Getting Started with WordPress – Writing Settings

With the writing settings, you’ll find some things to consider.

FormattingFormatting Convert emoticons like :-) and :-P to graphics on display
 WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically
Default Post Category Choose a default category for your blog posts.
Default Post Format If you had a default format for your blog posts you’ll find options here.  
Default Link Category  Blogroll 

Post via email

This setting allows you to post using your email address. This may be useful if for example you’re in a remote place and posting using your cell phone.

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Your First Visit After WordPress Install

Once you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll see a view of your WordPress C-Panel page with a few links to your site. In order to edit, you’ll want to click on the hyperlink including wp-admin. The wp-admin URL is your way to login to your WordPress dashboard to begin to work on the backend of your website (i.e. where you create all of your content).

Logging in After Logging Out

You can either use the WordPress username and Password you set up during the install process to go login directly to your website.

You would visit your wp-admin link i.e. “yoursite.plymouthcreate.net/wp-admin”

Then enter the WordPress Username and Password you created when you installed WordPress.

or if you visit plymouthcreate.net and click on Dashboard, you can login from there.

When you see your cPanel Dashboard click on WordPress then My Applications to find your WordPress installations and your wp-admin link. Click on the wp-admin URL to enter your WordPress Dashboard.

You can also click on MyApps from the cPanel Dashboard to find your WordPress installation and wp-admin link.

Getting Started with WordPress – Title and Tagline

General Settings: Title and Tagline

The setting we will look at here is your blog “title” and “tag line”. It is located under Settings > General. Once you’re on the General Settings page, you can give your blog any title you want. You can also give your blog a tagline, which can be a short description of the blog.

When you change the Blog title and tag line, they will show up at the top of your site. Depending on what theme you use, the title and tag lines will show up in various places. In the case of some themes, they might not show up at all depending on whether they allow custom configurations. We won’t worry about that for now. If you use the default theme (currently “Twenty Twenty One”), the blog title and tag line are both in the center-left of what’s called the header of the site.

There are more settings on the General Settings page, such as setting the administrative email account, time zone, date format, etc. Change those to whatever is appropriate for your site and geographical location.

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Getting Started with WordPress – Themes

Getting Started: WordPress Themes

When it comes to WordPress, customizing the look of your site is simple and straightforward. When you install WordPress, the default (or pre-set) theme is called Twenty Twenty-Two (as of WordPress version 5.9). It is a very customizable theme that is built for the block editor. You can read more about WordPress version 5.9. You can read more about theme Twenty Twenty-Two. You can also read about how to use the new Editor in Twenty Twenty-Two here.

In addition to Twenty Twenty-Two, you’ll have other themes available to you. (What themes you have depends upon if you did a default WordPress installation, or if you installed a special package.) If Twenty Twenty-Two doesn’t meet your needs, you can activate another theme on your site or install a completely new one.

Activating Themes

  • Start at your site’s Dashboard.
  • Navigate to Appearance > Themes.
  • You will see thumbnail images representing each of the themes that you currently have available on your site. Simply mouse over any one of them, and click the Activate link.

That’s all you need to do to change the look of your site with a new theme.

Installing Themes

If none of the themes that were provided when you installed WordPress are what you’re looking for, you can always search for and install other themes from the WordPress Theme Repository.

  • Navigate to Appearance > Themes.
  • Installing new themes is quite simple. You start by going to the Add New Button
  • The initial page is the Search Theme page, and it’s not all that helpful (or visual). You can check a few “filter” boxes to see what comes up, but there is a more visual way. Click the Featured link at the top and you’ll get visual (screenshot) examples of other themes you can install. You can also click “Newest” or “Recently Updated”.
  • Under the thumbnail picture of each theme (when you hover your mouse over the theme) are three choices – InstallPreview, and Details & Preview. Those choices should be pretty self-explanatory so click Install to add a new theme to your site.
  • After you install the theme, it is still not active on your site. You will need to Activate it to use it.
  • Once activated, your site will be using the new theme. Visit your site’s homepage to view your new theme.

Getting Started with WordPress – Publishing

Getting Started: Publishing Content

The primary activity that you’re likely to be doing on your WordPress site is publishing content. The content could be text you write, pictures you take, videos or audios (which may be hosted on another site), or other media that you’ve found elsewhere on the Web. WordPress makes it very easy to publish media content of all types, whether hosted on your actual Web server or elsewhere.

Posts vs Pages

Out of the box, WordPress provides two primary content types for you two work with: posts and pages. If you read blogs or have ever written for a blog before, the concept of a post is probably a bit familiar. Posts often are content that appear on your blog in some kind of scheduled way. They usually are presented on your site in reverse-chronological order. Posts might be what you use to share your regular thoughts, reflections, or ideas about a topic. Posts make up a kind of “river” of content that you’re producing as part of your blogging activity.

