A WordPress Course for Beginners
Recently I attended an introductory course on WordPress. I found it was a very worthwhile experience, such that I decided to write about it. The course was created and facilitated by Abbie Thoms the director of POLYSPIRAL, a local website design consultancy based in Sudbury.
In a high-tech world where we are continually bombarded with information it was a relief to discover that the course was communicated in simple, easy to understand language. On the day, I attended there were four other participants. Two members of the group had a rudimentary knowledge of WP while the other two like myself were absolute beginners.
The scheduled two hours began with a brief introduction to WP. I learnt that it is the largest self-hosting blogging tool in the world and is completely customizable. It is a personal publishing system with a CMS (content management system) that makes it easy for people to use. With the aid of a projector Abbie demonstrated a clear step by step process on the basics of managing a website. She showed us how to access the backend of our site and demonstrated how uncomplicated it is to manage our own content.
For any business, the key to success is having an online presence. Having a blog helps build an easy updatable area for content to be listed on Google platform and most importantly highlights areas of expertise.
We learnt how to create individual posts and the importance of using KEYWORDS. Abbie explained SEO (search engine optimisation) and how to use it to full advantage. She spoke about updating information as often as possible, suggesting at least twice a month or risk falling off the Search Engine. Abbie spoke about finding the most searched keywords in our categories and to Include these in the main page title and URL. Secondary key words can be used in regular posts and the text can be broken up using headings. KEYWORDS IN POSTS GET NOTICED. She suggested generating new key words at regular intervals and highlighted the importance of using relevant words. The aim is to attract and captivate our audience. She emphasised the importance of maintaining a professional attitude and underlined the need to AVOID POSTING ANYTHING NEGATIVE AND TO ALWAYS REMEMBER TO ADVERTISE SUCCESSES.
The course material covered SECURITY and we were strongly advised to Keep security up to date and to remove SPAM promptly. At no time, should we compromise our online reputation. We were encouraged to be creative with passwords and to make full use of all symbols.
Finally, we considered how to integrate our blog with social media platforms and how sites can be used to announce changes to a business (new products, service hours, etc. etc. It can also be a place to announce promotions. We looked at enhancing our posts with images, and rather than using bog - standard images we were encouraged to be selective. The aim is to make our business stand out so it is worth the effort to obtain the right images. An increasingly popular medium using videos was highly recommended.
True to form Abbie was her usual affable self, eager to assist and ensure that all participants received the assistance they needed. Her timing and pacing was excellent.
Informative and easy to follow I highly recommend this brief course for anyone wishing to learn about WordPress and manage their own site. It will certainly give you the tools to upgrade your online presence.
By Sandra Cooper of Intimere
WordPress Workshops for Beginners now running at the Christopher Centre first Friday of each month, and WordPress Workshop for your Online Shops running soon to.