WordPress 101

Ok, so let’s just get WordPress 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…

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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.

Pages

Posts

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.

Pages

Posts

Media

Editor Window

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.

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Now to the dreaded SEO. The mere mention can bring the sweats to a corporate CFO’s brow, but remember this is 101, we’re just going to get you started. 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.

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, but this will get you in the beginner’s 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.

Pages

Posts

Media

Editor Window

Color

SEO

Featured Image

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 you will get blank image placeholders which are just not pretty. Here is where you find the Featured Image setting;

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.

Summary; When looking at your WordPress Dashboard don’t become overwhelmed by the choices. Remember their are options there you may never want to use, and understand the tabs you don’t use probably won’t bite you, as long as you leave them alone until you know what you are trying to do. The ones you do use can, so make changes one at a time. remembering and undoing them if you need to is much easier that way.

And there you have it, WordPress 101 is complete and you should have a basic idea of how to write some good looking posts and create pretty good basic Pages.

Happy WordPress-ing…  Hmm, maybe I should do WordPress 102?

Note; This page has been rebuilt with Elementor Page Builder on OceanWP theme since this tutorial was first written.  Your page will not look anything like this one if you build your first one.  However, the information contained in this page has not changed and is still correct.

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