Using WordPress – an overview

Once you have your basic wordpress site set up (see here for details on setting up a WordPress site) then the next stage is to start writing content.

blog image

“Blog Screen Shows International Or Worldwide Blogging” by Stuart Miles

This article takes you through the different stages involved in;

  • Managing your website control panel
  • Using the WordPress Editor
  • Change your WordPress appearance
  • Adding media
  • Categorising posts and pages
  • Editing website comments

 

Why Choose WordPress?

WordPress was born officially in 2003, designed by the blogging platform B2 Cafelog in partnership with another programmer Mike Little. In 2004 version 1.0 of WordPress was launched. Version 1.2 also in 2004, saw the introduction of the well known plugins.

Between 2005-2007 a number of changes occurred that meant that WordPress could now offer different themes, a help forum and had a commercial company supporting its development as an open source platform. Finally Akismet the automatic spam blocker was introduced at the end of 2005.

By the time version 2.9 was in the offing WordPress had many of the functions associated with today’s version including theme installation, image editors and built-in plug installations.

In 2015 it is estimated that 24% of all websites use WordPress as their content management system, so you’re not alone in deciding that WordPress is the answer to your blogging questions.

Using WordPress

One of the reasons for the rise in WordPress popularity is its ease of use.

Most of us are used to publishing packages such as Microsoft Word. WordPress uses a similar, albeit simpler version, of the same type of publishing programme. The screen looks similar to the one in the diagram below and consists of three main areas.

screenshot WordPress screen

Area 1 – the side bar on the left (in black) – this area is your control panel and provides access to all the areas of WordPress, including your pages, posts and media library. You can manage comments on your site and any plugins you may have for other programmes connected to your WordPress site.

Area 2 – The main writing area (middle of the screen large white box) – this is the main writing area. It has a header section at the top and then the larger white screen for writing which has your editing bar at the top.

image wordpress editor

WordPress editing bar

The choices are fairly simple, one font and a series of headings and basic editing for bullets / numbers / aligning text and the most important one undoing your last act!

Area 3 – Right hand side panel. Here there are a number of smaller white boxes that enable you to categorise the post, add tags and save/publish the work.

 

WordPress Editor

Although the screen is simple to use there are still a few things to learn that make using WordPress that little bit easier. You can access this using WordPress tutorial video from the Wealthy Affiliate university which provides a walk through of the key points you need.

video tutorial link

Video Tutorial Link

Using WordPress

The simplest way to understand WordPress is to start creating your own posts and begin writing content.

You can save draft copies of your work and you don’t have to publish anything until you are ready.

To help you even more here are some of the different things that you can do with WordPress.

 

Changing Your WordPress Appearance

In Area 1 there are lots of opportunities to change the way that your WordPress site looks.

Under appearance you can;

  • Change the themes that you use,
  • Change the menus on your site so that you decide which posts can be seen by your visitors.
  • Build up your own media library by importing photos or images directly into your WordPress library.
  • Finally you can add different programmes to work alongside WordPress such as social media buttons or other tools that are known as plugins.

 

Adding Media

In Area 2 as well as writing your blog posts you can also produce a content page, that can be added to your home menu.

screenshot WP media library

Pages are produced in exactly the same way as a post. For both pages and posts you can add your own photos or images downloaded from the internet.

Simply click on the ‘add media’ button at the top of the editor tool bar and you will be given the option of adding a new image or choosing from your library of images already uploaded.

Categorising Your Posts and Pages

In Area 3 there are a number of options to categorise your posts and pages so that readers can find the information easily.

Some of the options you have are –

  • you can create your own list of categories,
  • add your own tags for the article,
  • format the type of post whether it’s a video, audio or standard format
  • as well as choosing whether to save your work as a draft version or publish onto your website.

 

Managing Comments

Finally in Area 1 you have the option to manage any comments that you may receive on your website.

Comments are a useful way to engage with readers and visitors to your site. The comments tool means that you can view the comment before it is published, so that you can decide whether it is spam or legitimate. You also have the option to reply to the comment at the same time.

There are plugins available such as WP-Spamshield that monitor and delete spam comments for you and then you only have to review real comments.

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