Introduction to WordPress

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Introduction to WordPress

Welcome to an introduction to WordPress – from beginner to intermediate to advanced users.
If you’re a beginner or someone who doesn’t want to write code you will learn the
fundamentals of using the WordPress back-end to create pages, posts and navigation menus.
Learn these basic settings and then you can combine that later with pre-existing themes and
plugins to create your own websites.

However, for our intermediate to advanced users we’re gonna roll up our sleeves and learn how
to create a theme from scratch which means we’re going to begin with zero files, zero lines of
code and we’re going to write everything together. That way you can really learn how to bend
WordPress to your will and get it to do whatever you need it to do.N ow before we get started
let’s spend about a minute to review what WordPress is and why we’re so excited to be using it.

What is WordPress?

Well WordPress is a free open-source web publishing system which is just
another way of saying it’s a free tool to help you build websites.

Who uses WordPress

Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s used by small businesses or for personal blogs. But it’s also used
by governments, schools, nonprofits and fortune 500 companies! Which means WordPress is for
everyone .

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re trying to achieve with your website there’s a good
chance that WordPress can help you. Not only can WordPress help you but the community
surrounding WordPress can also help you. It is a massive community somewhere between
17% to almost 20% of all web sites on the internet are powered by WordPress. That’s almost
one in five!

Now I can explain later why that’s an amazing statistic that we should all be excited
about and that we all benefit from. But for now just know that a lot of people use WordPress
and finally the greatest strength of WordPress at least in my opinion is the attitude surrounding
it.

There’s a very can-do, self empowered, helpful, let’s keep things simple but remember that we
can achieve anything attitude attached to WordPress and I absolutely love it.

WordPress Dashboard

You’ll also WordPressI want to share some of that love for WordPress with you and get you started. Let’s dive right in starting with the WordPress dashboard. hear this referred to as the WordPress admin or the WordPress back-end. You can think of this as home base. This is where you administer your website. This is where you create posts and pages so on and so forth.

Now it’s important to point out that the general public, the people that view your website, cannot and will not see this back end or this dashboard. Only you as the site owner or site content contributor will see this. So if you imagine it’s the year 1950 and we’re running a newspaper. The general public doesn’t see the printing press or the offices where you’re journalists work. They only see the front facing newspaper. In this case the public only sees our website the way that we construct it.

Inside WordPress

The WordPress back-end looks relatively the same for all WordPress websites. And it’s where the content creators work to add content to the website and administer the website. I think that’ll make more sense here in just a moment.

For example if we click “posts” in the left hand menu we see a list of news post titles. One reads how to assess website analytics. Another one is titled tutorial demo files posted and you can tell right away that this is not how a public facing website will be laid out. This is not interesting or captivating in any way this is only for the site owners and content contributors. These are the existing posts on the website so we can click on one if we want to begin to edit it. This is very similar to a word processing program. We can bold certain text, make it italic. We can add new text and then when we’re done we can simply click update and we just saved an update to a post.

Creating New Content

So that’s how simple it is to edit existing content with WordPress. Now let’s take a look at how easy it is to create new content altogether. If we go back to the post screen we can see a list of our existing items. If we click the add new button we can simply provide a title to a new example post. And then you just add in a bit of content in the body section. Then you can choose a category.

If you’d like to you can choose between article or news or we can even add a new category. Then just click the publish button. That’s it you just saved a new article and it will now show up on our front facing website. And that’s really the heart and soul of the WordPress back-end. You can edit existing content and create new content. Now there are different types of content so for example we were dealing with posts. However let’s take a very quick look at pages.

WordPress Pages

The best way to describe pages is to simply contrast them with posts because the two are very similar but there’s a key difference. Let’s say for example we ran a blog or a news based website.

Most of our content would live within posts because we want this constant stream of content flowing through our website. However we still might have a few static pillars in our website like an About Us page, History page or Contact Us page. When I just used the word static to describe pages that doesn’t mean that they’re locked in place or that you can’t edit them. For example if we click on About Us we can edit this page. We can make this text bold, we can add new paragraphs and then click the Update button. The content isn’t fixed in the sense that it can’t be changed it’s a bit more subtle than that.

