WordPress CMS Tutorial (Step By Step) For Beginners In 2023

wordpress cms

wordpress cms now powers over 455 million websites worldwide and is constantly growing both its market share and its feature set. I’ll now walk you through using every feature of WordPress, from installation to content publication.  Because WordPress was made available in 2003, the internet underwent shift. It started out as a straightforward blogging platform before developing into the CMS that currently has a market share of more than 40% in the website construction sector.

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) that makes use of PHP and MySQL. Additionally, as it is open-source software, the only true expense is for your site hosting services.

But let’s talk about a few things first.

What Is a CMS and How Does It Work?

Software designed specifically for creating, disseminating, and managing web content is known as a content management system (CMS). The fact that this software generally accommodates numerous users makes it ideal for big teams and partnerships.

This is accomplished in WordPress by using the User Role system. The ability to generate and change material for your website through several high-level users is made possible by doing this.

A CMS typically consists of two components: a Content Delivery Application (CDA) and a Content Management Application (CMA) (CDA). The CMA is the part of the website that users can use to add or remove material without having to know any code.

However, the content you produce in the CMA is really delivered by the CDA. Various CMSs are available.

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: What’s the Difference?

WordPress.org, or self-hosted WordPress, is what most people mean when they mention the platform. It is important to distinguish this from WordPress.com.

Although both of these employ the WordPress platform, there is no way to overstate how dissimilar their features and functionalities are.

Still perplexed? I’ll explain.

While WordPress.org is the actual program, WordPress.com is a service that makes it easier for you to use that software. Your options for hosting companies and the services you can use with WordPress.com are constrained.

In contrast, you have total control over every aspect of your website while using WordPress.org. Because of this, WordPress.org is by far the most widely used alternative, and this lesson will focus on it.

How to Build a WordPress Website

WordPress is incredibly simple to use, although it might be intimidating at first. There are just too many possibilities, not because something is difficult or difficult to find. Because of this, using WordPress more is the greatest method to learn how to utilize it.

I’ll go over each step in detail and show you how to build a website using WordPress in this video to get you going.

Installing WordPress

WordPress’s accessibility is one of the reasons it has amassed such a sizable following over the years. Additionally, this has to deal with how acceptable the system’s system needs are as well as how simple the system is to use.

The prerequisites are as follows:

PHP 5.2.4 or later is required.
Version 5.0.15 or later of MySQL
As a result, WordPress installation is supported by all significant web hosting companies. In actuality, practically all of them offer an auto-installer similar to Softaculous. Therefore, even though the installer you use may change in name, you may usually install it easily.


Step 1: Installing WordPress Using Softaculous

Softaculous is not just for setting up WordPress. Instead, it may be used to install every well-liked CMS as well as other programs. Having said that, it only takes a minute to use it for WordPress.

The top Softaculous selections for WordPress should be visible. Select “Install” from the menu.

Now, you have the ability to change a few installation parameters if you so choose. Actually, all that’s required to complete is a click on the “Quick Install” button, but let’s quickly go over some of the other choices you have.

The installation will by default take place on your domain name, however you do have the choice to install it on a subdomain if you have one. Additionally, the version, which is always the most recent release, can be chosen. I constantly advise utilizing the most recent installation.

Step 3: Site Settings

You can select a site name and create a site description in the Site Settings section. Feel free to skip these details if you are unsure of them because you can update them directly in WordPress at a later time.

Two additional checkboxes, Enable Multisite (WPMU) and Disable WordPress Cron, will be shown. These are unchecked by default, and I advise leaving them that way.

Step 4: Admin Account

You may customize the admin account in the Admin Account area, which is very significant. You can enter the email address and create an admin login and password here.

The admin password is “pass,” and the admin username is admin. Every WordPress installation has this problem, which is a significant security hole. Your admin account and password should be changed immediately, in my opinion.

You will require this information to log in, so write it down.

A admin email will also be displayed. Web hosting businesses will typically utilize admin@YourDomainName.com. You should absolutely alter this to the email address you use for professional purposes, or take a moment to make one specifically for this account.

Step 5: Finish the Installation

The remaining settings, such as plugins and themes, are stuff we’ll talk about later. So let’s leave things alone for the time being, but keep in mind that if you make another website, you can quickly alter these during installation.

Simply clicking the “Install” button at the bottom is all that’s required.

At this point, you just need to sit back and wait for the installation to finish. Once the software is installed, it’s time to check out your new website.

Exploring the WordPress Dashboard

You will first see the dashboard and admin panel when you log into your WordPress website. Understanding this view is crucial if you want to learn how to use and manage WordPress. These allow you to explore your website.

The good news is that it’s really easy to do this. The software does a great job of properly naming its sections and offering a variety of suboptions to make it easy for you to discover what you’re looking for where you’d expect it to be.

Despite being easy, it can still be overwhelming when you first log in, so let’s go over the most important features.

Step 1: Log Into Your Website

Now that WordPress has been installed, you may be asking how to log in to your website. Visit YourDomainName.com/wp-login.php by typing it into your browser. Don’t forget to substitute your actual domain name for “YourDomainName.”

NOTE: It could take some time for domain name servers to cycle through your domain and website. In other words, it may take several hours for all of the ISPs connected to the Internet to become aware of the existence of your website. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it take longer than ten minutes, though.

The screen that follows should appear. Enter the admin account’s username and password that you created in the earlier steps.

Step 2: The Dashboard

The dashboard is the first thing you’ll see when logging in. Although this area can be completely customized, by default it includes the following modules:

Quick Look Activity

Site Health Quick Draft WordPress News and Events
By clicking on the top of each one (your mouse will change to a four-arrow cross) and dragging it to the desired position, you may reposition them. Upon installation, a lot of plugins and themes will increase the number of dashboard widgets on your website.

Check out this comprehensive guide if you’re interested in further customizing the dashboard.

Step 3: The Admin Panel

There are numerous options that you can interact with on the left side of the screen. When you hover your cursor over a lot of these options, sub-options start to appear:

In some cases, you might notice a red circle with a number on the inside.

Usually, there will be this many things that need your attention. Before you start freaking out, know that these typically only appear when an update or new comment is available. This icon may be used by some plugins to notify you of additional crucial activities you need to take.

The key is that you should pay attention to these notifications because they are typically just alerts.

Through this admin panel, you may access anything WordPress has to offer, and it will be visible in most places. One of the greatest ways for novices to learn WordPress is to figure out where all of the choices you frequently use are located.

Choosing A WordPress Theme

A WordPress theme is a set of stylesheets and layouts that determines how your website will look. Or, to put it another way, a theme is what gives your website a specific appearance, and they are crucial to WordPress.

Since it directly affects how everyone views your material, picking a theme is typically the first thing you do when beginning a new website. Either use a free theme from the WordPress directory or buy a premium theme are options available to you.

So, you might be asking what makes a premium theme different from a free theme.

A premium theme will typically provide you with extra support options, sometimes including live chat help, but this will primarily depend on the themes you are comparing.

Step 1: Add A New Theme

The process of adding a new theme is rather simple. Making a decision is difficult because there are so many options available. I’ll demonstrate how to include a free theme from the WordPress theme repository.

If a premium theme piques your interest, keep in mind that the website where you purchase it must provide installation instructions.

Choose Themes from the Appearance menu by clicking on it.

The year you are reading this post in, or Twenty Twenty-One, should be the only theme you have by default. Every year, WordPress offers a brand-new theme that is designated for that year only.

To access the theme library, click on the “Add New” icon.

There are 4,383 themes available as of the time of writing. It’s a pretty difficult decision, as I mentioned. To discover a certain theme, use the search bar in the top right corner.

For instance, searching for eCommerce may turn up themes created for it if you are setting up an online store.

When you find a theme you think you might like, hover over it and select “Preview.”

This should display a preview of the theme for you, but occasionally you might not see anything. This is actually a known WordPress bug that hasn’t been fixed as of the time this article was written.

Click the “Install” button if you like the theme; otherwise, browse for another.

Now, just click on the “Activate” button and the theme will become your current appearance.

Step 2: Customizing Your Theme

Because each theme is different, it can be challenging to address this in a tutorial. When choosing a theme, many professionals take into account how you personalize it and the resources at your disposal.

I will thus try to highlight the typical tools you might use to alter it.

Let’s start by noting the options that your theme offers. These are accessible through the Appearance option. The various settings that the Hello Elementor and ColorMag themes provide are displayed below.

As you can see, the ColorMag theme provides many more customization options. Many people choose to spend money on premium themes since they typically provide a wide range of customization choices.

Now, the WordPress Customizer, which they all support, is the most popular method for editing a theme. Select Customize from the Appearance section’s drop-down menu.

On the left-hand side, you will see the options provided to you by your theme. Again, each theme is unique.

Your website’s home page is visible to the right, and you are free to browse it. The presence of a blue pencil next to an element indicates that it is editable for that particular page or post. The choices are determined by the element itself.

Custom CSS code can be entered by selecting the Additional CSS option on the left-hand side. A novice could find this confusing, however there are actually many examples you can copy and paste online.

The best aspect is that you can watch the code in action in real time, which makes it quite helpful.

