WordPress for Beginners

Yesterday I attended a training day on WordPress, organised by the lovely people at the JISC Regional Support Centre Yorkshire & Humber. As you know I already use WordPress, both for this blog and at work, but felt that there are things I don’t know. I want to re-vamp work’s website without paying out loads of money, so this session was ideal.

Dave Briggs (@davebriggs) and Andrew Beeken (@abeeken) from Kind of Digital led a very useful session, teaching WordPress from the bottom up. Here are my notes (sorry if they don’t make much sense – it might be a good idea to look at WordPress at the same time) :

  • WordPress is an online publishing tool ( “putting text in boxes”), open software community
  • WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
  • WordPress.org is good if you do your webhosting/source codes -> you can download the software
  • Pages are static, posts are dynamic
  • dashboard: adding content: “create post”
  • “link to existing content” -> refers to content on your own WordPress site
  • you can use a picture as a link to somewhere else by changing the link url once you’ve uploaded the picture
  • posts can be sorted into categories and subcategories; also use tags
  • Comments are feedback -> not sure where to disable comments? -> go to “screen options” -> discussions
  • trackbacks and pingbacks are links from other sites to your own content -> recommendation: disable them, they don’t do anything for SEO anyway
  • Settings -> discussion: here you can change your global comment settings -. previous post settings will need changing manually!
  • embedding: possible from a variety of sources, e.g. YouTube, slideshare, issuu, google maps
  • image editor: in Media
  • Look and feel: Appearance -> Themes
  • to find a new theme to use: Appearance -> Themes -> install themes -> search for themes -> install
  • WordPress.org has the same selection of themes but they are downloadable as zip-files, which you can then upload into your system
  • have a look at StudioPress.com for themes you can pay for
  • you can have custom menus: Appearance -> Menus
  • you can even have separate menus for different purposes
  • Custom links: link to another site as part of your menu
  • Appearance -> widgets -> sidebar
  • text widgets also takes html, e.g. newsletter signup
  • extended functionality: plugins, e.g. google analytics -> plugins are only availabel on WordPress.org!
  • You can use WordPress as a social network by installing BuddyPress plugin, which has its own (sub-)plugins
  • contact form plugin: contactform7 -> copy code and insert into a new page (* means “required field”)
  • managing a WordPress site: update your themes, widgets, software regularly (site will send you alerts)
  • backups: Tolls -> Export -> all content (XML file)
  • static homepage: create two new pages, then go to Settings -> reading -> front page displays…
  • kitchen sink (top of “edit post” window): paste from Word -> cleans it up; also: paste as plain text
  • If something doesn’t work it might be disabled in the Theme you are using
  • Examples of websites using WordPress: http://www.defra.gov.uk/, http://kindofdigital.com/
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