What we really mean is that posts are usually displayed in reverse chronological order so the newest posts are at the top. If you think of a news website but pages aren’t really part of a stream or river of content they’re sort of independent timeless in a way. That’s what we mean when we say fixed or static. But aside from that you can see that pages and posts are nearly identical. You provide a title and then a bit of content you can update and save them. Posts and pages are really the heart and soul of WordPress. So in a sense you’ve already just learned how to use WordPress, it’s that simple. But you might be thinking okay so there’s posts and pages is that it? Is that all WordPress is and if it is why is WordPress so insanely popular? Why do people make such a big fuss over it?

WordPress Options

To address those questions or that series of concerns I will say this, yes the core of WordPress really is that simple. But the core is also very powerful and very easy to extend and customize. For example out-of-
the-box WordPress only comes with posts and pages. You can have a news section and then a few static pages but what if you wanted a completely separate part of your website. Like to have recipes for dinners, desserts, meal ideas. Well you can see in the sidebar that you have a custom post type named recipes and that if I click that you get all this entirely different content.

Beef stew, feta chicken salad, blackberry pie, potato salad, chocolate cake and you can see that we can even use different categories or different taxonomy systems. We can categorize the meals as chicken or dessert or dinner. And these categories are entirely separate from the categories that we use for the news or blog section of our website. If we click on one like potato salad you can see that it looks just like a post or a page. You can add content like here’s where the ingredients go, here’s where the instructions go. But it would be very easy to adjust some of the settings in WordPress so that when you’re editing a recipe there’s another field down here that says recipe rating. And you can choose between one to five stars.

WordPress – More Options

And then there could be another field called recommendation and we would say whether we actually recommend this recipe or not. So the point is that you could have any number of fields. In addition to just this main body text field and you can have those fields only display for certain content types.

Which means WordPress isn’t limited to just posts and pages. yes that’s what it starts with out of the box but WordPress is only limited by your imagination. We could create other custom content types in addition to recipes. We could create restaurant reviews, photo galleries, slideshows, chefs corner with interviews. Whatever your imagination can think of you can really extend and customize WordPress to help you keep it organized dynamic and easily accessible to the public.

WordPress Diversity

If you remember we discussed that only the admin or the site owner sees this dashboard. Whereas the public sees something different, they see the actual website. Now the reason I didn’t show you what the website looks like is because I don’t want you to have any preconceived notions of what a quote WordPress website looks like. There’s a lot of people that think that all WordPress websites look the same or that they have some cookie cutter formula. But I’m here to tell you that they don’t need to be that way and that largely they’re not that way.

WordPress does not place any restrictions on how your website should look. The only reason some WordPress websites feel cookie cutter or maybe they look the same is because a certain theme has become very popular. A theme is what controls the public facing portion of your website. It’s what your audience sees. Again you as the admin see the dashboard when you’re editing your website and the public sees what the theme outputs. So the theme says okay on the home page there should be five news posts then there should be five recipes and three restaurant reviews. It should use these colors and these background images and this is how it should look and function. That’s the role of the theme.

WordPress Community

Now remember earlier when we said that the WordPress community was huge and it’s also filled with people who share their work. So imagine if someone who’s a developer created a really useful theme and then half a million or a million people started using that theme. Well at that point you can start to understand why some people might say WordPress websites look cookie cutter. Because they’ve seen thousands or even millions of websites using the exact same theme. But I’m here to remind you that it’s up to each site owner to choose what their website looks like and how it functions.

It’s not WordPress fault that certain themes become incredibly popular. It’s actually helpful to move beyond themes and look at WordPress as more of a tool. WordPress is really just a tool that stores information in a database for you that makes that data easy to manipulate, easy to query, easy to present to the public. You can leverage your own html, css, javascript and php code to output whatever you want to output.

Now the beautiful part is that there’s no right or wrong way to put together a WordPress website. If you want to use a free theme, you can. You want to buy a premium theme, you can. If you want to design and craft and code your own theme from scratch, you can. There’s no right or wrong way and that’s what makes WordPress so unbelievably amazing. It’s this huge community of people all using the same platform but they all use it in their own different way. They share advice and resources and tips and tutorials.

Thank you very much for watching this video and have fun with your WordPress sites and be as creative as you want to be. Good Luck!