Top 100 WordPress beginners FAQ’s

Top 100 WordPress beginners FAQ's 2

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Top 100 wordpress begginers faqs

I’ve trained over 1500 WordPress beginners in the last 2 years on our WordPress training courses. Over that time I’ve been asked many questions about WordPress. Here are 100 of them.

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1) What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

WordPress.com is a commercial website run by a company called Automattic. Automattic is actually run by Matt Mullenweg the founder of WordPress which causes a lot of confusion. WordPress.com  restricts what you can do on there – i.e you can’t install your own plugins or themes.

WordPress.org is the WordPress software that you install on a server and the major benefit is that you are 100% in control of what you do there. Most of our customers use WordPress.org.[hr]

2) Do you recommend any WordPress hosting companies

Yes wpengine.com and heartinternet.co.uk for UK businesses. WordPress also recommend these hosting companies.[hr]

3) What websites do you recommend to find WordPress Themes

Themeforest.net, woothemes.com and elegantthemes.com are three of my favourites.[hr]

4) I come from a print design background, what’s the best way to get started building websites for clients?

I would take a look at using a Theme Framework such as WooThemes canvas, Genesis , Thesis or PageLines. [hr]

 5) If I switch my WordPress Themes will I loose content?

Nope, all your content is stored in a database, your Themes are kept separate so you won’t loose any content.[hr]

6) What SEO plugin do you recommend?

WordPress SEO by Yoast[hr]

7) What companies should I avoid for web hosting?

I would avoid using 1& 1 and 123 reg[hr]

8) How do I redevelop an existing website without taking it offline?

The easiest way is to develop your new website on a temporary url and then switch it to the correct one. Ask your hosting company whether they support this.[hr]

9) What email newsletter plugin should I use?

I wouldn’t use a plugin to add a newsletter, I would use a dedicated newsletter service such as Mailchimp or Infusionsoft.[hr]

10) Can WooCommerce handle 1000’s of products?

Yes[hr]

11) Do I need to register my domain name and set up my hosting at the same company?

Nope, you can do them at separate companies. If you do then you need to point your domain name to your hosting account[hr]

12) What’s the easiest way to tweak a template if I’m not a developer and don’t want to learn CSS?

Take a look at Themeover. It lets you tweak the design of a theme without having to know any coding.[hr]

13) What’s the benefit of having a blog?

There are two major benefits – long tail search and it gives you the opportunity to show you know what you are talking about and establish credibility.[hr]

14) Is WordPress just for blogging?

Nope, 99% of our customers are using WordPress to build proper websites, with an integrated blog. But if you don’t won’t to have a blog you don’t have to.[hr]

15) Do I need to be a programmer to build a website with WordPress?

Nope as long as you understand the key concepts, with a bit of training you can build a website without having to learn any code[hr]

16) What WordPress books do you recommend ?

Digging into WordPress and WordPress for dummies[hr]

17) What’s your favourite WordPress theme?

Canvas from WooThemes[hr]

18) Will WordPress put web designers out of business? 

WordPress is definitely commoditising web design. A bit like the revolution that happened in desktop publishing where typesetters largely disappeared as a job role. As the technology to build websites gets easier and easier the same may happen to web designers in the near future. Purists will argue against this, but the same cycle keeps happening with new technology improvements and I see no reason why it won’t happen with web design.[hr]

19) How do WordPress make their money?

They don’t, it’s a not for profit, open source community project[hr]

20) A WordPress plugin caused the white screen of death on my website, how do I fix it?

You need to ftp in to your server, go to wp-content/plugins and delete the entire folder of the WordPress plugin that you believe caused the problem. Say a little prayer, go back to your website, and fingers crossed it should be back up.[hr]

21) What a WordPress child themes? 

Child themes are not themes about children. They are themes that inherit the design from their parent theme. They are good workflow to use when you are building websites, especially for clients. They enable you to put any tweaks into the child theme without editing the parent theme. This way you can update the parent theme without breaking or overiding the changes you have made.[hr]

22) Is WordPress secure? 

Yes WordPress is very secure, it’s used by millions of websites every day so any problems are quickly found and dealt with.[hr]

23) How can I ensure my WordPress website isn’t hacked. 

There are 3 main areas to look at. a)Make sure you keep your version of WordPress up to date, b) make sure you use quality themes (ideally your themes should be security tested like woothemes + securi) c) Make sure you only use quality plugins.[hr]

24) My web designer won’t use WordPress because he says it’s better if he hand codes everything – is he right?

If your web designer produces better work than millions of contributors to the wordpress project and the millions and millions of hours of development that have gone into WordPress then he’s a better man than me Gunga Din. But seriously, that sort of comment is usually a signal to run run run.[hr]

25) How much should I pay to have a WordPress website built?

