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Need recommendations to learn simple Wordpress to modify an existing webpage.
July 17, 2009 8:57 AM   Subscribe

I Need help with (I hope) simple Wordpress to modify an existing Wordpress webpage Seeking recommendations of (youtube?) tutorials, basic manuals, etc. I have 30 years of varied computer experience, but none with creating/maintaining web page content. And didn't want any. A friend and I have inherited that task from our webmaster and I don't understand the mindset and terminology of pages, posts, categories. I need to rearrange the home page , adding some pages and changing the layout, add photos (linked to (apparently) pages, in a changing display, etc etc. googling wordpress tutorial free gives lots of possibilities. I think we will set up a blog one of these days, but most important is to modify the web pages. I need some basics. Is a blog a subset of a web page, or vice versa, or is it all the same? Any help will be appreciated. I found the following in the archives, but still appreciate help.

(from MeFi archives) I would recommend wordpress as an engine for driving a simple website as you describe, but you may need smoeone to set it up for you. I think you should look at basic things like how to upload files and display images first, get some idea of how the internet works in general. Then any package you use will make a lot more sense to you. Things like wordpress are very easy to set up once you have the basic skills, but if you don't even know how to ftp it can be a big step up.
posted by shelleycat at 7:23 PM on January 8, 2007 [+] [!]

If she does not know web design I would start with Wordpress.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:01 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite +] [!]


I'd disagree slightly over Wordpress. It's perfect if she specifically wants a blog, but to adapt a wordpress template to her own design she'll certainly need to know CSS and possibly even need a rudimentary understanding of PHP, and that may be a case of going in at the deep end.

If she's a graphic designer with good Photoshop skills, then what she's probably looking to learn is some basic HTML and CSS, and the techniques involved in transferring a page design from Photoshop to the web. I'd suggest that she gets a good HTML/CSS book that caters for people from a design background, and just has a go at putting together a simple site of a few pages. Alternatively, a site I've heard a lot of people rave about is Web Design From Scratch.

If she decides she also wants a blog, then maybe she could explore Wordpress once she has some basic HTML/CSS skills; probably the best avenue would be to find a basic template from one of the many online repositories and then tweak the existing HTML/CSS to her own requirements.

another view
I'm not saying that WP is the best choice (it's not a true CMS), but you might want to give it a try because it is fairly easy to use and it has is an enormous amount help available for newbies.
posted by judybxxx to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wordpress is a content management system, which means most content is called up dynamically from a database, and then poured into a static template.

A collection of those templates is called a theme within Wordpress, and there are a lot of free themes you can choose from from your website. Themes can be changed with a couple of mouseclicks; but not every theme has every function you may wish.

One of these templates can be the homepage, or home.php; which can enable you to give the homepage of your website a different look.

You post content on the site by using the 'new post' function on the dashboard, or be using tools like Microsoft Live Writer.

Apart from that, just try the thing, or make up your own test site at wordpress.com, so you can ask a question I may understand.
posted by ijsbrand at 9:28 AM on July 17, 2009


What exactly have you inherited - a static website? And you might want to convert it to Wordpress? We need more information to be able to help!
posted by ceri richard at 10:32 AM on July 17, 2009


Could you give us a link to the website? It will help us understand what you need help with.

Here are some answers to your questions:

I Need help...to modify an existing Wordpress webpage. Seeking recommendations of (youtube?) tutorials, basic manuals, etc.

A good place to start will be the help pages from Wordpress itself. If your site is hosted by Wordpress (you can tell by looking at the url of the website: if it looks like www.examplename.wordpress.com it is hosted by Wordpress) the support page is here. If your website is hosted on your own space, the support page is here. A warning: that second support page is considerably more complicated, as it is intended for people who know enough about web design to have done the installation of Wordpress themselves.

I don't understand the mindset and terminology of pages, posts, categories.

Your website is made up of multiple webpages. Because your site is managed using Wordpress, these pages are dynamically created every time someone visits each page's url. In other words, the content of the page is kept in a database, and when you visit a page, the content is called up from that database.

For example, on ryanblock.com, a website which also runs Wordpress, there are three main pages: Content (the main page, also called the index page), About, and Contact. One of those pages, Content, is made up of posts. Each post has a title in red, and text below that makes up the post. The title of the post can be clicked on to go to a page with just that post. Each post can be assigned to one or more categories. When you click on the name of a category, a page will be displayed that shows all the posts that have been assigned to that category.

The other pages are not made up of posts. Though their data, too, is kept in a database, they are more like static pages than dynamic pages—they do not change every time a post is written. In Wordpress, you can add any additional static pages that you need.

