WordPress Quick Reference Guide


Congratulations on your new website! …or maybe you were looking for a quick way to understand your WordPress system? If you were referred to this guide, your website is most likely running on WordPress, a popular blogging platform. That's not all it can be used for. When tuned correctly, WordPress can also be a powerful and flexible content management system.

With WordPress you have great control over your content. However, that control comes at a small cost. Websites built on WordPress require your attention, or the attention of a qualified developer. Part of your new responsibility in managing your WordPress installation is becoming familiar with the platform, and how to maintain your WordPress-based website.

Tip: PxO Ink provides WordPress support and maintenance packages. Contact us and learn more!

Note: This guide, and your use of it, does not constitute a support relationship and is provided AS-IS without warranty. While this page is updated often, it may not provide the most up-to-date and accurate information.

The following is a basic guide to help you with your new WordPress installation. This information is not exhaustive, and should only be used as a quick reference.

WordPress can seem daunting, but learning the platform is an intuitive experience. There are numerous expansive resources available, but we recommend reviewing the following:

Note: If you find that you're struggling with a particular area in the WordPress admin panel, otherwise known as the back-end, look toward the upper right-hand corner. You will usually find a "Help" tab, which will provides contextual instructions on how to use that particular feature or resource.

If you have agreed to a support or maintenance contract, or you wish to explore that option, you can contact PxO Ink for help at any time. We would be more than happy to help manage your website.

Table of Contents

  1. Logging In
  2. Menu
  3. Updates and Backups
  4. Posts, Categories, and Tags
  5. Media
  6. Pages
  8. Appearance
  9. Plugins
  10. Users
  11. Settings

Logging In

Please review your login information if it has been provided to you. It is strongly recommended that you change your password as soon as you login for the first time. If you need help selecting a password, you can generate a password here.

Within the WordPress admin there is a main vertical menu that provides granular access to your WordPress install. Not all features are listed within this guide, and some might have been customized for your particular install. Please review all of the resources and controls at your disposal, the help files on each page, this document, and the official documentation before making changes.

Updates and Backups

Within the Dashboard submenu, you will have access to all of the pending WordPress updates that are available. You must keep your WordPress installation updated to ensure the security of your website. Nevertheless, before you can consider any updates, you should know which kind of WordPress installation you have:

Package-Based Repository Installation

Package-based repository installations are often provided to organizations that require extensive testing before new versions can be deployed. If you have been delivered a package-based repository installation, you will need to have your WordPress installation upgraded by a qualified systems administrator.

Base Installation

If you weren't told what kind of installation was deployed, or if you're using shared hosting, you likely have a base installation. With this kind of installation, you have immediate access to update your WordPress install. In this case, you can manage all WordPress updates through the Updates sub-menu. Simply select what you want to update, and follow the prompts on screen.


Softaculous has broad support for WordPress, including a built-in manager. You will need to work with your host to manage WordPress through Softaculous.


It is very important that you backup your WordPress installation before updating any software. If you do not have any WordPress backup plugins, please consider the official WordPress backup documentation. We generally recommend that you do not setup automatic updates with WordPress unless you have a robust backup system in place.

Note: If you are using the UpdraftPlus plugin to manage your backups, you may already be automatically backing up your WordPress install. You should check if you have a recent backup, and consider the UpdraftPlus help menu before continuing.

Beyond WordPress 5

With the arrival of newer versions of WordPress, major changes have occurred to the ecosystem and design. On the whole, these changes are made with the intention of improving the workflow of WordPress and allowing the application to be more approachable by all users. However, in some cases, themes and widgets are not compatible with the newer block system. You may also find that you would prefer the old user interface over the new one.

You may need to install additional plugins to custom tune your WordPress workflow experience. We've compiled a list to help you best improve your workflow experience.

Please understand that between each major revision you should do an extensive backup of your system and employ a separate development environment before testing themes or plugins.

Note: Support for Classic plugins is maintained by the community. Although there is no sign of deprecation, long-term reliance is not guaranteed.

If you are concerned about using WordPress beyond version 5, a community-led open source project known as ClassicPress has been created. There is limited plugin support, but if you are looking to help port your site, theme, or custom plugins to ClassicPress, we can help.

