WordPress-Be a Nerd



Part III-Be A Nerd

This is the third of a five-part series for newbies to WordPress.  Be sure to join me each Monday for the next three weeks to learn how to set up a WordPress site.

*See Definition of Technical Terms

So now that you have chosen a domain name and host provider, and have selected a theme, it’s time to become a nerd and get that website or blog started! I don’t know about you, but for the most part I am a firm believer in reading instructions, particularly when stepping into unknown territory. That definitely being the case with WordPress, my best recommendation is to thoroughly read the WordPress.org site’s “Getting Started with WordPress” section for Beginners. Bookmark this site, create a new tab in your browser, and login to the “administration area” of your newly created WordPress site. You do this by adding “wp-admin” after your domain name (e.g. http://example.com/wp-admin). You can also place “login” after your domain name in more current versions of WordPress. Now you will be able to go back and forth between the two sites as you are learning. Be sure to also bookmark your WordPress login page for future use.

Once logged in, you will see your *dashboard; this is the place where all the creating happens! As the WordPress.org site says, this is where you will be spending a lot of time over the next few hours, weeks, months – so take the time to go through the sections and set your site up the way you want it. Take a sheet of plain paper and make notes of other websites that you admire when setting up the structure for your own site. What do you like about them? Not like? Do you like the look of the backgrounds used, how the footer sections look, how photography is presented, the types of information provided in the sidebar? How are links used for *social media on other sites? Think about the different names/types of pages you might like to have. Time invested now will mean fewer changes to your new site later.

*Dashboard ~ a collection of information and data about the activities and actions on your WordPress site.
*Social Media ~ refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Examples are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

While in your dashboard you will be able to quickly toggle back and forth to see the changes you are making to your site by clicking on your website name in the top left corner, directly above “dashboard”. Your main navigation menu runs along the left side of the dashboard, and will allow you to create posts, insert media (photos, videos), apply links for your social media, and set up your pages. Your chosen theme will also have an entire set of choices for you, allowing you to further customize your site. You will be working in “settings” a great deal as you begin. As you work through the WordPress.org instructions, be sure to open up suggested links as they appear to focus on setting up specific areas of your site.

One of the first *plug-ins you might want to install is Askimet, which helps protect your site from spam. This plug-in is available free for personal sites, with a low monthly subscription cost for business sites. There will be many types of free plug-ins that can be added once your basic site is set up.

*Plug-Ins ~ Plugins add function and sometimes fun to your site. There are hundreds of different plugins from adding custom links like related articles to your sidebar to adding weather reports.

If you run into issues with the way your pages or posts look, you can often find help in the WordPress forums, or in your chosen theme’s online forum pages. This is where your earlier selection of a theme with great customer support is invaluable. In the past they have helped me with specific code that needed to be placed either into my theme, or added to the page or post I was working on to make it look the way I wanted it to. Be sure, when creating your first post, to click on the “text” box tab next to the “visual” box default tab in the top-right corner of the post. You may not have any desire to learn *hyper-text markup language (html) coding, but it helps to see the language that web pages are written in. And after some time, you will want to know how to go into this “text” box tab on your posts to make specific alterations. Here are several sources that might help with your website terminology along the way:
Glossary of Blogging
Computer Technical Terms
HTML Quick Codes

*Hyper-Text Markup Language (html) ~ the language web pages are written in.

Just remember, this is a constant learning adventure. The solutions are out there if you are persistent, and lots of help is available online or perhaps through your more tech savvy friends. Next week I will discuss the importance of widgets to your site – much more fun than the basic setup – I promise!