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How to use WordPress

A beginner’s guide

WordPress is one of the most popular CMS systems in the world. It allows you to create and manage a website. While using WordPress requires some technical knowledge to figure out advanced features, don’t panic! This complete guide will get you started on how to use the basics of WordPress.

Why use WordPress?

WordPress is not the only CMS in the world, but it has a few key benefits that make it an excellent choice for many users:

  1. User-friendly

With its built-in editor, you can easily add different types of content to your site such as videos, images, text, and buttons. You can select a pre-built theme and customise it to fit your specific needs easily via the WordPress Customiser.

  1. Flexible

You can design a unique website that perfectly suits your business, whatever branch or industry you may be in. Choose from thousands of themes and plugins to add what works best for your site.

  1. Support

WordPress users benefit from a large, longstanding community that has emerged over the years. You can easily ask for support or search for previous questions via the forums on the WordPress.org website.

  1. Cost-effective

WordPress is open-source, meaning anyone can download the software for free and customise it to their liking. You don’t need an expensive, custom-made website, and you can manage your site yourself to save costs.

Create your website with WordPress

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  • 40+ free and unique one.com themes
  • Stable and ultra-fast hosting
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Mobile friendly
  • 1-click install
  • 24/7 support

How to use WordPress

Now we get to the core of what you may be asking yourself – how do you use WordPress? We’ll get you started with the basics of WordPress, and in just 13 steps, you can create your own WordPress website. Let’s get started!

1. Define your goals

First of all, define your goals. What do you want to achieve with your website? You may have a personal project that you want to make visible online, or perhaps you want to boost sales by starting an online shop for your brick and mortar store. Think through your exact goals and plan them out. We recommend breaking them down into SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound), to make them more practical and achievable.

In addition to your goals, determine who your target audience is. You want to design your website to suit the end user as much as possible. Developing audience personas will help you do this.

2. Get WordPress hosting

If you want to use WordPress, you need hosting. You can download WordPress software for free, but you need a space connected to the internet to put your website online. That’s hosting, which provides you with a space on a server on which to place all your website files.

WordPress hosting at one.com

At one.com, you can order WordPress hosting, hosting explicitly designed for this CMS. We offer various packages, but at a minimum, you will get access to the following features:

If you’re interested in saving time and not having to worry about managing your WordPress site’s technical maintenance yourself, our Managed WordPress Hosting might just be the thing for you.

3. Register a domain name

You will also need to find a domain name when you order WordPress hosting. A domain name is your website’s unique address and it consists of a unique name along with a top-level domain. A domain name is what allows visitors to reach your website.

Registering a domain name at one.com

At one.com, you can choose from more than 400 top-level domains, so you will always find a domain that suits your business. In addition, you can create unlimited subdomains, so each project has its address.

Turn your idea into reality with a domain

Show who you are. Find the perfect domain for your business or idea.

Find your domain
  • Choose among hundreds of domain endings
  • Easy access to DNS settings
  • Unlimited subdomains
  • Securely to manage
  • Affordable price
  • 24/7 support

Coming up with a domain name

Before registering a domain name, it is essential to think carefully about which name you will use. Make sure you choose a domain name that is short, recognisable, and easy to remember. Also, the domain should match your business. For example, select your company name or a word that suits your business. You can find more ideas in our article on tips for finding the right domain name.

4. Install WordPress

Once you have found a domain name and purchased your WordPress hosting plan, it’s time to install WordPress. There’s a couple of different ways to do this and you can find our helpful guides below:

  1. Install WordPress in 1 click
  2. Install WordPress manually

5. Get to know WordPress

Once you have successfully installed WordPress and logged in for the first time, you will be taken to the Dashboard. This is the cockpit of your website. From here, you navigate to other parts of the Admin environment.

On the left, you will see a menu with the following shortcuts:

  1. Posts

In Posts, you create and manage the articles on your website.

  1. Media

In Media, you manage all the media on your website, such as images and videos. It is a helpful overview of all media, but you can add and manage media directly in posts and on pages.

  1. Pages

In Pages, you create and manage the pages on your website.

  1. Comments

In Comments, you will find all the reactions visitors, yourself and possibly other users have left on your website. You can also manage the comments here.

  1. Appearance

In Appearance, you will find the theme you are using. You can customise the theme via the Customiser.

  1. Plugins

Under ‘Plugins’, you will find an overview of all additional functionalities on your site. You can add new plugins and remove unused ones. We will go into more detail about plugins later in the article.

  1. Users

In ‘Users’, you manage all the users of your website. Users can have various roles, such as editor or author.

