The Small Design Studio with Big (Green) Plans
We’ve recorded TONS of video tutorials for clients after doing WordPress installs – now we want to slam out some of the most common elements for future reference.
Instead of waiting on a video tutorial from us, now you can flip through this nice post, learn a few basics, and save some time!
This list doesn’t cover everything, but it will get you started on the path to WordPress domination. But don’t worry – we still record private video tutorials for each project to cover the “extras.”
Let’s start with the most basic WordPress elements, then we’ll move to some more abstract terms.
Pages are static pieces of content. Anything that you want to be permanent on your site should go on a page.
Most top-level navigation links tend to be pages – a few examples include your About page, Contact, and sometimes even the homepage to your site (if you don’t want your blog to be the homepage).
There are many possible uses for pages within your site, just experiment on pages with any content you would like to be prominent.
Posts are similar to pages – you can create and edit posts in a similar fashion to pages, but you should think of them in an entirely different way.
Posts can be more “disposable.” Think of them like newspaper articles – they tend to get read, then pushed out of the way for newer content.
You can also organize posts using categories and tags (see below) and have custom post types (ie e-commerce products or portfolio items).
Categories are exactly what they sound like – an organizational tool to separate posts. You can have as many categories as you like, but don’t go overboard.
Think of categories as top-level organization. Back to the newspaper analogy – the sports page could be a category, the classifieds another category, and financial news as yet another. Using categories like this will sometimes let you use categories to separate parts of the blog.
As another note, category pages typically have their own template in a WordPress theme, meaning that most category pages will look alike.
Tags are categories, except not. They are just another way to organize your posts.
Think of tags as second-level organization, and categories are first-level organization. Tags are used to give readers an idea of what the content of a post is about.
For instance, if you were to write a long post about WordPress basics, tagging the content with “WordPress, How-To, Education” would be appropriate. Tagging the content with “Kittens, LOL, Romance” would not be.
Widgets make WordPress awesome.
Widgets are typically used as sidebar content – and many widgets are dynamic content, meaning that they update with your blog.
Of course, some themes have many other widgetized areas – like the footer, sections of the homepage, etc. Just think of widgets as the drag-and-drop layout system for your sidebar or other widget-friendly areas of your blog.
Switching widgets is super-easy, though. All you have to do is go to the Appearance > Widgets menu, then organize your widgets by dragging from the available widgets panel to your sidebars.
The best way to learn about widgets is to play with them, though. Just have fun.
We’ll be extending our WordPress Essentials into a mini-series in our [intlink id="4" type="category" target="_blank"]Client Education weekly column[/intlink]. Next time we’re going to tackle Posts, Categories and Tags in a bit more detail.
If you have any more questions about anything in this list, let us know in the comments and we’ll make sure to include some answers or tips in upcoming posts. Of course, we’ll also respond to your comment as soon as possible.