This is a difficult one. But there are some fixed prices that you can compare. Hosting £7.50 per month for shared hosting, $30 a month for wpengine. WordPress theme approx $70.[hr]

26) What’s the best way to keep my costs down for my WordPress project? 

Find a theme that you like and run it for 6 months. After 6 months collate your feedback and any changes you want made and then tweak to fit. Ideally get your dev to create a child theme for you with the changes in.[hr]

27) What’s the biggest mistake you see clients make with WordPress projects? 

The number 1 mistake that I see is over-engineering at the start of the project.WordPress is so quick that you can test your business idea very quickly at little cost and iterate as the business develops. Don’t try to get everything perfect before you launch. Often too much energy is expended at the start of projects on details that won’t make or break the business.[hr]

28) What’s the best browser to use with WordPress?

I use Firefox + Safari[hr]

29) Is there a good tool I can use to tweak the CSS of a website?

Yes firebug  but also take a look at Themeover[hr]

30) What format of picture can I use on a WordPress website?

jpg, gif, png[hr]

31) How can I insert a table into WordPress? 

Use the TablePress WordPress plugin.[hr]

32) Is it possible to move to a WordPress multi-site if I already have a single site?

Yes here’s the link to how to create a WordPress multi-site from a single site.[hr]

33) Is there a limit on how many WordPress plugins I can install on a website?

Not technically, but less is often more. I’ve run sites with over 30 plugins, but try to only use the plugins you absolutely need, as they will have a incremental performance impact on your website.[hr]

34) How can I speed up my wordpress website?

Use a super hosting company like wpengine.com or a caching plugin like Total cache.[hr]

35) Is it possible to having a mirror website where I can test things?

Again if you use wpengine.com you will have a staging server where you can test things out and then push them to live. If not you could duplicate your website, but it’s more work.[hr]

36) Can I run WordPress on my laptop?

Yes for a pc install XAMPP for a mac use MAMP. These will create the enviroment necessary on your pc to run wordpress.[hr]

37) Is WordPress search friendly? 

Yes WordPress is very search friendly. As long as you change your ugly url’s to pretty urls in dashboard/settings/permalinks. I recommend selecting the post name option.[hr]

38) Would you recommend wordpress for ecommerce? 

WordPress + ecommerce has come a long way in the last 2 years. I recommend using WooCommerce. This has been downloaded over 1 million times since it’s launch and makes setting up and online shop super easy.[hr]

39) Can you create squeeze pages in WordPress?

Yes, if you must :) Here’s one way with Optimizepress.[hr]

40) I have a WordPress website but I don’t have the plugins menu?

It’s because you aren’t an admin.[hr]

41) Is there a showcase of wordpress websites?

Yes check out wordpress.org/showcase[hr]

42) Do you use commercial themes or free themes? 

I generally use commercial wordpress themes because of the business benefits. They have been security tested, they get updated and you get support.[hr]

43) Where do you see wordpress going over the next 5 years?

WordPress will continue to grow but there will be consolidation in the wordpress market, with bigger companies coming into the space to provide more support services. This is currently lacking in the wordpress ecosystem. Theme companies will start to consolidate. And there will be more companies offering saas wordpress solutions as a way of creating easier turnkey solutions for companies.[hr]

44) What technologies is WordPress built on?

HTML, CSS, PHP all driven by a MySQL database.[hr]

45) Are there any design limitations of what a WordPress website can look like?

Nope a WordPress website can be built to match any design.[hr]

46) How do stop the double spacing between lines e.g. for addresses on a contact page?

There are two easy ways to achieve this. 1) Click on the text tab and put your content in their. 2) Do a soft return – hold down the shift key and hit return. [hr]

47) Is it a good idea to use a more advanced editor like Tiny mce advanced editor?

In my view no. Remember HTML is really about structurally marking up your web page and then your theme is applied to this structure. You’ll get cleaner html and a more consistent website if you stick to the standard WordPress editor.[hr]

48) My website is telling me to upgrade WordPress, is it ok to just click upgrade?

No, make sure you have a back up in place before you upgrade. Then go through your plugins one by one and make sure they are compatible with the version of WordPress you are upgrading to.[hr]

49) Can I have the same email address as my domain name?

Yes your hosting company will typically allow you to set up email addresses in your hosting dashboard. If you hosting company doesn’t provide email as part of the service then you could use something like Google Apps (gmail) using your domain name.[hr]

50) Can I tell what WordPress theme a website is using?

Yes, the easiest way is to go to whathemeisthat.com.[hr]

51) When I download a plugin or theme do I need to unpack the zip file before I upload it to my WordPress website?

