WordPress Tutorials for Beginners


Create your new blog or website for free

Let’s Go!

Get Lingo

About page — a static page that contains information about you and/or your blog. An About page is usually the most-visited page on a website. Learn to write a great one.

Account — what you use to access WordPress.com. When you sign up for WordPress.com, you create a username and password that allows you to log in to read blogs and publish to your WordPress.com site.

Background — the image or color behind the text on your site. Many themes allow you to add a custom background, by changing the color or uploading your own image — give it a try at My Sites → Customize → Colors & Backgrounds, or learn the dos and don’ts of backgrounds.

background examples

The same blog, with a cream-colored background and a pink background.

Blog — a chronological list of journal entries or articles, called “posts,” published on a web page. On WordPress.com, we often use “blog” as shorthand for a blogger’s entire website, even though a blog may contain more than just posts.

Blog Title (aka Site Title) — the name of your blog, which is displayed at the top of your blog and in the title bar of web browsers. In the image above, “King of States!” is the Blog Title. Add or edit your title at My Sites → Customize → Site Identity.

Blogger — a person who publishes posts on a blog.

Blogroll — a list of links to other sites that you display on your blog, to share blogs and website you love and recommend with your readers. On WordPress.com, you create a blogroll with the Links widget.

Business Plan — one of the upgrade levels available to purchase on WordPress.com. The annual Business Plan includes a custom domain, custom design tools, ecommerce capabilities, access to all premium themes, Google Analytics, 200 GB storage space for photos and videos, and on-demand live chat support with WordPress.com Happiness Engineers.

Carousel — a way to display a selection of smaller photos that also lets people view a large version of each one. A visitor clicks on one image to display a large version of it, and can then rotate through all the other images one at a time.

Categories — a way of grouping posts together by subject matter. On WordPress.com, categories are useful for their role in creating category pages, which let you create unique pages highlighting all the posts in a particular category. (See also: tags.)

Comments — responses to posts and pages on your site, from you and your readers, which appear at the bottom of those posts and pages. Comments allow your readers to share their thoughts, and let you respond. They’re enabled on all posts and pages by default; to disable them, follow these instructions. You can also opt to approve all comments before they appear on your site.  Manage comment settings at My Sites → Settings → Discussion.

Custom Design — a set of tools that let you change the colors and fonts on your site, and give you the ability to add custom CSS code to further tailor a theme to your whims. The Custom Design tools are part of the Premium and Business plans.

Custom Domain — a unique address for your site, without the “wordpress.com.” part of the address. You can either register a custom domain through WordPress.com, or use a domain you already own with your WordPress.com site. Both options are paid upgrades, and are available either as stand-alone upgrades or as part of a plan. Visit the domains page to add a custom domain to your site.

Customizer — a set of tools found under My Sites → Customize that allows you to add and edit custom backgrounds and headers, add and configure widgets, change your fonts, change your colors, and more. The options you’ll have available depend on your theme and your plan; a few tools, like custom colors, require the Premium Plan.

Dashboard — the complete administrative tools for your site, found by clicking on My Sites in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. You can change settings, select themes, write or manage content, add or remove users, add images, buy upgrades, and more.

Google Fonts — a collection of free fonts for use on the web. WordPress.com includes free access to over 30 Google Fonts. To modify or experiment with your fonts, go to My Sites → Customize → Fonts.

Gravatar — “short for Globally Recognized Avatar.” This is a photo or image that appears next to your name when you comment on or post to a WordPress.com blog. You can upload a Gravatar directly from your WordPress.com profile by clicking on the image by your name.

Gravatar hovercards — a pop-up window that displays the information associated with a Gravatar account. Hovercards appear when you hover over someone’s Gravatar image. They are enabled by default, but can be turned off in your site settings with these instructions.

Header — the image at the the top of your blog that displays your blog’s title. Some WordPress.com themes include built-in header images, while others display simple text. Most themes allow you to upload a custom header.

HTML Editor — an editor for posts and pages that is entirely text-based. Use this version of the editor if you ever need to insert or edit HTML in a post or page. When you’re writing or editing a post, open the HTML editor by clicking the “HTML” tag at the upper-right of the main post editing area. (Note: this feature was previously called the “Text Editor.”)

Images — non-text content that you can add to your blog, in the form of .jpg/.jpeg, .gif, or .png files.

Insights — a section of your site’s statistics that helps you see how often you post, your site’s most popular days and times, and who your site’s followers are. Find them by visiting My Sites → Stats → Insights.

A sample of the information available on your Insights page.

A sample of the information available on your Insights page.

Likes — a way to show your appreciation for a post on WordPress.com. Most bloggers include a “Like” button at the end of their posts.  Click the button to let them know you enjoyed their post, and your Gravatar will appear next to the button alongside those of others who have liked the post. Add and manage the Like button from My Sites → Sharing → Sharing Buttons.

Media Manager — the set of tools that allow you to upload and store images, audio files, videos, and other files you’d like to use on your site. You’ll upload images to your Media Manager in order to display them in your posts. You can also do basic image editing (cropping, rotating, resizing). Find it by visiting My Sites → Media.

Menu — the piece of your site that contains links to your posts, pages, or categories, typically located just above or below your site’s title, or along the right or left side of the screen. (The ten options running down the left side of this page is our menu.) A menu enables readers to navigate around the various parts of your site. Most themes support Custom Menus, which let you specify exactly which items appear in the menu; there’s also a Custom Menu Widget that allows you to display a menu in your sidebar.

The words below the title and tagline make up this blog's menu.

The words below the title and tagline make up this blog’s menu.

