Twisted Strait WordPress Guide
NOTE: This is an abbreviated version of the full Abell Smith Design WordPress User Guide, meant to provide a few helpful tips only. This guide is typically intended for websites built by Abell Smith Design, so much of the information below may not apply to your site.
LOGGING IN TO WORDPRESS
Here’s where you go to log into the WordPress CMS:
You should already have your WordPress login credentials. Ask Abell for is last-known information if you can’t find them!
GETTING FAMILIAR WITH WORDPRESSBelow are a few items you might see in the menu to the left (among others for your particular website build), with some further information:
- 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” and “Contact Us.” They are organized hierarchically in a tree structure.
- Events – where you go to add or edit events in your Events Calendar.
- 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.
- WooCommerce – where you go to access your WooCommerce store, including a list of your Orders, creating Reports for your orders, and Settings for your store.
- Products – where you go to access the Products in your WooCommerce store, and adjust settings such as categories and tags.
- [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!
- You can customize many parts of your website’s overall look and feel using the “Customizer,” which you can access by going to Appearance > Customize. Check out the following video showing how to use the Customizer in Page Builder Framework, which is the framework that your theme was built upon. The video plays here between 3:01 and 9:40… my own video is in the works, but this one is a good place to start:
- The images and graphics (as well as PDFs and other files) live in the Media Library of WordPress. See below for some important tips and tutorials:
- 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. Hi-res images can also take up a ton of space on the server! It’s typically best to optimize these images for the web in Photoshop or other software.
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 contact information, upcoming events, social media links, and perhaps options such as an eNewsletter signup form or 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!):
- Events – Check out the following video showing how to add and edit events in your Events Calendar. The video plays here between :36 and 3:20… my own video is in the works, but this one will do for now:
- Using your WooCommerce Store – Here’s how you manage your website’s store, if you have one:
Your store was built using WooCommerce, a flexible, open-source eCommerce solution built on WordPress. There are a ton of WooCommerce tutorial videos out there to help you get familiar with the platform, but the below is one of the most complete and succinct. It’s recommended when you watch the video that you have your WordPress Dashboard open in separate browser tab, so you can pause the video often to try out the instructions. My own video is in the works, but this one is a good place to start… see the following time points in the video for aspects important to your website:
- The video starts below after 7:12, as setup will have already been taken care of.
- Settings [7:12 – 30:15] – Including tax settings, general shipping options, managing reviews, inventory settings, payment options, email notifications, and more.
- Products [30:15 – 56:00] – Everything you need to know about creating and editing products in your store, including:
- Creating a Simple Product [30:15] – Including setting product descriptions, price, product tax, managing inventory, product shipping, product images, categories and tags.
- Creating a Variable Product [36:15] – For products with variations, such as size and color.
- Creating a Complex Product [40:40] – For products with multiple variations.
- Parts of the video between 46:05 and 56:00 may not be needed for your website.
- Orders [56:00 – 58:00] – Everything you need to know about managing orders in your store, including:
- 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):
- Miscellaneous tips –
- 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.
- Embedding YouTube videos in a post or page – In YouTube: Navigate to the YouTube page for your selected video, and right below the video, click the “Share” tab. Select “Embed”, and you’ll get a window with the embed code. Copy this code.
In WordPress: To add a video into a post, choose Posts > Add New Post in the Classic Editor. Simply paste the embed code into the content of the new post in your WordPress Text Editor. Click “Publish.”
- From time to time, widgets, 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 and WordPress version 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. 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.
For more information about assistance with ongoing WordPress maintenance, ask me about the Abell Smith Design WordPress Care Plans!