WordPress – website from scratch

Contents

  1. WordPress. Introduction
  2. WordPress. Basic Functionalities
  3. Starting a Site on WordPress
  4. Managing Posts
  5. Managing Images and Videos
  6. WordPress Templates
  7. Choosing WordPress Plugins
  8. Most Popular WordPress Plugins

WordPress. Introduction

Before we start talking about WordPress, let’s speak a bit about the site structure and popular admin panels. There are 3 main components of a site:

  • Engine – a bundled or stand-alone application to create, deploy, manage and store
    content on web pages.
  • Design – layout that is presented to the user.
  • Content – all information placed on a site.

CMS also differ. There are 2 types of them:

  • CMS for context sites.
  • CMS for online shops.

The first type features tools mostly oriented at managing content.

The latter features such instrument as shopping cart, along with a set of tools for managing products.

For today, the most popular CMS for context sites (of course, it’s also perfect for online shops) is WordPress. Millions of news, entertainment, business sites are created on the basis of WordPress.

After reading this guide, you’ll learn more about this CMS, its functions, plugins, as well as learn how to work with it effectively.

Let’s start!

WordPress. Basic Functionalities

Basic Functionalities

WordPress is a web software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time. Why is it so popular? The first reason is that you can create blogs, news websites and e-commerce projects on its basis. The second reasons is that it’s free. The third is its intuitive interface. By the way, its community is always eager to answer all you questions regarding this CMS. A variety of written and video tutorials, and guides are available on the web.

It’s easy to install WordPress,
and there is a wide range of themes (both premium and free) that you can use.
Tons of professionally-done plugins help to add functionality to your site.

It’s a constantly updating system,
so using it you may be sure that you work with an up-to-date product.

On the basis of WordPress you can
create:

  • blog
  • gallery
  • portfolio
  • online shop
  • video library
  • news portal
  • context site

How to start your work with WordPress? Set it up, study out all its functions (it’s essential for all beginners) and only then go on with its plugins and modules when you understand what exactly you need.

First Steps

The first steps:

  • Choose the hosting you need. It depends on the purposes of your site. If you have a personal blog, the minimum hosting requirements will be enough. For video library you’ll need a hosting plan with a bigger storage.
  • Buy a domain name. Choose the local domain for the resources targeted at smaller areas like cities, and .com for the greater area.
  • Find a template for your site. As WordPress is only an engine, you need a skin for it.
  • Create a basic content. To understand what plugins you need, you have to create several pages and decide on the menu.
  • Choose and set up all the necessary plugins on the site.

After you choose hosting, it’s time to install WordPress on it. The latest WordPress version you can find on its official site. When uploading, you get a .zip archive.

Starting a Site on WordPress

Installing WordPress on Hosting

You need FTP to unpack .zip. Any hosting company offers FTP access to hosting. It means that you are able to download the files directly. You can set FTP using any file manager like Windows Commander or FileZilla.

Then you have to access your web server using login and password of your account, and copy all files from .zip directly into the route directory while using console-based tools. The next step is creation of the database. It should be placed on the server, and contain all content of the site. Any hosting offers adding a database. As usual, there is an “Add Database” button in plain view. Click it, and fill in all fields in the popup:

  • Database name — name it as you like.
  • Database type — choose MySQL.
  • Database encoding – everything is set by default.
  • New user name.
  • Password.
  • Re-enter password.
  • Allow remote access — choosing it, you get a remote access to a database.

Now the database is ready. This process can differ depending on the hosting company you choose.

You can also install WordPress on a localhost. The latest versions of PHP and MySQL are strongly recommended here.

Creating Domain Name on the Localhost

Every site comes with a free address with .wordpress.com in the URL. You can hide the .wordpress.com part by registering a new domain.

Quick Steps:

  1. Go to the Domains page.
  2. If prompted, choose the blog you wish to add a domain to.
  3. Click the blue “Add Domain” button.
  4. Enter the domain you wish to register in a search box.
  5. If the domain is available it will show up below the search in a green box. Click “Add”.
  6. Choose if you’d like to add email to your domain.
  7. Fill in the Domain Registration Information.
  8. Choose if you’d like your contact information to be public or private.
  9. Make a payment to complete the registration.
  10. Update your domain to be the primary domain used for your site on the Domains page.

