WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that you can use to create a website or blog. This article contains WordPress tips on installing themes, useful plugins, backing up your website, and more.
What is the difference between Wordpress.org and wordpress.com?
WordPress.com is a hosted web platform, typically used to create blogs and small websites, while WordPress.org offers a customisable, self-hosted web platform for more advanced websites.
WordPress.org is the self hosted version of this open source blogging platform. The main advantages are that you can upload custom themes and plugins, and have complete control over changes to the code. Some technical knowledge is required to set up initially, and you need a good web hosting company. Also, you are responsible for stopping spam, backing up data and updating the WordPress software.
Using WordPress.com means that you don’t have to worry about the setup, backing up, security, spam and software updates. You are part of an online community. You can customise an existing theme, but you can’t upload themes or install plugin, or change the PHP code.
Backing up your WordPress website
Your website consists of your main website files and a database of your website, both of which require backing up. Hosting companies usually back up files daily and may have a facility to ‘roll back’ to how your website was a month or a week ago.
I recommend backing up your website’s database using a plugin called WP-DB-Backup. You can schedule this plugin to perform regular backups and save or email them to you.
If you are using a free theme, you can install and activate it directly through your dashboard. Go to: Appearance > Add New Theme, search for it by name, then install and activate it.
If you purchase a commercial theme, you will need to upload it to your web site and activate it.
What is a plugin?
A plugin is a piece of software that can be added to your WordPress website in order to add new features or extend functionality. Plugins, themes and the WordPress software itself all need to be kept up-to-date with the latest version.
Some useful WordPress plugins
- XML Sitemaps
- Comment Control
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
- Contact Form 7
- Soliloquy slider
- WP Updates notifier
- Yoast SEO
- All in One SEO Pack
SEO using the Yoast plugin
The Yoast SEO plugin is a great tool for search engine optimisation – helping you get your website noticed by search engines such as Google. It steers you to write better content based on your chosen keywords – the words that people use to search for your website. It can automatically generate XML sitemaps, enable ‘breadcrumbs’, add social and schema markup, as well as many other optimisations.
The plugin doesn’t do the SEO for you. It simply offers recommendations for you to optimise your data. When you write a blog post or page you should have a focus keyword in mind. Then enter this into the Yoast plugin so that it can recommend how you can optimise your page.
You can easily add meta title tags and meta description tags using the Yoast SEO plugin
What is a widget
Widgets provide a way to add design to specific areas of your website such as a ‘sidebar’ or footer area. From the dashboard, Go to Appearance then Widgets.
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS).It is free to install, use, and upgrade. There are thousands of plugins and templates which reduce the time it takes to create a great looking website.
I hope this has been useful. You can find more support in the WordPress support forum. For more help telephone Jane Walker on 0777 169 1194.
You may be interested in reading our website health check article.