Nope, keep it in the zip file, that is what WordPress is expecting.[hr]

52) Can I give translated version of my website?

Yes if you want to automate translations into different languages I recommend you use the Google Translate WordPress plugin.  If you want to create manual translations then using WordPress Multi-site for each separate website is a good option.[hr]

53) What are the most important stats in Google Analytics to check? 

It depends somewhat on your website, but at a minimum I would check unique visitors, visits per page, time per page and bounce rate per page.[hr]

54) How do I link my WordPress website to my Google Analytics account?

Use the Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast, it will link them with a couple of clicks.[hr]

55) How can I open WordPress menu items in a new window or tab?

Go to screen options, advanced menu properties, turn on link target. Then in the menu item you want to appear in a new window, tick the option to open in new window or tab.[hr]

56) How can I create a mobile version of my WordPress website?

The easiest way is to use a responsive theme, if not you could either try Jetpack , Wptouch or FirstPagemobile.com.[hr]

57) Can I have different widgets on different pages?

Yes use a plugin such as WooSidebar manager. Here is a tutorial on how to use WooSidebar manager.[hr]

58) What’s most important categories or tags?

Categories are most important.[hr]

59) How many categories should I create?

It somewhat depends on the type of website you are building, but current advice is no more than approx 10 for a standard blog.[hr]

60) What tools can I use to do keyword research for my website?

Two good keyword research tools are Google Keyword tool and Google traffic estimator (both found within Google Adwords)[hr]

61) Is there any limit on how pages I can have on my WordPress website

Nope :)[hr]

62) Is it possible to build a business directory on WordPress

Yes I would use a plugin such as the Business Directory WordPress plugin.[hr]

63) Some-one has stolen content from my website, what’s the best way to take action?

Well you could contact your lawyers, but a better approach in my experience is to shame them on Twitter and ask them to take down the offending material. That gets a very speedy response :)[hr]

64) I have been sent a threatening letter by Getty Images demanding over £1000 for the use of one image on my website that I didn’t know was in copyright.

This has happened to a couple of my clients and seems to be widespread. You will get different advice on how to deal with this, some people think it’s a scam, some pay up because they are fearful. It seems to me to be at the very least an aggressive and unpleasant way for a company such as Getty to behave and one that will only harm them in the long run, especially when you read around the forums and see that some of the people they are targeting are vulnerable and it’s causing them great distress. In my clients case, they ignored the increasingly nasty letters and eventually Getty went away. Please don’t take this as advice, but that is our clients experience.[hr]

65) Where’s the best place to get photographs from?

Whatever you do, don’t take them from Google images. This is where a lot of Getty images are seeded and may be under copyright. My advice is to always, where possible take your own images. More personal, more authentic than stock photography.[hr]

66) How do I add video to my WordPress website?

Use a proper video hosting service. My three favourites are, youtube.com, vimeo.com and wistia.com.[hr]

67) You say that I shouldn’t upload the video files themselves to my WordPress website – why not?

If you use a proper video hosting provider you get many benefits. They do the hard work of encoding your videos for you – and will often create mobile versions of your videos. They also have very beefy servers so you videos will not suffer from buffering. Also you will get extra views if you videos are also hosted on a service such as youtube.com. [hr]

68) Is it possible to get rid of the theme companies branding from the footer of my WordPress theme?

Yes most theme give you the option to put your own information in the footer, which will replace the theme companies branding. This will vary per theme.[hr]

69) My web company won’t give me admin rights to my WordPress website – why not?

Because they don’t trust you, or they want to charge you for stuff you could be doing yourself :)[hr]

70) I have a blog on Blogger with loads of content on –  is it easy to move this to WordPress?

Yes you can export your content from blogger and import into WordPress (Dashboard/Tools/Import). WordPress also supports imports from Tumblr.[hr]

71) Is it possible to embed a powerpoint presentation into my website?

Yes, I recommend you use slideshare and then embed from slideshare into your website.[hr]

72) I don’t have any custom menus in my WordPress theme that has been designed for me?

Most likely your WordPress dev has hard coded your menus so you can’t easily change the order or drop downs. This is bad practice. Tell them off :)[hr]

73) How many multi-site sub sites can you run on a shared server?

This will vary per host but my experience is about 300 before things start to slow down. If you are planning a big multi-site network then look at wpengine for your hosting.[hr]

74) I’m a photographer – do you recommend any good WordPress themes for photographers?

Take a look at this great article by Tripwire Magazine, 40+ Best WordPress Photography Themes. There are some beautiful themes in here.[hr]

75) What’s the best back up solution for WordPress?

