Intermediate WordPress Websites (Self-Paced Tutorial)
Learn how to build unique WordPress sites where visitors can respond to messages, fill out forms, buy products, make appointments, and much more.
Take your WordPress site to the next level! This online course will teach you how to optimize your site for a great user experience. You’ll learn how to easily add CSS—without writing any code— to fine-tune your site’s appearance. And you’ll find out how to add important functionality with the best WordPress plugins. Master the tools and skills needed to get the most out of WordPress in six weeks with Intermediate WordPress Websites.
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.
- PC: Windows 8 or newer operating systems.
- Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge are preferred. Mozilla Firefox and Safari are also compatible.
- WordPress.org software is free, but to use it, you must install it on a paid account with a hosting service, which costs approximately $5 to $20 a month (usually quite a bit less for the first year’s “introductory” price). Lesson 1 explains how to choose and sign up with a host. Many hosts offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you decide this isn’t for you.
- Download the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
1. Setting Up Your WordPress Website
In this first lesson, you'll create a practice website by finding the best hosting service for your site, then installing a free version of WordPress.org. You'll understand the concept of domains and subdomains, then you'll learn how to work with utilities in the host’s cPanel. You'll also tour the WordPress dashboard to get an overview of the administrative tools WordPress offers. Then you'll install the classic WordPress editor where you'll build and modify your practice site's pages.
2. Planning and Organizing Your Website
Now that you've set up your brand-new WordPress practice site, you're ready to dive in and explore the WordPress back end, and also to begin building and modifying your site. You'll start by doing some pre-planning, creating an outline of your site before adding text or images. This can help you build an organic website, where the components harmonize and serve the site's overall purpose. Then you'll conclude by touring the WordPress administrative area (back end), where you'll configure your website and add content.
3. Working with Themes
This lesson covers every aspect of WordPress themes—how they work, where to find them, what to look for, how to ensure site security, and how to install them. You'll then begin working on your practice website! You’ll look at various themes in order to pick one that will best complement your site's topic.
4. Building Your WordPress Website
This lesson is all about creating and organizing written content! It explores how to enter and organize the information your visitors are looking for, and how to create pages and posts. You'll also find out how to put together an effective menu to guide your guests around the site. Quality content and efficient navigation are the cornerstones of a successful website.
5. Exploring Plugins
In this lesson, you'll learn how to use plugins--the features and tools that you can add to WordPress with a single mouse click. You'll learn where to find thousands of these free mini-programs and how to choose the best. What themes are to site design, plugins are to functionality.
6. Adding Images, Video, and Other Digital Media
This lesson covers how to add media to your pages. The WordPress Media Library helps you upload and edit your media files to create an engaging experience for visitors. You can also embed video, audio, PDF files, and maps from other sites into your site. The lesson will focus on media and all the ways it can enrich your website.
7. Customizing Themes
Themes are fine, but if you're interested in really fine-tuning your site's design, you'll want to go beyond accepting everything the theme designer came up with. This lesson will cover HTML and CSS coding, tools that you'll use to seriously refine your site's appearance. You'll learn the basics of each language and quickly discover how to change font styles, sizes, and colors, as well as create lists and work with margins. You'll also practice using some tools that can make working with CSS very easy. No coding required!
8. Mastering the Inspector
In this lesson, you'll work with a handy tool called the Inspector, which will help you make a few more design changes to your project website. You'll also look at two excellent plugins that can do some of the heavy lifting when you're modifying a website's layout and design.
9. Monetizing Your Website
So, how can you use your WordPress website to make money? That's what this lesson is all about. You'll learn ways to employ pay-per-click, advertising, and affiliate marketing programs. The lesson will also discuss PayPal and credit card processing and end by setting up a shopping cart system. While monetization may not be your primary goal, as long as you've put in the time and effort to create an online presence, there's no reason you shouldn't benefit from all that work if you wish. Even if your site isn't commercial, there may come a time when you want to solicit donations, include some ads, or sell promotional goods.
10. Maximizing Your Audience
What if you launch your site and nobody visits? And if you do get visitors, how can you know if you're giving them the information they came for? This lesson will answer those questions by showing you how to attract an online audience and also how to determine if you're satisfying their needs, so they revisit. We'll also examine some unique WordPress tools designed to help achieve these goals. Since 90% of a website's first visits result from online searches, it's important that you know what Google wants. Once you know this, you can use a set of strategies known as search engine optimization (SEO) to get your site in front of your audience.
11. Introduction to Block Editing
For many years, WordPress used a page (and post) editor named TinyMCE, which is the editor that you work with throughout this course. It resembles a word process--a textbox, accompanied by a set of formatting icons, an Add Media button, and a code view where you can see and work with HTML and CSS code embedded within your text.
WordPress recently switched its default editor to a block editor. However, the classic editor will still be available for many years to come. In this lesson, you'll give the block editor a try to help you decide which editor you prefer.
12. Polishing Your Website for Launch
In the final lesson, you'll take a last look at ways to improve the practice site prior to launch. You'll examine a popular animated feature called a slider, add a widget to the sidebar, refine several elements of your site's visual design, and consider some different options for web hosting services.