The odds are if you’re swimming in a river for the first time, knowing its depth and other crucial factors relating to the river is important. The same applies for bloggers who’ve just decided to take things online.
Delving into the blogosphere is not a safe action without a plan. Sure, you’ve probably read a few articles on how to start a blog, setup hosting and installation, but more is involved if you’re to acquire the best out of your online venture.
Have you decided to give WordPress a go for blogging? That’s great! However, there’s more to that stunning and flexible platform that you need to know. WordPress is reliable and seamless to get around once you’ve gotten the hang of it. Not sure as to what to look out for? Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use the platform.
What is WordPress?
WordPress, a powerful content management system, spans as far back as 2001. As an open source software, the platform is renowned for its effortless and user-friendliness. This website creation tool was coded in PHP, and is the ultimate weapon to wield for bloggers. According to statistics, the WordPress platform is superior to any other content management system.
Why should you use WordPress?
That’s quite simple. WordPress is awesome! As a beginner, coding is definitely not an expertise you possess, at least not anytime soon. WordPress resolves that dilemma. With WordPress, learning computer programming isn’t a necessity. Did I mention that WordPress was free? As an open source platform, downloading and installation is simple. Anyone can scrutinize, update and optimize the platform according to their personal preference.
In addition, WordPress was created to appease search engines; they’re search engine friendly. With coding superiority, and an exceptional semantic mark-up, WordPress acts as a magnet for search engines. To foster an even more SEO friendly environment when employing the use of WordPress, you can choose from a wide array of WordPress SEO plugins.
Furthermore,WordPress management is equivalent to the alphabet. Management is easy. For every user of the platform, WordPress was developed with an updater that ensures all your plugins and themes operated onsite is up-to-date. Notifications are also provided in cases where you’re not cognizant of an update. Securing your information is also easily managed, as you can create systematic and frequent backups.
To supplement, WordPress is a safe and secure platform; you need not worry about prying eyes. Those combined factors add to the platform’s popularity.
WordPress and Its Diverse Ecosystem
The initial creation of WordPress came as a solution for bloggers. However, with much expansion, developers of WordPress commenced creating themes and plugins. The simple platform once used for appeasing bloggers, is now the ultimate component for generating professional websites. Everything WordPress has been able to accomplish can be attributed to its themes and plugins.
WordPress themes principally appeal to the eyes and layout of blogs and websites. The theme of any WordPress website is pretty much the attention grabbing and design factor. WordPress themes are available for almost every category of online business. This includes social, commercial and the list continues. There are premium and free WordPress themes so ensure to search thoroughly for the theme that accurately suits your business.
The process of discovering the ideal WordPress plugins to utilize often pose some technicality for beginners. This stems from the fact that they’re not cognizant of what really works and as such, might settle for mediocre plugins. There are various WordPress plugins on the blogosphere with the capacity to perform similar tasks; hence, WordPress beginners should ensure they’re getting the best to install on the platform. Among the many plugins available, you can find below a few to encourage smooth operations and easy navigation on your blog. These plugins are rated above others on WordPress.org.
Hands on wordpress
It takes a bit of hands on work to understand WordPress. In this segment, we will explore more about the WordPress Blog Basics. Let’s divide the chapter into four sections for simplification.
- Basics about the WordPress dashboard
- Choosing or changing the blog design
- Installation of new features/plugins
- Making your blog a successful website
In our previous post how to begin a blog, we have discussed many aspects regarding a blog set up. Now, it’s time to move your blog to the next level i.e. changing it to a professional looking website.
Note: You can always land on the log-in page of your blog by going to the URL www.blogname.com/wp-admin. Insert the log-in credentials given by your web host and start accessing your blog.
Basics of the WordPress dashboard:
When you enter into the WordPress, you get to see a dashboard (also known as admin panel) that consists of several options on the left side. The dashboard includes all of your recent activities such as how many blog posts, pages, and comments, you have.
You can click this field to write a new blog post or to make changes in the previous posts.
This field is a collection of all audio files, videos, and images which you have used in the previous posts.
Pages do not belong to a blog post. It is a field where you can add several pages on your blog such as “about us,”contact us,” etc.
