I’ve been using WordPress for years now. With blogging becoming a professional thing recently, there are more and more people joining this league, there are beginners every other day. And beginners bring a ton of questions, I’ve been seeing a lot of questions from beginners across various forums and platforms. That inspired me to create this guide on WordPress FAQ.
With that said, let me share the most common questions beginners have. For easy navigation, I have created the table of contents below. You can jump to the specific question that’s important to you, or you can go through all the frequently asked questions for a better understanding of the blogging platform.
Getting Started With WordPress
- What is WordPress?
- Why Should I Choose WordPress?
- How to start a WordPress blog?
- What is the difference between WordPress.com & WordPress.org?
- What is the difference between wordpress hosting & web hosting?
- How much does it cost to build a WordPress website?
- Can I transfer my blog from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress website? If yes, how?
- Do I need to know PHP in order to use WordPress?
- Is WordPress available in my language?
- How to Update WordPress?
- How to import content to WordPress?
- How to install themes & plugins on my WordPress?
- How to change the WordPress logo?
- How to change my homepage?
- What is the difference between posts & pages?
WordPress FAQ for Newbies
- How to customize sidebar?
- How to create a navigation menu?
- How to change date & time for your blog posts
- How to customize WordPress?
- How to validate a website?
- How to Troubleshoot WordPress & where can I find help?
- How to change the password for my user profile?
WordPress FAQ for Installing WordPress
- What are some things I should know before installing WordPress?
- How to install WordPress on a PC?
- How to & where should I report security Issues?
- How can I avoid Spamming in my comment section?
- How can I sort my posts alphabetically?
WordPress FAQ for developers
- How can I contribute to the WordPress community?
- Can I submit a bug? If yes how?
WordPress FAQ for Search Engine Optimization
- What is SEO? Is it important for my website/blog?
- Is WordPress SEO-friendly by default?
- What is CDN? How can I use it?
- What are some WordPress security tips I should follow?
- What are some security plugins that I can make use of?
Make Money with WordPress
- Can I make money with my WordPress website/blog? If yes, how?
Frequently Asked Questions about WordPress by Newbies
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is an open source CMS serving bloggers and online business owners since 2003. Initially, WordPress was simply a blogging tool but as the community grew, it transformed into a full-fledged content management system, thanks to the community that has been powering since its inception.
WordPress powers almost one-quarter of all websites that are live on the world wide web, and there are billions of website live today. Powering over 25% of all the websites that are live today is not a child’s play. This is just the tip of the ice, there’s a whole iceberg under this.
WordPress lets you do almost everything with the website you create. Your business, your ownership & hence you have all rights to customize any part of the website to whatever you want. When it customizations, WordPress is second to none and that is why the CMS is ruling this space for over a decade now.
Why Choose WordPress?
With WordPress, you are in the front seat, and you drive your business as no one else could. Sure, Blogspot was one of the best blogging tools for a very long time but that was a time when blogging was a taboo, not everyone did it. Hence, one of the biggest reaBlogspotspot did not survive the transition phase. Furthermore, there are a ton of blogging platforms and content management software, but no one is even close to the stature WordPress is standing at.
Installing WordPress is just a few clicks away. It’s important to note that all web hosting companies have WordPress plans, therefore you can choose the plan that suits your needs and get started with blogging.
WordPress is a feature-packed content management system that is bringing ideas to reality for many entrepreneurs along with the wide buffet of plugins it has. There are well over 54 thousand plugins in the WordPress plugin directory that extend the functionality of your website/blog.
How to Start A WordPress Blog?
Now that you are aware of what WordPress can do for you, you’d be wanting to start your own blog and get started with changing the world wide web with authoritative content.
If not already aware, there are two flavors of WordPress available for your idea to reach the masses. One is WordPress.org and the other one is WordPress.com. Both platforms have their own merits & demerits. Here’s a detailed post that will help you understand the difference between the two.
But if you ask my personal opinion, I’d recommend you to go for a self-hosted WordPress website. For that, you’ll need a domain name. You can either buy it from a web hosting company or from Google Domains. In case you want to save money on the privacy of your registration details, I’d recommend you to consider Google domains. Since you can keep your registration details private for free.
But in doing this, you will lose a free domain that most of the web hosting companies. Here’s how you can get a free domain name(plus a free SSL certificate) for your website. I’d recommend you to opt for Bluehost, to begin with, but as your website/blog grows in size, you can always switch to higher plans or to some other web hosting service.
Once you have the domain name & web hosting space ready, it’s time to install WordPress on your web hosting server. I have prepared a step by step guide so that you, along with your blog will be up & running in a couple of minutes.
What is the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?
