WordPress Basics – What is WordPress?

Are you ready to learn more about WordPress? At VantagePoint Marketing, every website comes with free WordPress training to give you a better understanding of the platform, which lets you take control of your website as much or as little as you’d like. This article is the first in a series of articles about using WordPress, perfect if you need a refresher after your training session, or if you just want to learn more about the most popular way to build a website.

Quick Links

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free content management system that runs over a third of the websites on the internet. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require any coding or programming knowledge to build a website or blog. The flexibility of WordPress is one of its main advantages and the reason we use it for our website and the websites we build for small businesses, nonprofits, online stores, and more.

The front end of your website is what visitors see when they type in your site’s address, a collection of text and media with a nice layout to showcase your business. To make changes to this information, you need to log into your website on the back end, a behind-the-scenes look at what makes up your website.

Logging In

To get started, you’ll need to log into your website using your URL followed by /wp-admin

www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin

Replace “www.yourwebsite.com” with the domain/URL for your website.

This will bring you to the login screen, when you can enter your username (or email address) and password. If you’re on your own computer, you can check the box for “Remember Me” to keep you logged in. If you’re using a shared computer and don’t want others to have full access to your website, don’t check that box.

It’s tough to remember ALL of your passwords, especially for things you’re not using regularly, so if you have trouble logging in, use the “Lost your password?” link to receive an email with instructions to reset your password.

Once you’ve successfully logged in, you’ll see your website’s Dashboard. This is an overview of your site, with menus to find anything you’d like to change.

WordPress Navigation

The central area dashboard is customizable, allowing you to rearrange items you’d like to see after logging in. The main items you’ll want to focus on are in the menus along the side or the top.

Here are the main items you’ll find on any site:

  • Posts
  • Media
  • Pages

And some of the advanced sections that you should use only if you know what you’re doing:

  • Appearance
  • Plugins
  • Users
  • Settings

Pages

Every website needs at least one page, your homepage, where visitors will find an overview of your business, an introduction to what you do, and clear calls to action. Basic websites can include enough information on the homepage without needing any other pages. If you’d like to try this, it’s important not to cram too much into one page. If customers want to purchase your products, imagine the time and effort it takes to scroll through an extremely long page to find them, compared to clicking a link in the menu to a Shop page where they can buy what they want. The fewer steps it takes to complete an action, the more likely it is to be done.

Parts of a Page

The Page Title gives the viewer an idea of what the page is about. The best method of naming pages is to keep the title simple and clear. Contact, Shop, and About Us are clear and people know what to expect. If you have a page named “Stuff We Think You’ll Like,” that could mean helpful articles, tips, products, images, or practically anything else. Naming your pages properly will help people navigate your site and help you keep track of things on the back end.

A Page Layout contains the text, images, and colors of a page. Sites built by VantagePoint Marketing use the Enfold theme, which includes an easy-to-use page builder. We’ll go more in-depth with that in another post. The best way to build a page is to make sure it’s easy to read and understand. Images are a great way to show what your business does. Showcase your products or services and use a little text to provide more information and deeper understanding. A good balance of text and images can make your website more appealing for visitors. Keep your text short and to the point, long paragraphs that stretch across the entire page are harder to read and shouldn’t be used on most pages.

Featured Images can be added as a visual representation of your page. When you post a link on social media, the Featured Image shows up and makes your link more likely to be clicked. Featured Images should represent your brand and will often include your logo for easy identification. 

Posts

If you have a blog, it’s made up of Posts, which are articles (like this one). Posts and blogs are great for timely information, seasonal tips, or content that can change over time. Pages are better for the parts of your business that are less likely to change. Posts can be a great way to attract more visitors to your site. Writing about something that is valuable to viewers will encourage them to stay on your website longer and be more likely to do business with you. Posts can be educational, entertaining, thought provoking, or just a way to share your story and let people see the person/team behind the business. Consistent blog posts will also help your Google ranking. If you post frequently and consistently, Google recognizes your website as being active and will direct people to you if they’re looking for relevant information.

 

Media

Don’t tell people what you do, SHOW them. The Media Library is where all your media files live. When you see an image (like a logo) on multiple pages, it’s not different copies of the same file, it’s one file that can be used anywhere for a countless number of times without taking up any additional storage space. The Media Library lets you add new media, edit existing content, or even delete media.

What kind of files can you find in the Media Library?

  • Logos
  • Photos
  • Background images
  • PDF documents
  • Videos (although linking to your videos on YouTube can help save space and make your website load faster)

Now you’re more familiar with the different parts of WordPress. Stay tuned for our next article in this series where we’ll explore how to use these different pieces to build a website.

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