WordPress Tutorial 101
Ok, so let’s just get WordPress Tutorial 101 out of the way.
Obligatory Opening Preamble – WordPress started as a humble little Blogging Platform but now has progressed to the most popular CMS (Content Management System) out today. WordPress originally contained no plugins at all, today much of it is driven by the ability to add and remove plugins.
Most people feel very confused, or even intimidated when they first look at their WordPress Dashboard, so let’s talk about that for a minute. Along the left hand side of your dashboard will be quite a few tabs, each one trying to tell you what it does. Here is a shot of the top quarter of Raging River’s dashboard…
Yeah I have a lot of stuff going on, and at first glance my dashboard will discourage all but the strong hearted, and the experienced. The thing to remember is that you can ignore the majority of these. Some of these tabs have to do with basic settings, some with pictures and images, others with features added by the Theme itself. And finally an awful lot of the tabs are features added by plugins.
The good news? You do not have to know what they all do, at least not in the beginning. All you need to know are the ones you need in order to write a new page, or post, or to edit existing ones.
So there are two tabs we want.
Alright, looks like we’re getting somewhere now.
Pages are building blocks for the site of course, where-as Posts are Blog Page inhabitants. Posts also have the added benefit of sending out alerts to all your website subscribers. Just a little notification and sampling of the blog post in their email, which they can follow back to your site.
We can also set up extra, additional blog pages on your site. For more information see my post. Installing an Extra Blog Page on WordPress.
We’ve made good progress so far, but there is a lot more to making pages and posts than dropping words on a page. We will need pictures, and we will want to use some color. We probably ought to learn about the Editor Window, and we’ll need to know about the Media Tab where our photos get uploaded and live.
The Editor Window is what we call the window that opens when you click “edit” on a Page or a Post, or when you create a new one of these. Here is a picture as I write this.
Above you will see a horizontal bar with even more confusing choices. They’re really not confusing, you just have to hold your mouse over each one and it will tell you what it will do for you. Pretty helpful.
You will see a second row inside the smaller window as well, but this is only because I was using Visual Composer when I wrote this particular page.
Yours also will not look the same as mine does unless you drop in “Use Any Font” and “Video Sidebar Widgets” and “Slider Revolution” plugins, along with several more. Yes that’s right. Plugins make changes to the Editor Windows too.
I’ll let you step outside and get a breath or two while you recover from any initial shock. But when you get back realize that this is the beauty of WordPress.
By careful selection of “ACTIVE” plugins, which also have a good track record, you can customize exactly what you are able to do from the convenience of your editor window. Yeah, it will take some time to become familiar with all this. But remember to attack the things you want to use and you will gradually make each one yours to use and remember. That’s actually how we all did it.
I have read countless technical books which teach you the principle and theory behind something, but if you never get to lay your hands on it you never quite get it or really understand it. With WordPress we don’t need to care about the why and how until after we get our hands on it. Granted more technical items such as Slider Revolution will require some serious study of tutorials, but that is what Google, YouTube, and in this case Theme-punch are for.
Let’s not forget Media either, but that’s pretty simple. The Media Folder lives on your Server, wherever that may be located. The Media Tab is a quick access window to that folder.
Also your Editor Window has a quick link – “Add Media” button – which will take you to your Media and let you do anything you want, again from the comfort of your Editor Window. Editor Window has similar conveniences for Revolution Slider, short-codes and many other things you will find handy to have at your finger tips, once you learn and use them. Editor Window is starting to sound like a friend, huh?
So we’re almost done with our WordPress Tutorial 101…
Color is very easy. It comes with your Editor Window, stock out of the box. Just highlight the text you want colorized and choose the color you like from the button on the Editor Window.
Now to the dreaded SEO. The mere mention can bring the sweats to a corporate CFO’s brow. But it’s not that bad. Personally I use Yoast SEO but there are plenty of other good plugins out there.
With most of these there are tutorials but we will not go into that much depth. Suffice it to say that you fill in the focus keyword, in lower case of course, and follow the directions, all at the bottom of your Editor Window. Starting to like that Editor Window guy now huh? Here is a shot of Yoast SEO at the bottom of this Editor Window right now. All I have done so far is the focus keyword, but I will do the rest.
Click on the image above and it will become larger. Check out the suggestions with the red through green dots next to them. Try to follow those suggestions as you build your page/post and get the red and orange dots to either disappear or turn green. This is not SEO Optimization in it’s purest form, that costs a fortune. But this will get you in the ballpark, so to speak. Want to add more keywords, improve your plugin to premium.
Finally there two last things to cover, and this applies mostly to Posts, and in my experience not so much with Pages. These are Featured Image and Clean Layout.
Featured image will be the image that will show up on your Blog Page. Here, I will show you.
See the little photos in the upper right of the image? Those are driven by the Featured Image. If you don’t set them it will not be pretty. And here is where you find the Featured Image;
It’s the little hyperlink in the lower right corner of the image. You will notice that I have not set the featured image for this “Page”. That is because Google will not display the Featured Image. I do not know why, I just know not to use it on my Pages.
Clean Layout; Clicking this will prevent the theme from displaying the Title that you entered in the top line of the Editor Window. Most people would rather customize the title to look the way they want it to as far as size an color. You may or may not have this option with all themes.
Both titles showing;
And this is what it looks like fixed.
Summary; When looking at your WordPress Dashboard don’t become overwhelmed by the choices. Remember there are options there you may never want to use, and always bear in mind the tabs you don’t use probably won’t bite you. Whereas the ones you do use can, so make changes one at a time. remembering and undoing them is much easier that way.