WordPress General Settings

WordPress admin panel is also called a Dashboard. Dashboard Home page is the first page you see after logging into admin panel. Any changes you want to bring into your site are applied via admin panel.

Click Screen Options at the top to choose what blocks to display or to hide.

A user can change blocks order and positions, drag blocks from one column to another.

Screen Options tab is available on Posts/Pages/Menus/Plugins pages too.

The next point to consider is a permalink in WordPress. Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual weblog posts, as well as categories and other lists of weblog postings. A permalink is what another web blogger will use to link to your article (or section), or how you might send a link to your story in an e-mail message. The URL to each post should be permanent, and never change — hence permalink.

Permalinks should be short and clear, which means easy to perceive by both search engines and users. With such links your resource will get higher rankings, and it means more clients.

Setting Permalinks

In the Settings → Permalinks panel, you can choose one of the more common permalink structures or enter your own in the “Custom structure” field using the structure tags.

Please note: You do not put your site URL in the permalinks fields. You only use one of the structure tags, or a combination of tags.

When you’re setting permalinks for your posts or pages instead of the symbols %category% there will be placed your posts’/page’s category and instead of the %postname% the name of the post/page will appear. The URL can contain:

  • year – the year when you create a post. For example, 2016;
  • monthnum – the month when you create it. For example, 04;
  • day – the day. For example, 05;
  • hour;
  • minute;
  • second;
  • postname – formatted post name. For example, the formatted post name from this section “Permalinks Settings in WordPress” will be «permalinks-settings-wordpress». There are certain rules for links formatting. For example, certain symbols like * are not accepted, caps letters have no value, etc.;
  • post_id – the unique number of the post that is set automatically;
  • category – the formatted name of the category;
  • author – the formatted author’s name.

Managing Posts

“Posts” and “Pages”. What’s the Difference?

Some people mix up the definitions “posts” and “pages” in WordPress.

What’s the difference?

Post:

Post is a principal element (or content) on a blog. The Posts are the writings, compositions, discussions, discourses, musings, and, yes, the rankings, of a blog owner and contributors. Posts, in most cases, are the reason a blog exists; without Posts, there is no blog.

They are placed in a chronological order on a front page of your blog. The old posts are put into monthly and yearly archives.

Page:

A Page is often used to present “static” information about the site; Pages are typically “timeless” in nature. A good example of a Page is the information contained in “About” or “Contact” Pages. A Page should not be confused with the time-oriented objects called Posts, nor should a WordPress Page be confused with the word “page” referring to any web page or HTML document on the Web.

Because Pages live outside of the normal blog chronology, and as such, are not displayed with the rest of your Posts, but are displayed individually.

Pages are never put into monthly and yearly archives. You can always come back to any page and bring the desired changes into it. It doesn’t mean that you’ll create the new page. No. You’ll just change the existing one.

Pages doesn’t come into RSS feed. They are not social, which means that you can’t tweet them, for example. All comments are disabled.

Adding a New Post

All posts are added with the help of “Add New” button in the “Posts” section.

Make sure that the title of your post is short and memorable.

The text of your post can be edited in a Body Copy Box – The blank box where you enter your writing, links, links to images, and any information you want to display on your site. You can use either the Visual or the Text view to compose your posts. For more information on the Text view, see the section below, Visual Versus Text View.

Category

Each post in WordPress is filed under one or more Categories. This aids in navigation and allows posts to be grouped with others of similar content.

Each Category may be assigned to a Category Parent, allowing you to set up a hierarchy within the Category structure. While creating Categories, mind that each Category Name must be unique. Thus, even if two Categories have two different Parents, they must still have different names.

This Screen allows you to create new Categories, edit or delete existing ones, and organize your Categories hierarchically.

Tags

Tags are the keywords you might assign to each post. Not to be confused with Categories, Tags have no hierarchy, meaning there’s no relationship from one Tag to another. But like Categories, Tags provide another means to aid your readers in accessing information on your blog.

You can set several tags for one post. They can also be used for URLs.

Managing Images and Videos

Media Library

Media includes images, video, recordings,
and files that you upload and use on your blog. Media is typically uploaded and
inserted into the content when writing a Post or Page. Note that the Uploading
Files section in the Settings Media Screen describes the location and structure of the upload directory.

You upload files from hard drive to the media library, and then sort them, subdivide into categories.

