might have some of those as well.
Each panel gives you more options for each section. One option many themes have in common, is the ability to add a “Site title” and “Tagline”, or upload you brand logo.
Your changes can be seen instantly, as live preview. As you go through the sections, and fix them to your liking, hit “save” and/or “publish” to keep those changes.
You do have the option to either save your changes as a draft, or schedule them to appear at a later time. By clicking the small cog next to the Publish button, you have those options.
If you theme works on various devices, it will show you by allowing you to preview it as if it would appear on mobile, tablet or desktop.
Adding, updating, and changing existing menus
Most themes support the custom menus. They contain links to various parts of your site.
Under the Appearance tab on the Dashboard, select “Menus”. From there, you will be given a list of ways to add, update or change a menu.
To create a new menu, simply add a name for your new menu in the “Menu Name” field- then “Create Menu” to save it. It will now appear in your menu options, that are listed in the dropdown box.
To add items to this new menu, or to an existing one, select the menu you want to edit from the dropdown. The right hand section will show you how the menu items appear on your site.
On the right hand side you will see sections for Posts, Pages, Custom Links and Categories that can be added to your menu. Open up the sections, check the boxes for the items you want in the menu. Once you are done, click “save menu”
If you want to connect a post to a section on the menu, for example you want a post to be available as an option under “Sample Page”, open up the Post drop down, and select the blog you want added. Then hold down the post once it's added and shift it slightly, so that it is added below the page.
You can also click the down arrow on each section for more options, the important ones to note are:
“Save Menu” once you are happy with what you have.
In the customizer, you will be able to select the menu you want to appear as your “Header” menu.
This is a section, that unless you are great at coding, you should not modify. Once a theme is installed, there is no need to enter this section to make any changes, since any and most can be done on the front end, which makes WordPress so great. If you type in anything incorrectly, it can affect your entire site. You will always be given a warning every time you click into this section, unless you opt out of the notification.
WordPress offers a variety of plugins to expand its abilities and its features. A plugin is pretty much a shortcut that allows for your site to do what you want it to, without you having to do it from scratch.
These plugins can enable you to add an online store, create a podcast, use analytics, have contact forms; the possibilities are quite endless. You just have to search up what it is that you would like for your site to do.
Many of the themes support the more popular themes, be sure you know for sure that the one you choose is actually compatible with your theme.
To install a plugin, from the sidebar click “Plugin” and then “Add New”. From there you can explore thousands of plugins and look into the ones you think are best suited for your site.
Make sure you stay on top of your plugins. This means actively updating them when it is required for you to do so. Also, read what the update entials, since sometimes the updated plugin might not work as well with your chosen theme. When this happens, you can choose to not update the plugin, but be sure to monitor that the plugin still functions- otherwise, get rid of it.
These are fun little features added to your pages. These usually appear as a sidebar on your site, and have options like “Categories”, “Archives” and even social media accounts that are linked to your site.
To edit these, click “Appearances” and then “Widgets”. You can now add, delete or edit various sections of your sidebar.
The available widgets section will allow you to add existing ones to your Sidebars. They can appear wherever in your site layout; the side, footer, or header.
This section allows you to add in Users for your site. You can assign different roles to different people, and keep track of the logs of when they come on. You can Edit and Delete them on the main section.
The five roles are: Site Admin, Adim, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber.
Site admin has power and control over everything, Admin has access to admin features, Editor can publish and manage posts and pages for all users, Authors can publish and manage their own content, Contributor can manage and write, but they cannot publish and finally, Subscribers can only manage their profile.
Your own profile
In order to edit your own profile, find it in Users, and click “Edit”.
Fill in the sections provided according to your preference; key things about this section to note that are mandatory:
The nickname is a requirement for every user. It may be the same as your Username or it can be different. If you don’t supply a Nickname, then the Username will be placed in this field
Select how your name is cited on your blog, from the dropdown list. You can choose from several choices: Nickname, Username, First Name, Last Name, ‘First Last’, or ‘Last First’. For security reasons, it’s a good idea to keep this different from your Username
All users are required to list an email address in their respective Profiles. The email address must be unique for each user. Your blog will use this address to notify you of new comments to your posts and for other administrative purposes. Only other registered users of your blog will have access to this email address. It is never sent anywhere
You can also change the colours of your Dashboard. Once you are ready, click “Update Profile”
Site changes and taglines: having page titles allows for your site to be more searchable. It is also how you are able to get ranked on various search engines. Having a list of keywords makes it easier to target audiences you want. To change your title, tagline and other general settings; click “Settings” and then “General”
Is there a particular content on your site that you want people to see each time they access your site? This is called a “Static Front Page”. This way your homepage stays the same, instead of changing every time you add a new post or page.
In order to set this up, click “Settings” and then “Reading”
Once you select “a static page”, you will be able to set up which page you want as your static page. On this, you are able to also set how many “blog pages show at post”, and if you want your whole article to be on display or just a summary.
The “Discussion” settings, allow you choose how you want to interact with your readers. You can moderate their comments, make your Author emails available for people to email you directly. You can even blacklist certain people that you do not want commenting on your posts.
Media settings allow you to set the default size of the images that get uploaded and how they are sorted and stored.
Permalink settings give you the ability to create custom URLs and structures for your permalinks and archives.
There you have it. A full A-Z guide on WordPress. While there are others, thousands of WordPress guides, ours is simple, to the point and easy to navigate. Your WordPress site is a great accomplishment, and we wanted to make sure you knew everything there is that goes into it. As WordPress advances more and more, so will this guide. You will have the ultimate guide to make sure you are always on top of it.
Be sure to keep checking back, as we will constantly update this guide for you.
Lastly, take care of your site. Make sure you stay on top of updates to WordPress, your theme, plugins, widgets- everything. Cherish this site and maintain it well. And know that there are other professionals out there who will gladly help you out to take care of your WordPress site.