WordPress TutorialEasy-to-follow Instructions on How to use WordPress to Manage Your Site
Last Updated on April 18, 2017
So, you’ve just successfully completed the installation of WordPress. Thus I can guide through your WordPress site and show you how to use it and how does it look like under the hood. For this purpose I have prepared the following WordPress tutorial to teach you the fundamentals. Let’s do that!
Login To Your WordPress
First of all you need to login to your site. To do so, just type the following address into your internet browser’s address bar: www.yourSiteName.com/wp-admin (replace “yourSiteName.com” with your domain name). Once you access the address, you will be taken to your website’s login page. Enter the Username and Password you chose earlier during the WordPress installation and click Log In.
Once done, you will be taken to the administration area, which is also known as back-end of your website. This is the place where all the magic happens – blog customizations, settings, posts writing etc. Everything you’ll ever want to do is managed by this administration area. I’ll guide you through everything you need to get your blog ready and to get your first post published.
WordPress Features Basics
The first page you will appear on is called Dashboard and it looks as follows:
In general, Dashboard summarizes basic information of your blog – how many posts, pages or comments appear on your site, your blog’s recent activity, available updates etc. It can be customized according to your needs, but for now just leave it as it is.
The most important element in administration area is the main navigation located on the left side of the screen. Here you see various menu items detailing each of the administrative functions you can perform:
- Dashboard – As described above.
- Posts – In here you manage your posts. That means you can write new posts, edit them or delete the old ones.
- Media – This is the media library with every file you uploaded to your site such as image, video or PDF.
- Pages – It’s similar to Posts section. But instead of posts, you manage pages here. We’ll talk about the differences later.
- Comments – Any time somebody comments on any of your posts, the comment will be stored in this section along with all other comments on your site. You can manage them just like the posts.
- Appearance – Here you manage the design of your site.
- Plugins – This is the plugin manager where you can add or remove your plugins.
- Users – If you want another person to be able to post to your blog, that person must have access to a user account. This is the place where you can create one.
- Tools – Here are some additional tools you can use for posts publishing. However, you will probably never use it. I have never used it either.
- Settings – Here are all of the settings that define your blog as a whole.
Before You Start Blogging
Before you start adding new posts and customizing your blog, I encourage you to visit the Settings section first. WordPress itself is great blogging platform, but in my opinion the default settings are not the best ones. Therefore I recommend everyone to change the default settings accordingly to my guide below. It’s also the same setting I use on my own blog.
Settings – General
- Site Title – this is name of your site, change it according to your needs,
- Site Tagline – it’s short statement which should tell your visitors why your site exists and what it’s about.
Settings – Media
- Uploading Files – uncheck the ” Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders” option.
Settings – Permalinks
- Common Settings – check the “Post name” setting.
Permalinks are what people enter into their browser address bar to view one of your pages. Every time you publish a new post on your blog, it gets a unique URL name (web address).
To better understand this, let’s say you create a post called “my post“. By default, the address of the post would become www.YourSiteName.com/?p=123. But as you can see, the default permalink structure is not user-friendly. By changing the permalinks structure according to my recommendation, the post’s address will become www.YourSiteName.com/my-post.
How To Change Your Blog’s Design
In WordPress, the design and layout of your blog is referenced as Theme. The best thing about themes is that you can change your blog’s overall design with only few clicks.
To change your blog’s appearance, just head over to Sidebar and select Appearance menu item. Under this particular menu item there is another sub-menu where you need to click on Themes.
This is where you control the entire design of your blog.
At the Themes page you will see some already pre-installed themes you can freely use such as Twenty Fourteen or Twenty Fifteen. In order to use one of the designs, just hover over the theme and click Activate. There is also a button called Live Preview. This button is useful in situation when you want to check the design first before you activate it.
People I have worked with are usually keen to play around with other themes as well. To put a fresh new coat of style on your blog, click the Add New button.
Once done, you’ll appear on the page where you can browse other FREE themes.
There are lots of different ways to find a theme. You can browse e.g. the Popular, Featured, Favorites or Latest section to find one. Or you can just search one by Feature Filter. Just play around and I am sure you will find the theme you like.
In order to activate new theme, you need to install it first. Just hover over the theme and click the Install button. Installation takes just a few seconds. Once the theme is installed, just activate it and voila – you have a new design of your blog. Simple, isn’t it?
How To Write A Post
Blogging is all about writing and sharing your stories, so let’s see how to write your first blog post.
To write a post, go to the Sidebar and select Posts menu item. You’ll appear in Post manager where you see all posts that appear on your blog.
Currently your blog contains only one blog post named Hello World. This is just a default dummy post on every new WordPress blog. It’s not important at all so feel free to delete it. To do so, click on the Trash link below the post.
Every time you hit this option, the post is not fully erased from your site. It is just moved to the Trash. To remove the post from your WordPress, go to the Trash and click on the Delete Permanently link below the appropriate post you wish to delete.