  1. Settings

Here you determine all the settings of your website.

The one.com plugin

Besides the above items, you may see other shortcuts in the menu. For example, the one.com plugin. With this plugin, you get access to the following:

  • The one.com themes.
  • All one.com plugins.
  • A list of recommended additional plugins.

6. Put your website in maintenance mode

Before you start working on your website or while you are busy building it, you want to ensure your site is not visible to visitors. It’s a good choice to put your site in maintenance mode via a WordPress plugin to quietly set up your website behind the scenes while visitors see a standard page.

Plugins to put your site in maintenance mode:

7. Customise your settings

When you first use WordPress, you’ll find that all the settings will be set to the default. Once you feel more comfortable with WordPress, you can set them to your liking.

To go to the settings, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your WordPress installation.
  2. In the Dashboard menu on the left, go to ‘Settings’.

General

Under ‘General’, you can enter your site title and slogan. Make sure the WordPress and site address are your domain name. In this section, you can also set the site language, time zone, date and time format, and week.

Writing

In this section, you set the default message category and format. You can also select how to add messages via email and which services should be notified when you publish a new message.

Reading

Under ‘Reading’, choose whether you want the homepage to show your latest posts or a static page. You can also set up if you wish to show the full text or a summary of your posts on the homepage. Finally, you can set here whether your website should be (in)visible for search engines.

Discussion

Under ‘Discussion’, you enable or disable trackbacks and pingbacks. You also set the reaction options for users and can choose avatars. An avatar is an image of a visitor leaving a comment.

Media

In this section, you set the image sizes of thumbnails, medium and large sizes. You can often leave these settings as they are.

Permalinks

Permalinks define the URL structure of your website. Within WordPress, you have several options at your disposal. We recommend choosing ‘Post name’. You can select the other options, but these are not optimal for SEO.

Privacy

Finally, under ‘Privacy’, you can create a privacy policy. A privacy policy is essential to comply with national and international legislation. WordPress provides a privacy policy, but you should review it and make sure it’s fully compliant with your particular industry and location requirements.

8. Choose a WordPress theme

Now that the settings are in place, you can start to think about the look of your website with a theme. A WordPress theme is a design that defines the look of your website. Each theme contains its style and features.

In the Theme Directory of WordPress, you will find thousands of free themes you can use to build a professional website. These themes are suitable if you want to set up a basic website. You can filter by specific features in the directory, such as a 2-column layout or themes designed specifically for blogs.

Are you seeking a flexible theme with multiple WordPress templates, personal support and regular updates? Choose a paid theme. You can find paid themes on ThemeForest, for example.

Popular WordPress themes

Tip: Read our article about top WordPress themes to discover the best theme for your website.

Installing a WordPress theme

You can install a WordPress theme on your WordPress installation via the steps below.

  1. Log into your WordPress installation.
  2. In the Dashboard menu on the left, go to ‘Appearance’.
  3. Click on ‘Themes’.
  4. Click on ‘Add new’.
  5. Choose a theme of your choice and click ‘Install’.
  6. Click ‘Activate’ to use the theme.

Do you want to install an externally-downloaded theme? Click on ‘Upload Theme’ on the theme page.

Customising the WordPress theme

After you have installed the WordPress theme, you can customise it to your taste. You do this via ‘Appearance’ > ‘Customise’. Which options you have depends on the theme you have chosen.

If you prefer to design the website entirely from scratch, you can look for a drag-and-drop website builder like Elementor Website Builder or Beaver Builder. This lets you add a website builder to your website as a WordPress plugin.

9. Install WordPress plugins

WordPress comes with several excellent features by default, but you may find that you want to add extra features to your website, such as a contact form, social media buttons, or an online shop. This is where plugins come in.

WordPress plugins are pieces of software that allow you to add valuable features to your WordPress site. Via the Plugin Directory, you can find thousands of plugins, each with its functions. Alternatively, for paid plugins, take a look at CodeCanyon.

Popular WordPress plugins

Tip: Check out more good WordPress plugins for your website.

Installing a WordPress plugin

Once you’ve found a few WordPress plugins that would make a good addition to your site, you’ll need to install them. Here’s the installation process:

  1. Log into your WordPress installation.
  2. In the Dashboard menu on the left, go to ‘Plugins’.
  3. Click on ‘Add new’.
  4. Choose a plugin of your choice and click ‘Install now’.
  5. Click ‘Activate’ to use the plugin.

