Alright, so you have your hosting all setup, you’ve chosen your theme and imported it to your site, and you have to figure out where to go from here.
Assuming you are good to go, follow along below to get a good idea of where to start to make changes to your site.
If you have purchased a premium theme, there is likely some great theme documentation you should also follow along with that will allow you to get a default site setup that you can then customize from there.
If you’re following along in our series and you’ve added the Free Hello WordPress Theme, you can keep following these instruction below!
WordPress Dashboard: Title, Tagline & Favicon
Your site title and tagline are typically the first things that a person visiting your website will see.
They’re also what are going to be displayed in the tab at the top of the browser window that your site is open in.
Choosing a great title and tagline are extremely important as they are going to let a visitor know right away what the purpose of your site is.
Most people will have their site name as their brand name. This makes the most sense as you want people to start associating your brand name with your site and your content.
Your tag line is a little more complex, but essentially you want to give people a quick idea of what your site is about.
For me here at Lady Boss Studio – mine is “Providing the top business resources, templates and training for female entrepreneurs!”. People know right away what my site is about and they know if they are in the right place or not.
The other reason to make sure to personalize your tag line is that you don’t want the default WordPress tagline of “just another WordPress site” – it’s going to make you look like an amateur if you leave that.
Even if you haven’t thought of the most amazing tagline yet, please put something else other than the default tag line, I’m begging you.
In order to access your site title and tag line:
Go to your Dashboard and select Settings – General. It will be the first two items listed there. Make sure you save it after you change it.
The third part of this is the Favicon (Site Icon) – and believe me I had never heard of the word favicon before this…
Have you ever noticed that most sites have a great little icon in the browser tab beside their name (site title) that lets you quickly differentiate one site from another?
If you can’t recall, open up a Facebook tab or Pinterest or Gmail and you will notice right away that the Favicon (little logo) is the first thing that you see.
This makes it super easy when you have a whole bunch of windows open and you need to find a specific site.
This is why you want your favicon to be nice and distinct. I’ve outlined below how to make the changes to all three.
Start from your WordPress Dashboard and go to Appearance – Customize (as shown below).
Then select “Site Identity” in the new left menu and you will have the option to edit your Site Title, Tagline and Site Icon.
WordPress Dashboard: Homepage/Landing Page
This is almost the most important section of your entire site. It’s the first place people land when they arrive at your site and it needs to WOW them!
You have two main options here: to either have your home page as a static page (always stays the same) or have it a fluid page that is always updated with your most recent blog posts.
What you will choose depends on whether you are running a business (services or products) and blogging or just blogging.
If you have a service business or you are selling products, you will want your homepage as a static page – this means anytime someone visits your site, they will see the same welcome information and this will make it easier to find what they are looking for on your site (we will talk about menus further down).
If the purpose of your site is for blogging, you will want it set up so that your homepage displays your latest blog posts so visitors can easily find your content.
You also need to select whether you want your blog page to show the full text of your posts or a list of excerpts. I recommend choosing the excerpts to make it easier to scroll through your blog page and find content.
To access these settings, go to Settings – Reading as you can see below:
Make sure that you have not put a check mark beside “Search Engine Visibility”.
You do not want to discourage any search engines from finding your site! One more thing to note is that you will have to select from the drop down menus to choose the page for your front page and your posts (blog) page.
If your theme doesn’t have default menus/pages already set up, you likely won’t be able to select any options here yet but remember to come back to this once you have your menu/pages set up. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you!!
WordPress Basics: Pages & Posts
Alright, so we have reached the meat and potatoes of your site and I’m sure what you have been waiting for.
There will be a bit of a difference in terms of pages depending on whether you are setting up a services/product based site or a blog site, but some of the menu items will be the same.
For your Services/Product business, you will likely need: Homepage, About, and Contact, and you could have Services or Products (Shop), Testimonials, Portfolio and Blog.
For Blogging, you are likely going to need the following: About, Contact, and Blog (Homepage), and you could add a Resources or Recommendations Page and a Categories Page.
Now in terms of setting up your actual pages, it’s really not that complicated, I promise!
You will need to go to “Pages” located on the left side of your dashboard and create a new page.
If your theme came with default pages, you can select the page you want to edit once you are in the “Pages” tab.
Take a look below. You can see the “Add New” button at the top or you can select “Edit” under the page name to edit a default page.
As you can see on mine, I also have an “Edit with Elementor” option because we recommend using Elementor to create your website, but also to design your posts and pages.
The last part I want to mention about Pages is on the right hand side, you will see the status of your Page.
This is good to know if you are working on a Page and it is still in draft mode, you can easily identify it.
Now On To Posts (Blog)
You will (should) be using this regardless of whether you have a service/product based site or a blog site.
Blog posts are where you get to let the world know your expertise, and they offer you a great way to gain loyal brand followers.
I know the hardest part is developing the actual content for the post, but first let’s talk about how to get that post all set-up and published.
Similar to creating a new page, you will click on the “Posts” tab in the left hand side of the dashboard menu.
Again, you have the option to either create a new post or edit an existing one if it was setup through your theme’s default setting.
WordPress Basics: Menus
Alright, so this section is pretty easy given that you have already outlined which pages you want on your site – now you just have to label them and add them to your menu bar.
Go to Appearance – Menus and I’ll explain everything from here.
At the top, you want to select which menu you are going to edit.
Chances are your theme came with a pre-made default menu that you can just edit.
If not, then you can make one from scratch by selecting “create new menu”. As you can see below, this is what my Main Menu (Top Menu) looks like on the back end.
Once you have the correct menu selected – on the left hand side you will see a list of your current pages that you can turn into menu options.
The current view I’m in is Most Recent, but you can also select the option to View All to see all available pages to use for menu items.
Once you have selected the pages you want – hit “Add to Menu” and you will see them appear on the right under Menu Structure. Now this part is great because you can drag and drop to re-order the pages in the menu bar and you can drag them over to create sub-pages if you want as well.
I’m going to go more in depth below in terms of individual menu item options.
The last thing I want to mention before I do that, is make sure you have the right Menu area selected at the bottom.
As you can see, I have “Top Menu” selected as this is my main menu that I want shown at the top of each page.
I wanted to take a minute and outline this part on its own because it might come in really handy for you! When you click the little arrow down button to the right of the menu title, you will see a pop up of a few additional options you have. Here you can re-name the page/menu title to make it look better and perhaps catch more attention. An example is if you have a testimonials page, when you add it to your menu, you could easily rename it “Praise” as it sounds nicer but you don’t have to worry about re-naming the original page. The other nice thing is that you can always see what the original page is that you have it linked to in the “Original” box.
REMINDER: Go back to Settings – Reading and select the appropriate pages for your Front Page and Post Page if you weren’t able to do so earlier!
Well, we’ve covered the WordPress Basics for the most part without delving too deep, and I hope this has given you a good overview.
Now that you hopefully have your site set up and it’s looking great, you’ll be able to move on to designing your brand new site using Elementor Pro!
And don’t forget, if you want all of the step-by-step videos, page templates and bonuses to help you create an amazing website, you need to join our WordPress Website Academy!