When you become the owner of a new website, it is important to take some time to familiarise yourself with the terminology and functions associated with the management of the site. Whether you are the lucky owner of a new Rosco-designed website, or you are creating your own, the following guide will help you to understand the core elements of the WordPress system.
1) Hosting and Login
WordPress is a piece of content management software that enables you to create professional websites. The software itself is installed in a â€˜root folderâ€™ within your web hosting account. Most hosting providers now offer a 5-minute installation of WordPress to make things easy.
To access the login screen, you need to type in the URL of your website, followed by the name of the folder in which WordPress is installed, followed by â€˜wp-login.phpâ€™. So the URL should look something like this: http://www.yourwebsiteurl.com/wordpressfoldername/wp-login.php
You will have specified the folder to save the software in, along with a username and password, as part of the installation process. Once you are on the login page, just enter the details and you will be redirected to the admin area of your website.
2) The Dashboard
The dashboard is the area in which you manage everything on your website. There is a menu running down the left side of the page containing links to all of the most important sections. The main dashboard page also featured alerts such as new comments that need approving, updates, or plugin information.
One of the best things about WordPress is that most of the design work is done for you. The â€˜designâ€™ of all WordPress sites comes from ready-made templates called Themes, which have been created by professionals. You can choose from hundreds of free themes by browsing through the gallery from the â€˜Appearanceâ€™ section. Themes are also fully customizable, so if you want to change the layout or an aspect of the design, you can do this by amending the code in the â€˜Editorâ€™ section.
If you want to create an extremely professional and impressive small business website, then there are also many â€˜premiumâ€™ themes available for WordPress. These themes include cutting edge design and advanced features, and can be purchased as an upload for your website. All Rosco website packages include a choice of premium themes from Elegant Themes, one of the most highly regarded collections available on the web.
4) Pages and Posts
There is a key difference between pages and posts, and whilst they look very similar, it is better to understand how they function from the start. The â€˜pageâ€™ format is designed for the core elements of your website, such as the contact, products, website terms, or about us pages. These are elements that generally wonâ€™t change too much and will always remain static in the structure of your website.
â€˜Postsâ€™ are designed for blog-style content, which can be featured on the homepage and then archived when there are newer updates. This is great for news items, press releases, or blog posts which are often designed to be rotated in order to keep bringing new visitors to your website.
There are three main types of update that you will need to run on your website; the WordPress software, plugins, and themes. Updates are necessary when there have been improvements to the various items, and they can be managed quickly and easily in one click. It is highly recommended that you run updates as soon as you see the icon in the top toolbar, as this will help to ensure that your site runs smoothly and without any compatibility issues.
WordPress incorporates many features that encourage social engagement and sharing, and comments are one of them. You can enable comments on your pages and posts, and visitors will be able to ask questions or post feedback about your content. This is great for articles and blog posts, but not really appropriate for most products and services.
There a thousands of excellent free plugins for WordPress which will add functionality to your website. Almost any feature that you can imagine, for example; image galleries, email signups, Twitter updates, spam blockers, pricing tables, are available from the plugins link on the left menu.
It is worth spending some time browsing via Google for lists of top plugins currently available, you will be surprised at the amazing functionality you can get for free. Having lots of plugins can slow your website down though, so donâ€™t get too carried away.
All of the images, video and other files (such as downloads) on your website can be managed through the left-hand â€˜Mediaâ€™ link. When you add these files to pages or posts, they are uploaded to your hosting account, and the Media gallery is the user-friendly place to find them.
In the same way as working with any computer-based project, it is absolutely essential that you back up your website. One of the first things you should do is work out a system for doing this regularly. If you lose your data you will have to start again from scratch, and unfortunately this can happen.
You can copy the files and database from your hosting account to your computer using a free FTP software program like Filezilla. Or, an easier way is to install one of the many great backup plugins that cater specifically for WordPress websites. We use MyRepono, which is fully automated and very good value. There are also many free plugins such as Total Backup, which will take care of everything at the click of a button.
Another great thing about WordPress is that there are now so many people using it that the free support forum has grown to become an excellent source of advice and help. If you get stuck with any part of your site you can simply search the forum, and it is more likely than not that someone else will have already found a solution to the problem.
The forum is moderated by experienced and knowledgeable WordPress users (heros!) who will answer your questions if your problem has not already been previously solved.
We are here to Help
We hope that this guide provides a useful basic starting point for new WordPress users. If you are thinking about getting a WordPress website, but you donâ€™t have the time or knowledge to create it yourself, we offer an affordable range of small business website design packages to suit every budget.
We assure you that everyone is capable of managing a WordPress site after it has been created, but if the development work feels a bit out of your comfort zone, we are always happy to help.