I need to rearrange the home page, adding some pages and changing the layout, add photos (linked to (apparently) pages, in a changing display, etc etc.

These questions may or may not be specific to Wordpress; again, it's hard to tell without being able to see the page.

I think we will set up a blog one of these days, but most important is to modify the web pages.

If your site is organized using posts, you already have a blog—you are just using it in a different way.

Is a blog a subset of a web page, or vice versa, or is it all the same?

A blog is a type of website: "A website that displays in chronological order the postings by one or more individuals and usually has links to comments on specific postings." All blogs are websites, but all websites are not blogs.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:40 AM on July 17, 2009


Thank you all! This is all very helpful - I'm beginning to build a mental model.
the webpage is www.montereycohousing.org , it is in Wordpress, and I don't know which parts are static and which dynamic.

I have managed to edit the Info Session post in the top right corner. Is there a way to save a draft as a test, work with that as a test site as ijsbrand suggested above? until it is as we want it to be? and then publish it? A simple way?

when I'm just editing text, it seems that the working document is somehow autosaved, and may appear as a draft post, but I'm not sure of that .

I see we are hosted by our own space, so the "support page is considerably more complicated, as it is intended for people who know enough about web design to have done the installation of Wordpress themselves " (I'm guessing our webmaster did that). that's kind of daunting.
posted by judybxxx at 12:00 PM on July 17, 2009


sorry, another minor question, when I'm logged in to edit the web page, I click on posts and see the three published posts and two drafts, the date listed for the post I edited is the date it was originally published, I think, and not the date for the edited, current version. so there appears to be no way to tell when it was updated? I suppose I could find that in the help,
posted by judybxxx at 12:12 PM on July 17, 2009


Cohousing! How cool!

I have managed to edit the Info Session post in the top right corner. Is there a way to save a draft as a test, work with that as a test site as ijsbrand suggested above? until it is as we want it to be? and then publish it? A simple way? (judybxxx)

When you write a post for the first time, you should have three buttons available to you: Save and Continue Editing, Save, and Publish. Save and Continue Editing will save your post as a draft, but will not close the editing window. This button is designed to help you save your work as you write a long post. Save will close the editing window and save the post as a draft. Publish will publish it to your site.

If you are editing a post that has already been published, only the Save and Continue Editing and Save buttons will remain. These perform in the same way as above, except that all changes will automatically appear in the published post, because it is no longer a draft.

when I'm logged in to edit the web page, I click on posts and see the three published posts and two drafts, the date listed for the post I edited is the date it was originally published, I think, and not the date for the edited, current version. so there appears to be no way to tell when it was updated? (judybxxx)

When you edit a post, look for the section labeled Post Timestamp. To view it, you may have to click a plus sign to expand the Post Timestamp menu. You should see a checkbox labeled Edit Timestamp. Check that box, and edit the time to the current time in the fields shown. Once the fields are correctly filled out, hit enter. This will update the time shown on the post.

I don't know which parts are static and which dynamic. (judybxxx)

On the main page, the area to the right of the page (which stays the same on all the pages of the website) is called the sidebar. This area is static.

The About, Contact Us, and Openings pages (and the 2nd Floor Apartment page under Openings) are all static.

The boxes on the Home page marked Community and Common Space display dynamic content. The Community box displays a post titled "Life in Community" and has a link to all posts in the category "Community." The Common Space box displays a post titled "The Big Houe and More" and has a link to all posts in the category "Common Space." You might try a test post in one of those two categories, and see what happens to the box.

The website is lovely! Good luck!
posted by ocherdraco at 3:25 PM on July 17, 2009


Thank you, thank you, ocherdraco. The buttons I see when I edit a published page are slightly different (maybe a different version of Wordpress, I don't know how to tell, or because I'm on a Mac, OS 10.5.7). I get publish or preview changes or delete or update post. Is publish different from update?. If I'm just looking and want to quit without changes, I just go to Dashboard.

anyway, I'm getting bolder in trying things, and have set up a test blog of my own to experiment.
I have no clue about how to add a new post and get the box to appear on the home page, probably rearranging some. What should I look for in documentation?

You've all been very helpful - now I think I need to try a bunch of things. If anyone is willing to get an occasional email, I know I'll have questions, or should I comment again here?
I don't have a lot of time to spend on this, so I'm afraid I'll be slow.
I have started a tutorial on YouTube, (Chris Abraham,
)
I'm so grateful to all of you.
posted by judybxxx at 5:55 PM on July 17, 2009


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