This is a wordpress guide for beginners who do not know even A B C’s of WordPress.
Why you must read this complete article ?
If you do not know anything about WordPress this article will introduce you to this great CMS, its usage and everything which you will probably get to read after surfing more than 10 sites.
What you will be able to do after reading this article ?
You will be able to :
- Understand its usage
- Understand the administrative panel know as dashboard
- Create fully functional web pages or your own blog
- Create contact & other custom forms
- Make your website secure before it is launched
- Understand themes and plugins
- Understand wordpress installation and setup
So let’s start from scratch.
Introduction to WordPress
Based on php and mysql, WordPress is a free and open source CMS (Content management system) which is used to make blogs, websites, social networks, eCommerce portals and most kind of possible websites.
More than 18% of top 10 million websites in the world run on wordpress. After being released in 2003 for the first time, it has become a craze among people.
Due to its ease of use and very easy to manage administration panel, websites can be made & managed by even non technical people using wordpress.
Why is it so easy ?
- No need to write code : You do not need to write a thousand lines of code, make typical database structure and get into technical things to make a site on wordpress. Just go to WordPress.org, download the latest stable version of wordpress, upload it to your hosting and you are ready to go after simple instillation (Installation process given in this post.)
- No Security hassles : A website needs to be secure no matter how small or large scale it is. WordPress has its inbuilt security system built and upgraded by experts of the world who contribute to its core time to time.
- One click designing using themes : Using themes you can create custom looks for your website without writing any bits of code or designing a pixel of graphic. No matter what business you run or what kind of blog you are planning to start or what kind of products you want to sell, you can find a good theme for your purpose. You can find more than 2,000 free to use theme in WordPress Themes Directory. And if you are looking to buy some premium stylish theme for your site you can Click here to visit the biggest marketplace for WordPress Themes : Themeforest.
- Add any functionality via plugins : From a simple website to a fully functional eCommerce site or social network, you can create anything with the help of plugins in wordpress. Plugins are basically some extra pieces of code which are added to wordpress through its admin interface with simple two-three click process. Official WordPress Plugin directory consists of more than 27000 plugins for various functionality. Apart from these you can find thousands of premium plugins for desired functionality and if unluckily no plugin meets your requirements, you can get custom plugin developed and add it to your website. Great isn’t it ?
- Why are you even searching for more reasons ? Let’s start exploring THE WORDPRESS.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org
When you start exploring it, you will find that there are two different websites on the net WordPress.org & WordPress.com
So what basically the difference between two ?
WordPress.com is a service provided by Automattic. This is basically a hosting service where you can start learning wordpress if you are just starting it.
You can get a free blog hosted with them and within minutes of signing up with their website you will have your own blog with an address like xyz.wordpress.com
If you are looking for some custom domain name for your blog or website, you can signup for their premium plans under which you can buy a domain (or host your own domain purchased from somewhere else) and host it with them with their extended services like CSS editor, domain mapping, removal of ads, video upload, extended storage and more (These services are not available with free version).
WordPress.org provides you simple installable wordpress file, which you can install on your own hosting and do whatever you want with the code. You will have every single option available which WordPress.com gives under their premium plans as well as many more. We will discuss how to install wordpress on own host shortly.
Self Hosted WordPress is like flying in the air without any restrictions.
Conclusion : If you are just starting with wordpress, signup for a free blog at wordpress.com and understand it for a day or two and then you can buy your own hosting and domain for self hosted website.
Are you a business owner, blogger, or alien with who require complete independence ? Go for self hosted wordpress version.
If you do not want to manage the hosting, domain and want a simple online presence, go for wordpress.com
How to install WordPress on your own server (Using WordPress.org)
Let’s keep it short and to the point :
What you require:
- A domain name : You need a name for your website. www.example.com is known as a domain name. You can register a domain name from any of the famous domain name providers .
Recommended : Godaddy.com
- A web hosting : You need a good hosting provider for your storing your wordpress files and give your domain name a house to live in.
- WordPress Installation File : Go to http://wordpress.org/download/ and download the latest wordpress version.
- Setup Nameservers of domain name : Here is a tutorial for godaddy accounts to setup nameservers : http://goo.gl/Pxpu8r
We can start the installation process now. Most of the best hosting providers use Cpanel as the Hosting control panel so we will be using Cpanel in this tutorial. If you have registered your domain from some other registrar, please contact their customer support for the process of setting name server.
Finally you have wordpress file, your domain name and hosting setup. Lets start Building a website with wordpress in just 2 minutes.
2. Installation process (Supposing domain name www.example.com, where we are installing wordpress)
- Create Database via cpanel : If you are new to cpanel, here is a quick tutorial to create Database via Cpanel’s MySQL Wizard. Please remember to give the database user ALL PRIVILAGES and save the database user account password (to be used in installation process)
Click here to watch the video
- Upload WordPress files : Go to Cpanel (www.example.com/cpanel). Now open the File Manager
Upload WordPress Archive in public_html directory and extract all the files. After extracting the archive, you will get a New Folder WordPress. Open WordPress folder by double clicking on it and Select all the files and folders and move them to public
Click Here to learn process of uploading file via File Manager.
