WordPress Crash Course for New Users
If you’re the proud owner of a shiny new WordPress site, you already know that this robust platform has a reputation for user-friendly, accessible goodness. So it’s time to kick back and enjoy a cup of joe while your site runs itself, right? Well, the truth is that your new site is every bit as user-friendly as you’ve heard, but using it will require some basic familiarity with WordPress fundamentals, image uploading, and more. Here’s a crash course to get you up and running once the keys to the site are turned over.
1. POSTS VERSUS PAGES
A standard WordPress site has two primary publishing options: the Post and the Page.
Typically, a WordPress blog entry is a Post. Posts are generally presented in reverse chronological order (newest first), and are therefore used for news and updates. By default, site visitors can comment on a Post.
A WordPress Page is generally used for less time-sensitive, non-blog content like your ‘About’ page, your ‘Contact’ page, or your ‘Links to My Frasier Fan Fiction’ page. Pages don’t usually allow comments, and they can be divided into heirarchical sub-page categories. Read what WordPress has to say about Pages.
WordPress is very robust, so Posts and Pages may have unique customization on your site. If your site is highly customized, you might ask your developer for a quick tutorial on its functionality.
Your awesome post is written, but it needs a beauteous photo or illustration to bring it to life. Using images online can raise several questions for new bloggers and site administrators.
To insert your image into a Post or Page, enter your cursor where you want the image to appear in the text (you’ll also probably want to make sure that you’re in ‘Visual’ view – see below to learn more). Click the ‘Add Media’ button that appears below the title of your Post/Page. Now you’ll see the mighty media uploader. You can either drag your image file onto the uploader from your desktop, or click ‘Upload Files.’ Not sure if your image is the right size? Don’t worry – WordPress can resize it for you, even reducing its resolution to 72 dpi (the ideal image resolution for display on the web) if necessary. Once your image is uploaded, you can click ‘Insert into Post’ (bottom right side of screen) and be done with it – or add advanced options like a link, caption, or custom display size and formatting.
As with most subjects, the WordPress Codex provides very helpful information on using images.
Do you need to crop an image, extract an image from a PDF, or make a similar adjustment? WordPress is very powerful, but it is not an image editing program, so you may want to use Photoshop or a professional designer for more advanced edits.
3. VISUAL VIEW VERSUS TEXT VIEW
WordPress provides two different views while editing a Post or Page. At the top right corner of your text field, you’ll see two buttons: ‘Visual’ and ‘Text.’ Visual view means that you will see the Post/Page (roughly) how it will appear on your finished site. ‘Text’ view – formerly (and more appropriately) known as ‘HTML’ view – will show you the HTML code that makes up your Post/Page. Most bloggers will need only the Visual view. In general, the Text view should be used by those with experience working with HTML.
It’s possible that your site developer has added custom formatting into your Post or Page. In this case, consult your developer before editing the HTML, and always backup your work externally before making changes.
4. UPDATING WORDPRESS
One of the core benefits of WordPress is that with each release, there can be huge strides in user experience of the backend interface. Running the current WordPress version is also critical in ensuring that your site remains secure from bots or hackers with malicious intent. However, with some custom WordPress sites, upgrading can result in a broken site. Command C recommends that clients do not ever attempt to upgrade on their own for this reason. Therefore, when you see the upgrade prompt at the top of your WordPress dashboard, it’s best to contact your site developer so that they can do it for you or advise accordingly.
5. ASK WORDPRESS
WordPress is a thriving community built on the hard work of supportive users. When you’ve got a question about any WordPress-related subject, a quick Google search can often answer it. You can also go directly to the source – a search for ‘Using Images’ at WordPress.Org instantly turns up dozens of useful resources. Visit the Plugins section to extend your site’s functionality, or search the Themes section for a new look. Happy blogging!