Simple tutorial for new WordPress website owners
As of January the 6th, 2012 WordPress makes up 15.7 % of the web. What that means is that 15.7 % of all the websites found on the internet today are built with WordPress. Needless to say that those numbers are on the rise and WordPress is one of the fastest growing Content Management Systems (CMS’s) for websites. Since WordPress is becoming more popular, at Shero Designs we continuously use it to build websites, and one of the questions we frequently get asked is “How can I update my WordPress website?” With every WordPress website built we also offer two hours of training and three support tickets if a client messes something up. Understandably, for new website owners the amount of information is overwhelming and hard to retain every little detail, so soon after the training is done the phone rings over and over again with questions about updating the WordPress site, writing, and changing things around.
To help our clients, and all the other WordPress newbies out there, I put together this simple WordPress guide / tutorial on how to log in, navigate around your WordPress admin, and how to make changes when necessary.
To begin, we’ll start with logging in to you website’s admin for different administration tasks like posting, approving comments, or adding and remove a page. To log in you have to go to www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin.php. The following will come up to your screen:
Next, enter your username and password which can be case sensitive. Click on “Log In”.
You will now see the administrative back end of the site that controls everything. Don’t provide this information to anyone you feel can destroy the site. You have Administrative rights..full rights to make any and all changes, just as your web-developer has.
First thing to look at is at the very top of the page, if it states a new version of WordPress is available. A major new version of WordPress and minor security upgrades are released as often as necessary. If your website says a new version is available, that’s great, but do not click the update now button. First, a lot of times they don’t test the packages enough before release. Secondly, you can upgrade the site through the backend, but chances are that you will break something. It will take much longer and will cost you to fix and update everything as it should be done. Therefore, do not click on the “Please Update Now” button. The update needs to be done from someone who is familiar with the process and has a backed up copy of the website saved. So please, if you ever see this message just e-mail us and we will take care of it for you.
The following is an example image of how the WordPress admin looks. It is our website actually. Your website’s admin will look the same:
Feel free to peak around once you read this and are comfortable in making changes. On the left hand side is a cool menu which you need to familiarize your self with. This is the heart of your website :
Posts – You have (x) single post on your site…that is what you see on your homepage or on the blog /news section of your website.
Media – This is where you will find the images that are uploaded to your site.
Links – This section of the website can be used to create links that go on the sidebar, or blog roll on the website if you don’t know how to create an HTML link. This is done by adding the URL on the forms provided, and then clicking the “Widgets” category located under “Appearance”. Under widgets you’ll find the “Links” which you drag and drop in designated widget areas such as the footer or sidebar on your website.
Pages – This is where every single page that your site is created on exists. Most of the changes you’ll ever make to your website, your bread and butter, are located here.
Comments – The comments section is used to review and reply to visitors comments, unless comments are not enabled on your site. If not enabled, we recommend you enable them. Comments are a great way to let your visitors communicate, ask questions, or reply to other people who have commented on your interesting information.
Appearance – Don’t use. This is everything to do with the look of your site. The only exception, would be “Widgets” for the sidebar or footer, or “Menus” which controls the way the navigation is structured.
Plugins – Don’t Use. This is where we store the add-ons to your site. This could be your horizontal scroll pictures and your calendar for instance. Most things that are ‘additional’ to the standard website that you use are located here.
Users – This is where you see the people that are able to logon the site. If you have contributors or other admins you want to add to your website this is where you can add them.
Tools – Don’t use.
Settings – This controls much of the website behavior. Don’t use, other than “Site Title“ and “Tagline” which are located under the “general” tab.
Contact – This is what is used to create your contact form, please don’t change the settings.
Calendar – Don’t use. If you have one, this is what controls your calendar on your sidebar.
Now let’s have a review on what you will mainly be altering..
Click on “Pages” in the menu on the left. When you do that, you will see the pages your site contains as in the example below:
Say you want to make a change to any of the pages listed. Click on the title or click “Quick Edit”, when your mouse hovers over the link. The page will open and with it the text that the page contains. The text will be inside an editor and here you’ll be able to easily change it. Make any change you wish to the page, and then click “Update” the blue button on the right…all done. Any and all updates are done the same way using the built in editor. Go back to your home page and review the change.
The same method we used for the “Pages” applies for the “Posts” section, if you’r website has a blog or news section.
I know that this guide does not cover all the details and answers all the questions you may have, but it is somewhere where a WordPress beginner can start. Easily, each of the topics under the cool menu could use a post on its own. Hopefully I can cover them more in depth in the future.