With over 455 million websites and counting, WordPress is the leading content management system available. Not only is WordPress safe, secure, and highly customizable, but the software is free to use (excluding domain and hosting costs), making it the perfect website builder for authors. But if you’re not tech-savvy, the many options, functions, and menus available through WordPress might seem a little overwhelming. Not to worry! The tech experts at Web Design Relief have put together a beginner’s guide to WordPress for writers to help you with the basics and start you on the path to building an amazing author website.
WordPress For Writers: A Beginner’s Guide
Choose Your Domain And Hosting
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of working with WordPress, you have to purchase your domain name and pick a hosting service. We recommend www.Domain.com for all your domain needs. Some common ways to create your author website domains are:
Why do you need website hosting? Website hosting is the online server space where your website will live in order to be accessed by users through the World Wide Web. Without web hosting, the only person who will see your website is you.
Here are our experts’ recommendations for WordPress-compatible website hosting:
Sign Into Your Website—Made Easy
To access the backend of your author website (the place where you will control and maintain all aspects of the website), you must use a special URL. Thankfully, this URL is easy to remember. Simply add /wp-admin or /wp-login.php to the end of your domain name. For example, YourName.com/wp-admin or YourName.com/wp-login.php. This will take you directly to your login page, where you can input your personal credentials and access your WordPress Admin Dashboard.
An Overview of the WordPress Admin Dashboard
Your dashboard may look complicated to navigate on your first visit. It’s packed with different pages, subpages, and settings that are used to control the appearance and functionality of your author website. Here are the sections you should become familiar with.
- Dashboard: brings you back to the main page of the dashboard (pictured above).
- Home: takes you to the homepage of your website.
- Updates: allows you to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress. It is also where you will keep your plugins and themes up to date (more on plugins and themes later in this article).
- Posts: for creating, publishing, and editing new blog posts.
- Media: takes you to your image, PDF, and video library. This is where you can manage your media content and upload new photos or add photo captions.
- Pages: for accessing and managing the main resources on your website. This typically includes your Home, About, and Contact pages, as well as any other features you’ve added.
- Comments: where you’ll read, moderate, and delete comments on your blog posts.
- Appearance: where you can edit your menu bar and apply themes to change the general appearance of your website pages.
- Plugins: install or update software additions to the website.
- Users: where you can create logins and edit settings for the different roles that maintain the website—subscribers, editors, writers, and administrators.
- Tools: allows you to troubleshoot issues on your website. It also gives you the option to import or export blog posts to and from other content managers like Wix, Tumblr, and more.
- Settings: here you’ll find the bulk of your options for viewing and using your website. You can change the title and tagline of your website, edit your permalinks, and so much more!
The dashboard is also where you can view the latest activity on your website, make a quick blog post, and explore WordPress through the search bar.
Select Your Themes And Plugins
Themes and plugins are the heart and soul of your author website. Themes let you select the visual elements of your website: layout, color scheme, and fonts. You can browse and select from thousands of themes, both free and paid. From simple, easy-to-use layouts to massive mega-themes, you’ll find a multitude of design options in the Theme Directory.
Designer Tip: Because themes are essentially predesigned web pages, your author website may look generic, especially if the theme doesn’t allow for advanced customization. For a truly personalized author website, you should hire a design team like the experts at Web Design Relief.
Plugins are helpful additions you can install on your website to improve its functionality or add exciting features. For example, you may want to add a slideshow plugin to display your photos in a creative way, or add a CAPTCHA plugin to boost the security of your contact form. Here are our 5 favorite plugins for your WordPress author website.
And if you’d rather leave the technical design aspects of building your author website to knowledgeable experts, the design team at Web Design Relief is here for you. We’ve created memorable author websites for countless satisfied writers—let us help you too! Schedule a free consultation call today!
Question: What has working with WordPress been like for you?