Use WordPress to Create a Website or Blog

WordPress Pages

Adding WordPress Pages (or Posts):

The process for adding pages and for adding posts is similar, so I’ll use adding pages as an example. Under the Pages Menu, you can Add New pages. Enter the Page Title at the top.screenshot add new page

Formatting: The Formatting bar appears at the top. Hover over each icon to see its function. If you click on the “Kitchen Sink” icon near the top right-hand corner, it will open up additional formatting options.

  • You can paste in content created in another program, but formatting differences can cause issues. Your options are to paste in copy as plain text from Notepad (PC) or TextEdit (Mac) or use the “Paste from Word” icon, which will paste in content from Word without the formatting.
  • Spellcheck your content before you paste it in to WordPress.
  • WordPress allows you to enter content in visually, however, if you know html, you can also enter content with code using the “text” tab.
  • Adding a Link: Highlight the text you’d like to link, then hit the “Insert/Edit Link” icon in the Formatting bar. Enter the url to link, along with a Title and designate whether you’d like the link to open a new window. (You will usually want a new window to open when someone clicks on the link, so that your page remains open.) You can also use this icon to link to another page. After adding links, check them to be sure they work properly.

Pages Attributes & PublishPublish: This section on the top allows to you to control the visibility of your pages. You can Preview the page before you publish it. You can keep it as a Draft or designate it as Pending Review if you want an editor or other to review it before it’s published. You can also designate the page to be visible to the Public, to be Password Protected, or Private.

Page Attributes: This section in the right column allows to you designate where and how the page will show up. You can identify a “Parent” page and a “Template” format (for example, your WordPress template may give you the option of having your navigation on the side, or having a side-bar on the left or right). You also have the option of assigning a Page Number here. (If you don’t assign a page number, under All Pages, your pages will show up in alphabetical order by Title.)

Comments: If you haven’t allowed Comments on all Pages or Posts (via your Discussion settings) you are still able to allow them on specific Posts or Pages. Under “Posts”, go to “All Posts” or under “Pages”, go to “All Pages”. Click on “Quick Edit” and you can check a box that allows comments on that post or page.

WordPress Categories & TagsCategories and Tags: You can organize your blog posts with Categories and Tags so they can be more easily found by visitors and search engines. “Categories” would be similar to a book’s table of contents and “Tags” as labels in an index. These provide another opportunity to put in Keywords. To see how this works, under “Posts”, go to “Add Post” and notice where you can indicate these on the right side. As you add Categories and Tags, they will show up in summarized version in the Dashboard under Posts/Categories or Tags.

Add a few pages or posts, and then we’ll work on the layout.

Setting Up Your Layout

Layout options will vary a lot depending on the “Theme” you are using for your site. I’ll try to cover the basics here, you will likely have to experiment with your theme. For instance, some will allow you to customize the background colors, style or layout.

Remember, one of the great things about WordPress is that you can change the “Theme” with a click. (Caution—if you have altered the theme, you will lose those changes, or the new theme may not accommodate some of your customization or it may appear differently. It’s a good idea to back up your work and/or document your alterations before experimenting with a new theme. But it’s usually quite simple to do.)

Learn more about Themes here.

WordPress Menus and Navigation

On your Dashboard, under Appearance, you will find the Menus menu, where you can set up your navigation. Some themes allow you to navigate using more than one menu. For instance, you might use a primary navigation and a footer navigation.

WordPress MenusAt the top of the Menu page, click on the + tab to create a menu. Then go over to the left side and check the pages that go under that menu and “add to menu”. (If you have indicated a “parent” page when created the page, it will appear indented under the “parent” on the list.) When the pages show up under the menu, you can then drag the names around to create the order you like and also drag names to the right to place them under another menu label on a “drop-down” menu. Then click on “save menu”. After setting up your Navigation, click through it on your site to be sure it works as you intended it to.

WordPress Widgets

Some themes will include a variety of “Widgets”. Widgets add features and content to your sidebars. You simply drag the widgets you want into the sidebar. For instance, you might drag the “Text” widget into the sidebar and then type in customized copy. (You can copy and paste in advertising code here, for instance.) Other common widgets allow you to show recent posts, recent comments, an archive, categories, or a search function in your sidebar.WordPress Widgets

After you drag the widgets into the sidebar, you can drag them around to change the order. Some allow further customization, such as addition of a title. Experiment with these to obtain the look and functions you want. Some themes allow you to create different sidebars (or you can upload a Plug-in that will allow you to create additional sidebars.). When this is the case, you indicate the desired sidebar under the Pages menu (sometimes under the Page Attributes/Template drop-down or sometimes under a separate menu, depending on the theme).

Next, Install a WordPress Theme, if desired, or Add Features and Functions with Plugins.