How to use WordPress – a WordPress tutorial for beginners
Welcome and many thanks for your interest. In our WordPress tutorial for beginners, we show you step by step how to use WordPress in no time so that you can build your own professional website and/or blog. Follow along. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment in our Facebook group. We will also create a WordPress tutorial as a PDF ebook with plenty of screenshots in 2018. Please subscribe to our newsletter in the sidebar, if you like to be notified of the release of our WordPress PDF tutorial. In the following material, you will find links to additional resources and products we can recommend. Some of the links are affiliate links, that means that we may receive a commission if a purchase is made after following our link. For you, as a user, there is no additional cost. Now, let´s get started with learning WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress has become the most popular software to build websites. In fact, as of now, a stunning 29% of all websites are built based on WordPress. WordPress.org was created in 2003 by the then only 19 years old American student Matt Mullenweg with the support of Mike Little from England. Matt was a blogger and an idealist who wanted to democratize publishing and hence gave his invention away for free as an open source project. That means that any developer in the world can see the code and create functions for WordPress. One of the main reasons for the success of WordPress.
In 2005, after his studies, Matt Mullenweg founded the company Automattic, which offers services for WordPress (Themes, plugins, hosting etc) and runs the closed platform WordPress.com. In the following, we describe how to use WordPress in the free open source version.
Below you can watch one of the rate interviews of Matt Mullenweg in which he talks about how he came up with the idea of creating WordPress.
How to install WordPress?
In order to use WordPress you need a domain with a hosting package, In Germany, we can recommend for instance the 1und1 hosting and webgo as reliable hosting providers that offer an easy WordPress install (without requiring any technical knowledge). In order to find a suitable hosting provider near you, it is best to google “hosting provider with WordPress install + your country”.
The price for one domain with a small hosting package usually starts at around 4€ per month for a minimum of a 12 months period.
Login to WordPress
After you have installed WordPress on a domain with your hosting provider, you find the login to your WordPress website at yourdomain.com/wp-admin. There you can enter the login data that you chose for your hosting provider.
How to select a WordPress theme
You can change your WordPress theme in Dashboard Appearance => Themes => Add New
To find a suitable WordPress theme you have basically three options:
First, free themes from the WordPress database: You will find there about 5.000 free themes that are often a basic version of a more complex premium version. An agency that provides well designed and easy to use free themes is themegrill, based in Kathmandu, Nepal. All their free themes are also extremely well documented. You find the documentation at https://docs.themegrill.com/
Your second option are premium themes from themeforest, the world´s largest marketplace for WordPress layouts. See the most popular themes at themeforest here. The standard conditions are, that you are allowed to use a purchased theme lifelong on one domain. The price is usually around 60 USD per theme
Third, buy a theme directly from an agency. In most cases, you pay a higher one-time fee than at themeforest, but are allowed to use the agency’s themes at an unlimited amount of website. Divi, the most popular theme in the world due to its outstanding visual builder is for example only available as a direct purchase from the agency Elegant Themes. (link is a partner offer – we may receive a commission in case you make a purchase following the link, there are no additional cost for you)
If you have a few website in mind, that might serve as blueprint or benchmark for your new website, you may use the tool www.whatwpthmeisthat.com to find out, if a website has been built with WordPress and if so, which theme was used. Since about 29% of all websites run on WordPress, you should get a result for any third to fourth website you check.
Important settings for your WordPress website
- Dashboard => Settings => General: to change the language of your website
- Dashboard => Settings => Reading: to define start page and blog page (you first need to create at least these two pages)
- Dashboard => Settings => Discussion: To enable or disable comments on blog articles
- Dashboard => Settings => Permalinks: Should be set to “post-name”
Creating content on posts and pages
WordPress offers with posts and pages two options to publish content.
- Posts are used for blog articles and need to be assigned to a category (topic)
- Pages are used for static content such as information about your services, your team, your contact page etc. Pages may follow a hierarchical structure with parent pages.
To publish a post or a page go to the top menu, select New and then Post or Page. Then first enter a title. The editor you see next looks familiar to an email text editor and it works in a similar way. What you need to pay attention to are however the two taps on the top right corner of the text field:
- Visual: This view is used for writing plain text
- Text: This view is used to enter HTML code
Use the Visual View to add images (add media at the top left corner of the text editor), create headlines (also top left corner) or to set links (icon in the text editor menu)
Continue with the WordPress tutorial from WordPress.org
We hope that you have so far gained a basic understanding, of how WordPress works. For plenty of more specific lessons, for instance how to create a navigation bar and much more, please see the WordPress tutorial collection at WordPress.org. For any questions, please feel free to post to our Facebook group.
WordPress tutorial for your specific theme
Almost all of the popular themes and for sure all premium themes offer a separate tutorial on how to set up the theme and how to use WordPress. One of the most encompassing documentaries is certainly the video tutorial database for using the Divi theme: Divi documentation
Recommended WordPress Plugins for almost any WordPress website
After you have setup your website and your layout you may check out our list of recommended WordPress plugins for SEO, page speed, security and other topics.
All the best for building your website!