Starting with WordPress 5/5 – How to create posts, categories, tags, use widgets and themes

Welcome back. This week’s post is the last part of the Starting with WordPress series. Today we are going to learn about creating posts, adding categories and tags, how to use widgets and why is it important to have your content ready before activating a new theme. 

The aim of this 5 part series is to teach you the basics of WordPress by which you will be able to build you own WordPress website. These are general WordPress related information, showing you that you don’t need a fancy builder to create a website to start out.

If you followed along with the previous 4 posts you already know

 Let’s dive in.

Create a new post

Creating a post is a really useful tool if you are planning to write a blog – however it is not just for blogs. If you have a broad topic – e.g fitness, nutrition, wellness you can write posts in these different topics and still be able to differentiate them. 

To create a new post go to Post / Add New.

The layout is basically the same as on the pages. You can check how the post looks like by pressing Preview and also publish it when you are finished editing.

Editing your post can be done through WordPress’ default editor. By using the icons, you can add new blocks, images, headings and gallery.

Play around with the different blocks and see what they good for. There are several different options to consider:

  • Headings – are used for titles and highlights
  • Paragraphs – regular body copy on a page
  • Images – on image
  • Gallery – more images placed in together
  • Quotes 

You can also add formatting elements, tables, separators, widgets, shortcodes and embed other applications.

As for the blocks, you can edit each one of them individually by clicking on them. There are individual setups for each block, e.g for Headings you can change the heading type (H1, H2,H3), you can select how the text should align, duplicate it, insert a block before or after and remove it.

How to set up the blog post

On the right side you can see the setups for this particular post.

Status and visibility – you can set your post to be public – seen by anyone, private (available only for you) or password protected. With the publish button you can decide whether you want to publish this post now or on a certain date.

Stick to the top of the blog means that whatever you post after this one, this post is going to appear on the top – this can be useful if you have an an announcement or important information you want your audience to see when they arrive to your site.

Pending review – normally your post is saved as a draft until you publish it, but in companies where there are more people editing blog posts it can happen that someone will review them before they get published. If you are a solopreneur it can be handy to have a quick look before you hit publish.

We touched the permalinks in the previous post already and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a user and SEO friendly URL. Make sure your links are always descriptive enough for your audience and containing the keywords for google searches.

Remember, if you want WordPress to give the same permalink as your blog post’s name, go to Settings / Permalinks and set it to “post name”.

Categories

Categories are very useful if you have different topics you are writing about. Let’s take the example of the fitness coach. She would write about fitness, wellness, nutrition, self-development, and maybe recipes. For each different topic she would create a category, so later she can filter her blog posts based on them. 

Further on that, she can create a secondary menu, on the top of her blog page where her audience can see them and filter her posts by these categories.

You can add quickly a new category here on the right side of the post, and you can create them through Post / Categories. The latter is highly recommended, because you will have the option to specify the URL and add SEO friendly description to it. Long term will enhance your searches on google.

Secondary menu on the top of the blog page

How to set up SEO friendly Categories and tags

As I mentioned before, it is highly recommended to set each category and tag to be SEO friendly.

To do so, go to Posts / Categories (or Tags ). Create a new category. Give it a name, a Slug – which is the URL-friendly version of the name (just like with the blog post permalinks).

You can choose to have parent categories that are more general and so called child categories to differentiate more within that topic (for example you have a “fitness” parent category, and “low pace workouts”, “high pace workouts” as child categories.

 

Don’t forget to add a description that contains specific keywords related to this topic. 

Press Add new category and you are good to go – I mean to use them on your posts.

Tags

Categories and tags are the two primary ways to group content on a WordPress site. In simple terms, categories are general labels, while tags are more specific (describe your posts in more detail). 

So, basically when you want to be more specific about your post you can add all sorts of tags to it. This will help your audience to find the relevant information better. 

Tags also work as filters, but you cannot create a menu from them. They appear at the top of the posts. By clicking on them you can see all posts that have the same tag.

Featured image – shows up on the top of you post and will appear on search results as well.

Excerpt – there are 2 reasons why you should pay more attention to excerpts. 

  • Because it will give a quick intro to your readers what the post is about.
  • This short text will show up in the searches  – which means that if you write it with SEO in mind, you can get ranked higher in the search results.

Discussion – is where you can set is you allow comments below this particular post or not. Remember, there was a globar setup at Settings / discussion – that drives all posts, but you can overwrite it by this setup at each post.

Widgets

In WordPress, widgets are blocks of content that you can add to your site’s sidebars, footers, and other areas. This is an easy and simple way for you to control the design and content of your site even if you are not a tech-savvy person. 

There are all sorts of widgets available that you can use on your website.

There are 3 main areas – left sidebar, right sidebar and footer. If you are like me and you enjoy scrolling through websites you might have already met them.

It is not just useful to have a widget, but it also makes the navigation a lot easier.

  • For example, if you are a blogger you might use the recent posts, Archives, Recent Comments widgets to make sure you audience sees to most up to date posts from you.
  • If you are a photographer, you can use the gallery to show your images, videos from behind the scenes and tags to fins specific images in a certain topic.
  • Or let’s say you are an event planner, then you would definitely choose the calendar – to show the upcoming events, gallery and video to give a look of how those events.

The easiest is if you just try out how they look and appear on your website – because it can vary based on the theme you choose.

Remember, he reason why we talked about the widgets at the end of this WordPress series is because you have to have content ready to see anything showing up there. So for example if you want to show the pages, you need to have the pages created. The same with the gallery, you need some images to show up on the widget.

Themes

A theme is a collection of templates and stylesheets used to define the appearance and display of a WordPress powered website. You can change them by going to Appearance / themes in the admin area.

There are all kinds of themes available to use,both free and paid versions. WordPress uses default themes, which is totally okay to start with – but might not fit your business needs.

Because of this, some web designers suggest to change the themes right after installing WordPress on the website. I am not really a fan of that – unless you know what to expect. The thing is, that if you have zero content on your website, looking at it with an activated theme is kind of disappointing. It won’t look like on the demo video / image you saw.

Also, if you are like me, you probably liked at least 4-5 themes and you have no idea which one to choose. Getting the right one takes time. It will obviously look amazing in the demos, but might end up looking like cr*p on your side.

I encourage you to spend some time choosing one theme that suits your needs – you can do this by looking into the documentation, where they list out all the features. 

It is also worthy to check how this theme can be edited– I am a visual person so I prefer watching videos instead of reading neverending documents. Just type in the theme’s name and look for videos.

Meanwhile, start creating pages and posts – basically the content you’d like to see on your site – so by the time you choose the right theme, you already have the content to play around with.

That is all for WordPress now. Thank you for taking the time. Hope you got useful information from this 5 part WordPress series – but in case you are missing any information, please comment below and I will make sure to enhance my content with it.

 

Now I would like to hear from you: Which is your favourite theme in WordPress and why?

Leave a comment and let me know. 

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