What do the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z and Katy Perry have in common?
All three use WordPress for their blog.
As the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, Mick Jaggar, once said:
“When I can’t get no satisfaction with my website, and blogging becomes a beast of burden, I just start me up a new WordPress blog, paint it black and make it sweeter than brown sugar. Time is on my side, because I’ve got this brilliantly epic blog post here under my thumb so I can refer to it whenever needed.
So just hold onto your hat because all the dirty work has been done for you here. You can’t always get what you want, but you can learn how to use WordPress, so bookmark this post and flip the switch when ready.” My imagination
Ah yes, Mick is a big fan of Build Your Own Blog. Such kind words. He….okay, so he didn’t actually say that.
But the Stones are using WordPress these days, so somebody must dig it.
Maybe it’s Keith…
Other Famous WordPress Users
Rock stars aren’t the only ones digging WordPress.
Did you know The New York Times, CNN and Reuters all use WordPress, too?
Even large corporations like Best Buy, SONY and UPS use WordPress for their blog needs. (Source)
Must be something to this WordPress, eh?
You better believe it. There’s a reason why millions of people use WordPress and become fans as they figure out all the super cool features along the way.
This post has a lot of information, so it’s quite lengthy. I decided to provide a Table of Contents up front so you can easily navigate to the parts that interest you. Just click on the section you want.
Table of Contents
- Brief History
- What does “free and open source” mean?
- WordPress Facts Infographic
- 15 WordPress Features
- How to Designate or Switch Roles for Users Involved with Your WordPress Blog
- Dashboard Overview
- Creating Editorial Content with WordPress
- How to edit your rough draft
- Using Visual Editor to make changes to blog posts
- Tools inside Publish
- Visualize Your Blog Posts Dripping in Awesomesauce
That’s what the purpose of this post is all about–taking you through an epic overview of WordPress to find the answers you need to help your blogging.
It Starts With “Ease-of-Use”
WordPress is easy.
Ease-of-use is one of its biggest keys to success.
You will not find a better website building system out there that combines high quality alongside user friendliness, in my opinion.
Seriously, WordPress is something you will eventually enjoy using after you get more acquainted with it.
I know it’s new. I know it’s different. For some of you, WordPress is a change, and change is something we normally resist.
Now, I wouldn’t be including WordPress in my setup guide if I didn’t believe this…I’m no techie myself. I don’t have a website development or design background. I like technology, but I’m not really someone you would call a tech geek.
Learning WordPress was new to me too awhile back. I’m glad I gave it a shot and took a little time to learn how to use it. I am still learning things though, but when I first started using WordPress it didn’t take me long to figure things out enough to post content and make some adjustments in the design and such.
To help you get acquainted with WordPress, let’s start with taking a look at the story behind the brand.
Part I: The Amazing WordPress Story
WordPress is web software people use to build efficient, gorgeous blogs. The blogging tool and CMS (Content Management System) is created and supported by a network of community volunteers that reaches the hundreds. Together, they provide the thousands of themes and plugins you can choose from to make your site a stellar experience for visitors.
First launched in 2003 by two guys named Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, WordPress grew to become the world’s most popular free and open-source software.
What does “free and open-source” mean?
WordPress has two dominant traits that make it special:
A. Free software license means users are not restricted by copyright law, the software has a license that grants a user the right to “modify and redistribute” the software. The source code is openly shared to invite and encourage volunteers to continuously make improvements to the software.
(As a user of WordPress, you don’t have to think twice about this, unless you’re a tech geek who wants to help enhance the product. Most WordPress users do not engage in this aspect, they simply enjoy using the product and the benefits included.)
Advocates for (FOSS) free and open source software like WordPress say this decreases software costs, boosts the stability and security (against malware in particular), protects privacy and gives users more control over hardware.
B. Open-source software (OSS) is computer software that doesn’t hide its source code. All open-source software like WordPress thrives in a public arena of collaboration. WordPress is one of the best known examples of what’s called an “open-content” movement.
As of June, 2014, WordPress continues to be the most popular blogging system on the web.
While researching WordPress, I found a sweet infographic that gives some “interesting facts” about WordPress that are a bit mind blowing.
Hat Tip goes to visual.ly for providing this fantastic infographic.
Now let’s continue looking at WordPress features…
Part III: Getting Up Close and Personal with Your WordPress Dashboard
Creating Editorial Content with WordPress
How to Edit Your Rough Draft
Using Visual Editor to Make Changes to Blog Posts
- Formatting – various styles, depending on your theme
- Align full
- Select Text Color
- Paste as plain text
- Paste from Word
- Remove formatting
- Insert custom character
- Outdent – shift text to left
- Indent – shift text to right
- Undo – cancel last action
- Redo – redo last action
- Help – get more information on using the editor, and keyboard shortcuts.
You can align the text and your photos by using the correct icons in your Visual Editor.
Since we’re on photos here, let me show you how posting photos in blog posts works with WordPress…
Part IV: How to Post Photos on Your WordPress Blog
You will be happy happy happy with how easy posting photos is with WordPress. Inside the dashboard, you have a Media Library where all the photos you have used or will use later are stored.
Your Media Library pops up when you click on the Add Media button and it looks like this:
You can drag and drop or select the photo you want to use with the file selector. Or upload one from your computer. You can even add photos directly to your media library to be used later.
Sometimes you will need to resize your photo to help it look good in your blog post layout or page layout.
If you decide to change the alignment or size of a photo in your blog post, just click on the photo in your Edit Post where you create posts, and click on the photo. Two small boxes will appear in the upper left corner of the photo. The red symbol is to delete the photo. To edit, you want to click on the other box that looks like a landscape pic. Here’s what it looks like:
Once you follow the red arrow and click on that box, a larger box will appear where you can make the edits in size, alignment, or you can delete the URL link in the photo, or change the link.
This is what you should see:
Have fun with your blog photos and make sure you give credit when using an image that has copyright restrictions. Flickr is a photo sharing website, and they have a section called Creative Commons, where you can find photos that have the proper license that enables people to use them as long as you mention the owner.
If you need some visual inspiration, WordPress dot org has a sweet page called Showcase that highlights some WordPress websites used by famous people (like Beyoncé) and well known businesses (like Time.com, Facebook Newsroom and the Dallas Mavericks.)
Part V: Using Categories & Tags
Both categories and tags help your blog posts get more traffic and engagement, and using both together is called taxonomies. But the two need to be used correctly to be beneficial.
One of the best analogies on categories and tags is to look at categories as the table of contents for a book, and tags are the index. Categories are more general, while tags are more specific.
By giving your blog posts a category and 1 to 3 tags, you’re helping search engines like Google to latch onto the keywords that are most relevant for your blog.
I’m sure I’ll go into more detail later on about using tags in WordPress. There’s a helpful article on the Woo Themes website called Best Practice for Using Tags in WordPress
Part VI: Publish Your Post: Hit the Blue Button–Feel the Rush
Once you have everything squared away, from spell check to your categories, tags, and SEO optimizing, you can zero in on the Publish module in the upper right of your Post. Looks like this:
You will be hitting those top two buttons “Save Draft” and “Preview” as you create the blog post.
Once done, you have a few other options before clicking Publish:
Status: If you’re inside the blog as an Author, you can scroll down below Draft and click Pending Review so an Admin. can come along later and review, then post your article.
Visibility: Many of you ask me about the WordPress ability to control who sees your posts. This is where you designate your blog post as one of three options–Public, Password Protected, or Private.
Publish immediately: If you prefer to schedule your post to publish at a later time, click edit, then you can schedule the date and time you prefer.
SEO: A gray dot indicates nothing has yet been done with SEO. Here, I use WordPress SEO by Yoast, and once I finish using this plugin (that’s below the article) and it’s complete, the dot will be green in color. A dot that’s yellow means some optimizing has been done but there is something not complete, according to the Yoast plugin.
