WordPress 101

Presented by David Wolfpaw and Kara Franco



David Wolfpaw

Kara Franco

  • Helps small business owners (and bloggers!) create and maintain their websites through kara-franco.com
  • Specializes in copywriting, content creation, and email marketing

What Is WordPress?

What is WordPress?

  • It's FREE!*
  • WordPress is open-source
  • WordPress is a content management system (CMS)
  • What's the catch?

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress.com (Private Company)

  • 6 plans to choose from
  • Hosted and managed for you
  • Ads that you don't control (free plan)
  • No custom domain name (free plan)
  • Limited theme/plugin options (free and lower-tier plans)
  • WordPress branding in site footer (free and lower-tier plans)
  • View the WordPress.com Plans & Pricing page for more info

WordPress.org (Free Software)

  • Self-hosted
  • More control
  • No WordPress branding
  • No ads, unless you add them
  • Access to thousands of themes/plugins
  • Requires expenses (domain, hosting, technical assistance)

How to Find a Web Host and Set Up a Site

Choosing a Web Host

  • Look for a host that has good customer support
  • Look for added value features that you may use
    • Free SSL certificate with Let's Encrypt
    • Backups included in hosting plan
    • Staging environment to test changes
    • Multiple sites/domains allowed
    • Page Caching systems included

Suggested Web Hosts

  • SiteGround
    • Best general hosting I've ever used
    • GrowBig suggested (starts $5.95/month)
  • WP Engine
    • Best managed hosting I've ever used
    • Startup suggested (starts $31.50/month)

What Are Themes?

What Are Themes?

  • Appearance
    • A collection of templates and styles
    • Determines "look and feel" of site
  • Free themes available from the WordPress Theme Directory
  • Premium themes available from developer websites

How to Choose a Theme

  • Content first!
  • Start with the free Theme Directory
  • Don't get locked in by theme marketing
  • Experiment!
  • Explore paid options
  • Attend a WordPress Meetup

What Are Plugins?

What Are Plugins?

  • Functionality
  • Adds additional features to your site (examples):
    • Contact Forms
    • Affiliate Marketing Systems
    • Social Share
  • Free plugins available from the WordPress repository
  • Premium plugins available from developer websites

How to Choose Plugins

  • Check ratings, number of active users, versions tested
  • Best method: recommendations from friends
  • Try 2-3 plugins at most for one feature, then delete unused ones!

When to Pay For Themes, Plugins, and Services

When to Pay for WordPress

  • Template vs Custom
    • Templates can still be very versatile
    • Save time and money when starting out
  • Pay for important tools or repetitive tasks
    • Backups
    • Image Optimization
    • Form Creation

Using the Customizer and Gutenberg

Using the Customizer & Gutenberg

  • Try Gutenberg (Block Editor) - https://testgutenberg.com
  • Some plugins and themes add Customizer Settings
  • Third party Gutenberg Blocks exist as plugins

How to Troubleshoot Your Site


How to Troubleshoot Your Site

  • Make sure that you have backups!
  • Use staging to test if your host offers it
  • Disable all plugins and enable default theme. Re-enable one at a time until the problem returns again.
  • Google the issue: you are not alone!
  • Find local resources like a Meetup, FB Group, or Slack


WordPress 101 - Orlando Blogger Union

By David Wolfpaw

WordPress 101 - Orlando Blogger Union

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