Crash Course in


Published on is seeing growing adoption in schools. One of the colleges that we work with is making it a core part of their program's curriculum. All students are required to start a WordPress blog and maintain it over their three year program. We were asked to speak with these students, so we prepared this presentation - a fast-track crash course to introduce beginners to what has to offer.

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Crash Course in

  1. 1. A Crash Course in
  2. 2. Who Am I? Andy McIlwain - Graduate, Advertising program @ SLC ‘09 - Communications @ - Co-Organizer, Toronto WordPress Group - Organizer, WordCamp Toronto 2011-2013 - 6+ years of experience with WordPress - Inbound Marketing & Web Strategy
  3. 3. What is WordPress? - Content Management System (CMS) - Open Source Software & Free To Use - Manage Posts, Pages, & Media (e.g. Images) - Add features with plugins - Customize appearance with themes
  4. 4. vs - Standalone software. - Requires hosting & a domain name. - Lets you use themes and plugins. - Complete control. - Requires more technical knowledge. - Service built with WordPress software. - Don’t need to buy hosting or a domain to use - Free and premium themes available. - Can’t install plugins.
  5. 5. Great to start with - Don’t worry about technical stuff. - Dedicated customer service team. - Get found thanks to a large community. - Lots of customization available. - Lots of features built in. - You can move to self-hosted later if you want.
  6. 6. Why does WordPress matter? - Powers approx. 20% of the web*, market share is continuously rising. - The go-to CMS for marketing sites, blogs, publishers, media companies. - Opportunity for freelancing and taking on side projects for additional income. *Source: VentureBeat
  7. 7. Your Account Controls your... - Account Options - Security Options - Public Profile (, used for avatars and your bio on - Billing Preferences
  8. 8. Using Posts: Use subheadings for easy skimming. Use images for appeal. Images also get picked up when your posts are shared on social media (e.g. LinkedIn and Facebook). Post Categories: Like sections in a newspaper. Post Tags: Keywords related to the post. Pages: “Reference” content not associated with any given date. Cannot be categorized or tagged. Consider: About & Contact page; links to friends and other useful sites/pages. Media: Upload images to your site. Opportunity for people to find your stuff via image searches. Feedback: Where form submissions are held.
  9. 9. Blog Sharing Settings Lots of setting options that can be configured to your preference. Sharing is important for promotional purposes. Publicize: Connect with other social media accounts to automatically share your posts. Sharing Buttons: Also customize the sharing buttons that appear below posts on your blog. Drag n’ drop the available services into the order you prefer.
  10. 10. Choosing a Theme - First impressions are everything. - Consider the purpose of your site. Are you creating a portfolio for copy or design? - Choose a theme that does not distract from your content or portfolio items. - When looking for a theme: Click “Feature Filter” to toggle lots of options.
  11. 11. Working With Your Theme Customization - Customization options vary from theme to theme. Typically include: Change colour scheme, upload a header image. - Consider your personal brand. What impression should your site make? What fits you? Mobile Appearance - Mobile is important! Don’t force visitors to pinch n’ zoom. - Some themes are responsive (adapt to device). - You can also use the mobile theme.
  12. 12. Working With Menus - Control your menu. Keep pages organized. - Letting all pages get added to your menu can make things confusing for your site visitors. - Create custom menus for sidebar widgets, e. g. links to your social media accounts or projects.
  13. 13. Working with Widgets - Tons of widgets available. Don’t overdo it. - Consider priority: What is the most important thing for your visitors to see? - Consider Calls to Action: What are you asking your visitors to do? View your profile? Contact you? - Some widgets from other sites won’t work. strips out <script></script> code. - Your widgets may not be visible on mobile devices. It depends on the theme that you’re using.
  14. 14. Upgrading Your Site’s Features Upgrades available at Best bang for the buck: Premium Plan ($110-ish per year), includes the following upgrades: - No Ads & Free Domain Registration* *Or mapping if you already own a domain. - Custom Design Upgrade (Colours, Fonts, CSS) - Upload Audio & Video directly to your blog Not interested in the Premium Plan? Highly recommended: No Ads, Custom Domain and Custom Design.
  15. 15. Why Custom Domain & Design? Custom Domain (Register a new one or map a current one) - A domain is much more professional and shows that you’re willing to make some investment in your website and brand. - You can use this domain for the entirety of your career, establishing control over your online identity and authority. Custom Design - Don’t be “just another site” with an out-of-the-box theme. Customizing fonts, colours, and using a bit of CSS to adjust your layout can help define your brand and make a good first impression. Great way to make the most of a free theme!
  16. 16. Doesn’t Host Email! does not provide email hosting. You’ll need to get email hosting from another provider. More information: ● Forwarding email from your custom domain. ● Hooking up a 3rd party email host.
  17. 17. Monitoring Your Site Performance doesn’t support Google Analytics. Instead, we use Stats. Shows: - Visitors & Views - Visitor Locations, Views by Country - Top Posts & Pages, Categories & Tags - Referring Sites, Search Terms - Clicks - Subscribers, Commenters, Followers
  18. 18. Resources Support Section Forums
  19. 19. Any Questions? Get In Touch!
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