From CNN to brands like Van Heusen to celebrities like Chris Brown, all use WordPress because of its ease of use. All you need is a little time to learn WordPress basics and you will soon be able to create a website of your own.
Learn WordPress Basics: Index
1. What is WordPress?
To learn WordPress basics, let’s start with the meaning. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) you can use to create a website. You can create a simple blog or a business and e-commerce website. In other words, WordPress is an open-source CMS under GPLv2 which enables users to use and modify the software for free. It does not require any HTML coding or design skills.
WordPress is the most popular CMS and powers 31.4% of the websites. (Source)
WordPress powers 14.7% of the top 100 websites in the world. Some of them are:
- New York Observer
- New York Post
- National Post
- USA Today
2. Why WordPress?
With more than 74.6 million sites in WordPress’s basket, the number is still increasing. Here is a list of few of the features that makes WordPress popular:
2.1. Quick Installation
WordPress has a very simple installation and upgrade process. All you need to have a domain name and a good host. Here’s our guide to find the best WordPress Host.
One of the key reasons why people prefer WordPress is because of its ease of use. You don’t need any website designing skills to use WordPress.
2.3. Variety in themes
WordPress offers thousands of free and paid inbuilt themes for every type of site. We have compiled a list of 10 “free” responsive themes you can use.
Plugins allow you to add additional features to your WordPress site. They are like apps for WordPress site. You can use these plugins to enhance any feature and functionality.
2.5. Media management
Adding images and videos is very easy in WordPress. You can also edit these images using an image editing tool.
2.6. Free of cost
One of the best features of WordPress is that it is free to use if you have a domain name and hosting. Some of the plugins and themes are paid but most of them can be used for free.
Read more: 7 Kickass Reasons to Choose WordPress
3. WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org
If you’re confused between WordPress.com and WordPress.org then don’t worry! This is pretty common and every beginner gets confused between the two and I get it – Well, both of them have the same name. Even though they are based on the same software, there is STILL a striking difference between the two.
WordPress.com is referred to as ‘hosted’ because the company is the one that actually hosts your website. You need to set up an account to create a website on WordPress.com. You get your own site on a subdomain (for eg: http://yoursitename.wordpress.com).
It has a number of plugins and inbuilt features but lower-tier plans limit you to default features. You will have to upgrade your plan to use most features. Nevertheless, since the website is hosted by the company, security from hacks, updates, backups are all taken care of by the company itself.
WordPress.org is referred to as ‘self-hosted’ because you are the one who hosts the website. You need a domain name and a hosting space to create a website on WordPress.org. Customization experience is completely different in WordPress.org. You have a vast variety of themes and plugins to add to your website. With a self-hosted WordPress site, the responsibility of backups, updates, and site security will be on your shoulders. You need to keep an eye on all security measures to keep hackers out.
Therefore, getting a managed hosting provider can be really helpful so that you can concentrate only on important aspects like Sales and Marketing – which requires your expertise.
4. Five Steps To Get Started With WordPress
4.1. Domain Name
A domain name is a name for your website. It is an address where internet users access your website. A domain name has a massive impact on your brand and online marketing. Buying a domain name involves registering the name you want with an organization called ICANN through a domain name registrar.
4.2. Choosing a Hosting provider
You should always remember that while purchasing the domain name you will only be purchasing the name and not the space to store your website information. If you want a space to store the information of your website then you will have to buy the hosting package as well.
“Great hosting boils down to the 3 S’s: speed, support and security” Adam Berry, digital director at Wingard Creative
There are different types of hosting you can choose from:
- Shared hosting– This is the cheapest hosting you can get. In shared hosting, many websites share the same physical hardware. The problem with shared hosting account is that you’re at the mercy of other sites on your server. Security is the biggest threat to this kind of hosting.
- Dedicated servers– It means you are renting one physical server from hosting company. You have complete control over your server. It is generally the highest level of the server and an expensive one.
- VPS hosting– VPS or virtual private servers share one server but acts like multiple servers. VPS is like shared hosting but you get more control and scalability.
- Managed Hosting– It is a service provided by a web hosting provider wherein they keep your WordPress up to date and protect your site from security threats. Managed WordPress hosting is a great option for both small and established businesses using WordPress.
If you are still confused about which hosting provider to choose, check out this 5 steps guide to choosing the best WordPress hosting.