Just remember all custom CSS code in the Customizer is theme-specific. If you change themes, you will have to re-enter the code.

Adding Plugins to WordPress

A plugin is a little piece of software that gives your website an additional feature or function. The greatest analogy for them is that they are similar to smartphone apps. Each one upgrades your phone with a unique application.

Plugins, which are available in every size and shape, accomplish the same task for WordPress.

There are free and premium versions of plugins, just like themes. The primary distinction in this instance is that premium plugins frequently include more capabilities not present in the free version. However, add-ons are something more particular to plugins.

In addition to offering new functionality, add-ons can be either free or expensive. I understand what you’re thinking right now: “This sounds like a lot,” but the truth is that it’s really simple and straightforward.

All you need to do is search for a plugin that has the feature you need, install it, and set it up.

Let’s cover the process.

Step 1: Install A Plugin

The good news is that, once you know how to do it, installing a plugin is quite simple and only takes a few seconds. Similar to themes, there are a ton of possibilities huge pick from, and there is intense competition.

Say, for instance, that you want to design a contact form so that clients can get in touch with you or that you can gather information. You have roughly 100 alternatives available to you.

The good thing is that since most plugins are free, you can quickly test them out to determine whether they’re a good fit. Each plugin also has a separate page that details all of the tool’s features.

Let’s start.

To add a new plugin, click Plugins and choose Add New.

This is the plugin library where you can look for a plugin using the search box in the top-right corner.

Let’s take the case where you want to implement a security plugin as an example. In the box, type security plugin. If you are certain of what you are looking for, you may also type the plugin name directly.

In general, WordPress does its best to show the plugins that have the most users, the highest ratings, and are the most recent. While some searches, like “Security Plugin,” produce 29 pages of results, others don’t.

Find a plugin you like by browsing the plugins. To view the whole list of features, select More Details.

If you like what you see, click on the Install Now button and activate the plugin for use. If not, look for another plugin.

Step 2: Configuring A Plugin

Another difficult topic to cover in a broad tutorial is plugins because they are distinct from themes and vice versa.

Sometimes the plugin merely works without any user input and there are no configuration choices available. Sometimes the plugin needs to be configured before it can function.

Identifying the type of plugin you are working with is the challenging part. Check out the plugin page directly, is the best advise I can offer. They often give video training as well as a list of all the information you want.

Those plugin options are not present in the Plugins section, which is one complaint I have with WordPress. They may appear in the Tools and other times in the Settings section.

Creating WordPress Content in Gutenberg

You will have to learn how to utilize the Gutenberg editor while creating a website in WordPress. The good news is that this editor is simple to learn because it was designed with novices in mind.

Just make sure you are aware of where everything is.

As a block-based editor, Gutenberg only requires that you add a block with the appropriate feature. Say, for illustration, that you want to include an image. Just add an Image block to solve the issue. It usually is that straightforward.

I can’t cover all of the options because each block has its own, but I will go through the key ones.

Step 1: Enter the Editor

Therefore, you must first enter the editor. The functionality is the same whether you’re writing or modifying a post or page in WordPress.

Let’s start a new post on WordPress. To do this, click Posts and then choose Add New from the menu.

This is the Gutenberg editor. At the top, there is a title block added to every post or page. You must fill this out. Typically this should contain a keyword and tell the audience what the post or page is about.

Step 2: The Paragraph Block and Basics

It’s now time to include a block. The paragraph block is always the default block when you click on the editor. You guessed it, writing paragraphs is what this block is for.

Options for text alignment, bold, italics, link creation, and more are available.

You will use this block the most frequently.

You can uncover more options for any block by clicking on the settings wheel and selecting the block tab on the right-hand side.

The options will be different for every block. In the case of the Paragraph block, there is where you can change the font size or the color of the font. Each block has a lot of customization available, so, you just need to know where to look to use it.

Now, let’s add an image.

Step 3: Adding Additional Blocks (Image Block)

To accomplish this, we must add an Image block, which is simple. To begin a new line, first press the Enter key on your keyboard. You will notice a black box with a + sign in the middle to the right of that line; click on it.

When you first click on it, you will see the most common blocks, which will change as you use the editor more.

At the top, there is a search feature that you can use to search for a block. In this case, either select the Image block if it is there or search for it and select it.

The image block should now be in the Gutenberg editor. It’s pretty straightforward and consists of three buttons:

  • Upload: Allows you to select a file on your computer to add to the block. Do take note that the file will be added to your media library as well.
  • Media Library: This will allow you to view your media library and use an existing image on your website. The option to upload an image to the media library is also availble.
  • Insert From URL: You can use the link of an image to add it to the post or page. Again, the image will then be added to your media library.

