HG WEB STUDIO

Beginner’s Guide to Using WordPress

WordPress logo with purple tones

WordPress is a free, user-friendly platform that allows you to create and manage a website without any coding knowledge. It’s one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in the world, powering over 40% of all websites on the internet.

If you’re not sure where to begin, this WordPress beginner guide will walk you through the basics and help you get started on your website.

Beginner’s Guide to Using WordPress

1. What is WordPress?

2. Getting Started with WordPress

3. Choosing a Theme

4. Adding Content to Your Website

5. Essential WordPress Plugins

6. Tips For Using WordPress

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free and open-source CMS that was first released in 2003. It started as a blogging platform but has evolved into a tool for creating all types of websites, from simple blogs to complex e-commerce sites. It’s built on PHP (server scripting language) and uses a MySQL database to store content and settings.

WordPress has a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy for beginners to use.

Why Choose WordPress?

User-friendly interface

WordPress has a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy for beginners to use.

One of the primary reasons why WordPress has become such a popular choice for building websites is because of its many benefits and (free!) features. It has a user-friendly interface with a simple and intuitive design. Even those who are new to website creation can easily navigate and use WordPress without much difficulty.

Like most things in tech, there is a small learning curve to using WordPress. Logging into your website for the first time may seem overwhelming, but with a little time and dedication, you’ll be navigating the dashboard like a pro!

Customization options 

With thousands of themes and plugins available, you can customize your website to fit your needs and preferences.

One of the key advantages of WordPress is its extensive customization options. With countless themes and plugins available, you have the freedom to personalize your website however you like. Whether it’s the layout, design, or functionality, WordPress provides tons of choices to create a unique and tailored website.

SEO-friendly

WordPress is designed with SEO in mind, making it easier for your website to rank higher in search engine results.

WordPress has excellent search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities. The platform is designed with SEO in mind, providing you with tools and features that enhance your website’s visibility and rankings on search engine results pages. By using WordPress, you can optimize your content and improve your chances of ranking higher, ultimately driving more traffic to your website.

As an open-source platform, WordPress has a large community of users who can provide support and resources.

Community support 

As an open-source platform, WordPress has a large community of users who can provide support and resources.

WordPress has a huge community of supportive users who actively contribute their knowledge and resources. You can easily seek advice, assistance, and guidance from them making the process of website creation a much smoother experience.

Cost-effective

WordPress is free to use, making it a cost-effective option for website creation.

Lastly, the cost-effectiveness of WordPress.org (NOT wordpress.com) cannot be overlooked. One of its most appealing features is that it’s free. You can download and use WordPress without any financial burden, allowing you to create and manage a professional website without having to invest a lot of money. This makes WordPress an incredibly attractive option for small businesses and individuals who want to establish an online presence without breaking the bank.

Getting Started with WordPress

To get started with WordPress, you’ll need a domain name and a hosting provider. A domain name is the address of your website (e.g. www.yourwebsite.com) and a hosting provider is a service that stores your website’s files and makes them accessible to the public.

Research reviews, complaints, and different pricing plans to find the best hosting provider to meet your needs.

Two of the most popular hosting providers for WordPress include Bluehost and Dreamhost. There are several support forums and guides available for your hosting questions.

Other popular hosting options include Cloudways, Siteground, WP Engine, Kinsta, Rocket, and Flywheel.

Research reviews, complaints, and different pricing plans to find the best hosting provider to meet your needs.

Installing WordPress

Most hosting providers offer a one-click installation for WordPress, making it easy to set up your website. If your hosting provider doesn’t offer this option, you can download the WordPress installation files from their website and follow the installation instructions.

The WordPress Dashboard

Once you’ve installed WordPress, you can access your website’s dashboard by adding “/wp-admin” to the end of your domain name (e.g. www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin). This is where you’ll manage your website’s content, design, and settings.

Choosing a Theme

A theme is a collection of files that determine the design and layout of your website. WordPress offers thousands of free and paid themes to choose from. To change your website’s theme, go to Appearance > Themes in your dashboard and click on “Add New”. You can then browse through the available themes and click “Install” to add them to your website. Once installed, click “Activate” to make the theme live on your website.

Visit the WordPress theme directory to browse approved themes.

If you plan on making a lot of changes or customizations to your theme, I recommend downloading a child theme.  A child theme allows you to make changes that won’t be lost when the parent theme gets an update.

Customizing Your Theme

Most themes come with customization options that allow you to change the colors, fonts, and layout of your website. To access these options, go to Appearance > Customize in your dashboard. Here, you can make changes and see them in real-time before saving them.

Adding Content to Your Website

WordPress uses Gutenberg, a block-based editor, which means you can add different types of content (e.g. text, images, videos) by adding blocks. To add a block, click on the “+” icon in the top left corner of the editor. You can then choose the type of block you want to add and start adding your content.

Pages vs. Posts

WordPress allows you to create two types of content: pages and posts. Pages are used for static content, such as your homepage, about page, and contact page. Posts are used for blog posts and other types of dynamic content. To add a new page or post, go to Pages/Posts > Add New in your dashboard.

Media Library

The media library is where all your website’s images, videos, and other media files are stored. To access it, go to Media > Library in your dashboard. You can upload new files, organize them into folders, and insert them into your content using the block editor.

Essential WordPress Plugins

Plugins are add-ons that extend the functionality of your website. There are thousands of plugins available for WordPress, but here are a few essential ones that every beginner should consider:

  • Wordfence: A security plugin to protect your website from hackers.
  • UpdraftPlus: This plugin creates backups of your website in case of server crashes, user errors, or malicious attacks.
  • Yoast SEO: This plugin helps you optimize your website for search engines.
  • Contact Form 7: This plugin allows you to create and manage contact forms on your website.
  • Akismet: Akismet helps protect your website from spam comments.
  • WooCommerce: If you’re planning on creating an e-commerce website, this plugin will help you manage your online store.

Additional Plugins

  • Elementor: This plugin is a popular and widely-used WordPress page builder. It is a powerful tool that allows users to easily create stunning and professional-looking websites without any coding knowledge. There is a free and pro version.
  • WP Fastest Cache: This plugin helps improve site performance and page speed.

To prevent your website from being too slow, carefully evaluate and assess the necessity of each plugin that you install. Having too many plugins on your site could slow loading speed and cause lagging. Site speed is an important factor for user experience and SEO!

Tips for Using WordPress

Here are a few WordPress tips to help you make the most out of your website:

Keep Your Website Updated

WordPress regularly releases updates to improve security and fix bugs. It’s important to keep your website and its plugins up to date to ensure optimal performance and security.

A good way to keep your website up-to-date is by configuring your plugins to automatically update whenever a new version becomes available. This will save you time and effort as you won’t have to manually check for updates or go through the process of installing them yourself.

Use SEO Best Practices

To improve your website’s visibility in search engine results, make sure to use SEO best practices. This includes using keywords in your content, optimizing your images, and creating meta descriptions for your pages and posts.

Utilize the WordPress Community

As I mentioned earlier, WordPress has a large community of users who can provide support and resources. Take advantage of this community by joining forums and following WordPress blogs and social media accounts.

Final Thoughts

WordPress is a powerful and user-friendly platform for creating and managing websites. With its customizable themes, block-based editor, and extensive plugin library, it’s a great choice for beginners. By following this guide and utilizing the tips provided, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful WordPress website.

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