Page — static sections of your website (as opposed to posts, which you continually publish). They are a good way to publish information that doesn’t change much — an “About” page is a common example. Pages are not associated with a date/time like posts, nor can you tag or categorize a page. Learn more about the difference between pages and posts.

Password — the series of characters and/or numbers used to access your WordPress.com account. Learn to create a strong password.

Pingback – a special type of comment that’s automatically created when you link to someone else’s blog post. A pingback lets the blogger know that someone has linked to them.

Post — an entry in your blog. Your posts are listed in reverse chronological order. By default, your posts are displayed on your site’s home page.

Post formats — special post layouts, available in some themes, that let different types of content appear visually distinct on your blog by adding unique formatting touches, like a background color or special icon. Formats include Standard, Gallery, Aside, Image, Status, Quote, Video, Audio, and Chat. Here are all the themes that use post formats.

Premium Plan — one of the upgrade levels available to purchase on WordPress.com. The annual Premium Plan includes a custom domain, custom design tools, unlimited premium themes, additional storage space for photos and videos, and live chat or email support from WordPress.com Happiness Engineers.

Privacy Settings — the settings control who can and cannot view your blog. Find them under My Sites → Settings → Privacy.

Profile — information about you that is shared publicly on the internet. This can include your username, first name, last name, and links to your website(s) or social network profiles. You can update your WordPress.com profile by clicking on your Gravatar in the upper right corner of the screen.

Publicize — a feature that allows you to automatically share your posts to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Path. To begin using Publicize, visit My Sites → Sharing to connect to the services you’d like to use.

Reader — the home page of WordPress.com, and a way to read and curate your favorite blogs in one place. Read recommended blogs and posts chosen by the WordPress.com editors, or browse by tags to find blogs on topics that interest you.

Responsive theme — a theme that adjusts its layout based on the size of the screen it’s viewed on — computer, tablet, or phone — so that the site always looks its best no matter the size. All themes added to WordPress.com since 2013 are fully responsive. Browse all responsive themes.

Shortcode — WordPress.com-specific snippets of code that let you embed different kinds of media in your site (images, video, audio files, etc.) or display lists of posts according to criteria you set.

Sidebar — a column to the left or right of your main content (i.e., your post or page content), where you can place supplemental information using widgets. Most themes include a sidebar; some have a “footer,” a place to display this supplemental information at the bottom of your posts and pages.

Site Logo — a tool that allows you to upload your logo one time, and then display it automatically in any theme that uses the Site Logo feature without re-uploading or adding it. Browse all the themes that use Site Logos, or add a Site Logo in My Sites → Customize Site → Identity.

site title example

Slideshow — a format for displaying images on your blog. Readers can click an image to view a larger version, and then scroll through each image one at a time.

Spam — unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising. On WordPress.com, your site has Akismet, an anti-spam system, built in. You can also mark particular comments as spam from My Sites → Comments.

Statistics — the data about your blog, like how often your posts have been viewed, which posts and pages are most popular, who is following you, and much more. Find your stats under My Sites → Stats.

Sticky Post — a way to ensure that a particular post is always the first post on your blog, regardless of date. Make a post sticky by checking the “Stick this post to the front page” box under the post’s visibility settings, found by the “publish” button.

Tag — a way to characterize posts by subject matter, and the way to browse posts by topic in the WordPress.com Reader. When you add a tag to a post, that post will appear under that tag in the Reader. Tags are optional, and posts can have multiple tags.

Tagline — a memorable phrase usually shown beneath your blog or site title. Taglines aren’t mandatory, but are a great way to add some more context and personality to your site. Add or edit a tagline in My Sites → Customize Site → Identity.

Theme — a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying, unifying design for a blog. WordPress.com currently has a very diverse collection of over 350 themes, with more added weekly. Browse all the available themes in the Theme Showcase.

Theme Showcase — a website that shows the themes available for your WordPress.com blog and allows you to search them by layout, feature, color, and more.

Tiled gallery — a format for sharing multiple images in a page or post in an organized way. Tiled layouts have three style options — rectangular tiles, square tiles, or circular tiles.

A tiled gallery using the "rectangular tiles" format.

A tiled gallery using the “rectangular tiles” format.

Toolbar — the collection of icons at the top of a blog that allow you to perform different actions: access your blog’s dashboard, create a new post, visit the reader, review your notifications, and more. You only see the toolbar while you’re signed in to WordPress.com.

Two-Step Authentication — a way to make your WordPress.com account more secure by require both a password and unique numeric code to log in. The code is always unique, and you obtain it via a text message or an app on your smartphone. Learn more about Two-Step Authentication and how to enable it.

Upgrade — paid options that add additional features and abilities to your WordPress.com site. You can upgrade to the Personal, Premium, of Business Plans.

URL — the abbreviation for “uniform resource locator.” This is also known as a web address, or the characters that you see in your web’s address bar.

Visual Editor — a tool for creating posts and pages that allows you to create, edit, and format your content in a view similar to that of a word processor.

Web Address — also known as URL, or the characters that you see in your web’s address bar.

Widget — “Widget” is a fancy word for “doodad,” which is itself a fancy word for “small tools that you can add to your blog that add a variety of functions and content.” Widgets do many different things, like letting readers see which of your posts is most popular or automatically displaying your Instagram photos. Browse the full list of available widgets.

WP Admin — An older version of the WordPress.com dashboard; there are a few functions that still can only be completed in the WP Admin dashboard. To get there, add “/wp-admin” to the end of your blog’s URL, like this: example.wordpress.com/wp-admin

An Automattic Invention

%d bloggers like this: