Are you new to WordPress, recently moved from Blogger or just looking for some how to tips? Check out the info. below on how to use WordPress and the basics of getting started with the new platform.
How To Use WordPress
How to sign up for WordPress
If you don’t already have self-hosted WordPress installed you will need to complete this step before anything! Note this is NOT wordpress.com blogs but actual self-hosted WordPress.org dashboard which is only available with self hosting.
Why is WordPress.org better than .com or blogger though? Very simple, YOU control this website! You don’t depend on google or wordpress.com to keep up your blog and hope for the best, if you’re making any sort of income off your website or want to take it to the next level this is where to start. I have seen many blogger sites get shut down for too much traffic or content and the sites are gone for good, with your own self hosted wordpress you don’t have to worry about that.
1. Sign up for hosting. I personally use Liquid Web for your WordPress blog (yes that’s my aff. link) and love them, their prices are great and the customer service is top notch compared to other hosts i’ve been with! Or I highly recommend WPEngine if you’re looking for hassle free hosting and a company to manage WordPress updates and plugins for you!
2. Install WordPress onto your site. Your host should send you cpanel login information (some hosts will varey on how you access your files through FTP or other areas). Login to your account with the information given and check to see if your host has an easy WordPress install, many do (including RFE hosting) where it’s a simple click of the button. (Note: if you purchased my blogger to wordpress transfer I will do this part for you).
If your host does not offer simple install you will need to install it manually, you can view the WordPress install instructions here
Publishing a post on WordPress
Visual Tab: This is how your post will display visually on the blog
Text Tab: This is how your post looks in HTML format
Once the post is written you will want to add it to it’s corresponding category, you will see the category box on the right hand side. Simply check the categories you want to add it to from there and publish.
Scheduling a post on WordPress
Do you want to write your post up but you’re not ready for it to go live just yet? You can either draft the post which saves it until you’re ready or schedule it for a particular day and time. Simple click “edit” in the Publish box on the right hand side and enter the date and time. (Note: WordPress works on military time so make sure to enter it correctly)
Post VS Page on WordPress
A post goes directly onto your site once published, in your blog feed and anywhere else you have your RSS feed connected to.
A page is a static page that does not appear in your feed, once published though you can link to it anytime you want it simply stays out of your main feed. This is great for a recipe index, coupon database, about me page and more.
Editing your WordPress menu
To add or remove items from your menu you will want to select “Appearances” from your dashboard and click on “Menus”. There you will see all the menus created for your site (if you do not have any menus you will need to create one).
Select the menu you want to edit and on the left hand side you will see three boxes. One labeled “Pages” one labeled “Links” and one labeled “Categories”. If you want to add a page you’ve created click on pages, if you want to add a category click on categories. There you will see a list with boxes next to them, check the box for the items(s) you want to add to your menu and press “Add to Menu”. This will add the checked items to the bottom of your menu list in the middle.
To move a menu item you will simply click and drag it to the correct position. If you want it to be the first on your menu drag it all the way to the top, if you want it second or third drop it in position there. You will see a dashed line showing you where the menu item is being placed.
To add a main menu item align it with the dashed line all the way to the left, if you want a submenu item align it under and slightly to the right of the main menu item (you will see the dash box move over to the right). Once it’s where you want, let go of your button and it will drop in place.
Once you have your menu set up you will want to select the placement of it, either as primary navigation or secondary navigation (this will varey on how your theme is set up but most will use primary). Then click on Save Menu and you’re set!
Adding Widgets to your WordPress site
Widgets are add ons for your sidebar, footer and possibly other areas for your site depending on how your theme is set up. You can add almost into into these from text to add codes to plugins you have have installed on your site.
To edit your widgets you will need to go to “Appearances” in your dashboard and click on “Widgets” which will lead you to a page similar to this (note some widget items may varey depending on your theme or setup). If you have a theme from Pixel Me Designs it most likely has this same setup as above.
Each box is set for a different area of the site and most are self explanatory. Header Right adds items to the right side of the header, primary sidebar adds items to the site’s sidebar, and so on and so forth. Clicking the small arrow located on the right of the widget area drops it down to show what is active there.