Editing Images

The Edit Media
page allows you to edit the information (title, caption, alt text, etc.) of
media files uploaded to your site. This page does not appear as a link in the
main Dashboard navigation, but is reached by clicking on the Edit link in the Media Library Screen that appears when you hover over each
item, or when uploading media for the first time on the Media Add New Screen once your upload has completed.

In addition to managing such meta data
as title, caption, alt text, and description, there are controls for performing basic media edits such as rotating, scaling, and
cropping images. For more information see the Edit Image
section of this Codex page.

For example, you can crop images:

You can also rotate, flip, scale, restore original image.

WordPress Templates

Choosing a Theme

TamplateMonster offers a wide range of templates for all business areas.

A bit more words about WordPress themes. They are called templates and can be premium or free. Though free themes can look attractive, it’s
better to choose premium ones that are professionally coded and don’t
contain bugs and malware links.

Downloading a Theme

When you download a theme, you get a .zip archive with files. After unzipping it, you get a folder with a template.

Upload a theme on the server. Unpack the archive and upload it on the server into the folder /wp-content/themes/. Just like you did when you uploaded WordPress engine via your FTP account.

Activating a Theme

After uploading a folder with a theme on a server, you have to activate your theme. Enter Administration Screen>Appearance>Themes as additional selections.

Select Add New. From the Themes panel, roll over the Theme thumbnail image for the Theme you are interested in to see options for that theme. You can view more information about any theme by clicking Theme Details.To activate the Theme click the Activate button.

Now you can see your site with new design.

Choosing WordPress Plugins

Choosing the Right Plugin

There are a variety of plugins, both premium and free. They are created by WordPress community contributors from all over the world. Each plugin is meant for performing a specific function.

You have to know that not all of them are efficient. Some of them can slow down your site’s speed; can be outdated, etc. What are the main points to consider when choosing a plugin? Let’s find out.

Basic criteria for choosing a plugin:

  • description.
  • author. Check out whether this person updates the plugin.
  • number of downloads.
  • compatibility with WordPress.
  • rating, reviews, comments.

The main question should be “Why do I need this plugin?” Professionals say that there is no need to install too many plugins, ‘cause they affect the speed of site load’.

Easy Way to Install a Plugin

It’s easy to install a plugin that is uploaded on WordPress. But bear in mind that only free plugins are uploaded in the WordPress catalogue. To start uploading go to Administration Screens > Plugins > Add New.

Choose the plugin you need. For example, Akismet. It checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not. Type its name in the search bar, find it, and click Install Now. Then click Activate Plugin to activate it.

To make this plugin work with maximum performance you need a special key that gives an access to the WordPress API. After activation, go to the Akismet admin panel – the link appears in a Plugins section.

Now you have to create a new key. After that fill in a form, point out your email address, and add a key to the plugin settings.

That’s all. The procedure of premium plugin installation differs. You find the desired plugin, download a .zip and upload it to the WordPress dashboard. Then you press “Install” and “Activate” buttons.

As you see, the difference is that you search for premium plugin yourself, and free plugins are to be found in WordPress.

Most Popular WordPress Plugins

Social media integration is a good practice for every site. You may need a certain plugin for this purpose, which you can find on the official WordPress site. It’s called “Share Button” and allows sharing content on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Digg, Delicious and many other social media platforms!

Here is a list of the most popular WordPress plugins you may need.

Google XML Sitemaps. This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally, it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.

Google Analytics for WordPress enables Google Analytics on all pages. To install it, you have to copy your Google Analytics ID and insert it into the corresponding field of the plugin.

Easy AdSense. Easy Plugin for AdSense provides a very easy way to generate revenue from your blog using Google AdSense. With its full set of features, Easy Plugin for AdSense is perhaps the first plugin to give you a complete solution for everything AdSense – related.

Google Doc Embedder. Google Doc Embedder lets you embed several types of files into your WordPress pages using the free Google Docs Viewer – allowing inline viewing (and optional downloading) of a wide range of popular file types, with no Flash or PDF browser plug-ins required.

Google Custom Search Plugin. The default search engine that ships with WordPress is not the best search options and bloggers everywhere should better switch to WordPress Google Custom Search plugin. This plugin is a drop in replacement and works with minimum hassle.

It’s just a part of the huge list of WordPress plugins. You can always find more on the official WordPress website.

Choose WordPress, and make your life easier!

Start test

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