7 Important Things Beginners Need To Learn About WordPress

Christopher White WordPress Training Leave a Comment

HOW YOU CAN BECOME AN EXPERT IN WORDPRESS IN NEXT TO NO TIME!

1. Learn The Difference Between Pages & Posts

One of the first things a beginner with WordPress will need to try and understand is - what is the difference between Pages and Posts in WordPress?

The concept of Pages and Posts can be confusing at first, but you will soon learn when to use either a Page of a Post.

When To Use A Page

The rule of thumb for when to use a Page is that if you are putting up information which is not likely to regularly change, you should use a WordPress Page. Good examples of  Pages are:

  • About Page
  • Contact Page
  • Services Page

These types of Pages are providing information to your visitors and the information is probably going to remain the same over time.

When To Use A Post

Posts are intended for "fast-moving" information. This could be information which is a piece of news you want to present to the world, a blog post, or something which will have a limited "lifespan".

Posts also differ from Pages in that they contain metadata. Post metadata includes the date of the Post, the author of the Post, the Post's category and details of Comments.

 
Learn The Difference Between WordPress Pages & Posts

2. Learn Why Categories & Tags Are Important

WordPress Categories and Tags are relevant only to Posts and not Pages. They are, in effect, the filing system for WordPress Posts.

Categories

Categories are the top-level of the filing system. Each category should be distinct from every other Category. Let's use the example of a BMW car dealership's website to describe how Categories can be used.

BMW has a range of different models and services. It would therefore be logical to create Categories for each of those. For example:

  • 1 Series Cars
  • 2 Series Cars
  • 3 Series Cars
  • 4 Series Cars
  • 5 Series Cars
  • Servicing
  • Parts
  • etc.....

When a new Post is written, it will be allocated a Category. Note also that it is possible to display all Posts within a Category in the website's menu structure, which is another good reason to categorise well.

Tags

Tags are the sub-categorisation of Posts. You would typically assign one or more Tags to a Post. It is important to remember that Tags are designed to complement Categories and so should not duplicate the Category's name.

Using the above example, if a Post is created for the "3 Series Cars" Category, suitable Tags for the Post could be:

  • 330i
  • Black
  • Leather interior
  • Touring
  • Sports seats

Using this example, if a website visitor were to search for all Posts relating to a "BMW 3 Series 330i Touring car in black with leather interior and sports seats", the search results should bring up all Posts in the "3 Series Cars" Category and using the Tags used in the search term.

Categories and Tags are invaluable tools to help your Posts be easily found and indexed by Google.

 
Why Are WordPress Categories & Tags Important

3. Learn To Organise Your Media Library

Your Media Library is an important resource on your WordPress website. A little like Categories and Tags for Posts, the items in your Media Library need to be well organised.

Your Media Library will contain everything from images to documents (PDFs) and videos. Over time, you will find that you gather a lot of  files in the Media Library. Keeping the files organised will help save you a lot of time in trying to find the item you are after, as well as helping Google index them well in their search results.

File Size & Naming

Before you upload any files to your Media Library, it is a good practice to firstly use a tool such as PhotoShop or another photo editing app to reduce the file size to the smallest possible size to make sure your page loading times are optimal. You ideally want the file size to be as small as possible and under 100KB. Secondly, always try to name the image file with a descriptive name. For example (using the BMW example above), rather than the camera's default of "IMG7644.jpg", rename the file to "black-bmw-330i-with-leather-interior.jpg". This will help get your images better indexed by Google.

File Categorisation

Just like Posts, the Media Library uses Categories and Tags to help organise files. In just the same way as in the previous section, you should set-up Categories and Tags and apply them to each file in the Media Library.

