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WordPress Tips For Beginners

blogging | education | resources | web design by Shannon Noack on July 15, 2011 | 2 Comments

We like using WordPress as our primary content management tool for allowing our clients to gain easy access to their site’s content. We use it because it’s user-friendly, flexible, customizable and scaleable for different projects, and you don’t have to know html and css to use it. Although it’s great for all these reasons, and the perfect choice for many users, it can be a little daunting if you haven’t used it before.¬†So today, we’d love to offer some of our best tips and tricks for new WordPress users that should help ease the transition into using this tool regularly. With a little practice you should be up and going in no time.

Posts vs. Pages

The beauty of WordPress is that you can customize the setup of the admin panel and website to cater to your needs. In this article, we’ll refer to the default blog or website setup that most people use, although keep in mind there are many ways to use this platform. WordPress essentially has 2 different areas to publish content from, unless you have a more custom setup. Posts are where your blog posts will be kept, and Pages are your regular pages. Both have WYSIWYG tools that allow you to easily manage your content, creating links, adding images, bolding text, adding headlines, etc.

WYSIWYG Tools

These tools appear at the top of the main content box when you’re editing a post or a page. We recommend hitting the last button at the end of the first row “Show/Hide Kitchen Sink” to open up more possibilities on a 2nd row of buttons. The 2nd row is where you can find your Headline tools, which are great for making your text more readable for your users.

The More Button

The More button is a great tool for any blog, so this will come in handy under Posts. Many blog posts can get lengthy, and depending on your settings, you can see 8 or so blog posts on the blog landing page, which can make for a very long page. We recommend adding the More button after 1-2 paragraphs for each post, this will help clean up your blog landing page. It adds a read more link to your post on the blog landing page, and directs your users to another page to keep reading the article that they’re interested in. Keeping that page nice and tidy will allow your users to scroll through all of your posts quickly, staying interested and engaged instead of irritated that they can’t find what they need.

Plugins

Plugins are a great way to customize your site or blog and there are tons of free plugins available on the WordPress site, so you should be able to find most anything you’re looking for. You can add a photo gallery, contact form, SEO tools, calendar, facebook feed widget, etc. These give you added flexibility and features for your site. Many of them require customization to set them up properly, but some are easy enough to add and run with.

Akismet for Spam Protection

Akismet is a plugin that comes with every WordPress installation, you just need to install it. It’s a great way to keep spam under control and off of your to-list, giving you more time to work on other things. You’ll need to get an API key for your blog for this plugin to work, which you can obtain from WordPress.com.

Widgets and Sidebar Fun

Widgets can be found under Appearance > Widgets in your WordPress admin panel. Widgets usually control the sidebar of your site, allowing you to customize it’s appearance and features. New widgets can be added through plugins, and you can add things like a twitter feed, search bar, recent posts, categories, etc. Tailor the sidebar to what your users will want, and don’t go overboard with adding items here. If your sidebar is significantly longer than your main content area you should tone it back. Consider making a new page for some of these important items if they take up too much space in the sidebar.

Permalinks for Pretty URLs

Permalinks allow you to change the urls of your posts and pages for your site. You can change this under Settings > Permalinks. The default url for WordPress isn’t that pretty looking or great for sharing on social media sites. It also won’t help your SEO efforts, so changing your permalinks is a great idea for lots of reasons. There are a few options that you can choose from there, we recommend¬†/%category%/%postname%/ for the cleanest and most scalable option.

WordPress is a pretty extensive program and we’ve only scratched the surface with these tips. Get in touch with us at Snoack Studios for more help on getting your WordPress blog or website up and going, or search around the internet for lots of helpful tips and resources. Happy WordPress-ing!

Those that are more familiar with WordPress: What’s one thing you wish you knew when you first started with this platform?

2 Comments »

  1. Elaine Fogel
    August 5, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

    Great advice for beginners here, Shannon!

  2. Shannon
    August 6, 2011 @ 11:15 am

    Thanks Elaine! There is so much to learn about WordPress, I know some beginning tips are always nice. Glad you liked it!

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