Island Wanderer WordPress Guide
- [0:00] – General information about your website and tour of the Home page.
- [2:27] – User Roles
- [4:28] – Home: Beaver Builder, latest posts excerpts
- [7:14] – Sidebar: ads, links
- [13:30] – Menus: important links, main nav
- [17:33] – Blog: sidebar ad widgets
- [24:20] – Blog posts: image floats, revisions, categories, tags, featured images
- [34:32] – Footer: photo gallery
- [Ask Abell for help editing “More About B.I.” Home sidebar links]
- ABELL SMITH DESIGN THEME – Your website uses the standard Abell Smith Design theme, which has been customized to give it an even more unique and personalized look
- WORDPRESS 5.8.2 (as of 1/2/22) – Your new site has the latest version of WordPress installed as your website’s Content Management System (CMS).
- CMS IMPROVEMENTS – Implemented extensive improvements and customizations to the default WordPress interface, to maximize the usability of the CMS.
- FUNCTIONS & FEATURES – Installed a number of essential functions to enhance site performance, including:
- Contact form
- Blog w/ custom layout & sidebar, Home post excerpts
- Incorporate blog subscribers functionality
- Images enhancements – gallery display, Lightbox popup effects, Metaslider slideshows, image “smushing” and auto-resizing (keeps image sizes down to improve site speed), easy image replacing in media library
- RESPONSIVE DESIGN – By design, your website is completely responsive for viewing on devices of all sizes.
- GOOGLE ANALYTICS – Installed Google Analytics, for measuring traffic on your website. This will be essential data for monetizing the website with advertisements!
- SECURITY – Implemented a number of security enhancements to guard against various attacks (e.g. brute force attacks).
- AUTOMATIC BACKUPS – Activated automatic backups of the website files & MySQL database at regular intervals, in case of hacking or website crash, in preparation for your WordPress Care Plan.
LOGGING IN TO WORDPRESS
Here’s where you go to log into the WordPress CMS:
Your usernames and passwords for your two WordPress user roles (Admin and Editor) have been sent in a separate email.
- USER ROLES – The “Editor” user role minimizes the amount of stuff you need to deal with in the WordPress Dashboard (as opposed to “Administrator,” which has access to most site functions). Most of this guide is written for a user logged in as an Editor.
- LOGIN LIMITS – For security, login attempts have been limited to 10 retries, after which the IP is locked out for 20 minutes (4 lockouts increase the time to 24 hours). Go to Settings > Limit Login Attempts to change these settings (logged in as Admin).
Note: sometimes WordPress might require a couple of attempts to log in successfully, if previous credentials are stored in your browser’s cache. Let Abell know if you ever find yourself locked out completely!
GETTING FAMILIAR WITH WORDPRESSYou will see a few items in the menu to the left:
- Posts – are one of the two main types of content within a WordPress site (the other is Pages). Posts, better known as blog posts or news posts, are typically organized chronologically.
Learn much more about the difference between posts and pages here:
What is the Difference Between Posts vs. Pages in WordPress
- Media – is the library of images, PDF’s, and other media files that have been uploaded to WordPress. Note: a special plugin has been added to organize your media library into folders… see below video for more info on that.
- Pages – are the webpages that you see in the main navigation sections of the site, such as “About Bainbridge” and “Contact Us.” They are organized hierarchically in a tree structure.
- Gallery – where you go to add or edit image galleries.
- Appearance – where you go to access the navigation menus on your WordPress website.
- Profile – where you access your user profile in the WordPress Dashboard.
- SEO – where you go to access your SEO tools using the Yoast SEO Plugin. This also may appear as an icon in the header bar in the WordPress admin area.
- Insights – where you go to access an overview of your Google Analytics statistics, to view your website’s traffic.
- MetaSlider – where you go to add or edit image slideshows.
- [Collapse menu] – will give you a smaller menu to deal with, using only icons.
*NOTE: your version of the WordPress CMS is completely responsive, so you can access any of the above functions in any browser on any size device!
The above items should be available by themselves if you’re logged in as an Editor, to minimize the amount of stuff you have to deal with. If you’re logged in as an Administrator, you will have access to everything, including the following items (if they are installed):
- WP SVG Icons – where you go to access the icons used in the “See More About Bainbridge Island” buttons on the Home page.
- Ninja Forms – where you go to access and make changes to the contact forms on your website.
- Beaver Builder – Your website has a 3rd-party, drag-and-drop editor plugin installed called Beaver Builder. My clients have usually found this to be the easiest way to add and edit content, and a number of enhancements have been made to the Beaver Builder functioning on your site. To use Beaver Builder, go to Pages > All Pages, and hover over the page you want to edit. Select “Beaver Builder.”
Check out the following video for an introduction on editing content using Beaver Builder (other videos below will show using Beaver Builder in more detail). The video plays here between 2:24 and 6:00… my own video is in the works, but this one will do for now:
- Classic Editor – Some WordPress users prefer to stay with the Classic Editor. To use the Classic Editor, go to Pages > All Pages, hover over the page you want to edit, and select “Edit.” Then select the “Text Editor” tab. You’ll want to take great care when switching between Beaver Builder and the Classic Editor, as preformatted pages can break when doing this!
To see my guide on Adding/Editing Page and Post content using the Classic Editor, visit:
WordPress Classic Editor Guide
- Gutenberg – If you follow WordPress, you may have heard about something called “Gutenberg.” As of WordPress version 5.0, the CMS has incorporated its own native, drag-and-drop block editor. This has been disabled in your case, as Beaver Builder serves the same purpose. In my clients’ experience, the Gutenberg editor is promising, but it is “not quite there yet” in terms of ease-of-use.