Alternative Text (Alt Tags) & Titles

Once the files in your Media Library have been uploaded, Categorised and Tagged, you should pay attention to the Alternative Text and Title fields of the file. These are both very important for SEO and to help get your images ranked by Google. You can use the same text for both fields, but use descriptive text which describes the image well and is relevant to how you are planning to use the image in your Posts or Pages. For example, "Brand New Black BMW 330i Touring With Leather Interior For Sale By BMW Bristol".

 
Learn To Organise Your Media Library

4. Learn How To Set-up Comments To Avoid Spam

Comments are the way you can encourage your WordPress website visitors to interact with you. Comments are, by default, enabled for all new Posts.

Learning how to set-up Comments so that you are not flooded with spammy messages will help save you from the bore of having to deal with spam on a daily basis. In the WordPress admin's SETTINGS > DISCUSSION menu, you have a series of settings to ensure that all new Comments are held for moderation before they show live on your website.

In the "Before a comment appears" section, make sure that both checkboxes are ticked. This will force all Comments to go through the approval process. You could further lock this down by choosing to only allow registered users to post Comments.

A further method of reducing spam is to install a plugin, such as Invisible reCaptcha for WordPress, so that you can protect your Comments, contact forms and much besides using Google's reCaptcha system. I would highly recommend doing this as it eliminates almost all spam Comments.

 
Set-up WordPress Comments To Avoid Spam

5. Learn How To Use Plugins & How Plugins Can Help

Plugins are like mini-apps which add extra functionality to your WordPress website. There is a vast array of plugins out there - some good, some badly constructed. You will need to learn which plugins are helpful to your needs and which ones are to be avoided.

There are plugins for every conceivable use. Plugins which are useful for most WordPress websites include:

  • Caching plugins
  • Security plugins
  • Contact form plugins
  • Gallery / slider plugins

You should only use the plugins which are necessary for your website and try not to use too many. Each plugin includes its own code which will need to be loaded with the web page. Too many unnecessary plugins can affect page loading speeds.

 
Learn How To Use WordPress Plugins

6. Learn The New Gutenberg Layout

With the arrival of WordPress 5 in December 2018 came the all-new layout and editor, Gutenberg. Gutenberg is substantially different to the old editor which had been used prior to that.

Gutenberg is based upon so-called Blocks. A block can be anything from text, images, video, etc.... At first Gutenberg can seem pretty daunting. However, it is worth getting to know as it is quite a powerful page builder and is the current direction of WordPress.

Here at Cotswold Websites we tend to use the amazing page builder which Themeco's Pro Theme uses on all the websites we create. It provides almost limitless flexibility in creating the perfect Page or Post layout. However, there are times when we still need to use the default editor, Gutenberg. We definitely recommend all beginners with WordPress get to grips with Gutenberg as a priority!

 
Learn How To SEO Your WordPress Website

7. Learn How To Use Yoast SEO To Optimise Your Pages & Posts

Yoast SEO is one of the most useful plugins you are likely to use on your website. Yoast helps you optimise each and every Page and Post so that it has the best chance of being ranked highly by Google in their search results for your chosen keywords.

Once installed, you will find a Yoast SEO section below the Gutenberg editor for all Posts and Pages. Yoast allows you to specify a keyword phrase for the Page or Post and allows you to optimise the Title and Meta Description using a traffic light system to show how well optimised each element is. Titles and Meta Descriptions are very important as they are the snippets which show in Google's search engine results. Getting these elements well optimised is imperative to your web page's search visibility.

In addition, Yoast enables you to see whether your Page or Post is optimised using keywords in the heading tags (h1 / h2 / h3) along with how effectively keywords are used in your text and images.

Yoast is an invaluable tool and is something even a beginner with WordPress should learn to master at the earliest opportunity.

 
WordPress Training Courses

WORDPRESS TRAINING COURSES

Now that you hopefully understand 7 key things a beginner needs to learn about WordPress, you will need to find the right trainer.

Cotswold Websites offers both face-to-face WordPress training for beginners and advanced WordPress users, and online WordPress training courses for beginners or advanced users, in conjunction with our specialist training partners.

