Tips for creating with WordPress

Tips for creating with WordPress

1. Get to know the new block editor

WordPress went through it’s largest change in years with the creation of Gutenberg Block Editor.

With blocks, you can create your website one chunk at a time. Some themes are showing how they constructed their demos, breaking down their sites block by block. The Morden theme by Automattic is a minimalist theme, but they show how simple blocks can be added in a very attractive way.

Try adding blocks in some different combinations.

2. Find even more building blocks for your site

I wanted the front page of my website to have visual links to my most recent posts.

In addition to the blocks that come preinstalled into WordPress, you can use plugins to give you even more options. I tried a plugin called Ultimate Add-ons for Gutenberg. This set of blocks allows me to have my recent posts appear across the page as a slider. One of the things that I really like about the plugin is that I could restrict what appears in a slider based on a post type or category.

Whenever you are choosing a plugin, always look at how many sites it is active on, how recently it has been updated, and the reviews. You are looking for plugins that are widely used, are updated regularly, and have good feedback from the community.

Using the blocks from the Ultimate Add-ons for Gutenberg my most recent post is always displayed prominently on my front page, and even more posts appear below it in a slider.

3. Get comfortable with posts, pages, and categories

How you write your content will effect how it will be displayed on your site and how it can be accessed later

When I started building my webpage as a professional portfolio, everything was based on pages. If you click around the website, you can see the remains of that. I had a separate page for each of my major interests at the time, Moodle, 3D Printing, Project Based Learning, these were all static pages that I had created. When I wanted to add new content, I would often revise the old content, and add new things at the top of the page.

Later, I decided to switch my portfolio to be more blog-like, so I started to write more things as posts. If you click on Projects and “Open Educational Resources” you can see that I have written quite a few posts about the topic. Because I wrote those as posts, and added them to a category, now I can keep adding content in the form of new blog posts. Writing content in this way, I don’t feel the need to revise or shorten old content.

Make pages for the type of content that you will want to link to in the menu. Make posts for content that you want to display for a while, but in the future you want it to get pushed down by new content. I keep a current resume as a page, but everything else I will switch to posts in the future.

4. Find a minimalist theme that gives you a framework to design around.

Before Gutenberg, WordPress themes gave pages all their structure. Now the best themes get out of the way so you can create your site.

Some old fashioned themes need to have everything done from the WordPress “Customize” menu. These themes tend to be more rigid, and can really only be effectively used if you are designing a site the way the theme designer envisioned their theme to be used. Most modern themes are much more lightweight, letting you put your own spin on your site.

This site is created using OceanWP. There are other great themes out there that are available for free.

6 themes to look into:

Primer

By GoDaddy

Astra

By Brainstorm Force

Ariel

By LyraThemes

Lyrical

By GoDaddy

Lyrical is a Child Theme of Primer, so to use Lyrical you have to install both themes.

Mayland

By Automattic

Mayland is a child theme of Varia. To use Mayland you need to install Varia as well.

Maywood

By Automattic

Maywood is a child theme of Varia. To use Maywood you need to install Varia as well.

5. Install the JetPack Plugin

The JetPack Plugin is one of the most powerful plugins for WordPress. Using it you can connect your WordPress site to WordPress.com

If you install the Jetpack plugin and connect it to WordPress.com you get access to many helpful features. You can get site stats so you know how many visitors you get. You can also turn on social media buttons for posts so that you can share on Twitter or Facebook. You can also add extra widgets that are usually only available on WordPress.com. If you want comments on your site, Jetpack can make it easier for your visitors and allow them to leave their comments using their Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts.

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