Getting Started Video
Introduction to WordPress
This guide will help you learn how to use WordPress to manage and maintain your school’s website.
Brief history and purpose of WordPress
WordPress is a powerful and versatile Content Management System (CMS) that began as a blogging platform in 2003. Since then, it has evolved into a fully-featured website creation tool, powering over 40% of all websites on the internet.
The main purpose of WordPress is to provide an easy-to-use interface for creating, editing, and managing website content without the need for extensive technical knowledge. It’s open-source, which means it’s continuously being improved by a community of developers and contributors, ensuring that it remains up-to-date and secure.
Logging in to WordPress
To begin, you’ll need to access the WordPress admin area for https://myips.org.
- Open your preferred web browser and navigate to
- Enter your assigned username and password.
- Click the “Log In” button.
After successfully logging in, you’ll be redirected to the WordPress Dashboard, which serves as the central hub for managing your website’s content.
If you’ve forgotten your password, please submit a request using the “District and School Website” Let’sTalk form and a member of our team will send you a temporary password and instructions how to manually set it.
Overview of the WordPress Dashboard
The WordPress Dashboard is the first screen you’ll see after logging in. It provides an at-a-glance view of your site’s content and activity, as well as access to various administrative functions. Here’s a brief overview of the main sections:
- Home: Displays a summary of your site’s content, recent activity, and helpful tips for using WordPress.
- Posts: Manage your blog posts, categories, and tags. This is where you’ll create and edit content for your website’s blog.
- Pages: Manage your website’s static pages, such as “About Us” or “Contact Us.”
- Appearance: Customize your site’s appearance, including themes, menus, and widgets.
As you work through this training documentation, you’ll become more familiar with these sections and learn how to use them effectively to manage your website.
Posts and Pages
In this section, we’ll cover the key differences between posts and pages in WordPress and how to create, edit, and delete them. Additionally, we’ll explore the Gutenberg editor, which allows you to format content and add media to your posts and pages.
Difference between posts and pages
In WordPress, there are two primary types of content: posts and pages. Understanding the differences between them will help you determine which one to use for various types of content on your website.
- Intended for dynamic, regularly updated content, such as news articles and blog entries.
- Displayed in reverse chronological order on your blog or news page.
- Can be organized using categories and tags.
- Usually allow comments and social sharing options.
- Intended for static, timeless content, such as “About Us,” “Contact Us,” or “Services” pages.
- Not displayed in chronological order.
- Not organized using categories or tags.
- Typically do not have comments or social sharing options enabled.
Creating, editing, and deleting posts and pages
To create a new post or page, follow these steps:
- From the WordPress Dashboard, hover over “Posts” or “Pages” in the left-hand menu and click “Add New.”
- Enter a title for your post or page in the “Title” field.
- Add content to your post or page using the Gutenberg editor (more on this in the next section).
- Choose the appropriate categories and tags (for posts) or select a parent page (for pages) using the options in the right-hand sidebar.
- Click “Publish” in the top-right corner to make your post or page live on the website.
To edit an existing post or page, hover over “Posts” or “Pages” in the left-hand menu, click “All Posts” or “All Pages,” locate the post or page you want to edit, and click its title or the “Edit” link below it.
To delete a post or page, click “Trash” under the post or page title in the “All Posts” or “All Pages” list. To permanently delete a post or page, go to the “Trash” tab, locate the post or page, and click “Delete Permanently.”
Using the Gutenberg editor (blocks, formatting, and media)
The Gutenberg editor is a block-based content editor that makes it easy to create and format content in WordPress. Each piece of content, such as a paragraph, image, or list, is represented as a separate block. You can add, edit, and rearrange blocks to create the desired layout for your post or page.
- To add a block, click the “+” icon at the top-left corner of the editor or within the content area where you want to add the block. A list of available block types will appear, such as paragraphs, headings, images, lists, and more. Click on the desired block type to insert it into your post or page.