WordPress Training Course For Beginners

Live WordPress Training For Beginners

Our live WordPress Training For Beginners is targeted to help novices learn how to competently use WordPress. By the end of the course you should be able to create and manage Pages and Posts, as well as your Media Library. You will have a basic knowledge of how to install and activate plugins and understand the basics of good SEO practice.

The WordPress For Beginners Training Courses are suitable for either individuals or groups.

Once the basic concepts of WordPress have been taught to you, we go on to spend time dealing with specific areas you may be having difficulty with, to guide you through these areas of difficulty, until you are confident you understand how to deal with them.

Training sessions can take place either in your business premises, your home, a suitable third party location, or via Skype (individuals only).

To find out more, click on the button below.

WordPress For Beginners Training
WordPress Training For Advanced Users

Live WordPress Training For Advanced Users

Our live WordPress Training For Advanced Users is targeted to help more advanced users learn how to take their WordPress website to the next level. You will learn how to use advanced plugins, how to use CSS to style your website, how to work with premium WordPress themes, and any specific area you need help with.

The WordPress For Advanced Users Training Courses are suitable for either individuals or groups.

We will spend time working with your own websites, where appropriate, so you can learn the techniques you need in your own environment. These advanced WordPress training courses are designed to be interactive. This enables you to guide the overall direction of the training to suit your own, or the group's levels of experience.

Training sessions can take place either in your business premises, your home, a suitable third party location, or via Skype (individuals only).

To find out more, click on the button below.

WordPress For Advanced Users Training
Online WordPress For Beginners Training Course

Online WordPress Training For Beginners

The online WordPress Training For Beginners course is offered to you in conjunction with our training partners. This excellent course enables you to learn the basic concepts of using WordPress at your own leisure and at your own pace.

The course is broken down into short videos, each of which concentrates on a specific aspect of WordPress. In all, the videos amount to about a day's worth of training.

All of our online courses are regularly updated, making sure that you always have the latest techniques and information at your disposal.

Once purchased, you will have lifetime access to the updated courses in your Member's Area. We have students from as long ago as 2009 who still revisit these courses. Comparing WordPress from 2009 to 2019, there is a world of differences in how it works! Imagine how WordPress will be in 2029?! With this course, you will be able to keep up with those changes.

Click on the button below to find out more!

WordPress For Beginners Online Training
Online Advanced WordPress Training Course

Online WordPress Training For Advanced Users

The online WordPress Training For Advanced Users course is offered to you in conjunction with our training partners. This excellent course enables you to learn the basic concepts of using WordPress at your own leisure and at your own pace.

The course is broken down into short videos, each of which concentrates on a specific aspect of advanced WordPress techniques. In all, the videos amount to about a day's worth of training. By the end of the course you will be able to create a professional WordPress website which brings you the traffic and business you want.

To find out the details of the course, click on the button below.

All of our online courses are regularly updated, making sure that you always have the latest techniques and information at your disposal.

Once purchased, you will have lifetime access to the updated courses in your Member's Area.

Click on the button below to find out more!

WordPress For Advanced Users Online Training

Contact Us For More Information

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher White

Christopher White, Founder of Cotswold WebsitesChristopher White is the founder of Cotswold Websites. An accredited digital marketer and website designer, he has over 18 years of experience in creating bespoke websites.

With a background in international logistics and business analysis, Christopher uses his business experience to advise organisations how their website can and should work for them, along with helping them implement business strategies to use Digital Marketing techniques to boost their public exposure.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher White

Christopher White, Founder of Cotswold Websites

Christopher White is the founder of Cotswold Websites. An accredited digital marketer and website designer, he has over 18 years of experience in creating bespoke websites.

With a background in international logistics and business analysis, Christopher uses his business experience to advise organisations how their website can and should work for them, along with helping them implement business strategies to use Digital Marketing techniques to boost their public exposure.

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