WordPress Basics – Advice for beginners!
New to WordPress? Here’s a bit of friendly advice: Take your Time and be Patient!
If you come from static HTML design, be prepared for a few surprises. Be prepared to learn best practices for backing up files and working with PHP and CSS. To accomplish what was easily accessible in Dreamweaver or another WYSIWYG web program, you’ll have to install and use plugins to accomplish the same thing in WordPress.
If you are totally new to WordPress, just be patient. Haste definitely makes waste when it comes to WP. It can be very exciting designing your first website and seeing your idea come to life on the screen. The tendency is to rush and make changes right away without having the right perspective or a basic understanding of what WordPress is and what building a website consist of. Take a step back and digest each change, think about what the user will need and want, not so much what you want. After all, your visitors will visit your site more than you.
Creating a plan is something I recommend in my video tutorials and on my site, especially for beginners. You’ll want to have an idea of where you want to go with layout and design before you start installing and editing anything. Mistakes and regrets run high for first-timers with WordPress. Doing a little research, taking a look inside the forums and watching some tutorials is a good way to see what you will be getting yourself into with this powerful and popular CMS.
Research the Theme you plan to use because themes and theme options vary widely. Use your plan or vision to search for a good theme that will suit your needs, rather than trying to later modify a theme that doesn’t suit your needs well in terms of layout and functionality. Is the theme child-theme friendly? Is it popular and does it have good feedback from other users? Does it leave room for expansion and adjustments?
There’s no use trying to create a three column layout from a two column layout when there are tons of three column layout themes available to begin with. There are thousands of themes, both free and paid to choose from and most beginners are not aware of this. The WP theme dashboard gives you some really good search criteria when searching the built-in theme depository from within WP.
Forget about design in the beginning (at least the physical part) and concentrate on administration first. Get your WP installation setup correctly and with the right settings and the right tools first. This will allow you to build your site with minimal risks and counter-productive efforts. Research plugins for images, video, social media, e-commerce and backing up your site or blog.
Setting up a secure user name and strong password, adjusting your site for blog or static representation and choosing your discussion settings should be among the first tasks you complete. All of your time and effort will be lost if your site is vulnerable to hackers and there are plenty of hackers looking for vulnerable WordPress websites. Because WP installs all have the same user-name and log-in by default, if you don’t set these options right away, you could leave yourself wide open to hackers, spam and other intrusions.
Research child themes, starter themes and premium themes.
So my word of the day is “patience”, take your time. Do a little research, gather a little insight before you jump in and start deleting and changing code. Research the available themes and pick the one closest to the layout you want to minimize the amount of work you’ll have to do. A little preparation will boost your confidence and save a lot of time and perhaps spare you from a headache or two.
For a good introduction to the Responsive WordPress Theme from ThemeID and CyberChimps, visit my website. There you will find basic information on web design, WordPress, Blogging and Internet Entrepreneurship. I even show you how to make money online with your new website.
The methods, plugins and concepts demonstrated in my tutorials can be applied to other WP themes as well. So even if you are not using the Responsive Theme, you can still learn valuable skills.