When it comes to WordPress, there are a few things that people should know in order to be effective WordPress users and authors:
What WordPress is and What it Does
Wikipedia offers an accurate description of WordPress that is nicely summed up:
“WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. Features include a plugin architecture and a template system. WordPress was used by more than 22.0% of the top 10 million websites as of August 2013. WordPress is the most popular blogging system in use on the Web, at more than 60 million websites.”
For more information about WordPress, visit the About page on WordPress.org.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
One of the primary differences between these domains is that WordPress.com offers free hosting, whereas WordPress.org does not. This means that if you create a website or blog on WordPress.com, your website can be created and hosted for free. In order to take advantage of this, you must register an account on WordPress.com and agree to their Terms of Service.
WordPress.org is for self-hosted users, which means that you’ll have to perform your own backups and maintenance. No registration with WordPress.org is required to get started.
For more details comparing WordPress.com to WordPress.org, please visit their Org vs Com Support page.
Familiarize Yourself with the Administration Panels
As a WordPress user, almost any task you’re trying to accomplish can be completed using the administration panel. Familiarizing yourself with the functions and features within the administration panel will be invaluable to you and make your life much easier when managing your website or blog. On your left is a screenshot that shows all the options available at a glance within the administration panel.
If you’re having trouble finding the administration panel or need more information, please visit the WordPress.org Codex on Administration Screens, where they provide detailed information on all the items within the administration panel.
Pages vs. Posts
It’s important to recognize the distinctions between pages and posts within WordPress so that you can deliver the right content in the right context.
Pages are pseudo-static content that is not listed by date. The content which Pages contain is sometimes referred to as “timeless” content, which means it’s not likely to change over time. Common Pages might include; Home, About, Contact Us, Policies, etc.
Posts, however, are intended to deliver “timely” content. Timely content might include articles, news, or current events relating to you or the purpose of your blog. Posts are displayed in reverse chronological order, and are visible on your blog’s home page or on the blog page (if you have one).
For more information, please visit the WordPress.com Support page on Post vs. Page.
Organize, Categorize, and Tag
Part of using WordPress is making sure all your content is properly organized, categorized, and tagged. This ensures that you, and people who visit your website, are able to easily find and access your content. It also enables search engines to find your content on the web based on how it’s tagged and categorized.
Every post you make should have at least one category it relates to. This means that you need to create categories for all the content you plan to post to your website. Categories are like your website’s table of contents, meaning it’s a quick way for viewers to find the content they’re seeking. It’s okay if you don’t create all the categories you’ll need right away. As a matter of fact, most WordPress users end up creating new categories as their website evolves or expands their content.
Every post should also have tags. Tags act as index words for your posts and make keywords which are searchable on your website. However, you don’t want irrelevant content showing up when someone performs a search. A maximum of 15 tags (or categories, or a combination of the two) is a good number to add to each of your posts. If you have too many categories or tags in one post, it’s less likely that your post will be relevant to a search.
For more information on categories and tags, please visit the WordPress.com Support page on Categories vs. Tags.
WordPress has a variety of tools available to customize your website. Take advantage of them and give your website some aesthetic appeal. Choose themes, layouts, colors, and images that are appropriate for your website and let all your viewers know that you’ve put some time and thought into your website’s design.
For more information on site design and layout, visit the WordPress Codex on Site Design and Layout.
Know Where to Find Help
If you have an issue, chances are someone has already encountered it. Know that the “Help” button is located in the upper-right corner of WordPress. The “Help” button will display helpful information relevant to the page you’re viewing. In addition, there’s a plethora of helpful resources available at the WordPress Codex and the WordPress Support page.
References on WordPress
- Finding WordPress Help – WordPress.org
- WordPress Lessons – WordPress Codex
- Learn WordPress.com – Learn.WordPress.com
- WordPress Tutorials – Siteground.com