Using WordPress

Do you have a website? Would you like to have some control over the way it looks? Would you like to be able to make changes to your site without having to be a full on web developer? While the best way to make a website is still through the use of HTML and CSS alongside other languages, with WordPress you don’t have to know anything about them to create your site. You can simply add what you want and WordPress will take care of the rest. Here is a brief explanation of how WordPress works and a few ways you can personalize your site to make it your own.

Pages & Posts

Let’s start with pages; these are going to be the backbone of your site and will be what you spend the majority of your time adding to or editing. Pages can be edited two ways: through the use of the visual editor which will show you roughly what your page will look like before you post it, or with the text editor which can be used to build your pages in HTML. The visual editor will be your best friend if you have no prior experience with HTML as it offers you several different ways to improve your pages from being just plain text and images.  Once you have finished adding to or editing your page you can then publish your page so that it can be accessed on your site.

Posts, while being quite similar on the surface, are very different from pages. Posts are used for quick updates or blogging whereas pages are what the majority of people that visit your site will look at. Examples of posts would be something like this article or a blog about some awesome pictures a photographer took of a waterfall. Posts aren’t really necessary for the majority of sites unless you would like to keep your users updated about what is going on or something along those lines.

Themes

Next, let’s talk about themes as they are what will determine how your site will look. Themes control every aspect of your website’s formatting including things like color scheme, text display, and how images or videos will display. Themes can be edited in two ways; the first way being the more simple way. The theme customization menu which is made of several subsections such as menu, widgets, and header and will allow you to edit these different parts. You can also use the theme editor which will allow you to change the CSS or PHP files that make up the theme of your site. These two methods do basically the same thing but the editor can be quite confusing as the CSS and PHP files for most themes can be large and this makes it hard to find things. I recommend using the menu unless you know what you are looking for or you have knowledge of CSS and PHP.

Plugins & Compatibility

Finally, let’s go over plugins as they are probably some of the best tools when it comes to website creation. They allow you to add things such as a nice video player or an image slider to your site without having to actually write out the code for these things. WordPress has a large library of plugins for you to choose from as well as a pretty large community of developers who are constantly making and updating plugins for you to use. Within reason, there is a good chance that if you want something added to your site there is a plugin that can do it. While plugins are a great tool and can add a lot of uniqueness to a site they can also bring a lot of problems. If they are either not made to be used with a specific theme or are simply not compatible with the themes you use, you should consider another option. These issues will often times be fixed by updates to the plugins or theme itself. If you are having issues and aren’t sure the themes or plugins you are using will be updated, you can leave a review on the plugin or theme to see if that will get the developers attention. Sometimes, if they have contact info listed, you can try emailing the developer directly. You could also simply find a new plugin or theme that is similar but is actually compatible.

To conclude, WordPress is a simple, easy to use tool for developing websites and blogging and can be used by people of all skill levels. While it would probably work better in the hands of a master web developer it was made with normal users in mind and as such requires very little technical skill to use. If you have any questions that weren’t answered I recommend you look through WordPress’ codex in which they define terms and give details on many different features that will help you improve your site.

   

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