Posts, Categories, and Tags

The Posts area contains all of your blog posts. You can create new posts, make changes to existing posts, or review all of the posts on your website. Before you begin creating posts, it's important to understand how posts are consumed by users.

Each post that you create is designed to convey a message that will hopefully lead to a call-to-action response. That could mean contacting you directly for services, purchasing a product, or simply reading long-term. This message is augmented by a group of keywords and taxonomical relationships.

In WordPress, you can create taxonomies by creating categories and tags and then assining posts to categories and tags to posts. This helps you relate your content to your users. Remember, users are often looking for particular content, and they can find that content and related information through categories and tags.

To begin, review your categories and tags by selecting the Categories and Tags sub-menu. At the very least, you should create a default category before writing your posts. You can modify categories and tags at any time.

Before you write your blog post, try to think of a few keywords that can be associated with the message you're trying to convey. This will help you focus your content, create your post's unique title, and title and describe the media contained within.

Tip: On the Add Post page, it's important to review the Screen Options menu in the upper-right hand corner to select which post elements you want visible in the editor.

Speaking of associated media, it's important to find media that accentuates your blog post. You must own or have permission to use the content that you use. Images can be the easiest to integrate, but WordPress has support for video and audio files too.

Tip: Check out the Media section below to learn more about media.

Once you have written your blog post, preferably in an external application like your favorite third-party word processor, you can add it to your site. Select Add Post from within WordPress. Here, you'll fill out the title, confirm the slug, otherwise known as the path, add and select media, set the publish date, associate categories and tags, select featured media, and fill out the excerpt if applicable.

Note: If part of your website deliverable contains a custom post plugin, you may see additional post types visible in the vertical menu, such as Events, or Products. You may also see additional options on the Add New page, such as a scheduled date or time. If you have questions about a particular customization that we've created for you, feel free to ask us about it anytime.

Once a post has been written, you can edit or delete that post by selecting an option from the Posts page. You may need to hover or select the post in the list to view the options available to you.

Tip: When editing posts, it may be helpful to select Revisions from the Screen Options.


WordPress has support for images, video, and audio media uploads. The media library contains all of the content that is uploaded to your website. You may see duplicate content if you're using a plugin like Polylang, which has support for different languages. Some imagery is theme dependent, and will not be visible in the media library.

When adding imagery, be sure that the image that you start with is already cropped and compressed. This isn't entirely necessary, but it's a good habit to keep. WordPress has its own basic image editor and compression, which you may use instead. However, we have found that coming up with your own workflow, with the applications you're comfortable with, is best to create a solid foundation that you can control.

The dimensions of an image, the width and height in pixels, are usually directly related to the file size. If images are too large in file size, they will be difficult or costly for users to download. Too small, though, and they will be difficult to see or fail to provide the proper visual impact you're looking for.

Tip: If you want to embed video media directly into a post, just paste the URL directly, and if the media is from a supported site, such as YouTube, it will embed automatically.

In general, a good size for a featured image is greater or equal to 1280-1600 pixels in width, and a height no taller than 65% of the width. Themes that support image scaling will automatically create a selection of images and often select the best image available depending upon the browser.

As mentioned before, you also have the option of editing your images directly in WordPress. If you decide to use this tool, a good rule of thumb for featured images, is to scale them to no less than 1280 pixels in width. WordPress will automatically calculate the height. Once you save the image, it will confirm your changes and generate thumbnails.

If supported by your host (you will need the GD library for PHP,) you can also crop the image from this prompt.

Note: If you're using the Polylang plugin, you may find that uploading images within each post is a more appropriate method, because you will want to provide different translations for each language per image. If you're using the WordPress media editor, you will need to download your altered image using the Save Target As menu option and re-upload it for alternate languages.

Once the image is successfully uploaded, you will need to fill out the details for that image. This includes a title and alternate text, also known as "Alt" text. The title represents how you associate the primary keywords of your post to the imagery. For a featured image, this likely expands on the tagline for your post and how it relates to the media being seen. The alt text, by contrast, is how you would describe the image for those who are visually impaired or unable to view the image. You may also write a caption and a description for your image.

Note: The theme you're using may leverage this information differently than how WordPress expects. Be sure to test your post as a draft before you publish it.

If you're not sure how to detail your images, feel free to contact PxO Ink, and we can provide an SEO package that will meet your needs.


