WordPress is very simple system and newbie-friendly, unfortunately, it has a bit outdated admin panel and no installation wizard, so, people can be confused and make some mistakes. Here we can provide list of options which you should check after wordpress installation and also we give you basic knowledge how to use it.
But first of all, I can give you few recommendations for hosting and domain before you make mistake. When I started as web developer, I made big mistake. My first sites were on local hosting company and I purchased domain from the same company.
NEVER DO THIS MISTAKE. ALWAYS BUY DOMAIN AND HOSTING FROM DIFFERENT COMPANIES
Even more. Use hosting of companies which are oriented on wordpess and buy domain from companies which have main business in selling domains. My mistake makes me losing several sites, because when I wanted to change hosting, I found that I can’t easily change domain owner and all my domains belong to hosting.
Most popular domain providers are Godaddy, NameCheap. But In current year, I definitely recommend to use Cloudflare, because they provide not only domains but also DNS, DDOS protection, etc. Also, their prices are fair, they don’t make such promotion as you can see on other registrants when they increases prices and then add discount to them.
You can find option to register domains in your account
For hostings, I used next which I can recommend: Cloudways, Siteground, Rocket.net, Kinsta, Bluehost, WPX, WPEngine. All of them are well optimized and have WordPress packages. In current point, after using many hosting for my 15 years experience, I stopped on Cloudways. There are some strong reasons for this. Cloudways is not regular hosting. They provide you with panels so you can use such server providers like Amazon AWS or Google Cloud. So, technically you will be hosted in Amazon, but Cloudways provides you instruments so you can do this easily without technical skills.
Also, it’s very flexible. This is the weakest part of many hostings, because they provide you with very cheap but very limited accounts or very expensive. In Cloudways you can find and configure plans which you like. I tried different servers on Cloudways and I can give you some points. If you are limited in the budget – use Linode server/Digital Ocean and their starter resources. For more high-loaded sites and e-shops – use AWS/Vultr/Google Cloud.
How to Add Cloudflare domains to Cloudways hosting
Cloudways has no good documentation how to configure Cloudways with Cloudflare domains. But it’s easy. After you purchased server in Cloudways, you must launch WordPress Application
Now, open your application and find IP
Go to your panel on Cloudflare and select to manage your domain and DNS.
You need to create here two records. For this, click to Add record Button
Choose type as A and set it’s name as @ or as name of your domain. As Content, set ID from Cloudways.
Add second record. Set www as name, name of your domain as Content.
Proxy status means that DNS will be cached by Cloudflare. This can increase speed of site access a bit, but to be true, I didn’t find the difference.
By the way, if you want to add subdomain, you don’t need to add A record for them. Just add CNAME record and set name of subdomain as Name.
Now, go back to Cloudways and set your domain name in Domain Management
But, let’s back to the general settings which you need to know for WordPress.
All basic settings and advanced settings can be found in the left part of your admin panel. Mostly, you need to change the Settings tab after the first installation, all other settings are optional
Site url and title
Here we set our title (will be used also as seo title), tagline (meta description) and links. WordPress url and site URL must be the same. Make sure that you place correct protocol, it can be http or https if you installed SSL on hosting.
It must be enabled if you have any kind of community on site or you require registration from users. For new role use Subscriber or Customer (if you use Woocommerce on site)
Must be language of your site. Please, note, it’s country related. For example, if theme has Spanish localization (Espanol) but you enabled here Espanol by Mexico, such localization will not work
You can also choose time format which is available for your country
You must change this setting. Never use Plain permalinks as they are ugly and not SEO friendly. Go to settings – permalinks and set them. We recommend to set them as postname. Also, you can change base for products and categories, brands, but we recommend them to leave as default, change only Post links.
Many users change this settings and then write to our support “Where, the hell, my comments?” Usually, they enable option “Automatically close comments after 14 days”. Not sure why this is very common mistake.
Comment settings are in Settings – Discussion. You need to change only moderation settings here. Here I marked important options which you can change. Also, I recommend to enable option for manually approved comments.
Be sure, after few months of site’s work, your comments will be full of spam, so, install also spam protection plugin like Akismet
WordPress is useless without plugins. There are tons of them which extend your site. And mostly they are free or cheap.
How to easily install free wordpress plugin?
For my opinion, there are few MUST have plugins which you must install.
I think that Rank math or SEO by yoast are the best
We did tutorial about caching in WordPress early.
Now, it’s time to configure how your site will look. All of options for design is placed in Appearance section and/or Customizer. Some themes provide also demo import with ready settings, anyway, you must know how to change them and add your own settings.