I use vaultpress.com. It’s very simple to set up and backs up your entire website into the cloud. They have just introduced a $5 per month price.[hr]

76) Is it possible to preview a new theme on my website before I set it live?

Yes in appearance/themes under each theme you will see a preview link. This will take your content and populate the preview theme with it, so you can test before going live.[hr]

77) Is it possible to learn CSS without coming from a development background?

Yes CSS is quite easy to learn, once you understand the basics. I recommend looking up the CSS box model as this is an easy way to understand how you can start tweaking your websites.[hr]

78) How do I add a twitter and facebook share under my posts?

An easy way is the use the Jetpack plugin.[hr]

79) What is the GPL ?

This stands for General Public Licence, the licence that WordPress is developed under. Most plugins and themes support the GPL, and should. The GPL essentially means that anyone can use the software, and change it, as long as they make the resultant code available back to the community.[hr]

80) I want to develop a plugin and charge for it. Is this ok?

Yes the GPL doesn’t prohibit charging for a plugin, but many WordPress development companies are finding other methods for charging, such as support and updates.[hr]

81) There is no 81[hr]

 

82) Will WordPress always be free?

Yes [hr]

 

83) What big brands use WordPress?

Lots of big brands are using WordPress, from Downing Street, the New York Times, Telegraph Media Group, Techcrunch, Metro Group, Rolling Stones….lots and lots and lots.[hr]

84) We are a charity how can we use WordPress?

WordPress is great for charities. It’s free, easy to use and you can easliy set up donation pages. You might also using multi-site for your events or local offices. Pooltepress is also releasing a cool new plugin for Charities in the next month – apologies for the shameless plug.[hr]

85) What theme and plugins do use on pootlepress.co.uk

We use the Theme Canvas from WooThemes, WooCommerce for our shop, Wishlist member for our membership functionality and Gravity Forms for our forms. [hr]

86) What hosting company do you use for Pootlepress?

We use WPEngine.com. [hr]

87) Can WordPress be used as an Intranet?

Yes WordPress is great for Intranets, take a look at this article on how to build an Intranet with WordPress.[hr]

88) Can WordPress be used to build an online community?

Yes I recommend you use BuddyPress – it’s great.[hr]

89) What websites do you recommend going to keep up to date with WordPress

Here they are, wordpress.org,wpmayor.com, wplift.com, and torque.[hr]

90) Is it possible to migrate a WordPress website to a new hosting company?

Yes, take a look at backupbuddy, as this will make migration quite easy. [hr]

91) Do you find Facebook or Twitter more useful for driving traffic to your website?

Facebook[hr]

92) I want to put a picture into my sidebar but can’t work out the html to do it?

Here’s a cheats way to do it.

1) To create the HTML create a new post (your are not going to publish this, but you are going to use it to create your HTML)

2) upload your image and insert into your post

3) click on HTML tab in the post editor

4) copy HTML

5) paste HTML into your text widget

6) sit back and marvel at your work![hr]

93) What’s the best way to add music to my WordPress website?

I recommend using Soundcloud.com and then embedding from there ( a bit like youtube) . Soundcloud is great.[hr]

94)Is it possible to sell my music or ebooks via my website?

Yes with plugins such as WooCommerce or Easy digital downloads you can sell virtual products (mp3’s, ebooks)[hr]

95) What graphics software do you use?

I use Photoshop and Pixelmator (only on Mac)[hr]

96) What’s the best forum software for a WordPress website?

BBPress [hr]

97) Is it possible to hide my WordPress website until I’ve finished developing it?

Yes very easy with a plugin such as wp-maintanance mode.[hr]

98) We are school and want to create blogs for each of the children’s classes – is this possible?

Yes use WordPress multisite.[hr]

99) What are Google Fonts?

Google fonts is an online font library, so your readers don’t need to have font’s installed on their PC’s to see them – they are a good option.[hr]

100) Can I have an online chat/help on my WordPress website?

Yes, take a look at olark.com. It’s what we use on Pootlelpress when we are online, and it works beautifully and is very easy to get up and running on your website.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this rather long list – if you made it this far :)

If you have any of your own FAQ’s please add them to the comments below.

5 thoughts on “Top 100 WordPress beginners FAQ’s”

  1. Many thanks for the list and your recommendations. I’m a newbie, and had most of these questions, including 81.

  2. I would love to be able to mirror a wordpress.com blog to a self hosted blog. is there an automated way to do this?

    (I’ve taken to putting my blog at wordpress.com for the ease of sharing and follows – much faster to build an audience, then just linking to menu. any reason NOT to do this?)

  3. I was just thinking about starting an ecommerce thing for my company and your post has been fabulous! it answered questions i wouldn’t have known to ask!

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