WordPress Basics

Keegan Lanier | 10 min read

WordPress Basics :  Is It Right For You?

I’ve heard many times over the years that WordPress is too complicated.  That it has too steep a learning curve for the beginner. Having worked in WordPress many years ago, I would have agreed at one point in time. As the internet grows up and technology improves, most platforms grow or go away.  WordPress has taken over a huge chunk of websites.  It is the foundation that much of the internet is built upon.  In that regard, it’s clear that either WordPress has improved, A LOT or it’s not as difficult to use as many people thought.  In this post, we will outline wordpress basics and the current state of WordPress in 2018.

The Famous 5-Minute Install

The most fundamental wordpress basics include how to install wordpress. Most web hosting companies have a way to install wordpress in less than five minutes. It is usually an automated process where you only have to give your blog a name, setup username and password and input an email.  That’s it… seriously, there is nothing else. You will then be redirected to the WordPress admin area. We did a video showing how to install WordPress using HostGator

Basic WordPress Framework

Now that wordpress is installed, you will be greeted with a very simple backend.  Sections on the left and an admin bar up top. You will be able to add media (images, videos and files), create new posts and add new pages. Those are the creation options you have on a basic wordpress installation. These options can be expanded greatly through plugins and custom post types (we’ll save this for another day). Navigating around the admin area is incredibly easy.  If you want to get the basic feel for WordPress without shelling out any money, head over to WordPress.com and create a free account.  Although many of the more advanced options won’t be available, you will be able to put your hands on WordPress and give it a test run

Basic WordPress Settings & Appearance

There are a few things you want to understand, within WordPress, that caused a lot of confusion for us very early on in our wordpres journey. Mastering settings and the appearance section are key.  Settings, most importantly the reading section, will be your best friend. The reading section is where you set the main page a visitor sees when they arrive to your website. By default, WordPress is set to the latest post option.  This displays a blog style homepage, which is fine if that’s what you want, but most people are looking to set a specific page they have built as the homepage.

In the appearance section, you will find menu options. This control your navigation and gives you the flexibility to control which navigation links appear on your front-end. the appearance section is also where you can install a wordpress theme.  Themes are very limited on wordpress.com, but when you do an install of wordpress on your own hosting, the entire world opens up to you.  Learn more about the differences of wordpress.com vs wordpress.org.  I know, it’s really confusing at first! For a full comparison of the two, check out this article by WPBeginner.com 

Is WordPress Right For You?

It’s hard to know for sure, but after years of experience in Wordpres, I would say 100% absolutely yes. I say that because if you decide to start blogging and you commit to it, you will likely see some form of success. If you become obsessed with the design of your blog and want to add in specific Calls-To-Action or you want to build custom functionality on top of what you have, WordPress is perfect for that.  The plugin community is HUGE and ever expanding. There is an entire free plugin database and their are premium plugin markets as well.

Visual customization is endless also.  Themeforest sells thousands of premium themes.  I am a huge fan of Elegant Themes Divi theme (affiliate link), which I use for this site and if you watch the timelapse video below, you will see me create this post using the Divi Visual Builder! The possibility are truly endless and only limited by yours or the imagination of the person building your website.

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself befor eyou make the commitment to wordpress.

  • Do you need a website?
  • Do you want to blog?
  • Do you want control over the look and feel of your website?
  • Are you going to hire someone to develop your website?
  • Are you willing to put aside any preconceived ideas about the difficulty of wordpress?
  • Are you ready to own your platform?

Wrapping It All Up

Having used WordPress for nearly five years, I can’t imagine using a service like Wix or Squarespace.  Options are extremely limited and customization is almost non-existent.  The costs of a very basic wordpress blog are significantly less than paying a never-ending monthly subscription to Wix or Squarespace.  When you count the plugins, themes, ecommerce, membership and Learning Management System option for WordPress, the possibilities really are endless.

Watch Us Create a Blog Post in WordPress (23 second timelapse)

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