WordPress is a powerful program that is simple to use. It is that way because many people have put years into refining it to be so. Millions of people use it, and there are endless resources to help you learn more and do more with it. It was designed as a blogging platform and has grown to serve as a multi-faceted content management system for seemingly endless possibilities.
This is a simple WordPress user’s guide for beginners, designed to guide a new user through the basics of adding and editing content in a pre-installed WordPress environment. Whether you are using this as a blogging platform or as a content management system, this guide should serve the beginner well. This user guide is written at a time when the current version of WordPress is version 2.9.
Side Note: Whether you are a web designer or developer using this guide to support your clients, or a first time user of WordPress, feel free to let me know how I can improve this guide – by submitting comments below. It is not intended to be exhaustive, just the basics. And please be patient and check back for updates.
Video Resources: In September of 2011 I created a series of video tutorials and uploaded them to YouTube – you can find them here: WordPress Video Tutorials
Lets get started.
What you need
- The URL address (website address) to login to your admin panel. (It will likely end in: /wp-admin or /wp-login.php).
- Your username and password.
Guide Topics – many coming soon
- Overview – Dashboard and Core Navigation
- Posts & Pages Overview
- Create a New Post or Page
- Add, Edit, and Format Text in a Post and Page
- How to Make an Email Address Link
- Add Images, Video, Audio and other Media
- Edit Images, Video, Audio and other Media
- How to Update and Backup your WordPress Website
When you first login to your WordPress Admin panel, your “Dashboard” will look something like this (depending on your color choice and WP version):
There is a list of main navigation topics down the left side, (Posts, Media, Links, Pages, etc.) that remain constantly on every page of your WP admin panel. The rest of the Dashboard will display general information about your blog (Right Now, Recent Comments, etc.) and about WordPress (WordPress Development Blog, Other WordPress News). Each of the core navigation topics and each of the Dashboard topics can be expanded or contracted to show or hide its content. To do so, click on the far right side of any topic, (an expand arrow appears when you move your cursor over the right side – see detail image at right).
In the example image above, all topics are closed except the QuickPress window, which has been expanded.
Notice at the top right there is a “Help” link. This will also be available on every page in your administration panel. To return to this Dashboard view at any time, click on the Dashboard button at top left of your screen, shown above.
Most of the content on your website that comes from your WordPress program was entered as either a “post” or as a “page”. I say “most” because your website might not all be controlled by your WordPress installation, and even within WordPress, you may have some content, such as a post author biography, that was not entered as a post or as a page. For most part though, you will be working with posts and pages.
Posts refer to content that is displayed in a blog format. That is, most often, your most recent post, (or a portion of it), is displayed at the top of whatever page is designated to display them, with the next most recent post below it, and so on. This way, every time you add content to your site as a post, it is automatically added to the top of your “posts” page, most often the front page of your blog, where visitors can easily see what you have written most recently. And your posts can also be found on your website by using a search tool, if there is one, or by clicking on one of a number of “categories” by which you will have organized and cataloged your posts. So even when time has moved a post far from your front page, people can find them, on your site, or even from a search engine that has found your post popular.
Pages on the other hand are not affected by the other content you write on your website. You create a page and there it stays, just like it is, unchanging, for everyone to view just as you intended it to be. You can edit pages just as easily as you can edit posts, but the content is not presented in a chronological order, or by category, or any other way other than exactly as you entered it. You want to use a page to present information “About Us”, or “About our Company”, or about “Our Products” or “Our Services”, or for people to “Contact” you, then a page is what you want.