WordPress.com is managed wordpress hosting platform that has plans starting from a free website to a business plan. Both have their own merit & demerits, which I have documented here.
What is the difference between WordPress hosting & Web Hosting?
These two are simply two different plans served by web hosting companies. WordPress hosting is simply a server that is optimized especially for running WordPress script. If you look at the WordPress requirement page, you’d notice that to run the WordPress script a web hosting company should have the following versions of software installed:
- PHP version 5.2.4
- MySQL 5.0.15 (or) any version of MariaDB(a substream of MySQL)
Before you opt for a web hosting service, make sure you check for the versions of the PHP & MySQL. If your web hosting service is running a lower version of any of this software, there is a chance of your website/blog being hacked or remain inaccessible. Furthermore, WordPress hosting plans are optimized to run the scripts with ease.
The fun part is, WordPress hosting plans can host websites/blogs that aren’t running any scripts like WordPress.
On the second side of the coin is regular web hosting plans. These are for all kind of web hosting. You can host apps, web-based applications & regular websites created from scratch.
How much does it cost to build a website/blog?
While the WordPress script is absolutely free, running the website/blog will cost you around $80 to $150 annually. As mentioned in the previous section, you’d need a domain name that generally costs upto $15 annually. If you opt to choose Bluehost, you’d get a free domain with web hosting space. But if you want to buy another domain, you’d need to buy it separately.
Next thing is buying a web hosting space. Out of many web hosting services, I’ve curated best web hosting platforms. Furthermore, depending on the number of paid tools you use the cost would keep increasing. But a clean slate of a website/blog, it will cost $100 on average.
How to transfer from WordPress.com to WordPress.org(self-hosted WordPress)
I was hosting this website on WordPress.com since I had zero knowledge about this thing work. I thought of learning everything about self-hosted WordPress, I even started learning, but in vain. Best way to learn anything is simply start doing it, get your hands dirty.
I decided to get my hands dirty & jump in self-hosted WordPress. I dug up some resources online & then switched sides. I documented that future reference & most importantly, to help beginners migrate the blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
Do I need to know PHP in order to use WordPress?
Not necessarily. WordPress is designed in order to make your life easy. You have nothing to do with code unless & until you have to change something in the background. PHP is very easy to learn, I’d recommend having basic knowledge of PHP as it will be helpful to troubleshoot basic problems on your own.
If you already have a basic idea of what PHP is all about and face any issues, you can seek help from highly active WordPress users across various forums like Reddit, Quora, StackOverflow etc.
Is WordPress available in my language?
By default, WordPress is available in US English, but you can change it to your preferred language from the WordPress dashboard. Furthermore, WordPress is available in 169 internationally spoken languages, 90% of which are 100% up to date.
Therefore there wouldn’t be any problem in running WordPress in your native language. If you want to contribute to translate WordPress in any other language, go here.
How do I update WordPress?
If there’s an update in the version of WordPress installed on your server, you will be prompted to update the software right on the dashboard. In case you accidentally (or because of any reason) miss it, you can find the update by navigating to Dashboard » Updates, as shown in the image below.
Just be sure, you take a backup of all the file before you update the software. Just to be on a safer side. There’s nothing to worry, the update is released after all sort of testing but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If there are some unpredictable events like powercut, disconnecting from the internet or some random error, you might lose all the data you had stored on the server.
How can I import content to my WordPress dashboard?
Doesn’t matter you’re moving from wordpress.com or Blogspot or any other blogging platform, you can import content into self-hosted WordPress. Simply go to the WordPress dashboard » Tools » Export, as shown in the image below.
How to install themes & plugins on my WordPress website/blog?
To install a plugin, navigate to
- Dashboard » Plugins » Add new.
- Simply enter the specific name of the plugin you want to install or search by keywords based on features you are looking for. You’ll get all the plugins that do exactly that, you can click on any plugin listed based on the rating and description given.
- Click on the Install button and then click on Activate button once the plugin is installed.
Note: WordPress comes with a good number of free themes to choose from. Furthermore, a wide range of plugins that extend the functionality of your WordPress website is the cherry on the cake. At the time of installation, WordPress script comes with a basic theme and an only one plugin(hello dolly). You can delete the plugin as it does nothing, it’s simply there because that was the first plugin ever created on WordPress directory by Matt himself.
To install a theme,
- Go to dashboard » Appearance » Themes
- Browse through the buffet of free & freemium themes already available in the themes directory
- Once you finalize a theme, click on the theme and click on the Install button
- Once the theme is installed, click on the Apply button as shown in the image below.
Note: If you have a theme(s) downloaded from the third-party source, you can upload that theme in theme setting menu, as shown in the image below.