The Pages section represents all of the static content that your website has to offer. Unlike posts, pages are supposed to contain information that won't change very often, or won't be suppressed by newer posts. If we have delivered you a completed website, you likely have a handful of pages already created and populated with relevant information. You can always edit and create new pages from the Pages area.

One of the most important differences between pages and posts is taxonomy. Pages have a hierarchy, rather than categories. This means that if a page is directly related to another page, you will need to assign one of those pages as a parent to the other page. This creates a breadcrumb trail in most themes, and helps users dig deeper into information. You may also need to assign an order to the pages within a specific hierarchy, as well.

Note: If your theme supports multiple templates, you may also need to assign a template to your page to change the look and feel.


If comments are enabled for your website, this section is where you will manage them. You have the options of approving or editing comments, trashing them, or flagging them as spam. When paired with a plugin like Akismet, these features become more robust.

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You can select which theme your website uses in the appearance section, as well as widgets, menus, backgrounds, logos, favicon, and other options based upon what your theme supports, and what customizations have been made.

Widgets generally appear on each page except the home page. They are usually most important on blog related pages. Different plugins can change which widgets are available in WordPress.

Tip: Widgets are generally saved each time you make a change, so you can make customizations (especially when a development version has been setup) and view the changes immediately.

If properly setup within your theme, the Menus section provides granular access to all of the menus that are available within your website. A theme will likely support various Menu Locations, which you can assign in the Manage Locations tab. You can also specify which menu to edit, as well as the order in which menus appear.

Note: There are also advanced menu options available when enabled with Screen Options. Unless you have specific instructions, you may wish to leave this options alone.


Plugins allow you to customize your website further. In some cases, you may have requested or been provided a custom plugin to augment your WordPress environment. It's important that you are aware that plugins, like themes, can greatly affect how your website operations. Third-party plugins are only minimally vetted before they are published for public use. You should only use trusted plugins that are fully supported and optimized to keep your website safe.

Tip: WordPress security is directly tied to what you upload, and what you install. Be sure you know that your chosen plugins and uploads are safe before adding them to your website.

Plugin Support

Most plugins aren't created by the team behind WordPress. As such, plugin developers often have their own support teams, discussion areas, and documentation available. You will likely be able to make customizations inside WordPress to tailor plugins to your needs. You may also be expected to perform regular maintenance, like updates, to ensure the continued operation of plugins.

Note: Plugins may have their own menus that allow you to control them. If a plugin doesn't have its own menu, it will likely appear in the settings submenu. Keep an eye out for options for individual plugins you may wish to change. You can also find more information by looking at the Installed Plugins page.

If your website relies on Polylang, you may wish to modify the Strings Translations submenu, as various areas in your theme may rely on these translations.

When using Relevanssi, you may need to re-index your search results at certain intervals. It's recommended that you test your search engine often.

If you are using the UpdraftPlus plugin, it's important that you monitor the status of your backups to ensure that they are being completed correctly.

You can augment the Contact Form 7 plugin with Flamingo, a plugin by the same author, to ensure you do not lose any messages due to email failures.

Most third-party plugins are free. Consider supporting the software you use by upgrading to a premium offering, if available, or donating to the development team.

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When you receive access to your website, your account will likely be an administrator's account. This gives you the power to control every aspect of your website. In the Users section, you can create and delete users, as well as modify and change their permissions. You can also modify your profile, avatar, and other details here.


If PxO Ink built your website, then it comes pre-configured when ownership is transferred. If you want to make changes, the General, Writing, and Reading sub-menus allow you to customize various default settings for your website. The official WordPress documentation can help explain more about what these features do. Changing these settings is generally not recommended without a development environment.

The Discussion settings allow you to change how comments are handled and whether they appear at all. In some remote cases, your theme may not support comments or comments may be disabled. It's important to finely tune your discussion settings to ensure that users can interact with your website without bots, or malicious actors, spreading misinformation or spam. Some of the settings here can give you control over how your website is used by others.

The Permalinks section will allow you to refresh the rules for how URLs are generated for users. When we talk about a link to a specific blog post, or page, we call them permalinks. It is generally not recommended to change these once established, as it may cause your search engine and marketing performance to drop unexpectedly.

We hope you have a great experience with WordPress. Remember, if you're a client with a support or maintenance package, or you wish to retain our services to create or improve your website, contact us today!