A Beginner’s Guide to WordPress

For business owners, having a customer-friendly website is an important piece of an effective marketing plan. Upkeep, however, can be a challenge. Many businesses choose to use WordPress as their content management system because it allows them to easily make routine updates. Although you don’t need to know how to code to use WordPress, the platform is not without a learning curve. Mastering the basics is an important step to ensuring accuracy in your business’ web presence into the future.

Beginner's Guide to WordPress

WordPress Basics

All WordPress websites have the same basic components, many of which can be customized to fit your business needs. Log in to your WordPress site to get started.

Themes

The theme is what controls how your website appears to your prospective customers. Fittingly, you can select new themes and customize them using the “Appearance” menu on the left side navigation. The most important functions on this menu are:

  • Themes – In this area, you can choose the theme, or design, of your site and preview it without making changes to your live site. WordPress offers a few pre-built themes you can use. Additionally, themes are available for purchase from several third party providers (for example, Elegant Themes and Envato). Keep in mind that many themes require a subscription fee that you’ll have to pay annually to keep your theme up to date.
  • Customize – Clicking “Customize” allows you to edit many of your site’s settings in a live preview mode. You can change your site title and tagline, menu options, homepage settings and more.
  • Menus – Your menus are the sets of links on your web pages that control how a customer navigates through your website. Menus are most commonly found across the top or along the side of a web page. In the “Menus” section, you can create multiple menus of your pages and specify where they should appear on your site.

Pages and Posts

Pages and posts make up the bulk of the content of your website. This is where you’ll add details about your business, like service offerings, contact information, and policies, as well as photos and imagery. You can add fresh content to your website by starting a blog to share news and other information that might interest your customers.

A page is undated and contains static content that probably will not change daily or even weekly. A post is dated, timely content (like a blog), which can have topical categories and tags. Posts appear in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest) wherever you choose to display the list.

View and create pages with the “Pages” link. Manage posts, categories, and tags with the “Posts” link. The editing experience for webmasters is similar for pages and posts, with a few minor differences.

The WordPress Editor

Once you’ve created a new page or post, you can use the editor to start adding content. Creating and editing is a different experience in different versions of WordPress. In the most current version (WordPress 5), the default editor is the block editor, while older versions use the classic editor. Since it is recommended to upgrade to WordPress 5, we will only discuss the block editor here.

To add a new block of content to a page, click the + button on the top left side of the editing screen. You can then choose from the most used content types or search for other blocks to add to the page.

Text content can be formatted and linked in the body of the block. If you add an image block, you’ll have to upload an image or choose from the images you’ve already uploaded in your Media Library. With a block selected, you can edit the settings for that piece of content on the right side explorer window.

In the block editor, content can be dragged and dropped to change the order it appears on the page. Make sure to break up the page with headings, lists, and other visually interesting content.

Once you are happy with your content, you can click “Preview” to see what the page or post will look like on the live site. Finally, click “Publish” to make it visible to people visiting your website.

Settings

The “Settings” menu is located at the bottom of the left side navigation bar when you log in. Six options come standard on this menu across all WordPress sites:

  • General – Here you can control the name and tagline of your site, your website URL, and contact information, as well as time zone and default language preferences.
  • Writing – This is where you can change the settings for your blog posts in the WordPress editor. You can set a default category and control your editing experience for posts.
  • Reading – If your website utilizes blog posts, the “Reading” section is where you can change post display settings—where, how, and how many posts are displayed.
  • Discussion – This section allows you to specify whether comments are allowed on your posts and set rules for discussion.
  • Media – The “Media” section is where you can control how WordPress resizes any images you upload to your blog.
  • Permalinks – Here you can change your default URL structure for posts. We recommend choosing one of the options that includes the name of your post in the URL.

Additional options become available on the “Settings” menu when you install certain plugins on your site.

Plugins

Plugins are add-ons to WordPress that provide additional functionality to your website. Do you want a contact form on your website? There’s a plugin for that. How about social media icons? There’s a plugin for that, too.

To add new plugins, hover over “Plugins” on the left side menu, then click “Add New.” Enter keywords in the top right search box to view plugins that match your query. However, make sure the plugins you install are well-reviewed, have a large number of active installations, and are compatible with your version of WordPress.

The Benefits of WordPress for Small Business Websites

For business owners without HTML knowledge, WordPress is a game-changer. Its intuitive interface is easy to learn without extensive training, and there is little risk of breaking the site while making a simple edit. Best of all, you can make changes without having to call your web services provider—or getting a bill for it later.

If your business is struggling with outdated content and a clunky web editing process, it may be time for a new website. Contact us to find out how Lieberman Technologies can help.