The Hidden Agenda of WordPress Help Guide
A Content Management System, often abbreviated to CMS, is a software that helps users to create, manage and edit the content of a site, or in our case a blog.
A blog (short for “weblog”) is an “online journal” or a proper website.
Sometimes it is also used to open eCommerce and small portals. This is because it combines simplicity and versatility in the creation of entire content structures.
According to trends.builtwith.com more than 27 million websites currently use WordPress to publish text, video and image content. Not all of them are just blogs, they could be also portals like Canva or Linux.com.
Here is a step-by-step guide to getting started with WordPress…
I thought of this content just for those who are looking for basic information and want to open a blog or a personal website. Without forgetting the needs of those who want to present their business online.
What is WordPress?
It is a platform designed to create blogs. Over time it has evolved and has taken the shape of a real CMS suitable for different projects ranging from single-page, landing page style or proper websites.
By Landing Page, we mean a page specially created to convert visitors to the site into leads (contacts) or customers. WordPress was born in 2003 thanks to the efforts of Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It develops from the code of a previous platform known as b2/cafelog. Every version, except the first one, has the name of a famous jazz musician: the first one is dedicated to Miles Davis, the 5.4 to Julian Adderley.
Not by chance, as soon as you activate WordPress you find a plugin called Hello Dolly, the name of a song by Louis Armstrong. If you activate it, a piece of lyrics will be displayed. But anyway, It’s completely useless and it’s better to delete it.
Development and basic features
WordPress is developed with PHP, a programming language for dynamic pages. This allows the CMS to present as a solution to differentiate itself from websites with static pages. What does this mean?
THE DEFINITIVE WORDPRESS GUIDE
Thanks to this feature, a website created with WordPress can present a different page according to the user’s requests. This CMS uses a MySQL database and is published under the GNU General Public License. It is free to download and is open-source software.
Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
You may have already heard of this disagreement. On the other hand, just do a quick search on Google to find out that there are two official sites of this platform. We are talking about worlds that are based on the same idea. But they are profoundly different in their results.
This is the website (wordpress.org) to allows downloading the original CMS. You have a lot of resources to exploit on this portal, you can read the tutorials and find the plugins needed to customize your project. In summary, if you want to get off to a great start you have to use this solution. Also because in this way you can take full advantage of a CMS that has great potential in terms of SEO optimization, Search Engine Optimization: the set of strategies and practices to position sites or web pages in organic search engine results.
This is a free blogging service, always born thanks to the foresight of Matt Mullenweg, based on the same CMS. But it allows you to create an online diary immediately. Without installing or buying hosting
A web hosting (or hosting) is a service that allows you to publish a website on the Internet. The pros are many, like the free factor and the versatility, but we must not forget that everything you do on this portal will always be related to ownership.
Is WordPress just for blogs?
No. You can create different types of websites with this content management system (iWealthy, in Health, my site, for example, looks more like a website than a real Blog). But there are limits that depend on technical features. Purist webmasters go so far as to say that WordPress is not a 100% CMS but comes close to the definition of blogging software. Actually, it is no so far from the reality, WordPress was born just for this and its structure confirms it. It has categories, a home page with posts, publication dates and tags.
But with the spread of the platform on a large scale and the spread of many plugins (extensions that are added to the CMS to customize it) today you can think of this reality as a solution suitable for different ideas.
Not all of them. Clearly, if you want to create an eCommerce with thousands of product cards and hundreds of categories, maybe with a number of difficult to manage filters, you have to look elsewhere. Maybe towards Prestashop and Magento. And if you need an institutional portal there is Joomla.
Or you can choose Drupal. But you must also have different resources at your side. Customizing one of these CMS is different, much more difficult than WordPress. Which is perfect for blogging but also for creating websites that are beautiful to look at, easy to use and Google-friendly.
How to install WordPress
Many people prefer to use the free version to avoid this step, because you have to interact with servers, FTP, administration files and other devils. The risk of finding yourself with a blank page on your browser instead of the site is real and scary for those who don’t have much experience. But it can be fixed. How? There is a simplified procedure to activate WordPress without particular technicalities and difficulties, but first, let’s take a look at the requests necessary to open a blog.
