How to Customize your WordPress Website

In my previous article I took you through the steps required to create your very first website using WordPress. I’ll continue where I left off the last time.

So today we’re going to learn how to customize our WordPress website. Once you create your website on WordPress, the first steps include customizing your website to make it look the way you want. Let’s see how to achieve that.

Name it!

This is the very first step after you create a WordPress site. You’ve got to change the website’s title to your own. Go to your dashboard (available at yourwebsitename.wordpress.com/wp-admin where ‘yourwebsitename’ is your website’s domain) and click Appearance -> Customize

Customize WordPress

Now click on ‘Site Identity’ from the left sidebar and then type in your website’s name and tagline into the respective fields or if you don’t want to display a site title, uncheck the checkbox named ‘Display Site Title and Tagline ‘. If you have a logo designed, you can upload that too.

Customise WordPress website

Themes

When you’re done with naming, customize other things you want. However, changing the theme would do most of the visual part for you. To change the Theme, go to the dashboard and click on Appearance -> Theme from the left sidebar.

Change WordPress Theme

Once at the themes section, look for any theme that suits you and click on the ‘Live Preview’ button to see a demonstration of how that theme will look on your website. If you like the look, click on ‘Activate’ to apply the theme, or look for another one.

Pages

After finalizing the looks of your website, you should specify the pages for your website. Simply put, pages are technically web locations within your website which present extra information regarding it. Pages could relate to anything. The most common forms of pages include a Home page, an About page and a Contact page. If you’ve chosen to go with a dynamic layout (i.e. a list or grid of your latest posts), you won’t probably need a homepage. However, if your website is a static one (which needs a home page), you’ll need to set up a home page to best describe the purpose of your website or business or about you to someone who knows almost nothing about you at all.

To create a home page, go to your dashboard and select Pages -> Add new. Now type the page title and content and click ‘Publish’. You’ve got your home page!

Add new page WordPress

Go to your website and check if your home page is displayed or not. In case it doesn’t display, go to the Customization panel again and click ‘Static Front Page’. Now tick the ‘A static page’ checkbox and select the page you just made. Also choose a page to display your posts (make a new one and name it what you like e.g. Blog or News). Now go to your website again and there will be your home page all set up.

Once you’ve set up your home page, go ahead and write content in the About and Contact pages. They are already in place. Just go to Pages -> All from the dashboard and click on ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ pages to fill them.

Posting

Besides pages, the most important thing that makes a website is content. In WordPress, anything you write is a post. It could be your new launch, or your awesome recipe or anything you wish. To create a new post, click on Posts -> Add New from your dashboard.

Add new WordPress post

But before posting anything new, remove the default post generated automatically by going to Posts -> All Posts. Move your mouse over the ‘First Blog Post’ link and click the red ‘Trash’ link to delete it. You can delete any posts and pages in future similarly.

When you’re on the ‘Add New Post’ section, type in your content and title and add any images or videos you want. To add a media resource (the technical term for images and videos), first place the cursor where you want the resource to be inserted, now click the ‘Add Media’ button, then click on the ‘Select files’ button and select the images or videos you’d like to insert. You can also insert images or videos from an external website by clicking the ‘Insert from URL’ link on the bottom of the left sidebar and pasting the link to the file there. Similarly you can embed (insert) a YouTube video or a Tweet.

Another aspect of posts are Categories and Tags. They are used to categorize your content for easier navigation (like ‘Nature photography’ on a photography blog). To create a new category, scroll down to the bottom of your ‘Add new post’ page and click the ‘Add New Category’ link from the right sidebar.

Tags serve a similar purpose as Categories. They are descriptive words which describe your post content to search engines like Google and Bing. Tags are one or two-word terms. For example, a post about creating a website would have tags like ‘website’,’web design’,’online’ etc., but remember to use only the tags which are relevant to your post.

Done!

We’re done with the initial customization of our first WordPress website! There are a lot more steps to make your content better and your website more useful but let’s leave it for another time.

If you think I might have missed a thing or two, don’t hesitate to point them out in the comments. Don’t forget to share the post in your social networks. Have a nice time ahead!

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