Pages usually correspond to our more traditional concept of what makes up a Web site. Pages are presented outside of the “river” of content that are posts. They are more likely to stand alone and be organized according to a traditional hierarchy. Pages might be content that is less frequently updated or changed.

If you were using WordPress to build a business Web site with a lot of information content, you would probably use Pages. If you added a feature to that site where you started to advertise special events or news, you would probably use Posts.

A few other things to know about Pages vs Posts:

  • If you want your content to be accessible to your users via RSS/syndication, you’ll need to use Posts. By default, Pages do not appear in a site’s RSS feed.
  • Categories and Tags (which are used in WordPress to help you organize your content) are ONLY available on Posts. Page organization is done through customizing your site’s menus.
  • Okay this get’s a little tricky: WordPress, by default, also creates “Category Pages” and “Tag Pages” that display all the Posts in a category or tag. These are NOT related to the regular Page type.

Media

Upon occasion, you may want to include media (images, audio, video) in your site’s posts and pages. There are generally two approaches to handling media in WordPress:

Uploading: You can upload the files into your site’s Media Gallery and then link to them in your posts/pages. This works very well for images, and when you take this approach for images you have the added benefit of being able to make use of WordPress’ built-in (albeit rudimentary) editing tools. Also, when you upload images to WordPress, it automatically creates different sizes that you can use, as needed.

Embedding: You can embed media from other sites easily in WordPress. Embedding an image just means providing a URL to it’s location elsewhere on the Web. Instead of uploading it to the server, WordPress grabs that image from the external source and displays it on your post/page. However, with this approach you lose your editing capabilities as well as the resizing feature. Embedding audio and video from external sources becomes easier with every version of WordPress it seems. These days, you can embed video and audio from many external services (YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, complete list here) by simply placing the full URL of the audio/video location on it’s own line in your post/page. Our general advice is to use externally hosted media whenever it makes sense and works. This is usually the case when you need to use audio or video; without plugins, well-presented audio and video in WordPress is tricky. For images, if you need to do basic editing and/or require different sizes of images, upload them to your site. Otherwise, consider referencing them from another location (your YouTube account, for example).

Post Formats

WordPress now uses Gutenberg editing to edit Posts and Pages. This is a block-based editing system. You can read about Gutenberg at the link above and you can also read about the functionality of the editor here. Every time you hit the return button, whilst building your site you will have the opportunity to add new types of blocks. Anywhere you see the + button you can pop open the list of block options. You can browse or search for a particular block setting. You can re-organize these blocks and use unique blocks through plugins.

Screenshot of the Gutenberg blocks editor.

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Getting Started with WordPress – Reading Settings

Reading Settings – Front Page

WordPress is a very flexible platform for creating full-blown websites, not just blogging sites. This page will show you how to change the “front page” of your website.

As we have said before, WordPress provides two primary content types for you two work with: posts and pages. Posts, as in blog posts, are a somewhat complex form of webpage. Each blog post gets published in reverse chronological order, on the front page of a WordPress site. You write a new post, and it gets published at the top of the front page. Pages, are a more static form of content. They are additional areas to put information that doesn’t change much. So what if you would like to make the front page of your WordPress site based on a page instead of your blog posts?

Start at the Dashboard.

Navigate to Settings > Reading.

Normally, the front page displays your latest blog posts. What we want to do instead is select a Page from the website. Obviously this page has to exist before you can select it. Select the “A static page” radio button and choose the About page from the Front page drop-down menu (an About page was created for you when you installed WordPress).

OK, great. Click the Save Changes button and now you will have the About page as your Front page. Edit it as you see fit and provide a good welcoming page for your visitors. But wait. What will happen to your blog posts? Most people will want them as the “dynamic” part of your site.

First, create a new Page and title it Blog (you can title it whatever you want but Blog is common and descriptive). Leave the page blank (don’t type any text in the edit box) and Publish it. Now go back to Settings > Reading. Under the static page area choose Blog from the Posts page drop-down.

Click the Save Changes button. Now your “home” page will actually display the About page. You will also have a Blog item in your menu (depending on your theme, you may have to customize your page display to see pages).

If you click on the Blog menu item, you will then see your blog posts. Notice the /blog added to the web address.

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Getting Started with WordPress – Permalinks

Part of the popularity of WordPress is how easily it makes a website functional and yet attractive. One of the smaller details that you might want to adjust is how the addresses to your blog posts are structured. Permalink the name given to the address of an individual blog post because they are “permanent links”. For example, the web address for this sample blog is http://createoutestdomain.com. The link to the first post, titled “Hello World” may be structured in many ways. The screenshot below shows one way.

So http://createoutestdomain.com/?p=1 may get you to that blog post, but it’s not a very informative link. With WordPress, you have many options to form the links to posts, and you can change them to make more sense than question marks and numbers. To change the permalink structure, start by going to the Dashboard.

Next, go to Settings > Permalinks.