4.3. Pre-Installed WordPress
WordPress is known for the ease it provides its users but if you are a beginner, it can still be a task to install the whole WordPress. Wanna skip the hassle of installation? Or simply don’t have that time? You can always go for managed hosting that comes with complete WordPress management. Keep your WordPress up to date and give yourself time to do better things.
A DIY person? Follow these steps:
4.4. Install WordPress
WordPress can be installed in different ways listed below. Choose the one most convenient for you:
4.4.1. Using cPanel
cPanel is a dashboard provided by most of the web hosts. Different web hosting companies provide different auto installers for WordPress. You can also manually install WordPress using Cpanel. Here’s our guide for WordPress installation using cPanel.
4.4.2. Installing WordPress Locally
This is a method of downloading a free software WAMP/XAMPP/MAMP to install WordPress on your local computer. You can install WordPress locally to test plugins, updates, and other website changes before pushing them live to your audience.
4.4.3. Installing WordPress on Ubuntu
You will need a LAMP or LEMP web stack configuration for installing WordPress on Ubuntu. It will create a WordPress Database then install and edit your configuration.
4.5. Create A Website
Now comes the most exciting part. Creating a WordPress site.
1. For logging into your WordPress site just add /wp-admin at the end of the URL. For example, https://yoursite.com/wp-admin and you will see a login screen.
2. Enter your username and password. Once you have entered your WordPress site first thing you will see is your dashboard.
3. Don’t be scared, look around. Here are some of the things you can actually explore:
A. WordPress Dashboard
WordPress dashboard is the first thing you will see when you log in to your site. There are a few widgets to make your WordPress experience easy.
- On the top, you will see a Welcome widget with a large customize button. It contains a few useful links for a beginner. You will not be able to minimize this one but you can remove it once you get used to locating everything on your site.
- Then on the left side, you will see At A Glance widget which will give a general overview of your website like published post and pages, total comments and the theme you are currently using.
- Exactly next to it is a Quick Draft widget. This widget is very helpful if you want to quickly jot down some ideas for your post.
- Then you will see an Activity widget which will display last published posts. You can directly respond to a comment through this widget.
- Lastly, you will see a WordPress News widget. Here are updates from the official WordPress project. You can check this widget to see if there is any WordPress update.
These are the widgets that come with WordPress but many plugins also add a widget to the dashboard.
B. WordPress Admin Area
Even though WordPress dashboard is very useful, you’ll spend most of your time in the WordPress admin dashboard. To access, you will have to use various menu options in the sidebar.
- If you want to write a new post hover over Post menu item and you will see a submenu just click add new.
- To modify how your site looks hover over Appearance, here you can add themes, widgets etc.
You can explore the other menu and submenu of the WordPress admin panel, it lets you control every aspect of your site.
There are thousands of free and paid themes available for every type of website. Themes are like pre-made templates for your site.
To Install a new theme:
- Go to the WordPress dashboard and
- On the left-hand side, you will find the themes option in appearance.
- Once you are on the themes page click on “Add New” and you will be able to select what kind of theme suits your site.
Every theme has different features but having too many features is not a sound decision. You need to be careful in this step as choosing the theme can make or break your site. To make it a little easier for you, we have compiled a list of 10 ‘free’ WordPress themes. You can explore a little to know which one actually suits your website content.
D. Start using plugins
Plugins are mostly used to add some additional feature like a contact form, photo gallery, create stores etc.
For adding a new plugin:
- On the left-hand side of the WordPress dashboard > Go to Plugins option.
- Click on add new.
- You can find thousands of plugins here, choose the one that best suits your needs and click on install now.
- WordPress will install the plugin to your site but it will not work unless you activate it. Just click on activate plugin link that you will see once the plugin is installed.
E. Create pages
Pages are mostly static and have timeless content like about me or your contact page.
- To add a new page > go to pages > add new.
You will see a page attribute to add a page template. Most themes come with pre-made templates. You can just easily edit these templates according to your need. Once you have made all the changes just click publish to add that page to your site. Depending on your site here is a list of WordPress blog pages you can’t miss.
F. Create Post
Post are blogs for your website. They are dated and appear in reverse chronological order. For adding a new post just click on post option in your admin area and click on add new.
- You can add a title to your blog in the text area on the top.
- You can upload and add any media file. Just go to add media and click upload file.
- You also get both visual and text editor. I would recommend using the visual editor as it will help you with a nice layout.
- In the text editor, you can actually use HTML code.
- In the footer, WordPress will show you the word count of your blog.
