How to get started in WordPress
So you've set up your hosting package, WordPress is installed and you're ready to start blogging but now what? This guide is going to help you take your first steps in creating your new WordPress site.
The three main things you need to know about are posts, plugins and themes.
Posts – Posts make up the content of your site. When you have decided what you want to tell the world you will do it by making a post.
Plugins – Plugins add functionality to your website and there is a wide variety to choose from. If you want to increase security on your site? There's a plugin for that. If you want to optimise your website? There are plugins for that. If you want to add a contact form to your website? There's a plugin for that too.
Themes – Themes change the appearance and presentation of your website, using different colours, formatting and navigation options. Themes are highly customisable and there are hundreds of templates to choose from.
Now to combine all three and create your own unique website!
Creating a post
Once you have logged into your WordPress admin area (yourdomain.com/wp-admin) you will be presented with your dashboard which will look something like this
It can look quite daunting at first, but have no fear it will feel like a second home in no time at all.
To create posts, edit posts, add categories (to organise your posts) or add tags (which help your site get found on search engines) you can use the Posts button located in the left hand side menu.
Which will bring up the Posts screen
From this screen you can create new posts and view, edit and delete existing posts. Hover your cursor over an existing post to display the quick-links for theses actions.
Click Add New in the left hand side menu to create a new post. You will be presented with the opportunity to give your new post a title, enter the main body of the post, format options, what category you would like the post placed in and any tags you would like to apply.
Once you've written your post you can;
- Preview the post to see how it will look on your site once published
- Save it as a Draft so that you can continue working on it at a later date
- Publish it, pushing it live on your website for everyone to view
- Delete the post, removing it from your posts scren
Changing your theme
So you've published your first post, but now you want to stand out from the crowd and the default theme isn't cutting it, so the next step is to select a new theme for your new site.
You can set new themes, view downloaded and customise themes by using the Appearance button. However as we're just changing a theme at the moment, place your mouse over Appearance and then click on Themes when the second menu is displayed.
This will bring up your Themes page, which will look like this
Your active theme will be highlighted and let you know that it is active and inactive themes you've downloaded will be available for reactivation, but to download a brand new theme, simply click the Add New button at the top.
From there you can search for themes by name, search for them using the on-screen filter, upload your own theme if you have created one, view WordPress's “Featured” themes, view the newest themes or view the most recently updated; There are certainly no shortage of ways to find a theme that's right for you!
Once you have found one you like the look of, you can see the full details/description for the theme using the Details link, see a full preview of the theme using the Preview link and install it on your site using the Install Now link.
After you click Install Now the theme will download and install itself.
But before you Activate the theme you have the option of seeing a Live Preview which will let you see what your posts look like wearing their brand new theme. Happy with what you see? Click Activate.
Installing a Plugin
So you have written your first post, selected a great theme to accompany it and now you're looking to add some extra functionality to your site; what you want is a plugin.
One plugin we recommend getting is WordFence Security as it is a comprehensive and highly rated security plugin that makes your site more secure and less open to malicious attacks, so lets go through the steps to install it!
Back at your dashboard you will find Plugins on the left hand side underneath Appearance. To view what plugins you already have installed, activate/deactivate plugins or edit how a plug in works, simply click Plugins
This screen will show you all of your currently installed plugins, with plugins highlighted in blue being Active.
Unfortunately WordFence isn't installed already, so our first step is to find it by clicking on the Add new button at the top of the page.
Similarly to finding your theme you can also search by name, upload your own plugin, look at featured plugins, look at popular plugins, look at the newest plugins and (if you have a WordPress.org account) see what plugins you have favourited on the website.
As we know what we're looking for simply type in WordFence Security into the search bar
You will see a list of plugins related to your search, and right at the top you will find the WordFence plugin. If you want to view the full description of the plugin simply click Details and when you're ready to install it click Install Now.
Once it has installed, simply click Activate Plugin
Back on the Dashboard you'll notice that WordFence has it's own place in the side bar which is where you can configure specific settings for the plugin. More advanced plugins, like WordFence. may put themselves on the side bar however most will be managed through the Plugins link.
Not all plugins have customisable options, but if it does and it hasn't got it's own section on the side bar, you can mangage the plugin using the Settings link.
And there we have it! You've created your first Post, applied a Theme and made your site more secure by installing a Plugin; your site will be flourishing in no time!
Just want a quick summary?
Click 'Posts' in the dashboard to view all the posts you've made
Click 'Add New' to write a new post
Click 'Publish' to put your post on your live site
Click 'Appearance' to see your current themes
Click 'Add New' to search for a new theme
Click 'Install' to install the theme and 'Activate' to make it live on your site
Click 'Plugins' to see your current plugins
Click 'Add new' to search for a new plugin
Click 'Install now' to install the plugin and 'Activate Plugin' to activate it