Configuring WordPress sound easy, however involves a lot of little steps that add up. We’ll cover them in this guide!
Here’s a short overview of what we’ll cover in this guide:
- How to log into WordPress
- How to change and customize your theme
- How to create and edit a post
- What the Media Library is and how to use it
- How to use the Comment section
- How to create pages and menus
- How to install plugins
- How to add an Editor or Subscriber to your website
It’s a long one, so get your coffee. Let’s get started!
How to log into WordPress
To log into your WordPress dashboard, you just need to write your domain name and add /wp-login.php (https://www.domainname.com/wp-login.php) to it – make sure to replace domainname.com with your actual domain name.
Then, you’ll get the WordPress admin login screen:
Here you’ll need to add your username / password that you’ve created.
After this, log in and you’ll see your WordPress dashboard.
The WordPress dashboard is your main control panel for your WordPress website:
From this panel you’ll be able to build and modify virtually anything in your WordPress website.
A nice feature, to easily access your website when you are modifying or installing something, is to click on ‘Visit Site:’
This will open your website and allow you quick access to it (remember this nice trick as you’ll use it below).
How to customize your theme
You can do this in multiple ways, but you’ll always achieve the same result.
It all depends on how you’ll get used to work in WordPress and what’s easier for you.
One way of doing it is to click on the “Customize Your Site” button from above to change your WordPress theme or customize your current one.
You can also click on the “Customize” button in your preview page of your website (this will only show if you are logged into WordPress).
Or you can click the “Appearance” button from your dashboard.
Either way, you’ll end to the same control screen, the below one:
The default installed theme (the one that you’ve seen in the above screenshot) is called “Twenty Nineteen”.
To modify it, you just need to click and play with the above columns.
Let’s see what each does:
Site Identity allows you to add a logo, change your site title, the tagline and to add a site icon:
We’ve created a simple mock-up logo and uploaded it. Once you upload your logo and modify the default ones, you’ll see the changes published in real time (in the same screen and also on your website if you choose to hit the “Publish” button to save everything that you’ve changed).
You can also modify stuff by clicking on the pencil icon and quickly edit items that have this feature. For example, we’ve also changed the “Site Title” and “Tagline” and replaced them with our own.
The Customizing Colors panel allows you to have to change the default black and blue colors for your text:
For example, this is how it looks with green:
The Menus sections allows you to create menus for your website and between certain pages.
The Widgets section offers you control over:
- Recent Posts
- Recent Comments
- Categories and Meta
- You can add your own custom Widget
The Additional CSS is where you can add extra styling code for your website (but you’ll need to know how to code to modify something there; we recommend not to change or add anything to the Additional CSS section unless you know what you are doing).
Homepage Settings allows you to:
- Choose what’s displayed on the homepage of your site; it can be posts in reverse chronological order (classic blog), or a fixed/static page
- To set a static homepage, you first need to create two Pages. One will become the homepage, and the other will be where your posts are displayed
It’s not that hard to customize the default theme but it will take some time to do so.
It’s easier to choose from other themes (that are pre-installed) or to install a custom one (some are free, some you’ll have to pay for them), as these are more complex and have additional cool features!
How to change your WordPress theme
In order to change your WordPress theme, you just need to hit the “Change” button where the “Active theme” column is:
You can click on the “Theme Details” to see what features you will get. And if you are happy with it, go ahead and click on “Install.”
You can also have a look at more WordPress themes by clicking on the “WordPress.org themes”, choose a theme from there, install it and then follow the above steps to change it as you like it.
We will choose the “TWENTY SEVENTEEN” theme and customize it, create some blog posts and more, below!
That nice parallax effect adds a dynamic vibe to your website, right? You can search for similar themes and get a lot of effects like this!
The “default” image can also be changed with something that suits your business or also a video (even a YouTube video).
To do this, click on ‘Appearance’ from your Dashboard and click on “Customize”.
There you’ll see “Header Media”:
How to create and edit a post
It’s just a few click away! In your WordPress dashboard, you have the “Posts” section.
Click on Posts and you can:
- See all posts
- Add a new post
- Manage the tags and categories for your posts (you’ll need to set-up each for your posts if you’ll want to use these features)
So far, we have the default post that was added once we’ve installed WordPress.
You can hover with your mouse over an article and you will see the below:
So, let’s see what these options do:
- The “View” button allows you to see the post as a regular user
- The “Trash” option will erase the post
- “Quick Edit” has enabled only basic setting to edit the post
- “Edit” allows you to fully customize your article
Want to add a new post? Just click on the “Add New” button!
You’ll see an “Add Title” box and below you can add your text:
It’s really easy to use, take a look at our example below:
Pretty cool, right? Now, you have a few options to choose from:
In order to preview your article and see it from a reader’s perspective, you can click on the “Preview” button from the right menu.
You can also save it as a “Draft” and edit the article later.