- To edit a block, simply click on it and make your changes. You can format text using the toolbar that appears above the block, and you can customize block settings using the options in the right-hand sidebar.
- To move a block, click and hold the up and down arrows on the left side of the block, then drag it to the desired location. To delete a block, click the three-dot menu icon on the right side of the block and select “Remove Block.”
- To add media, such as images or videos, to your post or page, use the “Image” or “Video” blocks. You can upload media files from your computer, select them from the Media Library, or insert them using a URL. Once inserted, you can resize and align the media within the block, as well as add captions or alt text as needed.
In addition to basic blocks like paragraphs, headings, and images, the Gutenberg editor offers more advanced blocks for specific purposes, such as galleries, columns, tables, and buttons. Experiment with these blocks to enhance the functionality and appearance of your content.
As you become more familiar with the Gutenberg editor, you’ll find that it offers a powerful and flexible way to create and format content in WordPress, making it easy for users of all skill levels to produce professional-looking posts and pages.
In the next section, we’ll cover how to create and manage categories and tags for organizing your posts, as well as how to assign them to your content. This will help you keep your website’s content organized and make it easier for visitors to find the information they’re looking for.
Categories and Tags
In this section, we’ll explore how to create and manage categories and tags in WordPress. Categories and tags are essential tools for organizing your posts and making it easier for visitors to find relevant content on your website.
Creating and managing categories
Categories are used to group related posts together, providing a way for visitors to navigate your content based on topics or themes. To create a new category, follow these steps:
- From the WordPress Dashboard, hover over “Posts” and click “Categories.”
- Enter a name for the new category in the “Name” field.
- (Optional) Choose a parent category if you want to create a subcategory.
- (Optional) Enter a description for the category, which may be displayed depending on your theme.
- Click “Add New Category.”
To edit an existing category, hover over its name in the list and click “Edit.” Make your desired changes and click “Update.”
To delete a category, hover over its name in the list and click “Delete.” Note that deleting a category will not delete the associated posts; they will be reassigned to the default “Uncategorized” category.
Creating and managing tags
Tags are used to add specific keywords or phrases to your posts, allowing visitors to find content based on more granular topics. Unlike categories, tags do not have a hierarchical structure. To create a new tag, follow these steps:
- From the WordPress Dashboard, hover over “Posts” and click “Tags.”
- Enter a name for the new tag in the “Name” field.
- (Optional) Enter a description for the tag, which may be displayed depending on your theme.
- Click “Add New Tag.”
To edit an existing tag, hover over its name in the list and click “Edit.” Make your desired changes and click “Update.”
To delete a tag, hover over its name in the list and click “Delete.” Note that deleting a tag will not remove the associated posts; it will simply remove the tag from those posts.
Assigning categories and tags to posts
To assign categories and tags to a post, follow these steps:
- In the post editor, locate the “Categories” and “Tags” sections in the right-hand sidebar.
- For categories, check the boxes next to the desired categories. You can select multiple categories if needed.
- For tags, enter the desired tags separated by commas and press “Enter” or click “Add.”
When you publish or update your post, the selected categories and tags will be associated with it, helping to organize your content and make it easier for visitors to find related posts.
In the next section, we’ll cover the Media Library, where you can upload, manage, and edit media files for use in your posts and pages. We’ll also explore how to insert media into your content and make the most of WordPress’s built-in image editing tools.
The Media Library is a central repository for all media files (images, videos, documents, etc.) used on your WordPress site. In this section, we’ll cover how to upload and manage media files, edit images within WordPress, and insert media into posts and pages.
Uploading and managing media files
To upload a new media file, follow these steps:
- From the WordPress Dashboard, hover over “Media” and click “Add New.”
- Click “Select Files” to browse for the file(s) you want to upload or simply drag and drop them into the designated area.
- Once the file(s) have been uploaded, they will appear in the Media Library.
To manage existing media files, click “Library” under the “Media” menu. Here, you can view, search, and filter your media files by type or date. To edit a file’s details or delete it, hover over its thumbnail and click the appropriate link.
