Key Elements of WordPress basics

18 September 2017
on 18 September 2017

A quick guided tour

Diving into WordPress for the first time can be daunting, so here are some of the key areas to understand the basics of WordPress which will help you find your way around.

Depending on where your website is hosted, and if you have already added elements eg. themes or plugins, the options available to you may look a little different.

This is an overview of a clean installation on a SiteGround hosting plan, with a couple of elements added for demonstration purposes.

I’ll work through most of the options that you’ll see, but the ones that I don’t mention are ones which you don’t need to visit at this stage.

The WordPress Dashboard

WordPress Dashboard

This is your control centre for WordPress and where you will arrive each time you log in. You can view basic statistics for your website from the Dashboard, draft a new post, see what you’ve published recently at a glance, view comments, and more. You can drag and drop the various modules on the Dashboard to customise it so you’re always seeing the information which is most important to you first.

WP updates

Notice the Updates option in the left hand column under Dashboard? It’s worth checking in regularly to ensure that there aren’t any updates required. You’ll see which version of WordPress you’re using, and if any plugins or themes need updating. Ensuring everything is up to date is crucial – keeping elements updated, means that they will include the latest security fixes and functionality improvements. Even themes which are not in use should be kept up to date.


Next on your left hand column is Jetpack.  It’s perfectly possible to run your site without ever touching this option, and we could spend a whole 10 days walking through the functionality of Jetpack, so it’s beyond the scope of the work that we’re doing together this week. But for the curious amongst you, I wanted to briefly mention it.

WP Jetpack

In short, it’s a WordPress plugin which delivers extended functionality to many existing features of WordPress to help you enhance your website. Many of them are free, and there are paid upgrades to some as well. It’s unusual in that it is one plugin with many different functions. Some of the features include monitoring your website (so you receive notifications when it is down), social sharing tools, functions to create links between related content on your site, as well as many many more.

You can read more about the features of Jetpack here, but I should reiterate, that this is more for your information, not because you need to do anything with it right now.


For anyone who is wanting to build a blog, this is where you will be spending a lot of your time.

WP blogs

When you click on Posts, it defaults to All Posts which is a list of all the posts that you have published or which are in draft, and from here you can click through to edit them.

To write a new post, you simply click on Add New and include the content of your article.

Remember to include a Featured Image on your blog post, as this will be used as a thumbnail throughout your site where you feature blog posts. You’ll find the option at the bottom of the right hand column when you’re writing your post.

featured image


This is your library of images, documents and other uploaded files.


To add a new image, you can drop a file into the dotted border, or click on Select Files. This uploads the file to the media library for you to use in any of your posts or pages. If you’re writing or editing a post or page, and you want to add an image, simply click on the Add Media button above your text editor and select an image from your library (or upload a new one).


The view for Pages may look almost identical to that of Posts, and although they are similar, Posts and Pages are two very different entities. Posts are written as articles on your website, and are often time sensitive. Pages are ‘evergreen’ content, which isn’t likely to change very often eg. About, Services, Contact.

WP pages


If comments are enabled on your website, this is where you will be able to moderate any which are left on your blog posts. Hovering over a comment presents you with a set of actions you can take such as editing or deleting the comment.

WP comments


A lot goes on in this area. It controls how your site looks to the people visiting your site.

When you click on Appearance, the place that you end up is Themes. You may have heard people talking about WordPress themes. They are basically the skin which controls the style of your website.

There are hundreds and thousands of themes which are available, some free and some paid. WordPress ships with 3 themes by default, but you can load your own. Simply click on Add New to look through a directory of available themes. If you purchase a premium theme, you’ll usually need to download a zipped folder, and upload it to the Themes area of WordPress. Your active theme (ie. the one in use) will always appear in the top left of this window.

We’ll be talking more about themes this week, as it’s an area that overwhelms a lot of people as there is so much choice.

WP themes


In this area, you’re able to customise the style of various areas of your site, including fonts and colours. The options available to you here may vary depending on what theme you have activated.


Widgets give you control of what is going on in various areas of your site, usually sidebars and footers. You can edit or delete active widgets, or can drag and drop new widgets into the areas of your choice.



This is where you control the navigational menus on your website.  To build a menu, just select the pages or posts you want to include, click the Add to Menu option. You can drag and drop your menu links to rearrange them.  Then you simply select a menu location and save your menu.

WP menus


This is a really key area of your site which you will visit a lot. Plugins can extend the functionality of your site, and you will undoubtedly be adding new plugins. You can either upload premium plugins, or install and activate plugins from the free repository.

WP plugins


From here you can control, add, edit or delete user profiles for your site. If you’re the only one with access, you’ll be the only one listed. If you allow multiple people to have access, they will be listed here along with their role and number of posts written.

