I don't know about you, but I love learning. What I don't love is the learning process. I have been creating websites with WordPress for over a decade, and I often find something entirely new. Whether it be a plugin, theme, or a simple setting inside the dashboard, it sometimes takes me hours to figure it out.
This website you are on is hosted on the WordPress content management system, which by the way is the easiest CMS that I have ever come across. Once I learned it, I was hooked!
I wanted to write about the top questions WordPress users ask when just starting out. These are the answers that could literally take days to find in all the rubbish online.
How Do I Create a Menu?
Go to Appearance ---> Menus. It will ask you to give your menu a name. If it is your main menu, such as where your top pages will be displayed, just call it "Main Menu". This name is only for your reference.
On the left hand side, it will show you all of your website's pages. Click on the ones that you want displayed, and add them to the menu.
Under Menu Settings, click the box that says "Primary Navigation". You can also select to add all top level pages to this menu.
That is the most basic use of Menu's. There is also an option to add a link in your menu. For example, if you have a page on your site that you want to link to, you can add it, and have it appear on your home menu.
What Permalink Settings Should I Use?
A permalink is the URL structure of the page. For example, for this particular page on HenrySanders.org, the permalink will look like this: http://www.henrysanders.org/is-wordpress-causing-you-heartburn/. You always want a clean permalink, rather than something that looks like this: http://www.henrysanders.org/?p=123.
Once you name your post, the system will automatically generate the permalink for you. If you have a long title, and want to shorten the permalink, simply click the edit button located just under the title, and to the right of permalink, and change it to your desired URL. It can be something completely different from the title of your post.
In order to get your URL structure to look like the 1st version above, go to Settings ---> Permalinks, and select the "Post Name" option, then click save changes. That's it. Now, all of your pages and posts will have a clean, search engine friendly URL.
What Theme Should I Use?
This is where it get's a little tricky. Free WordPress themes are great when you are first starting out, but if you are serious about your website, I highly recommend a paid theme. You can search for premium themes online, but I recommend Theme Forest. They have great themes that were created by the best in the business, and can be purchased for a reasonable price.
Keep in mind that once you migrate from a free theme to a paid one, the difficulty level increases, as does the learning process. I still get hemmed up sometimes after purchasing a new theme. Most times with a paid theme, there are tutorials and support desks to answer your questions.
If worse comes to worse, you can go to YouTube.com and search for tutorials on your particular theme. This type of video is not hard to find.
Why Does My Image Direct to My Website When I Click on it?
When you add an image to your page or post, once you click the "Add Media" button, it will allow you to upload an image. WordPress automatically attaches this file to your URL. All you have to do is simply deselect this option after the file uploads, and the image will be released from your URL. You will see it as "Link To", and "Media File" will be selected. Select none, save, and you are finished.
Do I Have to Use Categories and Tags In My Posts?
First of all, that is the great thing about using WordPress. You don't really have to "DO" anything. You can keep your website as general as you like, but there are reasons why you may want to add categories. If you plan to build a website that has many different topics, you will likely want to integrate categories where you can organize your posts. This is helpful to your visitors, and may keep them on your site longer.
I really have no opinion on tags, as far as whether you should use them or not. They were used in the past for search engine optimization, but that ended as quickly as it began. If you do choose to use them, I would recommend using general keywords, and never stuff several different versions of your keyword into the tags.
Will My Website Automatically Rank in Google?
Ummm... NO! Optimizing your website for the search engines is just the first step in getting visitors. There is a disbelief that once you build a nice website, people will come. This could not be any further from the truth.
There are so many factors to take into consideration, that summing them all up in one post is not only impossible, but is likely to be irrelevant by the time you read this. That is how quickly the game changes. An SEO expert is the only advice I could give if you are really wanting to ramp up your rankings, and can afford to invest a little to make that happen.
If you are looking for a search engine optimization specialist that focuses on a particular niche, such as SEO for Dentists, Doctors, Plumbers, Roofers, or Law Firm SEO, you may want to consider doing a search for your product or service to find a company familiar with your industry.
If you are thinking about hiring a company to increase your website traffic, I have written an informative post on that that you can read by clicking here.
Good luck with WordPress, and please comment below with any questions.