WordPress To Go - How To Build A WordPress Website On Your Own Domain, From Scratch, Even If You Are A Complete Beginner (2013)
QUICK START GUIDE – YOUR OWN WEBSITE IN 8 EASY LESSONS
Lesson 6. Add Your First Wordpress Page
Now, before we begin this lesson, let me just give a brief outline of how you should use ‘Pages’ as opposed to ‘Posts’, which we will get into in Lesson 7.
Pages are intended to be the ‘static’ elements of your website, containing content that you always want to be available to your visitors and which, typically, are accessible via a tab on the horizontal menu bar. Think of this as the ‘backbone’ information. You would typically have an ‘About Us’ page, possibly a ‘Welcome’ page, preferably a ‘Contact Us’ page and, along with that, a ‘Privacy’ page. Pages do not change very much and you may only need one or two pages.
Most serious websites will have an ‘About’ page and I recommend that you, too, put up an ‘About’ page, because it will enhance the credibility of your site.
Add An ‘About’ Page
Log in to your WordPress website and from the dashboard, click on ‘Pages’, ‘Add New’. Figure 6.1 shows what you’ll see:
Enter ‘About Us’ (or something equivalent) in the top blank box where you can see the cursor flashing. Then, in the blank box headed by the ‘Visual’ tab, type some text that describes you or your website or your business. Don’t copy and paste the text from somewhere else just yet (I’ll tell you why later in this lesson) – just manually type in some text so that you can see how this all hangs together. As you type you’ll see that the words wrap round, just like a word processor. If you hit ‘Enter’, you’ll get a new paragraph. Just keep typing until you’ve got enough text to play around with. Don’t worry about how perfect it is, you can edit the page later.
After you’ve entered a bit of text it’s a good idea to click on ‘Save Draft’. This is handy when you are setting up a complicated page because it enables you to save your work when you get something right and return to the last draft if (when!) you foul it up at a later stage. I encourage you to use this feature, especially while you are learning. A page saved only in draft is not yet visible to anyone except you.
Now look at the icons on the toolbar above the text, as shown in Figure 6.2. You’ll probably recognize them from other regular text-processing programs that you use.
You can see bold, italic, strikeout, bullets, etc. If two rows of icons don’t show, click on the far right icon on the top row and the second row will toggle into view.
The best way to find out what functions these icons represent is to hover your mouse over each of them and then experiment with them. If you hover your mouse over an icon you’ll see an explanation of what its purpose is.
The way these (mostly) work is that you select some text, click on an icon and you’ll see that change take place. In most cases the operation of these icons is self-explanatory and so I won’t include a lot of unnecessary detail here but will let you play around and explore them for yourself. No changes will be made to your website until you click on ‘Save Draft’ or ‘Publish’.
I encourage you to try out the blockquote, spellchecker and links.
To add a link to text in a web page, select a few words in your text where you want the link to appear. You will notice that the little ‘chain’ icon becomes live and, when you click on that, a small pop-up dialogue will appear prompting you to enter the target URL of the link. See Figure 6.3:
The text you selected then becomes a ‘hot link’ which, when the user clicks on it, will take them to another page, either within your website or to another site.
To see the results of your changes, click on the ‘Preview’ button over on the top right of the page. You’ll then see the web page displayed exactly how it will look on your website.
This ‘preview’ view will usually open in a new tab in your browser. When you’ve checked the page over you can close the tab and return to the page where you set it up.
Now, before you publish your page, there is one more feature that you need to check out. The Twenty Twelve theme offers you three different templates for your page layout:
· Front Page
· Full-width No Sidebar
These are accessible from the ‘Page Attributes’, ‘Template’ drop-down box. Try these out one by one and choose the template you want for this page.
When the page is formatted as you want it, you can click ‘Publish’ and the page will be added to your site for the world to see. You should also notice that WordPress has magically added the page tab to the menu bar above your site header, which is where it should belong.
I now encourage you to think about and add as many pages as relevant to your site. As you add each page you are gradually filling out your site and making it your own!
If your website will consist of a small, finite number of pages then you might be tempted to leave it at that and not make use of posts. But that could severely limit the effectiveness of your website, particularly in relation to search engine optimization (SEO). Posts have a number of very useful features that Pages don’t have.
Before we go on to the next lesson, here’s the useful tip I promised you to help when copying and pasting text:
How To Copy And Paste Text The Right Way
As you can imagine, it is often easier and quicker to type up your website text offline, in a word-processor such as Microsoft Word or a text-processor like NotePad. But, be aware, just copying and pasting right into the text box on the WordPress page can have unintended consequences.
This is because, when you copy text from your computer to your clipboard, your operating system will often copy not only the text but also the formatting (including fonts) as well. Microsoft Word contains a lot of complicated formatting behind the scenes and this can confuse WordPress because it wants to format the text according to the theme you have chosen and copying unwanted formatting can make it appear all screwy.
So, type up your text offline however you want and copy it to your clipboard as usual. Then, when you get into your WordPress page, click on one of the two little ‘T’ or ‘W’ icons in the toolbar (‘Paste as Plain Text’ or ‘Paste From Word’) and a pop-up window will appear:
Paste your text into this box, click ‘Insert’ and the text will drop in just like you typed it. This feature applies both to both Pages and Posts.
And there’s one more feature that you might like to take advantage of: Parent and Child pages.
Making Use Of Parent Pages And Child Pages
If you have already published at least one page you will see that, under ‘Page Attributes’, you have the option of selecting a previously published page to be the parent of the one you are currently adding or editing. This means that you can have a hierarchy of pages that you can nest to several levels. If you are planning on building a website with many pages ranging over a wide range of topics this is a feature you might want to use. Parent/child pages appear as such in drop-down navigation menus and can be an easy way of creating a hierarchical structure to steer users around your site.
That’s about it for Pages; let’s find out all about Posts in the next lesson.
I want to stop anyone from seeing my website while I’m still setting it up. How do I do that?
As a webmaster, you need to be aware that the prospective audience for your website is both human and robot (search engines). In practice, your website will get few, if any, visitors in the early days and, because of that, I wouldn’t fret too much about who can see what.
Ultimately, you will want both humans and robots to flock to your website but, if you really do want to block both of these types until you are ready, you can create an ‘Under Construction’ page. This page displays to visitors while you get on with setting up the site behind the scenes.
Create An ‘Under Construction’ Page
The easiest way to do this is to use a plugin called ‘Under Construction’. I deal with how to add plugins in Lesson 15, so come back here when you’ve completed that lesson.
After you’ve installed the plugin, from the dashboard, click ‘Settings’, ‘Under Construction’. Set ‘Activate or Deactivate’ to ‘on’, and leave all the other settings as default. Then click ‘Save Changes’. This now places an Under Construction page between you and your visitors. You won’t be able to see this page while you are logged into your website yourself so log out and just view the domain URL if you want to see what it looks like.
To prevent the search engines from looking at your setting up efforts, from the dashboard, go to ‘Settings’, ‘Reading’ and check the box labeled ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’. Then click ‘Save Changes’. This will tell Google (and the other search engines) that you don’t want them to ‘crawl’ your site to put it in their search results – yet.
And don’t forget to undo all of this when you are ready to launch your website!
What if I want to change something on a page after I’ve published it?
Simple. From the dashboard, go to ‘Pages’, ‘All Pages’, and you’ll see all the pages you’ve already published, listed out in date order. Hover your mouse over the page you want to edit and click on the ‘Edit’ command that pops up. This will take you back to the original page where you can make whatever changes what you want. Then click ‘Update’. That’s all you have to do. You can edit a page as often as you like.