Alright. We gotta have a little chit chat about WordPress for beginners. There’s so much going on here that we need to know! I mean, seriously, you want to be a success story, right? Me, too. So, let’s get on with some of the basic essentials in WordPress.
WordPress is one of those things that needs to be conquered one bite at a time, but don’t worry, I’m here to help make all of those bites easier to swallow.
It’s absolutely essential to explore your WordPress Dashboard and become super familiar with all of it’s functions because, well, this is your new home! It’s up to you to be the housekeeper.
This was created to be user-friendly, so even though there is some technical stuff involved, please don’t give up! WordPress is on your side! You can learn it! Everyone using it (successfully) had to learn.
Never become someone that knows it all. That’s when you stop learning. So, even when you’re an expert, learning should still take place because things are always changing! Stay relevant, and learn, dang it!!
So let’s dive into the menu on the left-hand side bar:
You can check out all of your posts and create new ones from here. There are several options on the “Posts” page to choose from.
Categories are important to add, so be sure to create them so you don’t have the “Uncategorized” default category on your blog posts. “Uncategorized” is sloppy. Without categories, it can be really difficult to navigate your site, and it could weaken your SEO. We don’t want that, do we? NO WAY!
Tags are another important way to organize your blog. Your tags should be consistent throughout your site. I don’t mean that your tags should all be the same. You’d never get anywhere doing the exact same thing all the time. You need to use tags that go with what you are blogging about throughout your site. So, if your blog is focused on blogging your tags should represent that. Pro tip: Google may have a difficult time crawling your site if you’ve got topics all over the place. Way bad for SEO!
This one is pretty simple. There is a library of all of the media you have uploaded to your site, and a place to add new stuff.
Keep in mind that media can slow your site down, and that’s something else we don’t want. Your traffic starts to jet when the page won’t load. You’ve probably taken off from a sloth-paced site in search of one that is speedy-quick. Takes one to know one, right? I have been using a plugin for WordPress called Smush that takes care of some of that for me. It’s free, but they also offer a pro version.
I’ll admit, pages on WordPress were a little confusing to me at first. There was a period of time that I struggled to differentiate between posts and pages. I came to the realization that my categories were also my pages, and my posts could be found on the pages that I categorized them as. So, if I categorize this post as blogging, you will easily be able to find this post on my blogging page from the main menu at the top of the site.
Using the customization tool (little paint brush at the top left-hand corner) when taking a look at your site shows the the menu that you have on all of your pages. Here, you have the ability to rearrange your menu items and add sub topics under each menu item.
Yay! Comments! This is the place where you will openly communicate with your audience on your posts. Any new comments you have can be reviewed and approved/denied from here. You will also have the opportunity to respond (you absolutely should!!!).
Feedback differs from comments. You will need to install a plugin that asks your readers to poll on whether or not they found your post helpful, enjoyable, whatever. If they like it, hopefully they will provide a thumbs up for you. If not, well you get the picture.
So so so much goes on here. It’s all about how your site looks, and there is a lot that goes into that, we’ll hit the high points.
Check out Six Things You Need to do to Get Your Posts Shared to check out why appearance is important.
You can choose or upload your theme here. WordPress offers many free themes, which is great, but most professional bloggers encourage you to purchase one. It’s one of those “you get what you pay for” spiels. Paid themes come with customer service and greater ability to customize your site. If you do go the free route, know that there are more themes to choose from than the three that you see already uploaded. Just click the upload theme button to check out more free choices! Yeah, I didn’t know that at first either. I thought the theme section was totally limited, and I didn’t like any of the ones provided.
The customize button will take you to real-time editing of your site. We touched on this when we talked about pages, but there is so much more that you can do here. I’m talkin’ header images and favicon. Yup, you definitely want to add both of these. Both will set you up to look like you are professional.
Your header image can be added under the header button, and your favicon (the little image that appears at the top of your browser on the tab for your site) can be added under the site identity button.
Widgets are little things that perform specific functions on your pages. Let’s relate this to your smartphone. You’ve probably got widgets all over the place on your home screen. The weather app? Maybe the Bible app? If you get updates on stuff like that from your home screen, those are apps that you’ve added widgets to. Your apps are like plugins, but more on that in a minute.
I have a widget with my picture and a short welcome and a description about Lemon la Vie. There’s a widget that shows my most recent posts and comments. A search bar can found on my right sidebar, too.
Real quick: Cascading Style Sheets or CSS affects things like colors, fonts, and spacing on your page. It is important because it’s part of the appearance, and remember, people are attracted to pretty things!
This is a little technical, but don’t be intimidated. Everything can be learned! CSS is cascading because whatever you edit for your CSS will be applied to all of your pages. In the good ol’ days, you had to edit every. single. page. You can check out the editor button under appearance to edit the code for CSS. Check out this video for more info.
These are the apps mentioned above. They do a bunch of different stuff. Some are worthwhile, and some shouldn’t be given the time of day. Here’s a screenshot of the plugins being used for Lemon la Vie:
It’s probably not wise to install every plugin with a good rating to your site because it will slow down the load time. Bad!
Yoast SEO for WordPress is the most helpful plugin so far, and it comes highly recommended. There are plugins for collecting email addresses like Sumo or MailChimp. These are necessity, too. Askimet keeps spam out, and MiloTree helps draw traffic to a social media site of your choosing.
Side note about MiloTree: It has increased my Pinterest following because it makes it easier for my readers to follow me right from Lemon la Vie! If you use my affiliate link on the popup and get your free month to grow your traffic, I will earn a commission. Help a sista out! Install it, and ask for help from your fellow bloggers! There is a $20 commission for every referral from your affiliate link when the. Simple way to increase traffic
Do some research on what you want for your site. Keep your purpose and niche in mind, and then choose the right plugins for you. Oh, and always use plugins that have been updated recently!
This is where you identify the people that will have access to your site. What role will they play? Subscriber? Administrator? Editor?
When you set up your site you positively must change the default “admin” username so that hackers won’t have access to change or delete your site. SCARY! See, hackers know that your username is “admin,” so you gotta change it! This will require you to go in and add a new user, which will be you, and delete the old one. Be sure to still classify yourself as administration in the “role” dropdown.
The tools section allows you to import and export content. So, if you have content on another site like Blogger, you can easily import that content to your WordPress site or vice versa.
General site settings allow you to add or change the site title and tagline, time zone, how followers will be registered, and the site URL. Be sure to update your timezone!
So far, permalinks are the most important component of the settings section. They are crucial for SEO! Permalinks are the URLs assigned to your posts when you publish. They are permanent, so if your change them, your will need to add a redirect to your new URL from your old one. But, why not just make it easy from the beginning?
When you first set up your site on WordPress, you will need to click on the permalink button and start editing the way that permalinks will be assigned to your posts. The default is not very pretty, and it’s not SEO-friendly! Fix this by selecting “post name.” This way, your URL will have the name of your post at the end rather than some letters and numbers that make sense to NO ONE.
Instead of this: https://lemonlavie.com?p=123/n;kjagu.a;jg,
Alright, that one is a little long, but it has the title of my post rather than some mumbo jumbo that no one can read.
What’s the take-away here?
Basically, you need to learn WordPress. It is supposed to be user-friendly, so the creators want you to like what they’ve done with the place. SEO is major, and so is the appearance.
Play around with your Dashboard. If you are nervous about making a change to something, ask about it first! You totally got this!
Am I missing anything?
If you have questions about how to use WordPress, feel free to email or comment! Be sure to subscribe for more on how to make money blogging!
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