Editing images within WordPress
WordPress offers basic image editing tools that allow you to crop, rotate, and resize images directly within the Media Library. To edit an image, follow these steps:
- In the Media Library, click on the image you want to edit.
- Click the “Edit Image” button below the image preview.
- Use the toolbar above the image to crop, rotate, or resize the image as needed.
- Click “Save” to apply your changes, or “Cancel” to discard them.
Keep in mind that these editing tools are limited and may not replace a full-featured image editor. However, they can be helpful for making quick adjustments to your images directly within WordPress.
Inserting media into posts and pages
To insert a media file into a post or page, follow these steps:
- In the Gutenberg editor, click the “+” button to add a new block and select the appropriate block type for your media file (e.g., Image, Gallery, Audio, or Video).
- Choose the “Upload” option to upload a new file, or the “Media Library” option to select an existing file.
- Adjust the media file’s settings and alignment as needed using the block’s toolbar and sidebar options.
When you’re satisfied with your media’s appearance and settings, continue editing your post or page as usual. The media file will be embedded in your content and visible to visitors when the post or page is published.
In the next section, we’ll discuss creating and managing menus in WordPress, which is essential for organizing your site’s navigation and helping visitors find the content they’re looking for.
Creating and Managing Menus
Menus are an essential part of your WordPress site, as they help users navigate through your content and find what they’re looking for. In this section, we’ll cover creating and editing menus, adding and organizing menu items, and assigning menus to theme locations.
Creating and editing menus
To create a new menu, follow these steps:
- From the WordPress Dashboard, hover over “Appearance” and click “Menus.”
- Click “Create a new menu” at the top of the page.
- Enter a name for your menu (e.g., “Main Navigation”) and click “Create Menu.”
To edit an existing menu, simply select it from the “Select a menu to edit” dropdown and click “Select.”
Adding and organizing menu items
Once you’ve created a menu, you can add items to it. These items can be links to your site’s pages, posts, categories, or custom URLs. To add a menu item, follow these steps:
- On the “Menus” page, locate the “Add menu items” section on the left.
- Choose the type of item you want to add (e.g., Pages, Posts, Categories, or Custom Links).
- Select the items you want to add to the menu or enter the necessary information for custom links.
- Click “Add to Menu.”
After adding items to your menu, you can organize them by dragging and dropping them into the desired order. You can also create submenus by dragging items slightly to the right underneath their parent items.
To remove a menu item, click the arrow next to its title in the “Menu structure” section, then click “Remove.”
Assigning menus to theme locations
Most WordPress themes offer predefined menu locations, such as a header or footer menu. To assign your custom menu to a theme location, follow these steps:
- On the “Menus” page, scroll down to the “Menu Settings” section.
- Check the box next to the location where you want to display your menu (e.g., “Primary Menu” or “Footer Menu”).
- Click “Save Menu.”
Now, your custom menu will be displayed in the selected location on your site. You can create and manage multiple menus and assign them to different locations, depending on your theme’s options and your site’s needs.
In the next section, we’ll discuss widgets and widget areas, which offer additional customization options for your WordPress site and can help you display dynamic content in various areas of your site’s layout.
Widgets are small content blocks that can be added to various areas of your WordPress site, such as sidebars, footers, and headers, depending on your theme’s layout. In this section, we will cover the overview of widgets and widget areas, as well as adding and configuring widgets.
Overview of widgets and widget areas
Widgets can display a variety of content, such as recent posts, search bars, calendars, or custom text. The available widgets can be found in the “Widgets” section of your WordPress Dashboard.
Widget areas are predefined locations in your theme where you can place widgets. Common widget areas include sidebars, footers, and headers. The number and location of widget areas will vary depending on your theme.
Adding and configuring widgets
To add a widget to a widget area, follow these steps:
- From the WordPress Dashboard, hover over “Appearance” and click “Widgets.”