On the left hand side you will see an assortment of add ons like recent posts, categories, archives, user profile, text and more. There are many that come standard and many that come when you install a plugin so each person’s widget area may be different. To add any of these items simply drag and drop them to the corresponding widget area and release. At that point you can edit any settings that widget may have and click save, after you save it the item will appear on your site. To remove an item from the widget area simply click the small grey arrow and select “Remove”.
How to download and install plugins on WordPress
The easiest route to downloading and installing plugins can be done through your dashboard. Simply click on Plugins and select “Add New” to search or upload the plugin you are looking for. Make sure to check the reviews and rating of those plugins to see if they have been tested with the version of WordPress you are running.
Please note to also keep your plugins to a minimum if at all possible, the more plugins you have installed the more resources it is taking up on your website. For better load time keep your plugins to a minimum amount.
Some plugins I highly recommend:
Genesis Simple Hooks (only works for Genesis themes) – hooks around your site to add text/code
Gravity Forms or Contact Form 7 – contact forms
Where to add scripts or meta tags
If you are using one of my themes it is built on the Genesis platform which makes it very easy to add code or script! Simply click on Genesis – Theme Settings and you will see two boxes. WP_Head and WP_Foot. Placing codes here eliminates the need to go into your theme’s core files.
wp_head() hook executes immediately before the closing
wp_footer() hook executes immediately before the closing
How to organize WordPress categories
If you just made the move from Blogger to WordPress or you’re just starting out you may notice your categories are a mess! Blogger (sadly) does everything as “labels” which is fine but what if you have a LOT of labels? There’s no good way to organize them! Wordpress offers categories and subcategories which can help you get very organized as well as organizing your menu!
Here’s an example… let’s say you run a food site. You have categories for Desserts, Dinner, Sides, etc. but you also have categories for brownies, chicken, vegetables, etc. which fall UNDER those other categories but still need their own category. The solution is very simply, let’s say you have two categories to add, brownies and cakes, you would make their parent category Desserts so when someone clicks on desserts any posts under brownies AND cakes will show up also or they can just click the brownies category for ONLY that dessert. Great right?
When setting a category you can set it as it’s own or choose a parent. So let’s say, again, you’re adding brownies in. You would type in brownies and choose Desserts in the drop down below as their parent category and save. If you already have an existing category you want to move under another simply click on “edit” in the category list and you can choose a parent category there.
If you’ve just moved from blogger to wordpress or you’ve been blogging for a few months before realizing this I highly recommend going through and organizing your categories! Yes, it’s a bit time consuming… grab a cup of coffee and a brownie (since me repeating brownie so many times probably made you hungry) and get to it. It’s one of the best things you can do to keep your site organized and things easy for your readers to find!
Using Genesis Simple Hooks
If you’re using one of my themes you may want to install a plugin called Genesis Simple Hooks if I already did not. Genesis Simple Hooks allows you to insert code and text around your site without having to edit your theme files. Each box is different and labeled according to their location on the site.
A few examples:
Genesis_entry_content: Adds the text/code directly under your post content
Genesis_after_entry_content: Adds the text/code after your post, under the entry content items
Genesis_before_sidebar_widget_area: Adds the text/code directly above your sidebar widgets
Genesis_before_sidebar_wrap: Adds the code below your menu, above your post and sidebar area
Basic HTML codes
<a href=”URLHERE”>Title Here</a>
<a href=”URLHERE”><img src=”IMAGEURLHERE”></a>
Changing your WordPress settings
There are a few WordPress settings you may need to edit in the future, here’s an outline of where you will find your basic items (all items are located under “Settings” in your WordPress Dashboard).
Settings – General: Where you edit your website name, tagline, timezone and date format
Settings – Writing: Basic settings for writing post such as emotions, post format, services and more
Settings – Reading: You can change how many post show up on your homepage/feed, how many posts show up on your RSS feed and where your homepage lands (standard blog view or static page)