Yes, there are lots of things you want to know about using WordPress, but for this post I’ve narrowed it right down to 10 facts that I believe everyone using WordPress needs to know.
- The right hosting for WordPress is vital and makes a big difference to how simple it is to work with. When you are thinking of installing WordPress, read this post for the information you need to ask your host or ask us for some suggestions (we only recommend the best based on personal experience).And actually the next release of WordPress will need your hosting to be even more up-to-date – and really, do you want to host on outdated servers?
Even better is if your host has a “1-click WordPress install” – now that really is the best way to go and is what we use. It is the simplest thing to do.
- You will want to use images; blog posts especially benefit from having images in them. You will need something to make your images a sensible size for uploading to WordPress and loading on the web page. Take a look at some of the free tools such as Picasa, Gimp, Resize Your Image – or do a Google for a free image resizer, perhaps.
- You must backup your WordPress and set a schedule for this to action automatically for you – one of those “just do it” things! There are all kinds of free plugins that will do this for you – take a look at this Back-up your WordPress post for more on this.
- You do not have to spend a lot of money on a fancy premium theme. Indeed beyond the hosting and your domain name, it can all be free apart from your time. You can even build a perfectly presentable website with the theme already installed for you.Many people feel they need to have a premium theme (design) but sometimes that’s actually not going to be best for what you want your WordPress website/blog to do. So think carefully first about what you and your readers really want to see.
- You will need to spend time updating your WordPress – when a new version is available and when the plugins you’ve installed are updated too. This is not as geeky as it can seem and as long as you follow the routine we’ve suggested, it need not be something to fear.
- Just about anything you want to know about any aspect of using WordPress can be found at their own website – any kind of problem, error message, function you want to add – visit the WordPress.org website and search for it. You will not be the first person to have that error or problem, and others will have asked in the forum and had help. Failing that, Google it – every time I come across a new error, that’s exactly what I do and every time I find the answer.
- Your menu (navigation bar) can include links to pages, posts, other websites, blog categories – anything that you can link to, basically. This was one of the new features that I got most excited about when it was added. It is wonderful and useful to know that you can have whatever you want in your menu.
- You will need a spam filter. You can use the already installed Akismet – it works brilliantly but if your blog or website is for business use then you do need to pay – at $5 per month it is likely to be worth it. We are testing out free options and will report on those in detail, and of course if you use something like Disqus to handle your comments, then you’ll not be bothered by the spam. But you will need to choose something that deals with it – try without for a month if you want to, then come back and look at the review of options post that will be live by then 😉
- WordPress is excellent for your website. Yes, it was for bloggers and still is perfect for that, but if you (also) want to be able to edit your website pages yourself then WordPress is the answer. Your nephew may be competent with html and/or Dreamweaver or whatever they use these days – tell him to get to grips with WordPress for you and use that – the result will more easily be of a professional level (no offence to nephews who do know their stuff).
You do not need to be a geek to use WordPress. Something we work hard on at The Blogmistress is to sweep away any such notion and cut out the geekery so that anyone feels comfortable using WordPress. Really – you can do it. Sometimes you may prefer to do as you’re told – we’re here to do that, or to hold your hand. Just be sure to back up your WordPress before you play with it and you’ll be able to backtrack, if you have to. Whatever happens – do not panic – keep calm and send out the signal for the Blogmistress to help 😉
I hope this is helpful for you – if you think of anything else that you want to know, or that you think others using WordPress need to know, please share.