- On the “Widgets” page, you will see a list of available widgets on the left and your theme’s widget areas on the right.
- Drag the desired widget from the left side of the screen to the appropriate widget area on the right.
- Configure the widget settings by clicking the arrow next to the widget title in the widget area. The settings will vary depending on the widget type.
- Click “Save” to save your widget settings.
To remove a widget from a widget area, click the arrow next to its title in the widget area and click “Delete.”
In addition to using the “Widgets” page, you can also manage widgets in the WordPress Customizer. To do so, follow these steps:
- From the WordPress Dashboard, hover over “Appearance” and click “Customize.”
- In the Customizer, click “Widgets.”
- Select the widget area where you want to add or modify widgets.
- Click “Add a Widget” to add a new widget, or click on an existing widget to configure its settings.
- Click “Publish” to save your changes.
In the next section, we’ll cover basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to help improve your website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results.
Basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s visibility in search engine results, which can lead to increased traffic and engagement. In this section, we’ll cover the importance of SEO for a website, using headings, titles, and descriptions effectively, and the impact of permalinks and URL structure on SEO.
Importance of SEO for a website
SEO is essential for a website because it helps search engines, like Google, understand and rank your content. A well-optimized website will appear higher in search engine results, making it more likely that users will visit your site. This is particularly important for schools, as increased visibility can lead to better communication with parents, students, and the community.
Using headings, titles, and descriptions effectively
Headings, titles, and descriptions play a crucial role in SEO. They help search engines understand the structure and content of your website, while also providing users with clear information about what they can expect to find on a page.
- Headings: Use proper heading hierarchy (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to organize your content. The H1 tag should be used for the main title of your page, and subsequent headings (H2, H3, etc.) should be used to structure the content logically. This not only helps search engines understand your content but also improves readability for users.
- Page Titles: Each page on your website should have a unique, descriptive title that includes relevant keywords. The title is displayed in search engine results and browser tabs, so it should clearly convey the page’s purpose.
- Meta Descriptions: A meta description is a brief summary of a page’s content that appears below the title in search engine results. It should be concise, engaging, and include relevant keywords. Meta descriptions can be added using an SEO plugin, such as Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack.
Permalinks and URL structure
Permalinks are the permanent URLs that point to your site’s content, such as posts and pages. An optimized URL structure can improve your website’s SEO by making it easier for search engines to understand and index your content.
To configure your permalinks in WordPress:
- From the WordPress Dashboard, hover over “Settings” and click “Permalinks.”
- Choose a permalink structure that is both SEO-friendly and easy to read. The “Post name” option is recommended for most websites, as it includes the post title in the URL.
- Click “Save Changes” to update your permalink settings.
In addition to configuring your permalink structure, consider the following best practices for optimizing your URLs:
- Use lowercase letters and hyphens to separate words in your URLs.
- Keep URLs concise and descriptive, including relevant keywords when possible.
- Avoid using special characters, numbers, or dates in URLs, as they can make them difficult to read and understand.
In the next section, we will discuss the importance of accessibility and user experience, along with best practices for content creation and design.
Accessibility and User Experience
Accessibility and user experience are crucial aspects of web design that ensure your content is inclusive, easy to understand, and engaging for all users, including those with disabilities. In this section, we’ll cover the importance of accessibility and user experience, basic best practices for content creation and design, using alt text for images, ensuring proper color contrast, and choosing a theme with accessibility in mind.
Importance of accessibility and user experience
A website with good accessibility and user experience not only benefits users with disabilities but also enhances usability for all visitors. Improving these aspects can lead to increased user satisfaction, higher engagement, and better search engine rankings. As a school district, it’s essential to provide an inclusive and easy-to-navigate website for parents, students, staff, and the community.
Basic best practices for content creation and design
To create accessible and user-friendly content, consider the following best practices:
- Use clear and concise language: Write in plain language and avoid jargon to make your content easy to understand for all users.
