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WordPress | Overview | Web Design

A Basic Overview

Welcome to WordPress! WordPress is a content management system used to create web sites. A content management system keeps all contents in a searchable database and builds pages as requested by the user. WordPress allows an easy way for the operator of a website to take charge of content. WordPress has a Dashboard where you can add new content, change content, menus, appearance, and you can manage users if you allow comments or allow others to manage your website. I would have an account on your site so if you had a problem you could not solve you could call me and I could go in and fix it. A WordPress site can also be moved to another server if need be.

Log On

The first step is to log into your site from the WordPress log-in screen. A user name and password has been provided and from the dashboard you can create other users. It is a good idea that the primary user assigns other users with their own user names and passwords. Do you assign administrator status if the user has no need to make major changes to the site as they can also break it in major ways also.

Logging in brings you to the Dashboard. The dashboard has a menu on the left side and a work area in the center. Examine what the menu options do. From the dashboard you can work on your website. The operation of the dashboard is very intuitive and you should have no problems figuring it out with a small amount of exploring. The topmost option is called “Posts”.

Posts

Posts are a blog type of page that displays in chronological order. Posts also have comments fields below them and are included in your sites RSS feed. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. It is a way to easily distribute a list of headlines, update notices, and sometimes content to a wide number of people. (RSS Software Garden) Posts are in a blog format and are good for content that changes often.

To write a new post simply click posts, Add New, and fill in the post fields such as the Title, categories, and tags. Write your post and click “Publish” to add your post to the site. Do not be afraid of making mistakes as you can change your posts, hide them, preview them, or delete them entirely.

When you create a new post or edit an existing post, a main work window is opened. On the top right of the work window you can change the view to work in a text, (HTML) window or a Visual, (What you see is what you get) window. Either view will work to get the job done.

To the right of the work window is your Publish menus. Here you can preview the changes you made and if they are to your liking, you can “Publish” or “Update” the page you are working on. There is no “Undo” button so be sure before you make a change. It does not hurt to save a copy of the original also.

Media

The Media tab is basically your library of images, sound, and video files. You can upload all your media files to this library and then use them from here. It is a way to keep organized.

Pages

Pages are your normal webpages. They are created like posts and have some of the same options along with others like parent pages. Normally you will be working with your current pages that have already been linked in the correct order. The list of pages comes up when you click the Pages tab and if you hover over each page on the link you get options to edit, quick edit, trash, or view. Clicking the page itself brings up the page in edit mode in a work window.

This is identical to the Posts menus and work the same way. You have the options to work in a text, (HTML) window or a Visual, (What you see is what you get) window. You do not have to worry about messing anything up as your changes are not published till you click the Update button, or if it’s a new page, till you click the Publish button. Prior to that, be sure to use the preview button above them before you change the existing.

*Many of the pages that you wanted on your website have been created and linked, and await you applying content and images.

Comments

The comments area is where you can review and manage comments left by people on your blog pages,(Posts). WordPress has built in spam filters and options that allow you to approve comments before they are published to the site.

Maps Maker

Map Maker is a simple application for making Google Maps. It is as simple as adding a map, giving it a title and a address, and it will create a map. You can also change all the map locations currently assigned for demonstration. These were added to your Emergency Prep page with the idea that this may be an easy way for you to show your block captains.

Dashboard Management

The bottom part of your Dashboard is for management and the parts of WordPress that you would not normally adjust or change. You must be very careful and be completely aware of what you are doing in this section as they affect the entire site.

Appearance

Most of the items in this section have been customized for your website. For example; your site does not use a canned theme, it uses a customized theme that was created from the visual designs. Any available themes that may be listed were not created for your site and will break the design. Do not change themes.

Other options would affect navigation and the master CSS files, both items we would not want to touch unless we know exactly what we are doing. An error made in these areas will affect the entire website.

Appearance/Menus

This section of the Appearance tab controls all the menu links and the pages they are associated with. On the top of the work area you select the menu you are working with. In the work area is a listing of all pages and the menu structure. To add a new menu tab you select a page on the left and click the “Add to Menu”. The down arrow on the right on the new menu tab marked “Page” brings up the details for that link. From this menu you can move a link up or down in order or remove it entirely.

Plugins

Plugins are applications used by your site. They handle things like security, the twitter feed, social networking, column formatting, etc. There are hundreds of plugins available to WordPress to do many functions and there may be future applications you may wish to apply to your site. Plugins would also be the way to add maps and Google applications.

Users

This is where you can add users to your site that you want to have creative control. Users can add and update content to your site. They can also moderate comments and things like this. You can control how much control they can have on your site. Remember that administrators have the power to make major changes and even break your site so do not give this status to anyone that does not need this power. Users can also be a low level as subscribers and contributors that cannot make any major changes to the site itself.

Tools

Tools are used in creating content on your site. The basic tools are already built into your WordPress site. You likely will not need any tools that have not already been added to your site.

Settings

These are general settings used on your site. Here you can decide if readers of your site can become subscribers and register with your site. Many settings have already been set but some you have to decide so go through the settings. Also set an email address that will be used for contact from the site for administration purposes. If in doubt, do not change a setting.

Form Maker

Form Maker is an add-on tool to create forms much easier than working in HTML. Your current forms were made with this tool and can be displayed and changed. If you are unsure how to use this tool, it may be a good idea to work with a duplicate page, apply changes to it, and then apply the changes to the one you wanted to change.

WordPress Resources

These are additional WordPress resources. WordPress is a popular content management system and just searching an area you need help in will yield many returns.

WordPress from the source

WordPress Websites

More WordPress how to information

Thousands of WordPress plugins