Getting started with WordPress

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Let’s build a website!

You’ll post all of your work throughout the semester onto this site, and it will become the basis of your professional portfolio.

Why WordPress, and not another platform (Wix, SquareSpace, Tumblr, Blogger)?

  • WordPress is the CMS (content management system) used by the largest number of media organisations
  • You will have an advantage if you know how to use WordPress and it looks great on your CV
  • It suits users who want to build a fairly static website that promotes them as a personality (radio students may consider this) and users who create a lot of content (all of you)
  • There are thousands of themes or ‘looks’ to choose from, so you can really customise your site
  • It’s professional-looking, and once you know how to drive it, really easy to use
  • It’s free!
Don’t use photos on your site that you didn’t take yourself or obtain otherwise legally. You cannot use just any photo that you find on Google Image search! We’ll cover copyright next week, but if you’re super keen you can read ahead now.

As we go through these steps, sing out if you get stuck. There are also some good tutorials here, and on LinkedIn Learning (sign in with your TAFE student email and password).

Set up your account

Sign up for a WordPress account here. It’s a good idea to use the email address you usually use for personal email. If you’re terrible at remembering log in details, make a note of your user name and password and keep them somewhere safe and accessible – we will be logging in to WordPress a lot.

IMPORTANT: do not sign up for a paid account yet. (You may choose to later, but definitely don’t yet.)

You will be prompted to create a site URL, which is the address used to navigate to your site on the web (e.g. this site’s URL is If in doubt, use your name if it’s available. You can change the URL later.

Once you’ve signed up and verified your email, you’ll be presented with a window that looks like this – this is your Admin Dashboard. You will use the dashboard to create and edit posts and pages, and make changes to your site.

Now we’ll go through the site setup steps in the panel on the right of the dashboard.

Step One: Name your site

This is the title at the top of your home page – ours is the same as the URL, but you can make yours anything you like.

Our site title and tagline

Choose a site name that suits the personality you began to define last week. (Yes, you can change it later if you like.)

Later you might think about ensuring your site title aligns with social media account names.

Step Two: Update your Home Page: Let’s explore the Home Page and the different layouts available (but leave it as is for the moment).

Step Three: Setting up your menu

  • BEFORE YOU START, on a piece of paper, write down how you want to organise your site (Remember, you can change this later.)
    • e.g. Menu 1: Home / Writing / Audio / Video / Photography / About / Contact
    • e.g. Menu 2: Home/ About / AFL / Boxing / Tennis / Other / Contact
  • NEXT understand the difference between Categories, Posts and Pages.
    • For e.g. Menu 1:
      Writing, Audio, Video, Photography will be Categories.
      (When I publish an article, it will be a Post, and posts are organised into Categories, e.g. if I write a Boxing article I write it in a Post that will be added to the Boxing Category.)
      Home, About, Contact will be Pages.
      (Pages are static and offer site information or info about you – you can edit them, but you don’t add new content to them.)
    • For example 2:
      AFL, Boxing, Tennis and Other will be Categories (with Posts in them).
      Home, About, and Contact will be Pages.
  • OK NOW Following the menu outline on your piece of paper, let’s set up Categories, Pages, and finally a Menu.
    [Stop and let me demo this – it’ll be much easier to follow 😘]

Step Four: Launch your site

You don’t need to worry that it looks a bit imperfect rn – there are hundreds of thousands of WP sites on the web, and even if you use your name in the URL and site title, you won’t index in a Google search yet because you haven’t added content (search for your site if you’re skeptical).

Step Five: Verify your account through your email

You won’t be able to post anything until you’ve done this.

Step Six: Get the mobile app

It’s good, it’s free, and it means you can create and post stuff from your phone.

If you get this done by the end of Week 2, AWESOME. Well done you!

You can change almost any aspect of your site later, so don’t be afraid to experiment. You can delete posts, change your theme, change the site name or URL … pretty much anything on the site.
If you want to do more:
  1. Write and publish your first post
    Make sure you add a Category to your post so it comes up in that part of the menu
  2. Write a bio for your About page and upload the photo you took of yourself
    Not sure how to start? Read this.
  3. Try changing your theme
    Make sure you choose a free theme! Different themes have different layouts, fonts, colours, and appearances. You’ll probably change your theme a few times, so don’t feel like you need to commit now. When you change your theme, your content stays on your site (though you may need to reposition your menu, no biggie!)
When you’re working on your WP site, keep two tabs open: one with your Admin Dashboard, the other with your site. That way, you can refresh the site tab and see how your edits look without ducking in and out of the Dashboard every time.

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