10. Create pages

With the basics in place, you can start creating pages. Every website has some basic pages with information about your business, such as:

  • A home page
  • A contact page
  • An ‘About us’ page
  • Privacy policy pages
  • General terms and conditions

Creating a page

You can easily create one or more pages in WordPress using the steps below:

  1. Log into your WordPress installation.
  2. In the Dashboard menu on the left, go to ‘Pages’.
  3. Click on ‘Add new’.
  4. Add the content you want on the page.
  5. Click ‘Publish’ to put the page live. Or choose ‘Save draft’ to publish the page later.

WordPress Patterns

WordPress works with a block editor called Gutenberg that lets you create posts or pages using blocks. To give you a hand with designing those blocks, Patterns have been introduced. Patterns are ready-made blocks you copy and paste into the desired place. So you don’t have to design them yourself.

11. Add widgets and menus

You can put widgets and menus in the header (the top of your website), the footer (the bottom of your website) and the sidebar (the sidebar of your website). A widget is a piece of software with a specific function. Standard widgets within WordPress are available, but a theme or plugin can offer additional widgets. For example, widgets can display a calendar, archive, image or menu.

Adding widgets

Use the steps below to add widgets in your website’s header, footer or sidebar:

  1. Log into your WordPress installation.
  2. In the Dashboard menu on the left, go to ‘Appearance’.
  3. Click on ‘Widgets’.
  4. Choose the widgets you want to add and customise them to your liking.
  5. Click ‘Update’ to put the widgets live.

Adding one or more menus

A menu allows visitors to navigate to the most essential pages of your website quickly. You add a menu in the header and often in the footer of your website. This is how to create a menu:

  1. Log into your WordPress installation.
  2. In the Dashboard menu on the left, go to ‘Appearance’.
  3. Click on ‘Menus’.
  4. Name your menu.
  5. Click on ‘Create menu’.
  6. Add the most important pages to the menu.
  7. Choose the location and click ‘Save menu’.

12. Create posts

If you’re planning to start a WordPress blog alongside your website, you can create posts. Posts are separate from pages, giving you a better overview of the content.

Posts help you get a good SEO position in search engines like Google, so your target audience can find you better. Before you start writing, it is wise to do keyword research. With keyword research, you know what your target audience is looking for, so you can create content for them.

Should you need help with keyword research and other aspects of SEO, a tool like Marketgoo is your solution. You can easily install the tool via your Control Panel if you are a one.com customer.

Creating a post

Follow the steps below to create a post:

  1. Log into your WordPress installation.
  2. In the Dashboard menu on the left, go to ‘Posts’.
  3. Click on ‘Add new’.
  4. Add the content you want in the post.
  5. Click ‘Publish’ to put the post live. Or choose ‘Save draft’ to publish the post later.

Categories and tags

You can use WordPress categories and WordPress tags to organise your posts in WordPress. Both features make it easy for visitors to find information about the same topic on your website. For example, if you publish recipes on your website, you can categorise the recipes as ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’, etc.

Tags can be used to, for instance, cluster recipes that contain the same ingredient, such as ‘eggs’ or ‘wheat flour’.

13. Publish your WordPress website

If you’re happy with your WordPress website, feel free to ‘life the curtain’ by uninstalling the maintenance mode plugin and allowing visitors to view your website.

However, are you now done with your site? The answer is no. Creating and maintaining a website is a continuous process of adjustment and improvement. For instance, you should update your WordPress website regularly. This will allow you to benefit from new features and keep your website more secure.

This is how to update your WordPress website:

  1. Log into your WordPress installation.
  2. In the Dashboard menu on the left, go to ‘Dashboard’.
  3. Click on ‘Updates’.
  4. Check if you need to update the WordPress version, a theme or a plugin.
  5. Click the button to update the component.

Note: Back up your website before you update anything. That way, if something goes wrong, you can always restore the latest version.

Optimise your WordPress website

Besides regularly updating your WordPress website, you need to take measures to keep your website up to speed, secure and SEO-ready. WordPress plugins like RankMath, Wordfence Security, and WP Optimize will help you optimise your website.

Tip: Read our article on how to speed up your WordPress site.

Conclusion

You have now been introduced to the basics of WordPress! Understanding WordPress is a learning process, but we hope this article has put you on your way to WordPress mastery.

If you want to learn even more details about the WordPress CMS, you’ll find lots of helpful WordPress articles in our Academy to help you secure a successful WordPress website. Good luck!

Create your website with WordPress

Start building your site with the world’s most popular cms.

Choose a package
  • 40+ free and unique one.com themes
  • Stable and ultra-fast hosting
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Mobile friendly
  • 1-click install
  • 24/7 support