Basics of WordPress
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to create and maintain websites without knowing all the nitty gritty of programming including HTML and other fun stuff. WordPress originally started off as a blogging platform and while there is lot more functionality to it now - that is still it's core task and what it does best.
How do We Use WordPress?
From a technical perspective, a blog is simply a list of articles written that are generally displayed in the order they were written - with the most recent article being first. In WordPress, these articles are called Posts. All updates to the SciMaTech site such as News and Opportunites are Posts.
Here are the main types of content that you will be dealing with on the SciMaTech website:
- Posts - timely news items
- Pages - are more long-term content. These are generally items that you access via the About Us menu. Those will need to be updated and added but not with the same degree of frequency.
- Events - for the calendar. These are entered as part of a post but work a little differently.
- Forms - forms are used to gather data such as surveys, signups for email as well as a contact form.
- Posts are content entries listed in reverse chronological order.
- Timely content.
- Display a date and time stamp.
- Older posts are archived based on month and year.
- Organize based on categories & tags.
- Since WordPress was originally a blogging tool, posts are the most common form of content.
Here’s how to edit and manage Posts.
- “One-off” type content or content that doesn’t change.
- Not meant to be social so in most cases not social sharing buttons or comments.
- Hierarchical in nature.
- Can create custom page templates
- Can set the order of pages.
Usefulness of Pages
- Good place to store non-changing material.
- Can be used to create more complex designs.
- Can use custom templates
- Can create sub pages making it easier for visitors and search engines to find related material.
- What is the difference?
- Think of categories as the table of contents for a book and tags as index.
- Categories are hierarchical – tags are not.
- Posts can only belong to one category – can belong to multiple tags.
- Tags are best used to create groups of content that belongs to multiple categories.
- If you were creating a recipe book your categories might look like this:
- Main Dishes
- Tags would go across categories such as low-carb, vegetarian, breakfast.
- First, think about what categories you need to organize your site.
- When viewing a post – look at the Categories box and click on Add New Category.
- Or on the Dashboard go to Posts -> Categories.
- Enter the following:
- Slug – URL friendly version – no caps, no spaces
- Parent – if there is one
- Description – brief description
- Not as much thinking required! Have some fun with these.
- Can be one-offs – doesn’t have to refer to whole post – just a single section.
- But, they should occur in more than one post.
- Should not duplicate categories.
- Add the same way as Categories – either from within a post or from Posts -> Tags.
- Enter name, slug and description.
So, How Do You Use them?
- First off – less is more. Don’t go too overboard.
- They both help SEO
- Generally speaking – categories are used logically such as navigational menus or sidebar menus.
- Tag clouds are a great way to show which tags are used a lot
Content vs. Structure
There is another important distinction to be made - Content which is all the material that makes up a website and the Structure which is how it is organized and runs. We discussed types of content above - posts, pages, events and forms. Structure includes items like:
- Menus - to allow the users to access information
- Users - create users who have access to specific parts of the website via permissions
- Page Builder - a tool that allows you graphically change the layout of the page
- Admin tools - such as backup and website optimization
Generally speaking when you are looking at the website as a user - you are looking at the front end. With the new theme we are using - you can add posts, pages, events and more directly from the front-end. Once you start to add/edit content - you will automatically be transferred to the back end of WordPress. You can do the same thing from here with a slightly different layout. We'll be covering both ways in the instructions - use whatever is easiest for you!