Requirements to get started
Before you list the procedures and techniques to install WordPress and start blogging you need to consider the basics:
- The CMS, i.e. WordPress.
- Quality hosting.
- A reference domain.
There are no special requirements for the domain. But remember, it is always better to purchase an SSL certificate to have HTTPS active. Or you can use the basic solution that should already be included in the hosting. I’m talking about Let’s Encrypt, more than enough for a personal or corporate blog. It becomes poor or inadequate with portals and eCommerce.
Hosting with WordPress pre-installed
The easiest solution ever? Purchase hosting with WordPress pre-installed. This makes it easy to activate your project. In this case, we will have:
- Hosting with WordPress pre-installed
- cPanel, hosting with CMS pre-installed.
- Click on the WordPress icon and choose the parameters. It only takes a few clicks to start working autonomously and without any particular complications.
Would you prefer to proceed in a different way? Do you have specific needs to meet and can’t take shortcuts? Here’s how to install WordPress.
How to upload WordPress to the server
Although it may seem a distressing and complex operation, manually installing WordPress on your newly purchased hosting is a simple operation. In fact, you only need to do it the first time to understand exactly how it works. What is the procedure to follow? Here’s what you need to do:
Go to wordpress.org/download and download the file
Extract the zipped file to your computer desktop
Open the folder and find the file wp-config-sample.php
Rename this document wp-config.php
- Open the file by entering the database entries:
- Name of the database
You don’t know where this data is located? No problem, the provider will provide it to you when you purchase a hosting and create a database. Service support can help you directly with these operations. Once you have finished editing the wp-config file, open your FTP program, connect it to your hosting space with the data provided by the provider and upload the folder to the root, i.e. the root folder. Here is a video tutorial. At this point, the browser, typing the address of the website you registered, should respond positively and return the final product. That is an unripe blog that needs to be improved and completed.
What to do before publishing
Your site is online but nobody knows it, this is a point that you can use in your favour. In which way? Simple, to manage a series of fundamental aspects for the future of your online project. For example?
Manage permalink structure
Here you have to work in order to decide what will be the shape of your URLs, especially the part that follows the main domain. When you publish an article you can define the permalink which is also a useful element for on-page SEO. But here you can decide the structure.
Manage permalink structure
Choose the best structure for your blog.
If you go to settings and then to permalink you can decide whether to use the identification code (worst solution) or other combinations. I suggest to work with category and title, it is useful to describe the content in the best possible way. Warning, this work must be done before posting posts, otherwise, you risk to create 404 not found errors.
Subscribe to Search Console
A fundamental operation to optimize the WordPress website (but not only), it would also be subscribing your blog to the Search Console: In this case, you can suggest to Google the sitemap.xml with the URLs of your pages.
By activating a dedicated plugin, or a function of a generic suite like WordPress SEO By Yoast and All in One SEO, you can generate a sitemap file that indicates all the resources to the search engine with related updates: an essential operation before starting to publish your content.
Do the same with Google Analytics
Always before starting your adventure with WordPress, remember to enter the code of Google Analytics.
Analytics, or web analytics, is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for understanding and optimizing web usage. This allows you to record your progress in terms of visits and understand how users behave on the site, for example by monitoring how long they stay, where they go and which web pages are most visited.
Make the website visible on Google
A detail that often eludes and risks doing damage. From the WordPress dashboard go to the reading section and make sure that there is no tick on the option “Discourage search engines to index this site”. If this section is signed you risk being invisible on Google.
Create a navigation menu
Before you start publishing you need a top bar that can suggest static pages and blog categories. You can overcome this need by going to the dashboard and then to the Appearance section. Here you have a dedicated menu item. Create your navigation with drag and drop, insert the pages you want to highlight and organize them by dragging the various elements in the space available.
Navigating a website is essential to help visitors find content quickly. It can also help search engines to understand what content is considered important by the webmaster. Google Getting Started Guide WordPress Themes and Plugins.
Now we have to move on to the personalisation of everything we have done. We need to give a face to the website or blog and this can be done by changing templates. At the same time, you need new features. Both for SEO optimization and to satisfy the user.