- Organize content logically: Use headings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to break up text and improve readability.
- Use descriptive link text: Ensure that link text accurately describes the linked content, rather than using generic phrases like “click here.”
- Ensure keyboard navigation: Test your site for keyboard navigation, ensuring that all interactive elements can be accessed using the “Tab” key.
Using alt text for images
Alternative (alt) text is a short description of an image that is read aloud by screen readers for users with visual impairments. Adding alt text to your images not only improves accessibility but also benefits SEO by providing search engines with more context about your content.
To add alt text to an image in WordPress:
- Click on an image in the editor or media library.
- Locate the “Alt Text” field in the image settings or attachment details.
- Enter a brief, descriptive text that accurately describes the image.
- Save your changes.
Ensuring proper color contrast
Adequate color contrast between text and background is essential for readability, particularly for users with visual impairments. Use online tools, such as WebAIM’s Color Contrast Checker, to ensure your chosen colors meet the recommended contrast ratios defined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
In the next section, we’ll explore the TablePress plugin, including its installation, activation, and usage for creating and managing tables.
TablePress is a popular WordPress plugin that allows you to create and manage tables easily without any coding knowledge. This versatile plugin can be used to display data, schedules, and other types of information in a clear and organized manner. In this section, we’ll cover an overview of TablePress, its installation and activation, creating and managing tables, adding tables to posts and pages, and customizing table appearance.
Overview of TablePress plugin
TablePress enables you to create responsive tables that can be easily embedded in posts, pages, or widgets. The plugin offers various features, such as sorting, pagination, filtering, and exporting data to various formats (CSV, Excel, and PDF). TablePress uses shortcodes to embed tables, making it simple to add and update tables without modifying your content directly.
Creating and managing tables
To create a new table with TablePress:
- Go to “TablePress” > “Add New” in the left-hand menu.
- Enter a table name and an optional description.
- Specify the number of rows and columns for your table.
- Click “Add Table” to create your table.
You can now edit the table by entering data into the cells, inserting links, or adding basic HTML formatting.
To manage existing tables, navigate to “TablePress” > “All Tables” and click on the table you want to edit. You can modify the table data, duplicate, delete, or export the table as needed.
Adding tables to posts and pages
To add a table to a post or page:
- Edit the post or page where you want to insert the table.
- Place the cursor at the location you want to insert the table.
- Click the “TablePress” button in the editor toolbar.
- Choose the desired table from the dropdown list and click “Insert Shortcode.”
- The shortcode for the selected table will be added to your content. Save your changes and preview the post or page to see the table in action.
Customizing table appearance
TablePress offers various options to customize the appearance of your tables. To modify the table settings, go to “TablePress” > “All Tables,” click on the table you want to edit, and then click the “Edit” button.
To change the table’s visual appearance, navigate to “TablePress” > “Plugin Options” and scroll down to the “Custom CSS” section. Here, you can enter custom CSS rules to style your tables, such as changing font size, colors, or borders.
In the next section, we’ll recap the topics covered in this guide and provide further resources for learning and improving your WordPress skills.
Further resources for learning and improving WordPress skills
To continue learning and enhancing your WordPress skills, consider exploring the following resources:
- WordPress.org Codex: The official online manual for WordPress, containing information on various topics, such as themes, plugins, and functions. Visit https://codex.wordpress.org/.
- WordPress.tv: A collection of video tutorials and presentations from WordCamp events, offering insights and best practices from WordPress experts. Visit https://wordpress.tv/.
- WPBeginner: A comprehensive resource for beginners, providing step-by-step tutorials, guides, and tips to help you get started with and master WordPress. Visit https://www.wpbeginner.com/.
- WordPress Support Forums: A community-driven platform where you can ask questions, share knowledge, and find solutions to WordPress-related issues. Visit https://wordpress.org/support/forums/.
As you explore these resources and continue working with WordPress, you’ll gain valuable experience and become proficient in managing and customizing your school’s website.