Free WordPress: How-to Guide

17th Mar 2014 | Freebies, Tips & Tutorials

Below is a guide I have typed up to show people how to use WordPress to manage the content on their websites. I’ve created a lot of how-to guides in the past for my own clients to show them how to write blog posts, upload images, modify text and many other things.

This guide will be ideal for:

  1. People wanting to get to grips with how to use WordPress
  2. Other web designers who are looking to teach their clients how to use WordPress to manage the content on their website

I find each how-to guide I send over to my clients needs amending in some way, as every website is different and therefore needs its own specific details tailored to that particular client. However you should find the below guide a good starting point for your clients to learn the basics, or maybe you want to learn the basics for yourself!

Use this guide however you see fit, just don’t be copying / pasting / taking credit for it. Copycats will be named & shamed on my blog / Twitter page.

Part 01: Pages

A lot of WordPress’ content management features are prominent when editing the pages on your website (or adding new ones).

WordPress Dashboard

In order to start editing content, first you need to log in to the WordPress dashboard. To access the dashboard, open your browser and type the address of your website in the address bar but with ‘/wp-admin’ after it.

So if your website is www.mywebsite.com then to reach the dashboard you would visit www.mywebsite.com/wp-admin.

You should then see the login screen like so:

Login Form

Enter your login details into here and click ‘Log In’.

Below you can see the menu items in the dashboard. The ones that you’ll need to pay most attention to are highlighted below. These are to manage the various sections of your website.

WordPress Dashboard

The best way to get used to how pages (and posts) are structured is to look at the existing ones. Click the ‘Pages’ link in the menu on the left and then click on one of the pages that is listed in order to view / edit it.

Edit Page

Once you have selected a page to edit you should see a page with a similar resemblence to the screengrab below. This is the page that is used for editing existing pages, containing a few features that you need to pay special attention to.

Edit Page

When typing up the content, you may notice several tools that are used in standard word processing software such as headings, bulleted / numbered lists, paragraphs, bold / italic etc.

A common mistake of new WordPress users is to type a heading simply by entering a line of text and setting it to ‘bold’. This isn’t the ideal way to set headings and it won’t look consistent with the rest of the website.

The correct way to set headings is like in the below screengrab.

Headings

Inserting Images

You may want to insert images into your content area to sit alongside your text.

Image Insert 01

Image Insert 02

Pasting Content from MS Word (or Equivalent)

Occasionally you may find yourself needing to paste some content from Microsoft Word (or one of its free alternatives) rather than typing content from scratch.

When you do this, you need to make sure you paste the content as plain / unformatted text. Otherwise, the word processing software will carry a load of unwanted formatting across as well as unnecessary code. Which will most likely interfere with the styles on the front-end of the website.

Pasting as Plain Text

There are multiple ways you can go about this. The most straightforward way is to use WordPress’ built in feature to paste as plain text, as shown below.

Word Import 01

Corrections

You may find that once you’ve pasted the content over, there may be more linespaces in between paragraphs than desired. Such as in the below screengrab.

Word Import 02

If this happens, simply use your mouse and backspace / delete keys to remove the unwanted lines. Then the gaps in between your paragraphs should look more like so.

Word Import 03

Update / Publish Page

Once you have finished editing a page, click the blue button on the right. If this is a new page the button will read ‘Publish’ and the result will be that the page will be added to the website, if you are updating an existing page it will read ‘Update’.

Publish / Update

Add a New Page

If you would like to add a new blog page altogether, hit the ‘Add New’ button in the menu on the left of the page. Depending on how your website is set up, it may or may not be able to cater for new pages displaying in the website’s navigation.

Add Page

Part 02: Posts

Keeping your blog updated with relevant content is a great way to build traffic to your website and help your search engine rankings, though it can take some time to see the benefits. Nevertheless, blogs are still a great way to keep your users updated with all your recent goings on and to keep them returning to your website.

The process of managing blog posts is very similar to that of managing pages which was shown in Part 01 of the guide.

Edit Post

Notice how the post edit screen is almost identical to that of the page edit screen. There is the addition of the ‘Categories’ panel however. Use this to assign your posts to a category (e.g. ‘News’ or ‘Special Offers’). Try not to leave it blank otherwise it will show up on your website as being ‘Uncategorised’ which won’t look great to your users.

You can also add your own categories using the ‘Add New Category’ button at the bottom of the Categories panel.

Edit Post

The Rest

Everything else you need to know to manage blog posts such as inserting images, pasting from MS Word etc, is the same as managing pages. See Part 01 of the guide for more information.

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