Here you can manage or reply to the comments posted by your readers. You can also check if any comments are pending for your approval. WordPress also marks some comments as “spam”. Thus, you can also check out “spam comments” into this field or delete the comments that you don’t like.
This field allows you to change the design of your blog. Here you can also install new layouts and themes. We will discuss this part more briefly below.
Plugins give additional functionality to your blog. It makes your blog look professional. This field allows you to add additional features such as including a contact form, subscription box, etc. We will speak more about Plugins in the below part of this post.
You can manage all necessary settings related to your site in the “Settings” field. Here you can edit the title and tagline of your website and also manage your email addresses.
Choosing or Changing the blog design:
WordPress gives you access to over thousands of fantastic themes. These themes are free of cost, but you can also purchase “Premium Themes” to stand out from the competition. However, a carefully selected and fully-customizable free theme can also work well in opposition to the premium theme.
How to pick and install a new theme?
Changing a theme of your website is truly a simple task. Just search for the “Appearance” tab on your dashboard and select “Themes” option. Now, you will land on a new screen that has several themes options presented in front of you. Press “Add New” button located at the top to load new themes.
Here you will see several tabs to find brand new, most popular, and featured themes. It also includes a search bar and an option called “Feature Filter.” We recommend you to access this feature filter option to find unique themes from color schemes and precise layouts. This options also allows you to find the themes that have advanced inbuilt features.
As soon as you choose the options of your choice, press the “Apply Filters” button located on the left side. If you find the way mentioned above difficult, then do your search by specific keywords.
When you finish with the selection process, press the “Install” button linked to the theme. On the next screen, you will find an option to “Activate” the selected theme. That’s it! Nothing is challenging in this.
Installation of new features/plugins:
Installing different plugins is a great way to add more functionality to your blog. These are tiny software modules that can add extra tools and cool features to your blog. Plugins help you insert different things in your blog, such as
- Lessening spam comments
- Placing a contact form for the readers
- Optimizing your site for the search engines (make it SEO-friendly)
- Putting a subscription box or sign-up forms for newsletters
- Customizing a photo gallery
And many other striking features. Placing a new “plugin” is as easy as installing a new theme. Just head over to the “Plugins” sections located on the left side and press “Add New”. At this point, depending on your requirements just insert a particular keyword in the “Search” section. In this way, you can find plugins for a variety of functions. Just like installing a new theme, here also you need to follow the same procedure of pressing “Install Now” button and after that press “Activate Plugin.”
Precautions to take while activating a new plugin:
As soon as you find a new plugin, don’t activate it immediately. Instead, do some research about that plugin with the help of Google. Read different reviews posted by the actual users of that plugin. Tons of free plugins are available that can cause security issues or might break your blog layout. Therefore, before installing a new plugin on your blog, it is a better way to read the genuine reviews regarding it.
You should also check whether your plugins and themes are up-to-date or not. It depends on the plugin developer or a theme developer. There is no need to fret, though, because if an individual plugin or theme is not updated or is out-of-date, then WordPress frequently alerts you about it.
Making your blog a successful website:
You have started a blog, installed new theme and plugins; now, it’s time to take the next level. The progress of your website depends on the quality you provide. Therefore, always focus on writing a compelling blog post every time. Adding relevant images inside your blog posts is also a great way to engage your readers.
A Plethora of Websites on WordPress
The sweet allure and taste of WordPress is its power to cater for any and everyone. The types of websites you can create using WordPress is absolutely endless. Whatever business concept you have lingering at the back of your mind, it’s highly probable to bring those concepts alive on WordPress. Are you thinking about selling your products online? Why not delve into using ecommerce or shopping websites? Is it that you long for something more personal? Why not create a personal blog? Do you wish to gain exposure for your business or create a professional network? Why not create a business website to provide relevant and timely information to your customers? Are you a freelancer who’d love to display your portfolio online for clients and prospects to scrutinize? Why not create a portfolio website to get things to a jumpstart?
Whatever idea you have in mind for a website, WordPress can make that idea into a reality. Not yet convinced? Why not give WordPress a try this moment? You’ll never regret that decision.