Discover the Simplicity of How to Use WordPress
Once you are setup with your blog, you can now explore the beauty, simplicity and benefits of WordPress. If you know how to use Microsoft Word or any other word editing programs, you will have no problem working with WordPress. Even if you didn’t know how to use MS Word, WordPress is still a breeze.
Before we jump into WordPress and how to start using some of it’s many tools and features, I wanted to explain the difference between using WordPress and having to custom program or design your own sites. WordPress is currently powering more than 10% of the sites on the internet with over 75 million sites relying on the software to power their sites. Some of these names include NBC Sports, UPS, CNN, TechCrunch, CBS Radio and many more. ZacJohnson.com and several of my other sites are also running off the WordPress platform.
Why should you use WordPress to create a site or blog?
The simple answer is that it’s extremely easy and effective. WordPress is more than just a way to blog, it’s also a full content management solution. The next best answer is that’s is 100% free! You can create as many WordPress driven sites as you like and never have to pay anything to use the software.
When I created a social networking resource site several years ago, it was 100% HTML. I spent endless hours making pages and if I ever needed to edit something on the site, it mean’t all of the pages would need to be changed. This also meant having 10,000+ individual HTML files which I would have to load up in FrontPage editor, change and then upload through FTP to my server. I’m not complaining, as the site went on to make over $860,000 in 4 months, but imagine how much time it would have saved me if the site was running off WordPress!
The Many Benefits of Using WordPress
This next section could go on forever, but I’m going to break it down into a few simple to understand section, which are Going Live with Your First Post, Using WordPress Themes and Using WordPress Plugins.
WP and blogging CMS platforms are also great for social media and user engagement as well. This is especially true if you want to build out your own forum or community on your site. To do this, all you would need to do is run through this list of the best wordpress forum plugins, select the one you like and then start sending traffic to your site. The added benefit here is that you will have complete ownership over the forum and group, versus creating one on social media.
In short, there are many benefits to using WordPress, but only if you know what to look for, the settings to change and how to use them.
Let’s get started.
Going Live with Your First Post
As mentioned earlier, using WordPress is extremely easy. To write your first post within wordpress, all you need to do is click POSTS, then ADD NEW (on the left side menu). You will now see the “New Post” screen where you can start typing.
The TITLE of your post is where you would write an interesting title for your post. Your first title may be something like “Welcome to My Blog“.
In the section below the title you can start writing your actual post content. If this was your first blog post, you might want to write something related to why you decided to start a blog, what you can expect in future blog posts and for the reader to leave a comments below the article.
Once you are finished writing your article, click the PUBLISH button and the article will go live.
Another great feature of WordPress is that you can create, remove and edit posts at any given time.
In the screenshot below you will see a visual of everything explained above, but within WordPress while actually writing this post.
Using WordPress Themes
Whenever someone installs WordPress for the first time, their blog will have the same basic design as everyone else. Thankfully WordPress has a feature that allows you to install WordPress Themes to quickly and easily change the look and feel of your site. The backend will stay the same, but what people see when they visit your site will be completely different.
There are three types of themes you can choose from – Free, Premium and Custom. Free WordPress themes are all over the place, but you should be careful where you download them from, as they may contain advertising links or bad programming. Premium themes are high end WordPress Themes that usually cost in between $29-$79 depending on where you get them from. Lastly you have custom theme designs, which is what you see on ZacJohnson.com. A custom theme can cost anywhere from $1000 to $5000 depending on the complexities of the design and who you are working with.
When you are logged into WordPress you can click on APPEARANCE on the left side menu, then click on THEMES. Once the THEMES page is loaded, you can then click on “ADD NEW” at the top and you will be sent to the page shown below. From here you can search for free themes that are currently available for immediate install. You can use the SEARCH, FEATURED, NEWEST or RECENTLY UPLOADED functions near the top of the page. Once you find a theme you like, you can click PREVIEW or INSTALL NOW. You can change between themes at any time.
If you would like to look for a premium theme with more options and design choices, I recommend you take a look at ThemeForest.
Using WordPress Plugins
Just like you can change the look and feel of your blog, you can also do some amazing things through the use of WordPress Plugins. The best way to explain plugins is that they are little applications that can be programmed to do anything.
I’ve listed some of the most popular free WordPress plugins below to give you an idea of what you might want to start out with.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – Improve your blog post content and SEO.
- Shareaholic – Allows people to easily share content on your blog.
- Akismet – Help stop spam comments from getting through your blog.
- Contact Form 7 – Easy contact form so people can send you emails.
When it comes to choose WordPress Plugins, many of them are free, but there is also a whole world of premium plugins as well. These plugins can range heavily in price and will allow you to do anything with your blog, such as creating a membership site, displaying videos, allows users to rate content, provide product reviews, setup newsletters / popup forms and so much more.
Installing plugins is just like installing themes. I included a screenshot below of how you would search and add plugins with WordPress.
How to Make Your Blog Awesome
At the end of the day the success of your blog is going to come down to the content you write on it. The more value you provide, the more likely people will come back and share it with their friends. Unique blog themes are awesome, but it’s not worth it for most bloggers to spend a lot of money on a custom theme when they are first starting out. I would stick with a nice $29-$79 premium theme if you really want something unique.
As for plugins, stick with only the basic ones now. The more plugins you add to your site, the more likely you are to slow it down. WordPress is awesome for running fast sites, but you don’t want to clog it up with a bunch of junk you don’t need. You can also remove inactive themes and plugins at anytime.
If you haven’t already, get setup with your blog and a free domain name, then shoot me an email with any questions you have about getting setup. I can even set you up with a free premium theme to get you on the right path.
In the next section of my “Seven Days of Blogging: My Personal Guide to Blogging” I will be covering what direction you want to take your blog. This includes the type of writing style and breaking down different categories and post topics for you to focus your efforts on.
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2 Replies to “Discover the Simplicity of How to Use WordPress”
Cheers Zac, I’m bouncing around ideas for a new site and this article has certainly convinced me of which CMS to use.
Keep ’em coming!
I’m an avid fan of WordPress, tried others but found WP easiest to work with. One important thing to note though is that if you’ve got too many plugins (even if they’re disabled) it’ll slow down your site – this is because a section of all of them have to load on each pageload. (seen lots of blogs crawling along with 50+ plugins)
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