In order to “Publish” your post (to make it visible on your website), you need to have the “Visibility” set to “Public” (from the “Status and Visibility” menu). You can also choose the visibility as “private” (just you and your editors will be able to see the post) or “password protected” if you want to share the article with certain people that will have the password (in order to access the post).
Remember that you are the “admin” and that you have unlimited access. Some users, like “authors” may not be able to modify all articles, if some are created by yourself or by other editors (you can limit access depending on what you want people to do on your website).
Another cool feature is that you can publish a post at a specific date by scheduling posts.
To publish your post right away, click on the “Immediately” button.
You can also clone entire pages and posts! This is a great time saver. Often, you’re likely to encounter a situation where the new post you want to create is nearly identical to an existing post or page in your site.
Permalink is how the URL of the article will display for the reader. It usually is the name of the article with dashes in between words (but you can change it to something else than your post’s title, if you want to do this):
“Categories” allow you to create a category for posts that you want to write and add under the category. For example, if you have a culinary blog and you will write 5 articles on how to make different types of pizza, you can create the category called “Pizza” and add all related articles to it. This really helps both yourself but also your users into easily find articles on your website!
The same principle applies for the “Tag” categories, but here you can also add tags like “mozzarella pizza” or “prosciutto pizza”.
You can really be creative with this option, not to mention that in terms of SEO, this is a common practice, to add specific tags that will help browsers crawl your website and index it based on them:
The “Discussion” column allows you to check or deactivate the “Allow Comments” option and the “Allow Pingbacks and Trackbacks“.
The “Featured Image” is important as this is the first image that the reader will see. In order to “Set featured image”, click on the button that says this and upload a photo to your website. You can do this by drag and dropping it or search for it on your computer:
You can also choose from your “Media Library” if you’ve uploaded a photo previously for different articles:
If everything is all right, you can go ahead and “publish” the post.
You can “unpublish” all your posts and edit them afterwards, if you want to do this, by changing the privacy of the posts. But keep in mind that it’s best to work on a post as much as you need in order to make it perfect and then publish it.
You can save it as a draft and preview it to review how it looks and only after you are happy with what you’ve created. Publish it and let the world enjoy it!
Let’s continue with the WordPress dashboard menu and the cool features it still has to offer.
What is the media library and how do you use it
The media library is the place where all your images will appear. In our example, we only have uploaded the featured image for our article.
You can add new images from the “Add New” and drag and drop / search the images on your computer as explained above.
If you want to tidy up this section or to delete a photo uploaded by mistake, this is really easy to do, as you can delete all that you upload.
However, remember that if you’ve used certain images in your posts, deleting them means that the images will also be deleted from those specific posts, so be careful about what you are erasing!
How to use the comments section
Here you can view the comments that your posts will receive.
As you can see, on our above article, we’ve added a test comment.
It is “pending” to be approved by the administrator of the website or an editor.
You can “approve” the comment in order for it to be shown on your website, or simply “delete” it.
Another option is to mark it as “spam” and this will theoretically block the IP that send the comment and prevent it to post any other comments in the future. This may not be the optimal solution to manage your spam comments, and a great choice can be disabling the Comments section.
How to create new pages
A “Page” is different than a post as this will usually be displayed in a Menu.
It’s really simple to create a new page. All that you need to do is to click on the “Pages” section in your dashboard:
Then, hit the “Add New” button. The same principles explained above about how to write a post applies here too!
And here you can see how it looks once we’ve published it on our website:
How to create new menus
Hit the “Appearance” menu in your dashboard and select menus:
The page should appear like below. In order to create a top menu, click on the indicated icon + “Save Menu”:
Now, you can go and check your new Menu on your homepage!
In our case, it looks like this:
How to install plugins
In the dashboard section, click on “Plugins” and there you will have 3 options:
- Installed Plugins – you’ll see your installed plugins (and you can click on “deactivate” if you want to disable a plugin or “delete” to remove it)
- Add New – will let you install a new one, and to do this, you just click on “Activate”:
- Plugin Editor – this is a cool feature that will allow you to customize your plugins and make direct edits to the source code. You’ll need to know how to code in order to do this. Keep in mind that modifying something in the code may break your site! We recommend not to change something unless you know what you are doing
Updating a plugin is easy but what if you run into trouble and your automatic plugin update fails for some reason or perhaps the third-party plugins that you are using doesn’t support automatic updates? Then you might need to consider manually updating your plugins.
How to add an editor or subscriber to your website
You’ll need to access the “Users” menu in your dashboard.
As you can see below, we only have an Administrator for our current website, but we can add more users.
You can choose, depending on what certain people’s role will be on your website, from the following user types:
To add a new user, click on the “Add new” button. Simple enough, right? Then just fill all the necessary info from below and the role that the new user will have on your website. That’s pretty much all you have to do!
Now, you’ve created an “Editor” account:
If you log into this account, you’ll see that and “Editor”, as opposed the “Administrator” user account, has limited access in terms of Dashboard functionalities:
An Editor won’t see the “Tools” menu and the “Plugins” one is not visible at all.
Each user has a specific role so choose wisely who gets access to your website.