WordPress Basics

Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, January 10, 2017

Beth Soderberg | @bethsoderberg


Why are we here?

Why is learning to manage web content useful?

  • You don't want to rely on a developer.
  • You'd like to expand your professional skills.
  • You want to build your personal/organizational brand.
  • You want to become a designer, information architect, or developer.

What is WordPress?

An open source content management system!

A content management system or CMS eliminates the need for any kind of programming by the users of a web publishing system.

Open source software – including the underlying programming code – is licensed for anyone to freely use, copy and modify in any way they choose.

WordPress Powers 27% of the Web

Millions of websites are built on WordPress, including:

WordPress has Four Parts

  • WordPress Core
  • A database
  • A theme
  • Plugins

Websites have Two Parts

What the Visitor Sees

  • The website homepage, content pages, search pages, etc.

What the Site Manager Sees

  • The WordPress Dashboard
  • Administrative pages to edit content
  • Tools to manage menus
  • Tools to manage site settings
  • Lots of other tools!

WordPress Permissions

  • Subscriber – somebody who can only manage their profile.
  • Contributor – somebody who can write and manage their own posts, but cannot publish them.
  • Author – somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
  • Editor – somebody who can publish and manage posts, including the posts of other users.
  • Administrator – somebody who has access to all of the administration features within a single site.
  • Super Admin (multi-site installations only) – somebody with access to the site network administration features and all other features.

Let's take a look!

Where to Start: WordPress.com or WordPress.org?


  • Free websites and hosting
  • The URL will always include wordpress.com (e.g. https://bethsoderberg.wordpress.com/).
  • Paid upgrades (e.g. using your own domain name)
  • Restrictions on theme, plugin, and customization
  • Free personalized support

Where to Start: WordPress.com or WordPress.org?


  • Free download of WordPress software to run on your own server
  • Can fully customize all parts of the website
  • Access to support forums

Theme Directory

Plugin Directory

  • WordPress.org Plugin Directory plugins are reviewed, but can be submitted by anyone. There are also premium versions of some plugins.
  • A limited number of plugins are available on WordPress.com.


Thank you!