How to change the logo of my website/blog?
Depending on the theme you’ve installed, the steps would vary. However, most of the themes will have the same steps to change the logo for your WordPress website/blog, (as shown in the image below)
- Go to dashboard » Appearance » Customize
- Click on site settings
- Look for website logo menu
- Upload the desired logo and click “Publish”
How can I change the homepage of my website?
If you want to have a static blog that doesn’t have a homepage or in case your theme has disabled the homepage, don’t worry, here’s the solution.
- Go to dashboard » Appearance » Homepage settings
- Change the settings as per your requirement, as shown in the image below.
Note: Depending on the theme you are using, the static homepage settings menu will vary. It may not always be in the homepage settings. You might need to dig all the menus & settings in the theme options. In case you don’t find the menu in theme settings, you can navigate to dashboard » Settings » Reading.
WordPress pages are a static piece of information on your website/blog. There’s a huge difference between WordPress pages & WordPress posts. Here’s the difference.
What WordPress Pages are?
- Pages are for content that isn’t specifically time-dependent, or which isn’t “blog content”.
- Pages can be organized into pages and subpages.
- Pages can use different Page Templates, including template files, Template Tags and other PHP code.
- More sophisticated themes may provide a wider range of adjustments or display options for individual pages.
- It’s quite possible to make a website using WordPress which only contains pages.
What WordPress Pages aren’t?
- Pages are not posts, so they don’t appear in the time-structured views within a blog section of a website.
- Pages cannot be associated with Categories, but they can be assigned Tags. However, Tags on Pages are not included in lists displayed via the “tag” permalink.
- The organizational structure for Pages comes from hierarchical interrelationship, not from a system of categorization. (e.g. Tags or Categories.)
- Pages are not files. They are stored in your database, just like posts.
- Although you can put Template Tags and PHP code into a Page Template file, you cannot put these into the Page or Post content without using a WordPress Plugin. But be careful: integrating PHP code directly into page or post content may introduce a security problem or an unexpected error on your website
- Pages are not included in your site’s “feeds”. (e.g. RSS or Atom.)
- Pages and Posts can be interpreted differently by site visitors and by search engines. Commonly, search engines place more relevance to time-dependent site content — posts — because a newer post on a topic may be more relevant than a static page.
- A specific page (or a specific post) can be set as a static front page. Websites which are set up in this way usually have a secondary page defined on which the latest blog posts are displayed.
How to customize the sidebar of my WordPress website/blog?
Depending on the theme you install sidebar may or may not be available. While almost all themes come with a sidebar. If you want a theme that has a sidebar, simply add a theme by navigating to dashboard » Appearance » Feature Filter and check the Left Sidebar & Right sidebar checkbox as shown in the image below.
If you already have a theme that has a sidebar, to customize the sidebar, navigate to dashboard » Appearance » Widgets. Once on the widget screen, you can add any widgets from the available list, as shown in the image below.
How do I create and/or customize the navigation menu?
Navigation menu helps your users find most important information easily. Making it easy for the end users is all you need to do, if the end users are happy, Google will reward you with higher rank in SERPs.
Here’s how you can create and customize the navigation menu:
- Go to dashboard » Appearance » Menu
- Click on ‘Create new menu’ link (see the image below)
- Name your menu and add menu items from the list on your left panel
- You can add links to the menu like custom URLs, posts, pages categories etc
Note: You can utilize previous & next tag for your pages to make it easy for your end users to navigate through various pages of your website/blog. Here’s a helpful guide to do the same. Furthermore, you can even make use of split pages for blog posts that are too long for the end users simply by adding <!–nextpage–> at the point where you to have the next page link. Here’s how you can implement it. You’ll have to switch to ‘text’ mode in the WordPress editor to add this tag.
How can I change the date & time for my blog posts?
WordPress fetches date & time of the blog post from the system, that is your desktop or laptop. However, if you want to change the format of the date & time, here’s how you can do it.
- Go to dashboard » Settings » General
- Scroll down until you find date & time settings
How can I customize my WordPress?
The best part of WordPress is customizing it as per your needs. However, customizing wordpress may get trickier as this may involve code directly or indirectly. As part of customizing your wordpress, you can do the following
- Choose themes & customize it depending on the theme settings
- Install plugins & extend the functionality of your wordpress website
- Create custom menus as per your needs
- Edit theme code functionality wise to make your website even better
- …. and endless ways of amazing customizations
How can I validate my wordpress website?
While there are millions of web developers across the globe, it is difficult to maintain a standard of the content created in tons every single day. Therefore W3C has come up standards that the developers & webmasters must follow to be loved by industry experts.
