A Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Blogging (Part 2 of 2)

Wordpress Blog

In part one,  we went through the difference between local and web hosting, setting up both of these hosting types and installing WordPress. Today I’ll be showing you how to design and personalise your site. If you missed out on the earlier steps I suggest you check out part one here. In this part we can achieve the same result regardless of which type of hosting you chose. For web hosting, you can sign in to WordPress using the link you should have received from your hosting service. For local hosting, enter the following into your browser:  http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/.

While there are many ways to design a WordPress blog, I’ll be running through some of the more common modifications you’ll be making to get your site off the ground.

 

Here’s a run-down of what to expect:

  1. Changing Themes
  2. Making/Editing & Deleting Posts
  3. Adding Media
  4. Pages
  5. Menus
  6. Installing New Themes

 

Where We Left Off

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Our default website

So right now, your site is looking pretty bare. We have a typical blog layout, a large image and a single “Hello World” post.  Depending on when you install WordPress, you might have a different layout altogether. Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have something a bit more presentable along with everything you need to start creating content.  In order to switch between your site and dashboard, you can use the black bar and choose dashboard like in the image below.

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Getting to the dashboard

 

Changing Themes

First, I’ll show you how to change the site’s theme. A theme affects the overall design of your website, page layout and a lot more so choosing one requires spending some time messing around to find the right one. WordPress comes with a few basic themes however you’ll most likely look elsewhere to find one that you like but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

To change your theme, we need to go to our dashboard.

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Finding themes

Along the left side is the navigation menu, we want to change the appearance of our site so we want to go to appearance and then themes. This will bring you to a screen with the themes that come with WordPress. To change your theme, hover over one and hit activate.

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Activating our theme

You can return to your site by using the black bar at the top and your site should now have a new layout.

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How to view your site

Later I’ll be showing you how to find and install your own themes that will better fit your design.

 

Creating/Editing & Deleting Posts

Creating posts is how you’ll add content such as articles, media or anything else. Whether you want a traditional blog layout or a full website, posts is how you make and organise your content.  To make a post, go to your dashboard and select posts from the menu on the left.  To make a new post, hit add new. This will bring you to the article editor where you’ll make your article content.

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Creating a new post

 

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Creating & editing a post

This is the same layout for making any post so you’ll find the same screen if you choose to edit an article by clicking its title.

The box with “Hello World” is where our title will go.

Underneath is where the main content will go. This accepts text, images and media. If you have any HTML knowledge you can select text in the right corner to switch to HTML input. Otherwise, you can make use of the formatting options in the bar above.

Switching between text & html using the tabs in the top-right corner

When you make a new post or edit one of your articles and you’re ready to make them live, choose the publish button on the right. If you’re editing a post this will be update.

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Publishing & updating posts

If you’ve made or edited a post and not sure how it will look but don’t want to make them public choose preview above the publish option. This will show you a preview of the article that only you can see.

If you want to save an unfinished article choose save draft.

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Saving a draft

To delete your content you can select move to trash in the editor or trash in the posts screen.

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Deleting unwanted posts

 

Adding Media

To add media content such as images, select add media.

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Add media

 

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Insert media

This brings up the insert media menu where you can drag in your images or upload them. Making an upload reveals a menu on the right where you can enter a title, caption and alt text among others.

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Add media details

Alternatively, you can use the other options on the left to create a gallery, audio/video, featured image or upload via URL.

When you’ve finished, hit insert into post. Much like using Microsoft Word, you’ll likely have to move things around to organise your image. Selecting the image and then the pencil icon will take you to a menu to format your image.

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Editing an image

Don’t forget to select update to make your additions live.

 

Pages

Websites usually have their content broken up among multiple pages which we navigate using a menu.  These pages will typically be something like an about page, contact or anything else depending on your site. To create a page, go to pages and select add new.

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Add a new page

Much like creating a post, we use the same layout to create a page. In this example I’m going to create a Contact page. I make my title, my content and then hit publish.

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Create a new page

Unlike when you make a post, a new page won’t automatically appear on your site. It does exist there’s just no way of getting to it. This leads us to the next part of making a menu to navigate to it.

 

Menus

To create a menu, go to your dashboard and hover over appearance and select menus.

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Finding menus in the dashboard

Here is where all your menus will be organised. Right now there’s nothing here so we need to make one. Menu name is where you’ll enter the name e.g main menu, then select create menu.

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Creating a menu

Your menu can link to many things such as posts, links or categories. For simplicity, we’ll have our menu link to our pages. Using the menu on the left, we can check the pages we want to include and select add to menu. Typically sites have the navigation at the top so you can check the top menu option. Finally hit save menu.

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Selecting pages for a menu

When I refresh my site, the menu appears at the top.

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Published menu with selected pages

 

Installing New Themes

Finally I’ll show you through installing new themes. You can find many themes here. Find one you like and hit download. This will download a .zip file. You don’t need to unzip this.  Back in the themes page, select add new. This will reveal a input for theme files. Upload the .zip file you downloaded and select install.

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Installing a theme

Oh.

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This is a problem you’ll face as you’ve just setup WordPress for the first time. This message is to say that we have a set limit we can upload and the file exceeds this. Luckily we change the upload limit to whatever we want.

If you’re using a local host,  you’ll need to go to the location where Xampp was saved. This can be should be located on the C: drive for windows or private for Mac. Alternatively you can search your documents for “php.ini”. When you’ve found the file open it up in a text editor and find the following: upload_max_filesize.

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php.ini

We want to modify this to a higher value so we can upload larger files.

Here I changed the default 2M to 64M meaning we can now upload a max of 64MB.

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Modified php.ini

In order for your changes to take place, we need to open up the Xampp control panel and turn off the Apache and MySql switches and turn them back on again. This should refresh the changes we made.

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Restarting local host

For the readers using web hosting the same thing can be achieved however it involves finding the php.ini file in your web host’s control panel. There are many hosting services all with different interfaces.  Luckily all good services allow this modification so I suggest finding this information by searching: “The uploaded file exceeds the upload_max_filesize directive in php.ini” and the name of your service. Alternatively you can use this link which includes links to a handful of services.

After the upload size has been modified, we can repeat uploading our theme .zip file. This time we should be able choose install and be met with this:

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Successfully installed theme

To set the theme, hit activate and now when I refresh my site, I have a new theme.

Conclusion

There is a lot involved in creating your own website but hopefully you have enough to get started. Google is your friend so don’t be afraid to look for what you want your site to have because there’s most likely tutorials, plugins and themes that’ll help you get there.

Let us know in the comments if we missed anything that you’d like to see in a future tutorial.