You’re Blog Post is Ready! Prepare for Glory!
Visualize Your Blog Posts Dripping in Awesomesauce
What if your blog posts are so good, visitors start flooding to your blog wanting to know more about you? It’s possible, you know. You’ve studied Step 5, right? You’re soaking up my emails and blog posts…you might be surprised just how quickly your audience grows.
Are you prepared to satisfy their curiosity?
Folks are going to want to know more about you. More about your blogs’ purpose. What is it selling?
Who are you? What’s your story?
Bloggers need more than just blog posts… you’ll need a few added Pages to your website along with a blog.
Do you have an About Page ready? What about an FAQ page? You do at least have a home page…don’t you?
Creating a Web Page with WordPress is about as simple as posting a blog. Let’s jump into Pages now, okay?
Part VII: The Web Page–What Makes Them Different Than Blog Posts
Then you think of what to put on your web pages, determine what information you want to share is TIMELESS. In other words, what do you want to tell all your visitors up front, all the time, tomorrow, next week, and next year.
You don’t want your About information to get buried in a blog, where it’s much harder to find. You certainly don’t want your Contact information to be in a chronologically ordered blog–makes sense to make a Contact Page that’s always one click from your home page.
Both Pages and Posts look similar in setup. Both have a Title and Content. Yet Pages do not have categories or tags.
Ready to start setting up your pages?
Part VIII: How to Create a New Web Page with WordPress
In your dashboard, not far below Posts, you will see Pages.
Once you have created a page or many pages, they will be stored here. If you need to go back and change something on a Page, you will click All Pages where you will find all your stored pages together. Just click on the specific page and you can edit it like a blog post.
Let’s say you don’t have an About page yet. To make one, you would simply go to Pages in the left sidebar, then scroll down to Add New. You’ll notice how similar it looks to a blog post.
Here is an example of one of my Pages already saved in All Pages.
When the Page is ready to be seen for the first time, hit that blue Publish button. When you make a change to web page, just hit that blue Update button like you see above. If you don’t, your changes won’t show up on the page.
Be sure to optimize your Page as well, using whichever SEO plugin you have installed.
Part IX: What Are Parent Pages and How Do They Make Child Pages?
No need for a biology lesson here.
The pages you see across the top menu items are known as parent pages.
Here’s a visual of child pages from wpsites.net
You can create as many pages as you need. All the organizational setup of placing child pages under the parent pages is done in the Pages>Add New, where you find this box to the right of your page content.
Page Attributes is where you click under Parent, where a drop down of all your pages, both published pages (live) and saved pages not up yet.
Then you select a Template if you are using one, and then the Order of each child page.
Part X: Do Pages Have Comments?
Some websites do, some don’t.
Here on this website, we don’t. I haven’t seen a need for comments on my pages per se. But that’s just my own choice. You certainly can have comments on Pages with WordPress. I see other websites offering comments on their web pages, but I’ve noticed the comments are pretty sparse.
Part XI: What Are Pingbacks?
There’s a type of comment on WordPress called a “Pingback” that you’ll see in the comments section that looks like the one above.
This occurs when someone links to your blog post on their blog. This will only occur if both you and the other person have enabled pingbacks on each of your respective blogs.
This is true in reserve as well–when you include a link in one of your blog posts, a pingback shows up in that site’s comments.
Each WordPress theme is different, so your pingbacks may not look exactly like the example above.
If your blog is private or you have blocked search engines, pings will not be sent.
Wrapping Up This Mega Extended WordPress Post
“WordPress is a gas gas gas!” – Jack Flash (spoken while jumping.)
Be sure to bookmark this blog post so you can always come back quickly as you continue to master WordPress.
I’ll be here if you need to contact me for any questions or feedback.
Time is on your side. Just stay steady and allow your dreams to run free like wild horses.
And remember, if you need an emotional rescue, I’ll do my best to be your knight in shining armor (okay, that’s enough Stones song references for one post.)
Hang fire. (Seriously, I’ll stop now.)