Quick start guide

If you’re new to wordpress here are some quick pointers and important things to consider before you start using your website.

Firstly login to your website by going to your wordpress ‘dashboard’. The website address will be:
www.yoursite.soton.ac.uk/wp-admin
Obviously replace the first bit of the URL with your actual site name. All you need is the ‘/wp-admin’ at the end. After you’ve logged in you can start tinkering.

1. Pick a theme

A theme dictates the look and feel of your website, and each theme may ahve different  options for your menu style, header images, backgound colour etc. There are a number of themes to choose from and you can change theme any time you like without it affecting the content. If your website is for an official university website we recommend you pick either ‘UoS Default v1.1’ or for more flexibility ‘Uos Custom Theme’

2. Which menu to use?

By default any new pages you create will appear in your main menu. However, for large websites with many pages you may wish to provide a more structured navigation system. You can create a custom menu very easily which will allow you more flexibility when adding future content. Click here for more information on creating a custom menu.

3. To comment, or not to comment?

WordPress ‘Comments’ allow other people to leave messages regarding your articles (typically blog posts), but also on individual pages. If you are creating a simple website, for example, advertising your research group, you may wish to disable ‘comments’ unless you are trying to foster an online community. Unfortunately, comments provide an easy way for spam to enter your website, so if you are unsure it is recommended you globally disable commenting on your website. Click here for instructions on how to disable comments

4. Change ‘Uncategorised’ to ‘News’

The default category for new blog posts is ‘Uncategorised’, which isn’t particularly helpful. As most University websites will be using the blog function to deliver news, making this change will save time in the long run, as all new blog posts will automatically by classed as ‘News’. To do this go to Posts > Categories where you can then edit the name.

 5. Pick your permalinks

A permalink is essentially a ‘nice looking’ website address for your pages and blog posts. The default option is not particularly memorable, an example being : http://blog.soton.ac.uk/help/?p=123

Instead, you can change the style to become something like : http://blog.soton.ac.uk/help/sample-post/

To do this go to Settings > Permalinks and pick your new preferred style

6. Add / remove your widgets

A widget is a standalone component that you can add to the sidebar of your website. New blogs often come with a set of default widgets such as a search bar and recent comments.

If you are using a theme such as the ‘UoS Custom Theme’ that already includes a search box, or you are not using comments on your website you may with to remove them.

To do this go to Appearance > Widgets , locate them in the relevent sidebar and then simply drag them out of the sidebar. You can add widgets in the same way.

Example widgets include a category list, a twitter feed and tag cloud. Click here for more information on widgets


There are many other tricks and tips when using wordpress you may be aware of. For an  informal discussion about how to get the most out of using wordpress please contact alexfurr@soton.ac.uk

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