- Once you are done writing your blog you can add it to your site by a publish button on right side of the screen.
- You can also save it as a draft for later.
5. Sources to Help You Learn WordPress
Installing WordPress is one thing, learning how to use is another. If you have never used WordPress before, you might be concerned about the technical know-how necessary to use WordPress. Here’s a list of resources that can help you learn WordPress Basics easily:
In the world of internet, there are so many tutorials available. Video tutorials are very helpful and most sought after way to learn something from the scratch. You can find videos on how to install WordPress, how to use WordPress etc. These tutorials are helpful not only for beginners but also if you just need to know about a certain theme or plugins. Most tutorials use up to date techniques to help you learn WordPress faster.
There are a lot of WordPress blogs and training programs that give in-depth knowledge about WordPress. Online courses are easily available and are the best option for those who run on the clock. Here is a small list of online course evaluations:
- Content should be well-structured
- Video and audio should have high quality
- If it is a paid version, make sure to get a free trial before purchasing it
- Be sure it has good value for your money
- The course content should be up to date
- There should be some downloadable information
- Should be mobile-friendly
One such course that provides complete training to beginners is offered by Udemy. Complete WordPress Training for Beginners by Udemy is a completely free course for beginners. It covers everything from the basics of setting up a website to the overall framework of WordPress. Towards the end, it also covers the topic of SEO, which will help you improve your search engine ranking.
- It is just a 4-hour training program
- Explanations are simple as for the easy understanding of a beginner
- It takes a conceptual approach to WordPress.
- The course is a little older. So some of the information is not up to date.
- Some of the topics towards the end are fairly advanced for a beginner.
5.3. WordPress support
Another way is to learn WordPress directly from their website. Go to wordpress.org, in the documentation, you will find WordPress Codex. WordPress codex is a WordPress bible and it has everything you will need to know about WordPress. Many of the articles are encyclopedic but it has very useful information. Even the people who have been using WordPress for some time now often go back to WordPress codex if they get stuck somewhere. You will have to give it some time because as I said articles are long but are very informative.
More often a group local WordPress developers and designers get together to share their knowledge and experiences. Attending such events and conferences is the best way to learn WordPress from others in your industry and network with like-minded people. Having a strong network play an important role in sustaining business growth. Everyone should take advantage of these meetups.
WordPress Delhi NCR meetup group: This WordPress meetup is open to everyone who loves WordPress. There are discussions about WordPress basics, plugins, WooCommerce site etc- be sure to make notes. You can follow them on facebook to know about their upcoming events.
If you are someone who can’t make time out of your work for such event, WordPress communities can provide support to help you solve your problems. Online communities help to fill the gap between people sitting in different parts of the world. There are various social media groups for beginners that allow users to ask questions. Also, they keep you updated about the ever-changing world of WordPress and SEO. Some examples of popular WordPress communities are WordPress help for beginners, WordPress 101, Intermediate WordPress.
5.6. Top Influencers
WordPress is a huge community and there are some people who are much more experienced than others. Not just beginners, these people have their influence on every WordPress enthusiast. Learn WordPress basics and get the latest updates on WordPress by following these top 3 WordPress influencers:
He is the founder of Automattic- the company behind WordPress, Gravatar, Akismet, and Vaultpress.
Joost de Valk is a WordPress evangelist. He is the CEO and founder of Yoast. Also, he is an amazing public speaker and blogger.
He is a contributing writer at Huffington post and has worked with popular WordPress resource, WPbeginner. He is the founder of List25.
6. Post Creation
Once you are complete with the basic learning of WordPress you can now start with some advanced stuff.
Search engine optimization is a practice to optimize your site for better representation in search results. SEO allows you to get more traffic to your website. There is a wealth of information out there you have to make your content stand out. No matter what kind of website you have you need content. A good content writer will be already familiar with writing for SEO but even for a beginner, WordPress offers many plugins to improve SEO. Yoast and SEMrush are the most used plugins for SEO optimization.
6.2. Customise your WordPress
Now that you have a general idea on how WordPress works and the area to focus, you can now dive into customizing your WordPress site. Every website has different customization need. You can add your contact details, your companies logo etc. There are endless things you can do to customize your website. There are so many tools to help you master WordPress.
Even if you have a big business to run and don’t have enough time. You can always go for Managed WordPress hosting
It may sound overwhelming in the beginning, but if you learn WordPress basics in an organized manner, you may become comfortable with using WordPress in less than a week. Well, that’s the beauty of WordPress!