WP Users


When you were installing WordPress, do you remember that I said not to agonise too much over the Blog Title and Tagline settings because you could change them later. This is where you can do that. There are a lot of other options available under Settings, and we’ll be covering one or two of them during our masterclass on Friday, but in this General area, you can ensure that your language and timezone settings are correct, as well as choosing a date format. These will show up on your blog posts.

WP settings


This gives a brief insight into the various areas of WordPress. We’ll be dipping into them in some more detail over the next few days.


When you first look at the front end of your site, by typing in your domain name, you see the Twenty Seventeen image in the header, followed by the default blog post. For some, that’s a Hello World message. For others, such as those of us using SiteGround, it’s a message about our hosting plan.

In the right hand sidebar, you can see one most recent post, as you only have one post on your website so far.

first blog

Your task today is to add your first blog post.

To do this, you go to Posts > Add New.

Don’t worry about the content that you’re going to add. For the time being, you can just add some test content. Include a title and some content within the main body. Also, don’t forget to add a featured image as I mentioned in the Posts section above. Try out some of the formatting options, such as emboldening text, and have a play around with some of the options.

Remember to hit the blue ‘publish’ button on the right hand side to save your work.

Then scroll to the top of the page and click ‘View Post’. This will show you how this post looks to people visiting your website.

When we include a new blog post, it appears above the original blog post, as the published date is more recent. (WordPress by default organises posts chronologically to show the most recent first). You’ll also notice that it appears under the Recent Posts in the sidebar too, and the featured image which you added, appears at the top of the article.

WP post

If you click on the title of the post, it wlll take you to a dedicated page for that particular post where people can leave comments.

Heads up! This post contains affiliate links. It means that if you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I may receive a small commission in return for referring you to the site. It enables me to provide more quality content for other people starting out, and it helps keep the wolf from the door.

You can read my full affiliate disclaimer here. 

Posted in: Website tips
Tagged as: tour, Wordpress

Vicky Etherington

Vicky Etherington has been running her own online marketing agency since 2003, and in 2016 transitioned to working with coaches and therapists to teach them how to create their own client-attracting websites using her proven signature program, The WordPress Success Bootcamp.

A mini-mastermind on how to launch online, the Bootcamp is about so much more than website creation – it’s about rising above the noise, thriving at entrepreneurship, mastering technology with confidence and staying on track. You can join today

Learn WordPress

Accelerate your business and save your sanity.

Follow a proven process to create your own client-attracting website with complete confidence on my 12-week signature program.

Book your Power Hour

Get those tasks finalised on your website that you’ve been meaning to do for so long. And learn how to do it yourself for next time.

A full-on empowerment experience.

Join a Masterclass

Whether it’s optimising your home page to gain more clients or learning how to run an online challenge to launch your program/ product/ service, you’ll be amazed how much you can learn from these workshops.

Related Articles

Join the Discussion


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Vicky Etherington

Vicky Etherington has been running her own online marketing agency since 2003, and in 2015 transitioned to working with coaches and therapists to teach them how to create their own client-attracting websites. 

Become Part of
The WordPress Happy Community

Join 2500+ other service-based entrepreneurs
who are empowering themselves to DIY their WordPress websites and online marketing with confidence.

Rock That Website - website creation course
client-generating website

If you want to accelerate your website journey, side-step all the tech meltdowns, and create your own client-attracting website from scratch, join my Rock That Website. You’ll get a proven step-by-step roadmap to build your own successful site with confidence.

Posted in: Website tips
Tagged as: tour, Wordpress

Did you enjoy this?
Here are other articles you may like

How to Incorporate Video into Your Website & Increase Trust 

How to Incorporate Video into Your Website & Increase Trust 

Using videos on your website is a great way to connect with people. It's not just a popular trend, it’s an effective method to gain your audience's trust. Videos make your website lively and interesting, helping visitors feel more connected to what you're offering....

Image Alt Text: What It Is & Why It’s Important (Plus 3 Examples)

Image Alt Text: What It Is & Why It’s Important (Plus 3 Examples)

Alt text is a small but significant part of search engine optimisation for your website. Even the savviest business owners might not use it properly, fail to use it altogether or even know what it is. Get your alt text right and you can give your search engine...

How to Write a Great About Page for Your Website – with examples

How to Write a Great About Page for Your Website – with examples

Opening up a blank page to start writing about yourself for your About page on your website can feel daunting and overwhelming.  And if you feel this way about your About page, I can promise you that you’re absolutely not alone.  During my Rock That Website...

Great ways to gather testimonials for your website

Great ways to gather testimonials for your website

Testimonials are not just a nice thing to have on your website they, can be the difference between a client deciding to use your services or not.  Why? Because most of us trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  Why are testimonials so...

Join the Discussion


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *