On the World Wide Web, content is king. Interesting content drives visitors to your website, but organizing content so that it is attractive and easy to find is what makes visitors come back. In my post “WordPress – Intro to the Admin Console,” you learned how to find your way around the WordPress back-door. Now it is time to have some fun and to start adding content to your website with Pages, Categories, Posts, and Widgets.
Before you begin, you need to have a basic idea of how you want your website to look and behave. Consider the structure and layout of some websites you currently enjoy. WordPress provides you with unparalleled flexibility in the options available for presenting your content to the world. You can always make changes, but deciding the general structure of your website early on will save you a lot of time in restructuring your website in the future.
Pages and Posts are two basic ways to share your content with the internet world. Pages are most commonly used for static information e.g. information that does not often change. The pages at Dennis On-the-gO are Home, Blog, Portfolio, About Us, and Contact Us. The Blog page, of course, is where you will display your Posts. You have the option to have the Blog page as your landing page or to have a static “Home” page as your landing page, which would include a link to your Blog page.
Let’s get started! Login to your WordPress administration console to get to your Dashboard. On the main navigation sidebar, click on “Pages” and the work area will open where you can add pages or modify existing pages. Go ahead and add a few pages by selecting “Add New,” giving the page a name, typing some temporary content, and selecting “Publish” for each page (Don’t worry. You can edit and/or delete these at any time). Now click on your website name in the upper left corner of the console to visit your site and to view your handiwork. You should now see your new pages listed as navigation links on your blog page. Easy-peasy, right? Go ahead and navigate around your new website for a while to get a feel for it. Then click on your website name in the upper left corner to return to your administration console.
Categories work like folders in that they make it easy for your visitors to find content in your blog posts. The categories at Dennis On-the-gO are Travel, Technology, and Photography. Before you start adding posts, create your categories by hovering your pointer over “Posts” and selecting “Categories” in the expanded menu. Enter a category name and a “slug” (you can’t make this stuff up, but just type your category name again in all lower case), and click on “Add New Category.” You may add subcategories in the same way by selecting the parent category from the dropdown list.
Now you can create your first post by clicking on “Posts” and clicking on the “Add New” button. Give your post a name, select a category from the right side bar, and type some content in the middle work area. Go ahead and try some of the formatting options on the post toolbar such as bold, italic, and align center. When you are pleased with your work, click the “Publish” button. Categories will not appear on your website until they are actually used, so go ahead and create several sample posts using all of the categories that you created. Now click on your website name in the upper left corner of the console to visit your site and to see how the content you just created appears on your blog. Then click on your website name in the upper left corner to return to your administration console.
While you were exploring your ever-growing website, you might have noticed some navigation links on the sidebar of your home page. WordPress Widgets control these links and make it easy customize your sidebar content. WordPress typically installs the “Search,” “Recent Posts,” “Recent Comments,” “Archives,” ”Categories,” and “Meta” Widgets by default. You can add, remove, or change the order of this content by hovering over “Appearance” on the main navigation sidebar and clicking on “Widgets.”
The Widget Sub Panel will display a list of available widgets on the left and the used Widgets on the right. The coolest thing about the Widgets is that they are “drag and drop.” To use a Widget, drag it to the sidebar area. To remove a Widget, drag it to the left. You can also control the order in which they appear on the sidebar by dragging them into any arrangement that you like. You can also customize the content of the individual Widgets. For example, if you click the down arrow on the right side of “Categories,” you will open up several options that you can select from. You can easily control the layout of your web page without learning a single line of code. Pretty sweet, right?
You have now created an awesome foundation for the content on your website. Pages and Posts provide you with the platform to present your content to your audience, while Categories and Widgets help organize your content so that your audience can find it. In the next installment of this series, you will learn how to make your website really sizzle with WordPress Themes and Plugins. If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the section below.