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WordPress Essentials: Part 1

Throughout the four years of my working at Nextfly, there has always been one thing that I find that sets us apart from other website designers and developers. Upon completion of the website design project, we allow clients full control over any content additions by providing a two-hour training on how their website works.

Each website that we develop is customized based on the client that we are working with, however, since 95% of the website projects we work on are built on the Content Management System, WordPress, there is a lot of overlap in the training.

Due to that, I have compiled a list below of key functionality of the WordPress back end to allow anyone a quick reference when working on the back end of their website.

How to log in:

The first question that clients have when trying to make edits on their website is “how can I log in?” Well, for every client this is different based upon the URL, however, the login is essentially the same. All you have to do is put wp-admin at the end of your URL, and it’ll pull up your login screen.


From here, you’ll see the login screen that prompts you to enter your username and password. Your website developer should have sent you a username or password to your website upon completion of the project, however, if they did not it would be critical for you to touch base with them at this time.

After you enter the username and password, you can enter it into the required fields and even select the check box next to “Remember Me” so that you are logged in each time you come to the website.

If you forget your password, it also allows you the option to enter your username or email address and it will automatically send you an email to reset it.

The Dashboard

After you log in to your WordPress website, you’ll come across what WordPress calls “the dashboard”. On the dashboard you’ll have a lot of functionality at your fingertips, however, it’s critical that you don’t go digging into every single part of your site without some knowledge of how everything works.

How to make edits to an existing page:

There are two ways of navigating your website, the front end and the back end. Navigating the website through your dashboard is a way of navigating it through the back end, however, you can log in to your website from the front end to make edits. To do so, go to your website’s URL after you have logged in to your website.

When you go to the front end of the website, you’ll see the dashboard’s admin bar up at the top of your screen. This admin bar will give you easy access to the web page you are looking to make edits to by clicking “edit page” up at the top and also will give you the ability to add a new page or post by clicking “+New” and selecting the option you’d prefer.

To make edits to an existing page through your dashboard, you’ll click “Pages” in the black navigation menu on the left-hand side.

From there, you’ll see a list of all of the pages on your website. If there are many, you can do a quick “search” to find the title of the page you are looking to make edits to and go from there.

When you log on to that page, you’ll notice that there is a lot of functionality that looks similar to Microsoft Word in a toolbar we like to call a WYSIWYG Editor. The WYSIWYG Editor stands for “What You See Is What You Get”, making it easy to make simple edits on your page from making text bold to add bullets. To see all of the functionality of the WYSIWYG Editor, I have found this awesome blog site for you to reference with a breakdown: Click here.

How to preview/publish/save your page as a draft.

As you make edits on your page, you’ll have three options for the next steps. You can publish it so that it is live on your website, take a quick preview of it, or save it as a draft to go back to.

Wondering how? All of these functionalities exist on the right-hand side of your page under the “Publish” section.  From here, there are three buttons that will say “save draft”, “preview” and “Publish” or “Update” if you have already published it and are just making small edits to the page.

What’s the difference between these three options?

Preview – When you go to “preview” your page or post, you are just taking a quick glance at what that page will look like in your live environment. You’ll be able to see the styling that you have put together on the back end come to life with your heading, menu, sidebar, and footer. Just like it would look on your website! From here, you can make edits to the page and style it the exact way you’d like. Picture too big? Resize it and hit “preview” to see it a bit smaller. Think the picture should be right-aligned? Adjust it and hit “preview” to see what it would look like!

Publish – When you “publish” something, you are saying to your audience as well as Google that your page is complete. Google knows that it can crawl your page without hesitation and your audience has easy access to read through the page without restrictions.

Save Draft – In the middle of things and don’t have time to finish writing your page? Not ready for people to view your page? Have a seasonal page that you want to take down, but use next year? Save it as a draft! From here, you can make edits to it at another time, but your audience (and Google) won’t be able to scan your page.

How to delete a page:

Since we are in the “publish” section of the page, another option you might see nearby is “Move to Trash”. This will delete the page from your website.

Hit it on accident? All good. WordPress has a fail-safe for you! Clicking “move to trash” does just that – it moves it to your trash! From there, you can restore it and bring it back or you can click “delete permanently” and delete it from your website completely.

How to add a page to your main navigation

Now, you might be asking yourself “I just published a page, where is it?” Well, currently the only way people can access your page is if you copy the permalink you build and send it directly to them, or if they happen to find it when doing a Google search.

Due to this, you might want to place your newly built page on your main menu at the top of your website.

To do this, you are going to go to your Dashboard and search on the left-hand side for “Appearance”. Once you find that, search the submenu until you find “Menus”. Click on “Menus” and there you will see the menus that your developer built for you on your website.

To add your newly built page, look on the left of that menu page for the “Pages” section. Your new page should be right there on the top of the “Most Recent” list. Select the check box next to it and click “add to menu” below. From there, your new page will be added to the bottom of your navigation. Go ahead and select it and you’ll see you have the option to drag and drop it where you’d like to place it.

Want it as a dropdown? Make sure you indent it a bit under the main header so it’s stacked a bit.

Looking to shorten the title name? Click on the arrow that is facing down to the right of the page title. There you will see a field titled “Navigation Label” where you can change the title of that menu item to anything you’d like!

This blog should give you a great head start on making edits to your site. Looking for more? Stay tuned for my next blog where you can learn:

  1. How to add a blog post
  2. How to add and edit photos to a page or post
  3. How to add a plugin
  4. How to add new users
  5. How to add a form
  6. How to customize your form

Have questions for me in the meantime – hit me up on twitter @julieenelson