In case you missed out validating your website, you may not land in good books of industry giants including Big ‘G’. Here’s how you can validate your wordpress website and ensure you are in good books of the industry.
How can I troubleshoot my wordpress website issues? Where can I reach out for help?
WordPress is an open source software backed by hundred thousands of contributors. Firstly, you can go through this guide for troubleshooting help.
Here are some troubleshooting steps you can do at your end before reaching out for help.
- Search on the web with the exact error you are facing. WordPress will show error code in case of a system end error. If wordpress is behaving in a way it shouldn’t search for that exact issue.
- Seek help from wordpress forum or wordpress support.
I want to change my password, how can I do that on wordpress?
Alternatively, you can even try resetting your password from the login page as shown in the image below.
This will be a usual process just like resetting the password for any other profile. You will be asked to enter username or email to begin resetting process.
Frequently Asked Question regarding Installing WordPress
What are the things I should know before I install WordPress?
While installing wordpress is just a click of a button away, but check if you have
Can I install WordPress on PC? If yes, how?
Most of the website owners have a developer’s version of their website, where they test new features themes things of such sort.
Here’s how you can install WordPress on your PC
- WAMP/MAMP/LAMP stack for windows/mac, which comes with a softaculous installer for easy installation.
- Desktop Server Limited
- 1-click installer for Mac PCs
- MAMP for macOS
- Local by FlyWheel
How & where can I report security issue(s)?
Code is Poetry, and poetry has its own flaws. You can report issues here.
How can I avoid spam is my comments?
Since the web is densely crowded, it is common to get spammed. WordPress has a solution to keep the spam in check. Use Akismet and/or Antispam bee plugin to control the spam comments on your website/blog.
Can I sort my blog posts alphabetically?
With wordpress everything is possible. Say you want to sort blog posts under a certain category, you can do that by editing the category.php file. Here’s the detailed help guide to sort posts alphabetically.
Frequently Asked Questions for developers
How can I contribute to the wordpress community?
WordPress is backed by hundreds & thousands of developers. Here’s how you can be part of this WordPress contributor’s community.
How can I submit a bug?
Anyone can submit a bug from this page in the wordpress community
I want to help to translate wordpress in different languages. Can I do that?
Head over to this page to help the community make wordpress available to people speaking all languages.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding its SEO
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Which are a set of best practices that make your webpages more visible to the search engine. This visibility will help you rank higher on SERPs and hence get more business out of search engines, that too for free.
While a large part of SEO doesn’t cost a dime(if you approach organically), you can bid for ads on various products/services provided by search engines like Google, Bing etc.
Is WordPress SEO friendly by default?
By default, no.
WordPress is designed to be light & load fast on the browsers. This makes wordpress websites/blog highly preferred type of webpages for search engines. However, this doesn’t mean that websites that do not run wordpress load slow. It depends on how you manage. Here’s a detailed post on wordpress SEO that will give you a new perspective. You will also learn ways to improve SEO and speed up your wordpress website/blog.
What is CDN?
CDN stands for content delivery network that helps you load your webpages load faster. CDNs are a cluster of servers connected to each other across the globe. Depending on the location of the end user, CDN will serve your webpages from the server that is nearest to the location of the end user. This makes the loading lightning fast and helps retain the user on your webpage.
Did you know that if your webpages don’t load within 3 seconds, there is 97% chance that the user will hit back button and leave your site. This is a bad signal for the search algorithms and because of this, your webpages won’t rank higher in SERPs. One of the most popular CDN networks right now is MaxCDN, which is also used by WPBiginner.
What are some wordpress security tips I should follow?
- Have a strong password
- Utilize 2-factor authentication
- Limit login attempts
- Take regular backups, if possible opt for automatic backup.
- Keep wordpress script, themes & plugins up to date
- Use themes & plugins only from trusted sources
What are some security plugins I can use?
While there are a ton of security plugins in the plugin directory serving different purposes, I recommend
Make money with WordPress website
What are some legit ways to make money using my wordpress website?
I’d don’t recommend black hat ways to pull money. Sure you’ll make a quick buck, but you’ll soon be blacklisted on all major search engines. So here are some ways you can make real money, which is slow but sure to happen
- Run ads using Google Adsense or CPM ads or native ads.
- Affiliate marketing
- Online store
- Selling Ebooks
- Paid reviews
- selling services
- Paid collaboration
- ….. and the list goes on and on.
Final thoughts on WordPress FAQ
While I tried to address as many unique & legit questions I can. If you think I missed addressing any question leave them in the comment section below. I’ll keep this post updated with new questions as and when I come across new questions.
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Originally published at www.btricks.in on March 25, 2019.