It does not matter whether you are new or old to blogging,
I’m sure you might have heard about WordPress before.
But despite its popularity, people still have lots of doubts and questions regarding WordPress.
This is a complete guide for newbie bloggers who want to use and explore WordPress for Blogging.
I’ll try my best to answer all your queries through this article.
The purpose of this article is to get you familiar with ins and out of WordPress and also to help you set up and customize your blog.
We will also see how we can use themes and plugins to extend the functionality of your blog.
Best part, you don’t require any coding skills whatsoever.
Let’s get started!
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free and open source software that makes it insanely easy for anyone to start a blog.
But, it’s more than just a software that lets you create a blog and publish articles.
30% of sites on the entire Internet are built using this incredible platform.
Technically, WordPress is a CMS( Content management Software) that makes it easier to build any type of website without any knowledge of coding.
Since, it is being used by millions of websites its constantly being updated and keeps getting better.
Thanks to the wonderful community of developers, content creators and blog owners, WordPress keeps becoming better day by day.
When you make a decision to use WordPress for your site, you not only get to use this free software but the entire WordPress ecosystem.
WordPress ecosystem consists of the tools, themes and plugins you get access to, when you start using WordPress.
Because of its popularity, Developers and Companies are constantly creating new tools, themes and plugins that you can just install with a click of a button.
They help you extend the functionality of your blog or make it look a certain way.
Some of these tools may include plugins to help you keep your site secure, to optimize images, to enable social sharing on your blog posts, to change the look of your site etc.
This blog post won’t be able to do justice to the entire variety of tools, themes and plugins that you have at your disposal when you start using WordPress.
So I encourage you to explore them yourself by going to plugins and themes directory on WordPress.org
These tools can be both free and paid.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.Org
Most beginners and sometimes even pro-bloggers are confused between these two.
Are these two entities the same? What’s the difference?
So the answer is yes.
WordPress.org is the free and open source software that we are talking about and that can be used to build any type of website these days.
On the other hand, WordPress.com is a commercial company that lets you create a blog for free which comes with very limited functionality when compared to WordPress.org. They charge a premium amount in case you need more features.
Using the free source software from WordPress.org gives you complete freedom to decide where you want to host your website and gives you complete ownership of your site.
Even though WordPress is 100% free, you still need to pay for your domain and hosting for using it.
The charge for which comes around roughly 45 dollars for 1 year.
Domain is the address of your site on the internet. For ex.( blogfundas.com) is mine.
This is the address that people will type while visiting your site.
You can purchase your domain from Godaddy.com.
Just like you store files on your computer, the files of your website which includes all the images, blog posts, code file etc are stored in some special computers(hosts), which makes your website accessible to all.
Web hosting is the place where all your website files are stored and made available for everyone using Internet.
You need to purchase web hosting from Web Hosting Providers( Companies).
I recommend you to stick to a popular and reputed company so that your website is always fast to load and secure. Good Hosting Companies will also provide daily backups to you.
I have personally used all these and these are a lot better than any other shady company you may come across.
You can read this guide to choose the best WordPress Hosting.
If you want to set up your own blog, you can follow my guide on How to start a blog in 5 easy steps.
Almost all hosting companies give the option to install WordPress with just one click, once you have purchased your hosting.
Once you install WordPress on your site, you can access your site using both back-end and front-end.
Front-end is what visitors will see when they visit your website.
Back-end is the password-protected area that is only accessible to you using username and password.
To access the back-end you just need to enter yourdomain.com/wp-admin (Replace yourdomain.com with name of your domain).
You will be taken to a area that looks like this. This area is also called as WordPress Admin Panel.
It might seem a bit intimidating to some people, but trust me it’s very easy and intuitive to use.
This is the place you will use for making any changes on your site.
For the sake of simplicity we will divide this into three parts:
#1 WordPress Admin Menu
1. WordPress dashboard Section
On top of WordPress Menu is the Dashboard section which gives you a quick overview of all the required new updates and a snapshot of new comments etc.
You can arrange the dashboard as you wish, by simply dragging things and hiding options that you don’t want to see.
2. Content management Section
The second part in admin menu is Content Management section which includes Posts, Media, Pages, Comments.
Media lets you upload images and files that you upload on your website and Comments sections allows you to manage comments.
Difference between Posts and Pages in WordPress
Posts are usually blog posts and they are listed in reverse chronological order, which means the more recent blog posts show up first.
Posts comprise majority of the content on a website, if its a blog.
3. Site administration section
This is the section you will use to customize the appearance or add new functionalities to your site.
You can also change the settings and add menus, add users and much more from this section.
The Site administration section includes all these options
- Appearance ( To add new themes and customize the look)
- Plugins (To add new functionalities to your site)
We will talk about WordPress themes and plugins in a bit, but let’s talk about the other three options first.
When you install WordPress for the first time, you create a username that is used every time you publish a new blog post or reply to a comment.
But if there are several other writers on your site, you can create a new user profile for them.
Available user profiles are Administrator, Editor, Contributor and Subscriber depending on how much control you want to give to a new user.
For example, A contributor will only be able to make changes to blog posts and has no access to Site administration section.
This is a very rarely used section that’s only used if you are migrating from one blogging platform to other and is used for importing and exporting your blog posts.
This is the place you will use to manage all the settings of your site.
Some of the settings you need to change when you install wordpress for the first time are as follows:
- Go to Setting> Permalinks and change the URL structure to postname.
- Change the Site name, tagline and icon under Settings > General (Also add your admin e-mail)
- You can also go to Setting > Writing and change the look of your homepage to show a static page instead of latest posts in this section. This can also be done using customizer.
#2 WordPress Toolbar
WordPress toolbar is one of the most useful features of WordPress admin panel.
It continues to stick to the top of the screen and is available to the user both in the front-end as well as back-end, as long as you have logged into your site.
When we are logged into the WordPress Site, we constantly have to toggle between front-side of website and the back-side( Admin Panel) to see the changes we make on our site.
WordPress toolbar stays at the top of the screen and gives you all the contextual options to make changes and to toggle between front-end and back-end.
As you add plugins to your site, more options become available to you in the WordPress toolbar or also sometime called Toggle-Menu.
#3 WordPress Dashboard
Dashboard is the landing view of your WordPress Admin Panel.
You are greeted with WordPress Dashboard each time you log into the site.
Dashboard gives you an overview of your entire site and keeps you updated with any new event on your site like new comments, updates required etc.
As you install more plugins, there might be newer options for you to see in WordPress Admin Section.
For example, installing Google Analytics Plugins will give you an overview of number of visitors that visit your site and other such statistics in the Dashboard itself.
Themes in WordPress are used to change the appearance of site drastically.
You can install new themes by going to Appearance > Themes > Install new theme
All the themes listed here are completely free and you are free to use any theme that you like.
Some themes also add certain extra features to site.
Think of themes as clothes for your site, you can change it as many times as you want without deleting your actual content, posts and settings.
Paid themes offer you more options to customize and design the site as you wish.
As you already know by now, Plugins are used to add extra functionalities to your site.
You can install the plugin by going to Plugins > Install New Plugin
There are endless numbers of plugins available in WordPress Directory that you can choose to add E-mail optin forms, Social Media Buttons, SEO Optimization options, Backup options and so much more.
But, installing anything more than 8-10 plugins is not recommended as adding more plugins can slow your site.
Use only credible plugins that have many active installations and good ratings.