How to use WordPress


One of the big advantages of using WordPress as a website is that it can be used by many people — it is possible for me to give editorial privileges to anyone I like, and I will be  happy to give it to any member of the committee or indeed any other person who wishes to contribute. Just e-mail me at Andrew@archaeology.co.uk.

WordPress it is said is the easiest of all the website manufacturing programs, though I must say it took me a couple of months to crack it. Here are is a brief introduction which I hope you can print out and keep it by your side and find it is all very easy.

First of all to get in you have to type wp-admin after the website, so you go to


This should then bring up a demand for a username and a password both of which I will allocate to you. But this will then bring you into the terrifying opening page which kept me petrified for a couple of months. But it’s really quite simple. Go to the narrow column on the far left side, go down to ‘pages’ click on ‘all pages’ and then you will find a list of pages.  Click on the one you wish to edit and there you are!

At this point I should mark the crucial difference between posts and pages.  If you are doing a blog, you need posts, which are done consecutively by date. Each post is simply placed on top. The only organisation is by categories and tags — but this is another story

We are doing are Pages. Pages are static, and form what is known as a CMS that is a Content Management System. The reason why WordPress is so popular is that it is both a blog and a Content Management System. We can therefore ignore at least half of all the WordPress functionality.

When you open your page, you will note just above the text what they called the kitchen sink:  two rows of symbols which are all fairly obvious, for italics and bold, etc.  The only one to note is the second from the right on top row, which is called the full screen mode which shows you the full screen and is useful for a long edit

At this stage, I must point out one of the big problems of WordPress: there is no ‘Save’. Control+S does nothing.  Instead when you have finished, you must go to the right-hand side of the page where there is a button saying either ‘update’ or ‘publish’.  You click the button, then wait a couple of seconds and then you can click on the line at the top saying view page. You must remember that none of this goes on your computer: everything takes place up in the cloud, so when you are ‘publishing’, you have to wait while your computer communicates with the cloud and then if you want to see that it looks like, you have to wait while the page is downloaded from the cloud. After a while, you get used to it.

Well, this really is the end of the basic editing. Once you have mastered this, it will be like the first time you learned to drive a car:  wasn’t it wonderful! However there are two further advanced projects to tell you about:  adding pictures and adding in a new page


You can add pictures to your pages and make them look much better and much more readable. However the maximum size is 2mb, which is about half the size of the average camera photo, so you’ll have to have a photo editing system to cut down your pictures. But don’t cut them down too much:  you can insert a fairly small pic on the page and then if someone clicks on them they will come up big. . As you’ll see from some of my photos — try this for instance from Easter Island

It looks innocuous, doesn't it? But click on it, then click on it again and it will give you vertigo!

— if you click a second time, it becomes really big, and then use the slider to move it from side to side and look down into the crater of the volcano.


Pictures are accessed from the row above the kitchen sink label: you click on the square within a square, you then click on select files from computer;  you then go to the file where you will have the pictures stored, and upload them

When they are uploaded into the gallery, you select files from the gallery and click on ‘show’.  This then gives you various options: I normally choose size medium and alternate the alignment between left and right: if you have any particularly nice  pictures, then click centre  and large. Then click on insert into page: NOT featured image, which is the logo at the top of every page. If you click on ‘featured image’ you will change the picture on top of every single page throughout the whole system.

Don’t worry, go to the gallery, search for header, and you will find my original and you can reinsert that or indeed any other better picture that you can envisage.  Or you can choose a logo of your own just for your own page.  Then upload the page and view your masterwork.  Then go back and click on the photo: you will see a little symbol top left: click on that and you can edit the picture and add a caption, or alter from right to left or vice versa

Adding new page

Finally how do you add a new page?

Well, first you must decide where you want your new page to go, so take a good look at the tree in the right hand column. Do you want to add a new parent to the trunk? Or do you want to have it as a child of an already existing parent?  When you have chosen your position, go to the page above, click on ‘quick edit’ and see what its order is. Then go to the page below and see what its order is. Normally I number my pages 10,20, 30,40 etc because this means that there is plenty of room to insert a page in the middle. Thus if you want to insert your page between Pages 20 and 30 then you would number it page 25.

Having chosen the order, then go to the left-hand column, and click ‘new page’. First choose the title: make it short and snappy’ preferably a single word’ because that will be the name of the page in giving out a reference’ and we don’t want too much spaghetti. Then go to the bottom.  You will find a box ‘allow contributions’. Unclick this – unless that is you want people to make comments on your pages. Then go to the right-hand side to decide whether you are to be a parent, or if not click on the root page that you wish to be your parent and then edit the order you have chosen then publish the page. Have a look at it and see that it is in the right position, and then edit it in the usual way.


There are of course lots of other wonderful complications to explore:  the theme for instance — I have chosen 2010 which was the standard even though it is now being replaced by 2011. Then there are ‘widgets’ basically what you put in the right-hand column. I have widgets for trees in both the right-hand column and as a footer. Take a look at site statistics to see how we are doing and whether anyone is looking at your page, and then for sheer horror look at Akismet which is a very efficient spam buster

Finally if you need help and I can’t help you,  I find the WordPress help fairly chaotic I find it best to exit from WordPress go into Google and simply enter ‘WordPress how do I do this’ and Google seem to be able to search the WordPress help Pages better than WordPress itself. You’ll find answers to most things

Finally if you really get a grip of this and you want to do your own page, don’t forget that if you take out space from some web provider, they virtually all offer WordPress as a free download when you first start. Or if you want to set up a page for an archaeology society, talk nicely to Robert and he will probably let you have you have a web site on the Current Archaeology site as he has taken out a hugely expensive master system that allows him to allocate webpages on demand:  all you will have to pay for, is your web address.

Good luck!




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