Find best theme
Well, using proper theme is very important. Each theme has different design and set of functions. So, choose theme which fits to type of your site. For example, there is no sense to use woocommerce theme if you need just blog. There is no sense to use blog theme if you need review site. Of course, you can extend each theme by plugins, but it’s better to have integrated functionality in theme rather than in plugins.
You can install theme in Appearance – themes. You can search for free theme or upload pro version of theme.
Pro themes are better because they can include also paid plugins and have better and fast support and design. Also, WordPress pro themes are cheap, usually they don’t have price more than $70 and can cover all your needs for special type of site.
Menu can be added in Appearance – Menus
You need to create menu if you don’t have it. In top right corner, you can find Screen options. This panel is available on most of system pages and you can enable additional panels in it. Then, you can choose what you want to add in left side and click on “Add to menu button”
You can drag and drop items and place them under each other. If you want to add item as parent item and don’t want to add link to item, add symbol # instead of link
You can add also emoji directly to title of itemquick tip
When you finished menu, save it and assign to proper menu area
Widget settings are similar to menu. In left panel you choose widget, then assign it to widget area. Each theme has own widget areas, plugins and themes can add own set of widgets. Once you added widget, you can configure it.
Logo, favicon, colours
Each theme has own place for these settings but I am sure that most of them can be configured under customizer. Click on Appearance – customizer or click on Customizer link in top bar on your site
You will get Customizer page. Logo and favicon can be added in Site identity, other options are in theme related sections
The entities in WordPress are called Post types. WordPress has 2 enabled post types by default, its Posts and pages. Posts should be used to add main articles on site. Pages are for making different system pages, like homepage, landing pages, registration pages.
Common post settings
From 5 version of WordPress, adding content is based on special editor, which is called Gutenberg. It’s totally different editor which has own workflow.
When you open any page or post, it can look empty. All settings of post/page is available on click in top right corner on cog icon. Then, click on document/page tab
Each post or page have common general sections and some specific. General settings are: status where you can set schedule of posting or set post to be draft or password protected. Drafts are visible in your admin panel, but not visible on site. So, you can play with drafts before you decide to publish post.
In permalink settings you can choose your own link. By default, it’s generated automatically by title.
In discussions settings you can enable/disable comments.
In featured image section, you can set post thumbnail, which will be used as image for posts on homepage and categories
By the way, WordPress has also Image editor, when you click on your image, you can find Edit link, click on it and you will get Image editor with basic changes, like scale, crop, flip, zoom, etc
Each page in WordPress has own additional settings. You can find them in page attributes. You can select page layout, this affects how page looks on site. Each theme has own set of page layouts.
Difference between post and pages
Posts can have categories and tags. Pages don’t have any them, but they can have child pages
Category and tag management
When you add posts, you can assign it to existed category or tag, or create new category.
We also recommend to optimise category pages. You can choose category pages in Posts – categories, then click to edit them. We recommend to add category description.
We don’t recommend to use a lot of tags on site. Tags are made to group your posts. For example, you can create tag with name “best” and then, use it to show posts from this tag on your homepage.
Meta panels for posts and pages
Each post has additional meta panels which are added by themes or plugins. You can find them under content area or in side area. You can move them. Click top/bottom arrows for this.
If you move panel on most top position in side area, panel will go to content area. And opposite, if you want to place panel to side area, move it to most bottom position. You can also toggle panel to minimise it or hide in view preferences.
Gutenberg has additional preference settings. You can enable them in top right corner on click of dots
Here you can enable different view modes and also change preference. In preferences you can hide unwanted panels or enable them. Also you can view all available shortcuts of Gutenberg which can save time.
Many people don’t know how powerful Gutenberg and how it differs from regular text adding.
You can find a lot of great blocks to format your content. But also you can use Reusable blocks. They allow you to add content block on one page and reuse it on other pages. You can change it later on one page and it will be changed on all pages automatically. You can also place set of blocks to reusable or unassign block from reusable blocks. If you use Rehub theme, you have access to unique Gutencon blocks which helps to add special high conversions blocks to page and format content to make it much better and user friendly
WordPress has also few other useful settings. Let’s see them
You can find them in User tab. Here you Can change how your admin panel looks, how your site shows you name, change your profile image. By the way, WordPress still uses gravatar service for global avatars, so, we recommend to visit this service and assign proper avatar for your email.
Also, each page of your site has top toolbar for fast links and settings. You can hide it in profile settings.
Even some advanced users don’t know that you can change uploaded images of site and crop, resize, flip, zoom images. Go to Media tab, choose image and click on it, you will find Edit button
Bulk change of posts
Another one hidden useful feature is ability to bulk change for posts, pages.
Open posts – all posts, select posts which you want to edit and choose bulk option to edit. By default, WordPress shows latest 20 items but you can choose another number in Screen options
The same is available for comment editing