Now it’s time to write your own first post. To start writing new post, click on the Add New button in Post manager. You’ll be taken to the Post editor.
Each post needs to have some title and text. You can enter the title of your post in the top box and then begin writing your post in the second box below as shown on the image.
If you’d like to add an image to your post, just click on Add Media button. This will open a Media Library where you can select an image you have previously uploaded to your site and insert it into the post.
But I assume you have not uploaded any images to your site yet. If so, you can upload some via this interface. You can either Drag & Drop the desired files in the the Media Library interface or click on the Select Files button to navigate to the files. Selected images will be uploaded within a second. In order to add the image into your post, just set click Insert into post button.
Once you have your post ready, click on the Publish button on the right side of the screen to publish it. After that the post will appear on your website.
If you start writing a post but from some reason you wish to not publish it yet, you can save it as a draft using the Save Draft button. This option will just save the post in your system without publishing it.
How To Create A Page
Creating a page is very similar to creating a post. The key difference between post and page is their purpose. Posts are entries listed in reverse chronological order, whereas pages are static and are not listed by date. An About page is a great example. There are also another differences between these entries but for now you don’t have to deal with them.
To create a page, again head over to Sidebar and select Pages menu item. You’ll get into the Pages manager.
To add a new page, hit the Add New button on top of the manager.
As you can see, the interface is almost the same as in the case of Post. Everything works exactly the same way. All you need to do is fill in the Title and page’s body. Once you have finished, click on the blue Publish button to publish the page. And that’s it – you have created your first page, just like that.
How To Create Navigation Menu
Navigation menu is one of the most important elements of your website. It serves users to find information and browse through different sections of your website. Menu may contain links to pages, posts, custom links or other content types.
To create a menu, click on the Appearance tab on the left-menu of your blog administrator area. Then click on Menus.
This will bring you to the Edit Menus screen. We are going to create a new menu called “Main Menu”. To create it, enter that name in the Menu Name box and then click Create Menu.
Next, you need to select the elements you want to add to the menu. Let’s say you want to add a page. To do this just select one of the the pages listed on the left hand side and click on Add to Menu button.
Once you’ve added desired elements to the menu, the last thing you need to do is select the menu’s display location. This defines where you want to display the menu. To do that, select appropriate display location in Menu Settings section and click on the Save Menu button.
Note: The location names and placements vary from theme to theme. However, every theme has a Primary Menu location implemented. If you are not sure which menu location to choose, always target for the primary location. And if you don’t like the result after, you can always change it according to your needs.
How To Install New Plugin
Your blog’s features can be enriched with set of plugins. If you don’t know what the WordPress plugins are yet, don’t worry. I will explain what WordPress plugins are first and then how to add them to your website.
A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions extending the current functionality or adding new features to your site. Thanks to the plugins each user can tailor his site according to his specific needs without knowing a single line of code.
There are thousands of plugins available to download for free at the Official WordPress plugin directory. Aside from free plugins there also exist dozens of premium plugins, but these don’t appear in the WordPress directory. They can be purchased directly from developers on their own website. However, as beginner you don’t need any of those paid premium plugins so just ignore them for now. To add new feature to your website, you need to install the appropriate plugin first.
The installation process of new plugins is easy and straightforward. If you already know how to change your website’s appearance, then you already know how to install the plugins as the steps are really the same. To start, navigate to the sidebar menu in your WordPress’s administration area and click on Plugins. You will be taken to the Plugin Manager.
Here you see all plugins you have installed in your system. As you can see, there are already two plugins pre-installed. Those are Akismet and Hello Dolly and they are included in every new WordPress installation. Whereas Akismet is very useful plugin you are about to use, the Hello Dolly plugin is useless so feel free to delete it by hitting the Delete link under the plugin’s name. I will tell you more about Akismet later in this post.
Please note both plugins are deactivated by default. In order to activate and start using the functions, you always need to click on the Activate link below the appropriate plugin’s name. Once the plugin is activated, you can deactivate it the same way.
To install new plugins, just click on the Add New button.
Once you hit the button, you will appear in WordPress plugin directory. Here you can search for plugins and install new ones. When there is plugin you’d like to install, just click on the Install Now button. The installation process will finish within few seconds. Once done, don’t forget to activate the plugin so you can use it.
And that’s it. Now you know how to search for new WordPress plugins and how to install them. In the next guide I will show you essential plugins you should start using right now.
WordPress Tutorial Summary
Well done, you have just learned the WordPress fundamentals!
To sum up, in this WordPress tutorial I have shown you the very basics on how to manage your WordPress site. As you have seen, the management and administration is really easy. With all the information you know now, you will be able to easily manage your site all by yourself. Just play around with it for a while and you’ll see how easy that is. Don’t be afraid of exploring other features on your own.
The next part of our Starting a Blog Guide is focused on adding new features to your blog. For this topic I have prepared separate post where I’ll show you the best and most useful plugins out there together with description of their benefits. I recommend you not skipping that post as it contains very useful and important information.