As you can see, there are several choices under Common Settings. The Default setting gives us that uninformative “?p=123”. A popular choice is to use the Post name choice, which is a bit more informative. So our post titled “Hello World” will have an address of http://createoutestdomain.com/hello-world.

If you want to have the date as part of the address, you can choose Day and name or Month and name. You can also change the structure of category and tag names under the Optional section.

Finally, when you write a blog post, you have the option of editing the permalink for an individual post. Just click the Edit button (underneath the Title field).

Then type in whatever is appropriate (and hasn’t been used yet). Generally you want to make it as simple and short a word, or words, as makes sense. In the example below, we just added some more words.

Getting Started with WordPress – Menus

Building Your Custom Menu

Start at your site’s Dashboard and choose Appearance the Menus.

In the Custom Menus interface that appears, type a name for your menu. This can be anything you want. It doesn’t get displayed anywhere; it’s used by WordPress to identify and place your menu. Once you’ve typed the name, click Create Menu.

You’ll now be presented with a screen that includes a section titled Menu Settings. This is where you’ll indicate where you want your menu to appear in your theme. The number of locations available depends entirely upon the theme you choose.

In the example shown below, there are two areas available; we’ve chosen to place the menu in the Top Menu area which we know corresponds to the header menu.

You may need to experiment a bit in order to find out where your menu will appear in your theme. You can always change this location later by coming back here and clicking the Manage Locations tab.

Now that you’ve set up your menu and assigned it to a location, you can begin to add links to it. On the left-hand side of the screen, you’ll see what content is available to add. On the right-hand side of the screen, in the Menu Structure area, you can arrange and organize your links.

By default, you may not see everything that is available to you to add to your menu. For example, posts can be added to menus, but they’re not usually displayed by default.

To make more content available, click the Screen Options tab at the top of your WordPress screen, and then click off the check boxes that correspond to additional content.

To add content to your menu, simply check it off on the left, and click the Add to Menu button.

Your new content will appear on the right, and you can drag items in the order you want them to appear. Drag items to the right to indent them under other items. This will usually make them appear as drop-down items in your menu.

You can add custom links to your menu by clicking the Links section on the left. In the short form that appears, enter your link’s URL, and a text for the link. Click Add to Menu to move it to the left.

Note that you can change the link text of any item you add to your menu. This can be helpful if you have a page with a long title, and you’d like the link to not take up so much space. You can abbreviate the title in the Navigation Label section, and that shorter text will become the actual menu link.

When you are done, make sure you click Save Menu.

Other Notes about Menus

When you add a Category or Tag to a menu, the link will take your readers to an archive of all the posts on your site that use that category or tag. This can be a very useful feature for organizing your content when you’re using posts to share your work.

In addition to assigning Custom Menus to theme areas, there is a default Custom Menu widget that you can put in the sidebar of your site. This is useful for creating smaller, customized navigation for your site.

If you forget to click Save Menu after making changes to your menu location or content, you will lose your work!

Getting Started with WordPress – Widgets

WordPress Widgets

Widgets are a more advanced feature of WordPress that allow you even more control over the content on your site. In essence, widgets are small containers of content that can be placed in various areas of your site. Where you can place widgets depends entirely on the theme you are using. Many (most) themes include at least one “sidebar” into which you can place widgets. Some themes include additional “widgetized” areas. The best way to find out what areas are available to you is to go to Appearance > Widgets and take a look at the areas listed on the right. Each widgetized area will appear as a box on the right. In the example show below, the theme contains three widgetized areas: Primary Sidebar, Content Sidebar, and Footer Widget Area.

On the right, you will see a number of widgets available to you. WordPress comes with some default widgets. Other widgets might become available when you have a particular theme activated. Finally, some plugins provide additional widgets to you.

Widgets can present all different kinds of information. The simplest widgets allow you to add text to your site. But you’ll also find widgets with many options that you can set to display dynamic content or to interact with other services. Below is a list of the default widgets available in WordPress.

When you’re ready to start using widgets, all you need to do is drag them from the right-hand side of the Widgets interface into the boxes on the left. WordPress will immediately save them, but you may need to set some options

Default Widgets

  • Archives: Shows a monthly listing of your posts.
    • Calendar: Shows a calendar view of your posts.
    • Categories: Shows a list of all of the categories on your site.
    • Custom Menu: Shows a custom menu that you’ve set up with WordPress’ Custom Menu interface.
    • Links: Shows your links.
    • Meta: Shows links to your RSS feed and your login.
    • Pages: Shows a menu of all of your pages.
    • Recent Comments: Shows the most recent comments on your posts.
    • Recent Posts: Shows your most recent posts.
    • RSS: This allows you to show content from an RSS feed.
    • Search: Provides your users with a search box.
    • Tag Cloud: Shows a “cloud” of the tags/categories on your site.
    • Text: Shows whatever text you enter.