WordPress Basics for Content Owners

There are a lot of good tutorials out there for using WordPress to design a web site, but I wanted to put together a basic overview for those who just need to update the content on an existing basic WordPress site.

Log In

To login to your WordPress site, go to http://{yourdomain.com}/wp-admin. You may want to add a bookmark/favorite for the login page so you can get to it easily in the future.
You may also have a link in the sidebar or footer of your web site that says something like “Admin Login” or “Site Admin”. Log in with the username and password provided to you.

Dashboard

After logging in, you will see the WordPress Dashboard. This is the “backend” of your WordPress site where users with proper access can update the site.

Across the top of the page, you will see a black bar containing the name of your site and a “+ New” button. Down the left side of the page will be various options, including Posts, Media, Pages, Comments, Profile (or Users), and Tools. Depending on your level of access and any plug-ins installed, you may see additional menu items, but these are the main ones used for updating content on basic WordPress installations.

If you would like to change the color scheme from the default (black with blue accents), go to Profile or Users > Your Profile to select a different color palette.

There are two main types of content on your site: Posts and Pages. I will describe both below briefly, and then show how to use WordPress to create or edit the content on a page or post, as the editor is very similar for both.

Posts

Posts are the dynamic portion of your web site, where new content is typically added, such as announcements or articles or pictures from a recent event/project/etc. This is the portion that is most like a typical blog site, where you can easily add up-to-date content on your site on an ongoing basis. Typically your home page or another page on your site will list all your posts in chronological order with the newest on top.

When you click on Posts, you have four options: All Posts, Add New, Categories, Tags. All Posts shows a list of all posts that are published to the site. From there, you can click the name of a post to make changes to it. Add New takes you to a page where you can add a new post. Categories and Tags are used to manage the categories and tags that may be assigned to your posts, however, not all sites use this functionality.

Pages

Pages are the more static portion of your web site, and often appear in the navigation bar across the top of your site. Common pages to have a on a site are: About Us, Contact Us, Products, Services, etc. This is the portion of your site that is like a traditional web site, where visitors can find out who you are and what you do.

When you click on Pages, you have only two options: All Pages and Add New. All Pages shows a list of all the pages that are published to the site. From there, you can click the name of a page to make changes to it. Add New allows you to create an entirely new page.

Create & Update Content using the WordPress Visual Editor

As a content owner on a WordPress site designed by someone else, you will mostly be ADDING posts and EDITING pages. Either way, you will be taken to a screen containing the WordPress Visual Editor.

The top of the screen has a Title field for the page or post title, and below that is the Visual Editor where you will add or edit the page or post content. You can type in the Visual Editor just like you would type a Word document or an email message. Like with other editors you are probably familiar with, there are icons across the top for options such as bold, italics, bulleted lists, centered text, and hyperlinks. Above that is a button that says “Add Media”. Click this button to upload an image or a document or other type of file to add to the page or post.

When you are done adding or editing your content, click Publish in the right column, or click Save Draft to save what you have done so far and come back to it later. You can click Preview to see what your changes will look like on the screen before publishing. After publishing, a message will appear that says your content was published and include a link to the view the page or post.

WordPress offers more detailed information at the following links:

  • Writing & Editing (lots of tutorials on various aspects of writing and editing content)
  • Visual Editor (a page with specific instructions for using the tools in the Visual Editor)
  • Media (lots of tutorials for uploading various types of content)