For this, there are plugins, extensions that you can find in the official directory (but not only) and that allows you to enrich the work you have in mind. What to know about these realities? I would say to clarify one point: your choices influence the final result. A template can communicate who you are and what you do, but it can also improve the user experience. The same goes for plugins. They are numerous and useful, but also dangerous for your site.
Themes give a graphic look to your editorial project and allow you to add or remove some features. For example, you can choose an essential theme to have a mini landing page style site, or you can create a blog similar to an online magazine. Another solution? You can have an institutional portal that also allows you to sell online. All this can also be managed by choosing the right template. To achieve a good result you can choose the theme you prefer from the official directory, where the themes are free.
There are also services such as Themeforest that offer an endless number of fee-based solutions that meet virtually every need.
There are thousands of extensions available for WordPress, again you have a section of the WordPress portal dedicated to these very elements. What exactly are they? Plugins have the task of completing the functionality of the CMS with functions that are not present. For example you can:
- Optimize SEO (Yoast, All in One SEO Pack).
- Speed up the site (WP Rocket, Smush Image).
- Fight spam (Akismet, Recaptcha).
- Activate a contact form (Contact Form 7).
- Create landing page (Elementor).
- The solutions are endless, but it’s good to know that the presence of so many plugins can weigh down the loading of web pages. The speed of execution of a site on the browser is an important factor.
It has value both in terms of usability and user experience and for SEO positioning. Even if WordPress starts from a quality base, the risk is to add a lot of plugins slowing down resources. The ideal is to add plugins only when you can’t get around it in other ways. For example by editing the code, maybe with the help of a webmaster.
Help to use WordPress
Now that we’ve figured out how to install WordPress and which solution to choose in terms of hosting it’s right to take the first steps to write and publish content.
Articles and pages
The panel is focused on publishing content in an easier way, with a universal value over time. Regards the static page you can publish sections like:
- Who they are
- Landing Page
Landing pages, for example, are static pages built to maximize the possibility of getting useful contacts or selling a product. Posts, on the other hand, are updates related to a single topic.
The main difference is the possibility to have a constantly evolving home page, updated by articles, and a fixed navigation menu with static pages that keep moving and moving the navigation on the most important resources that you propose to your readers. One point to underline: there is no hierarchy between posts and pages, they are considered web pages and in SEO terms they have a no different value.
In WordPress you can manage this content in the same way, simply by going to the menu on the left of the dashboard and clicking on one of the items that interests you. In this way you can manage the various publications through a list or decide to publish content.
Categories and posts
What is the focus of this WordPress tutorial? To help you better address a theme that makes up the general topic of the blog. To succeed in this task you need to know the importance of taxonomies for your editorial project. There are two main solutions to WordPress:
Categories and Tags
Categories are containers that you need to use to organize posts into topics, while tags are labels that characterize content with an additional level of organization. The latter are not mandatory. Categories do. I recommend avoiding the unscrupulous creation of tags to avoid duplicates.
WordPress Gutenberg Tutorials
Maybe you’ve heard about the new update of the editor of this CMS that bears the name of a great character in the story: Gutenberg. In fact, since version 5.0
WordPress abandons the classic control panel based on similarity with a normal writing sheet. WordPress now uses a block editor, with forms that resemble other editorial experiences. Especially to make the most of the new WordPress editor, you have to think in terms of forms for the sake of brevity. You no longer have a simple page to fill in my writing but managing blocks with different functions, dragging or moving blocks as you would with a visual composer or a page builder designed to create landing pages.
I want to remove the latest WordPress version
I honestly don’t recommend it. Although it´s boring to learn the new updates, even from me, it must be said that every WordPress update is made to facilitate the average user and to get closer to the latest Google SEO standards.
But if you really can´t get used to it you can disable the latest version of WordPress and go back to the old editor with some plugins designed for this purpose. A few names:
- Classic Editor
- Disable Gutenberg
Anyway, I repeat: avoid such solutions and think about how to improve your activities through the tools provided by this CMS. Why do I repeat this? First of all, you have to think about the future: new updates will be increasingly integrated with the CMS and sooner or later it will become mandatory.
In addition, with a plugin you always create a temporary situation, adding another element to a site that could be cleaner and more performing thanks to the progress made in this direction, also it´s always better not to exaggerate with Plugins because if not used sparingly they can actually slow down your site.
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