If you’re interested in giving Gutenberg a try, let Abell know.
- Making changes to the Home page slideshow – See below for my video on using MetaSlider, and how to make changes to the Home slideshow on your website:
- Managing images – Check out my video tutorial on managing images in the Media Library, organizing them into folders, and easily replacing images:
- Using the image editor – While it is recommended that you use Photoshop or similar software to do advanced image editing, WordPress has a basic built-in image editor that can perform a number of the tasks you might need to accomplish. When you’re viewing an image in the media window, click “Edit Image.” A new page will appear with a row of buttons at the top that will give you several options, with pop-up tool tips when you hover over them. You can change the size of an image by going to “Scale Image” and specifying the dimensions. Basic images within pages can be many different sizes, but should be limited to about 2400px wide for most website designs. It’s recommended that you not increase the size of lo-res images, as this will cause them to appear “fuzzy.” To crop an image, click and drag a little on the image to get a crop-box started, and then in the two “Selection” parameter windows to the right, enter your desired dimensions (e.g. 300 x 300)… this will make the crop-box the desired size. Hover over your box until you get a cursor with four arrows, drag the box to where you want it positioned, and click the Crop button in the top row of buttons (on the far left).
RESTORING ORIGINAL IMAGE – It is always recommended that you save an original version of the photo you are altering to your desktop before you save your changes in the WordPress image editor. However, if after saving your edited image you need to revert back to the original version, click Edit Image, and Restore Original Image.
NOTE: Images that are not optimized and/or are high resolution (300 dpi or more) may take a long time to upload (for example, images that have just been uploaded from your digital camera), and will probably not display as quickly as images that are optimized for the web. It’s typically best to optimize these images for the web in Photoshop or other software.
- Replace Media – A special plugin has been added to allow quick and easy replacement of items in the Media library. In the media library list view, hover over an item and select “Replace Media.” Make sure the new item has the exact same file name as the old item (e.g., “image.jpg”), select the “Just replace the file” radio button, and click Upload.
- Galleries – Check out my video tutorial on managing your photo galleries below:
- Controlling images – There are a number of ways to better control and customize display of your images in posts and pages, such as by “floating” images within a page, adding borders, and opening them using the “lightbox” effect.
See below for my video showing more about these options:
- Managing file sizes in Media Library – If you ever find yourself running out of disk space with your host, the culprit may be too many large images. Managing image sizes can be tricky… too big and you could run out of disk space eventually, and too small and they can appear pixellated if you try to display them larger. Your website has a number of improvements added to reduce the file size of larger images (known as “smushing”), as well as limiting the maximum height and width of uploaded images.
See below for my video showing more about managing image sizes:
- Contact Forms – Check out this video tutorial on making changes to your website’s contact forms using Ninja Forms:
- Viewing submissions to your contact form – When logged into WordPress as an admin: go to Ninja Forms > Submissions. This will show you a list of messages sent by users using your contact forms, in case you miss or delete an email received.
ADDITIONAL FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS
- Menus – For more on managing your navigation menu(s), first you’ll need to go to Appearance > Menus. Then check out the following video for more info on menus (plays here between 1:16 and 4:56):
- Footer Widgets – You have several widgets in a custom-built footer area of your website, with features such as a weather widget, social media links, and perhaps an option such as a small photo gallery.
Check out my video here to learn how to control these widgets, and I also show first-hand what to do if you hit a technical snag while working with WordPress (the answer is don’t panic!):
- SEO – You have a strong, free search engine optimization (SEO) plugin installed on your website called Yoast. Check out the video below for more on getting the most out of Yoast and how to make efforts to improve your search engine ranking (the video plays here after 8:41, as setup has already been taken care of):
- Analytics – I have created a Google Analytics account for you, and installed a free plugin that gives an overview of your statistics in WordPress. To view this, just go to Insights in the side menu.
This lite plugin gives a very limited snapshot, so to dive deeper into your traffic stats you should log directly into Analytics. A link and your login credentials will be sent to you after your website goes live. Check out the following comprehensive video to learn how to get the most out of Google Analytics:
NOTE for Island Wanderer: Your website’s traffic statistics will undoubtedly be important data for potential advertisers on your website, as this information will dictate what kind of ad rates you will be able to charge. Abell can discuss this with you further.
- Fairly frequently, your theme, plugins and WordPress itself will require updating. Updates typically happen when developers release security patches or add extra functionality. It’s an essential practice to keep your plugins/theme and WordPress itself updated to the latest versions. The top two reasons for sites being hacked are insecure passwords and outdated (vulnerable) software. WordPress has introduced automatic background updates in an effort to promote better security and to streamline the update experience, but by default, only minor WordPress releases are enabled (e.g. v5.1.1, v5.1.2). These minor releases are usually for maintenance and security purposes or translation file updates. Only core WordPress files will be auto-updated; your theme and plugins won’t be automatically updated by default. When your site is auto-updated, your site administrator will be notified by email. If your WordPress installation can’t update itself automatically for one reason or another, your site administrator will be notified of this as well. It is highly recommended that you have a developer perform your updates, as they can be delicate at times… updates can break your website if not done carefully and in the correct order, especially if they have not been done for a while.
For more information about assistance with ongoing WordPress maintenance, ask me about the Abell Smith Design WordPress Care Plans!