- Open website in new tab : Now go to www.example.com and you will see a Configuration Error (Yes this journey begins with an error)
- Click on Create a configuration file
- Now you will get this screen :
- On this page you have to enter few details like database name, user name, password, database host and table prefix.
Enter the name of database created in first step, name of database user with all the privileges, password of database user account (hope you have saved that). If you forgot to save the password, delete that user from cpanel, create another from Database Menu, and assign that user to the database. (Don’t dare to forget this again now!!)
Database Host in most cases will be localhost but if it doesn’t work, ask your hosting provider to tell the Database host.
Table Prefix : The default table prefix in wordpress is wp, we recommend changing it to something else (Done for security reasons)
- Now you will be asked to enter some information.
Note: If you are planning to launch your site after some testing and sample content loading, uncheck privacy check-box so that search engines do not show the sample content of your website in search engines. You can check it again after development is completed from Settings> Reading Settings> Search Engine Visibility.
Click on Install Wordpres to finish the installation.
- Now if you visit your website URL www.example.com, default wordpress website will be there.
- You can login to the Admin panel to customize the site.
Understanding WordPress Dashboard (Themes, Plugins and other Menu Items)
Here is what default dashboard looks like :
Let’s go through each option quickly:
- Dashboard : Its the main page which you will see after you log into WordPress Backend. The most important thing in Dashboard menu is its child menu item Updates, which tells a user about updates available for his plugins, themes or for the WordPress itself.
- Posts : Posts are basically used by bloggers who want to write article on for their blog/ website. Posts are listed in reverse chronological order on blog page. If you are planning to develop a website with for your business and not planning to run a blog for same, this area is not for you.
Click here to know in detail about posts
- Media : This option is used to upload any media file you want to share with people via your post, pages or with direct link. This option is very rarely used as option to inset media is available when you write a post or page.
- Pages : Pages are used to show the static content of your site and sometimes it is used to place forms, dynamic functionality like gallery and much more.
- Comments : This area shows all the comments posted on your blog articles, pages or wherever you have allowed comments.
- Appearance : This is one of the most important option in dashboard from where you can modify site’s look, customize the theme files, create custom menus and much more.
Click here to know in detail about Appearance Menu
- Plugins : Plugins as discussed above are used to add some extra functionality to the website. This can be anything like contact form, caching system, gallery, sound player or anything possible.
Click here to know in detail about Plugins Menu
- Users : Users menu provides a list of current users on the site, you can also create new users, manage your profile, add new users, promote and demote users level here.
Click here to know in detail about user roles in WordPress
- Tools : This option is usually used for Importing or exporting posts from one wordpress installation to another or to import Sample data in theme files.
However this can be used to import posts & other possible data from blogger, Tumblr, rss and many more.
- Settings: This menu is used to keep the site in good shape. You can configure many things like site title, site url, timezone, registrations, front page, comments permissions, media, permalinks and many more things
How themes work ?
What brick and mortar is to house, theme is to WordPress
Theme develops a rock-solid structure on the foundation built by WordPress. So, what theme basically does ?
- Themes create a complete new design for the website
- Many themes are specifically designed for some specific function. E.g Review themes, coupon themes, eCommerce themes
Themes create a layout all over core WordPress and displays a nice design to the visitor browsing the website. You do not have to write different code, different stylesheets to get a new brand look. Just check some good themes, get one for your website, install and you are ready to go.
Do I have to pay for themes ?
No you are not compelled to pay for themes. There are numerous free themes in wordpress theme directory but we never recommend using free themes for business sites or blogs.
The reason behind this is the poor maintenance of free themes, less attention given to their updates and almost zero support.
You can get awesome themes for your website in as less as $40-$60
Here is a screenshot of one default wordpress site converted to a complete commerce store via WordPress theme purchased from Themeforest.
You can also get a theme for your business/ blog from themeforest and get an amazing site, to get one go to themeforest.net
How plugins work ?
Plugins are extensions which when added to wordpress adds a feature or functionality to the website. There are more than 27,000 plugins in wordpress directory at the moment which provides various functionality like gallery, directory, additional security, caching and much more.
You can click here to visit wordpress directory.
Here is a must read article about Managing Plugins : Read Now
Create your webpages:
The next important work is to create your webpages. Here we introduce you with the ease of wordpress. NO CODE, NO STYLES.
- Just enter the title of page
- Write down the content of webpage (Text, images, iframes and whatever possible) with the help of Visual Editor which is just like Microsoft Office Word.
- Click Publish and you are done 🙂 Yeah it’s as easy as it sounds.
Create your blog posts:
Use the same process as of creating the pages, the thing which is different in posts creation is that, you have to select a category in which you want your article to be categorized .
Click here to know in detail about creation of Pages
Some good plugins for wordpress:
- Fast Secure Contact Form : Best contact form plugin for wordpress
- W3 Total Cache: Best Caching Plugin for wordpress (Click here to know the best way to configure W3Total Cache)
- WordPress SEO by Yoast : Best SEO plugin for wordpress
- Akismet: Anti-spam plugin for wordpress (This alone is not enough)
- Wordfence Security: Best Security plugin for wordpress
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox: Backup complete wordpress website to dropbox (Click here to know its configuration process)
This covers up the A to Y of WordPress and if I have missed the Z, post a question in comments or Post a question on our WordPress Forum