Master Your WordPress Website: Everything Beginners Need To Know

Want to create a flexible, powerful and fairly manageable website? You can’t go wrong with WordPress. This content based Content Management System (CMS) powers over an impressive 28% of all sites on the internet, making it a leading platform.

However, like the strange neighbour that never leaves the house (If you don’t have one, it’s probably you – sorry), it can be intimidating at first glance.

Fortunately, WordPress is much easier to understand than the same weird neighbour that glares at you as you greet them morning on your way to work. With just a brief introduction, you’ll quickly find yourself able to take control of your website in about five minutes. Plus, you can customise it to make visual and functional updates.

In this article we cover:

1. Getting To Know The CMS Platform

2. Take Control Of Navigation

3. Customise Your WordPress Theme

woman navigating her wordpress website

A 5-Minute Crash Course Into WordPress:

The best thing about learning how to ace WordPress? You don’t even have to leave the house, either. You have all of the guidance you need at your fingertips!

1. Getting To Know The CMS Platform

What Is WordPress?

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) platform that is used to create and maintain a website. The amazing CMS software enables you to customise just about every aspect of your site. Essentially a WordPress site is made up of pages or posts, or even both.

Let’s have a little history lesson – the first version of WordPress was created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It began as a simple platform designed for writers who wanted to create basic blogs and host them live on the internet. However, over a short space of time it’s grown into a flexible, powerful tool for creating almost any type of website – even ecommerce.

Before moving on, it’s important to make sure we’re on the same wavelength here. There are differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, as follows.

WordPress.com:

The former is a website builder where you can create and host a site for free. It’s simple to use but also rather limited in what it can do.

WordPress.org:

Whereas, WordPress.org is a more powerful platform so we’ll be focusing on this for the rest of this article.

How Is WordPress Unique?

The first thing you need to understand about what makes WordPress so different is that it is open-source software. If you aren’t familiar with this geeky term, it means the platform isn’t restricted under copyright or trademark and is freely available for anyone to download and modify (under what is called the GNU General Public License).

What’s more, and is a real winner, is that WordPress is developed and maintained by a dedicated community. This is great news for you as a user for a whole variety of reasons:

– The platform is and always will be free to use for anyone.
– There are free and low-cost tools created for use with WordPress (I’ll go more into this in just a moment).
– WordPress is designed by its community to be user-friendly and to have the most needed features available.
– Freedom to choose how to use and interact with the software with flexibility to modify it in any way you’d like via coding and other tools.

Remember that 28-percent-of-websites statistic I impressed you with earlier? It’s fair to say WordPress is a very popular platform, and that makes getting help when you need it incredibly easy. It’s straightforward to find plenty of online documentation, forums, WordPress-focused blogs, dedicated courses and resources, and much more. No matter what you’re trying to do, chances are there are a range of solutions to give you a hand.

What Can I Do With WordPress?

As we know WordPress began as a small, blogging-focused platform, this means it has a lot of features that lend themselves to blogs. There is no denying that this is the best solution for content based websites. There’s an easy-to-use editor for creating and updating posts and pages, robust functionality, and much more.

Of course, WordPress isn’t just for beginner bloggers anymore. The beauty of the CMS is that it’s able to ‘scale’ alongside its users. As you learn about the platform and acquire new technical knowledge and skills, you’ll be able to do more and more with WordPress. You can create and run a simple blog, but you can also design large, complex websites for businesses and develop online shops. With WordPress, almost anything is achievable, it just can’t make you a cuppa tea unfortunately.

To give you a greater idea of what WordPress can do, here is just a small selection of the categories of sites its ideal for creating:

– Content based Brochure

– News

– Online portfolios

– Online Shop

– Multi-seller

– Online Directory

If you aren’t sure what type of site you want to create yet, you can always start small and scale up over time. It isn’t difficult to begin with a simple blog site for example, and over time progress to turn it into a news or affiliate site. You can also create a site that fulfils various roles, EG a business website with an accompanying company blog, as well as a connected storefront to sell your products or services.

To see examples of how adaptable WordPress is why not take a look at our previous work.

laptop with wordpress website coding on screen

2. Take Control Of Navigation

Honestly, the navigation is fairly intuitive, especially if you keep in mind that Pages are static, Posts are social.

How Does It Work?

The ‘dashboard’ sits on top where site overviews belong. Next as are the ‘Pages’ and ‘Posts’, otherwise known as the heart of a WordPress site. Meanwhile ‘Media’ separates the Posts from the Pages, so you won’t confuse them.

In the ‘Plugins’ area is you can upload and store all the nifty apps that make your site function, as well as search for plugins. Under ‘Users’ the database of your subscribers is held. ‘Tools’ is a quiet little corner of the site, mostly used when you import and export information.

Finally, ‘Settings’ is where all your boring general information and preferences for all the above options are stored.

If you have a grip on just these controls, you could start adding content within just a minute. However, the website won’t look too attractive just yet.

3. Customise Your WordPress Theme

In short, every modern WordPress theme allows you to customise various details of its appearance and features through the built-in WordPress Customiser.

Can I Make Customisation’s?

You have the ability to make changes to the way your site looks and acts, and if you’re comfortable with coding, you can make just about any alternations you’d like. If you don’t have that level of technical skill, however, a web design team will be more than happy to give you a helping hand.

Themes are pieces of software you can download and install to your site, which instructs it to follow a structure and implement the same design elements. Using a theme, you can alter your site’s layout and appearance and even make some changes to its functionality.

Plugins, on the other hand, enable you to add new features and functionality to your site. You can find simple plugins that add only one new feature, such as a contact form or image gallery, or comprehensive options to make radical changes to the way your site functions.

Using plugins, you can add features to build a storefront, optimise your site for search engines, create a forum and much more. Whatever you’d like your site to do, chances are you can find a plugin to make it possible.

wordpress website setting sbeing selected on computer screen

Get Started With WordPress

Hopefully, by this point, we’ve convinced you that WordPress is well worth trying out.

Have any unanswered questions? Don’t be afraid to ask your web developer for further information regarding your WordPress website or pop us a message on our social media.

Class dismissed!

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