Since this is a fresh install, you won’t have any images in the media library, so you will want to use the “Upload” button to add one from your computer. Once you select one and add it, you can see it in the editor.

Like we did for the paragraph block, if you click on the block and look at the additional settings in the block tab, you will see choices specific to the image block. Again, every block is the same in this regard.

Step 4: Publishing Content

Now let’s say we are happy with our content and want to turn it into a live page. This is pretty simple and only requires clicking one button, but before that, I always recommend making sure the page looks like you want it to.

You can do this by using the “Preview” button. This will let you see what the page will look like when it goes live.

I always recommend looking at a preview before publishing content. It’s just a good policy. If everything looks good, click on the “Publish” button.

Your post or page is now online after that. You are still free to make changes. Simply click the “Update” button, which is located precisely where the “Publish” button once was, to save any edits.

When creating or modifying a WordPress post or page, this procedure is the same.

Optimizing WordPress

The fundamentals of WordPress were recently covered, and you might think that it’s not too difficult. However, sticking to the basics won’t help you manage a profitable website.

In order to give visitors the greatest experience and to create a productive environment, you must also optimize your website to speed up WordPress.

WordPress uses the term “optimization” extremely loosely because there are countless different approaches that can be taken. Instead, I’ll go over some of the terminology you might hear when talking about optimization and the tools you can use to enhance the effectiveness of your website for that subject.

Let’s start with the most basic requirement for every website: Continually update

Topic 1: Updates

WordPress is the most widely used CMS available, making it a target for many malicious people, including hackers and automated programs. They search for security flaws in the WordPress program.

The good news is that using WordPress is very safe, provided you keep it updated. There are two methods for updating software: manually and automatically.

Staying current is made easy with automatic updates, however occasionally updates might have faults or cause incompatibilities. As a result, while many novices opt to enable automatic updates, larger websites and specialists typically wait a little longer and perform it manually.

This gives them time to test the update in a testing environment to ensure nothing breaks. In most cases, automatic updates are a great choice, but I always recommend manual updates.

Besides, it’s easy to do.

Click on Dashboard and select the Updates option.

If there is a small red circle with a number in the middle, that represents the number of updates available. The updates are for WordPress core files, plugins, and themes.

If there is a new version of WordPress, click on the “Update to version X.X.X” button.

Update options for plugins and themes can be found in the corresponding parts of this page. Follow this guide if you’re interested in setting up automatic updates.

Topic 2: Backups

As you may have seen in the last subject, WordPress prompted you to make a backup of your website before updating. Although backups may not always increase site performance, they do give a crucial additional degree of security.

The basic line is that a backup of some kind should be present on every website.

When anything goes wrong (and believe me, something will go wrong at some point), having a backup enables you to swiftly fix an error without suffering from a protracted downtime. At the very least, if it’s current. WordPress has a ton of backup options, which is fortunate.

Topic 3: Optimizing Images

You will use a lot of photographs if you want to run a blog or an online store. And while that’s quite acceptable, you must make sure your photographs are optimized.

WordPress will automatically resize any image you upload. This is fantastic, however it is a lot of information. Imagine having to upload an image that is 600 x 600 pixels but only needs to be 200 x 200.

That is a huge waste. And since larger photos take longer to load, this might easily cause your website to slow down.

You have several choices. First off, you can modify photographs in photo editing tools like PhotoShop before uploading them to WordPress. The most widely used strategy and program is this one.

Topic 4: Security

WordPress can be kept secure by updating, but that alone is insufficient. As an alternative, you must ensure that a security plugin is installed to shield you from spambots as well as hackers.

A variety of security plugins are available, including firewalls, access to RECAPTCHA to stop spambots, and many more safeguards. They might, however, also be the cause of your website’s lag. These are really powerful plugins that are quite huge.

They are unique, just like all plugins, thus you must properly configure them if you don’t want your website to load slowly.

Every one has several configurable settings and functionalities. Your choice of website platform also has a big impact.

Topic 5: Web Hosting

Your web hosting arrangements are arguably a WordPress website’s most crucial component. They supply and look after the servers that power your website, which has a significant impact on how well it performs.

But not every web server offers the same service.

Some older servers don’t use SSD technology, which will seriously affect performance. Other times, your virtual neighbors can be using more than they should or you might be in a shared hosting environment that doesn’t have the resources you need.

In any case, you must choose a web server that can offer super-fast speeds and uptime of at least 99%.

We Have So Much More To Teach You

WordPress is an amazing software that makes building websites easy, but due to the high level of customization available, the learning curve is a bit high. That said, nothing is particularly hard, it’s really just the sheer number of options.

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