WordPress Essentials for Business

A fast-start (90 min) WordPress training sequence designed for small-business owners creating a new website

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  • Lectures 32
  • Video 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion

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About This Course

Published 2/2013 English

Course Description

Why is WordPress Essentials for Business one of the most popular and highest-rated WordPress beginner courses on the web?

  • Build an attractive website A-Z using the provided sample files, then repeat for your own site!  (you will create the following site: www.wp-clone.com)
  • It's designed for busy professionals -- no technical experience is required, and we only teach you what you need to know (HTML?  Forget it).  
  • You will  save many hours of trial-and-error in setting up your first website -- don't try and learn WordPress by "point, click and pray!"
  • Unlike other beginner WordPress courses, we cover topics that are key to creating a professional-looking website, such as theme selection, graphics sources, and more

***SPECIAL BONUS***  Get high-performance managed WordPress Hosting for 1/3 of the going rate!  Skip to the "Hosting WordPress" video, minute 3:50, to find out how

Why bother with WordPress training? The software is simple, right? 

WRONG.  While it is true that WordPress is relatively easy to navigate, most people without any web design experience are going to be completely perplexed in how to use it.  The WordPress software has revolutionized the web design business; and yet, finding a course that covers all the basics, is oriented to a non-technical audience, and gives practical advice on the commercial services that are imperative to making an attractive website, has proven to be difficult. WordPress Essentials for Business is designed to fill that training gap.

About the Course

15,000 students have already participated in this course!

WordPress Essentials for Business is a quick (90 min) but thorough overview of using WordPress to create a business website. It is designed for busy small-business owners and self-employed professionals who want to quickly master the WordPress software for the purpose of creating an attractive website that generates leads and sales.

We learn by doing as we build out an actual website for a client of ours, explaining and demonstrating key concepts along the way, such as themes, plugins, widgets, images, etc. Students should download the project files from "wpacademy dot com slash essentials" and then follow the tutorial on their own website, repeating the keystrokes and mouse sequences as they build out their own site. You can expect to walk away from this training with an attractive website and a solid understanding of WordPress fundamentals.

To take this course you will need a self-hosted WordPress website under your own domain and hosting account, and we will show you how to set that up. Domains cost about $10/yr and a hosting account will cost you an additional $7-12/mth, and will host all of your business and personal websites.

Can I really learn web design in 90 minutes?

Of course there are many aspect to building an attractive and functional website.  WordPress Essentials for Business is designed to boot-strap your skills, but there is much more to learn.  See some of these other WP Academy courses to gain these additional and essential skills.  Many people have become professional web designers and virtual assistants from this training: 

  • WordPress Theme Selection & Customization
  • WordPress Backup, Security & Performance
  • Images and Graphic Editing
  • WordPress CSS Styling & Advanced Content Creation
  • WordPress SEO
  • WordPress eCommerce & Membership Systems
  • WordPress Email Newsletters & Social Media Integration
  • Video Production for the Web

What are the requirements?

  • Technical experience is not required (other than to use a browser)
  • You will need to setup a self-hosted WordPress website under your domain, which we will show you how to do. Domains cost about $10/yr and hosting accounts are between $7-10/mth

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Complete your first self-hosted WordPress website in under 2 hours
  • Understand domain and hosting
  • Understand the WordPress user-interface and key concepts such as the Media library, themes, plugins, widgets and more

What is the target audience?

  • Small Business Owner, Self-employed Professionals, Social Media consultants, Virtual Assistants... anyone who wants to create a professional WordPress website, either for themselves or their clients

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What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: WordPress Fundamentals
Understand the reasons why WordPress has become the world's most popular Content Management System

WordPress comes in two "flavors"

You can create a free WordPress blog at WordPress.com, and then assign it to your own domain name for about $20 per year. The content will be hosted on the WordPress.com servers, and as such you need not worry about hosting.

However, WordPress.com is not recommended for hosting professional websites, because it has a limited number of available themes and plugins. In particular, commercial themes and plugins are not supported. You will be very limited in terms of your ability to customize and monetize the site.

It’s much better to host your WordPress site yourself using the so-called "Self-hosted" WordPress, also known as WordPress.org

WordPress.org is not a hosting company!

Rather it is the repository of all the open-source WordPress code, including all the free (open-source) themes and plugins that people have contributed.

The remainder of this training guide assumes that you are using Self-hosted WordPress


What you absolutely need to run self-hosted WordPress:

  • Most people will need a Web Hosting Account to run WordPress (unless you just want a simple Blog). Most hosting accounts cost between $7 and $10/mth, depending on how many months you pre-pay.
  • You will need a Domain Name. Domain names cost about $10/yr. Many hosting plans include your first domain name.

What you probably need:

You may choose to go for some higher-value products or services, such as:

  • A Professional Theme or Theme Framework. This may give your site a more attractive appearance than a free theme. Most themes cost between $70 and $90
  • Some Professional Custom-Designed Graphics, such as a header or ebook cover. Although you can do this yourself, the cost of this is quite modest, typically $50-100, and you can even pay much less.
  • A commercial Stock-photo Image Library. For about $30 you can get a lot of very high-quality images.
  • Free Plugins are usually sufficient, but if you are running a membership site you may want a commercial Membership site plugin, for about $100.
  • You will probably want a Newsletter (Mailing List) Management System. There are some good free ones, especially for smaller lists. Others cost between $15 and $30/mth.

By following this training, you can get a very professional website for between $30 and $300 initial cost, plus between $100 and $300 a year for your hosting and newsletter service.

Additional websites beyond your first site will cost you little or nothing.

Compare this to the "old days" where building a website cost an average of $2000 to $3000!

Section 2: Hosting WordPress
Properly hosting a new, self-hosted WordPress site is challenging for beginners, however if you read carefully below and follow the instructions you should be good.

To host a website (any website including self-hosted WordPress), you need a Domain Name Registrar company (e.g.GoDaddy ) and a Hosting Company (e.g. BlueHost or Hostgator ).

Occasionally, the same company handles both, but we recommend that you keep them separate, e.g. register your domains through your domain registrar, not through your hosting company. Hosting companies are sometimes known to include one free domain name in the hosting plan but then charge a premium fee for additional domains. And domain registrars (such as Godaddy) often do not provide great hosting service.

Exception to this rule: if you are just starting out your first site it’s fine to register your first domain name when you first purchase hosting; however you should register additional domains through your registrar and then point them (assign them) to your hosting account as described below.

Any good hosting company will allow unlimited domain hosting. This means you can have multiple domains with separate websites under one monthly hosting fee. You would very rarely need more than one hosting company.

Be aware as well that transferring domains from one domain registrar to another, and websites from one host to another, can be an administrative nightmare. Save yourself from this by having only one hosting company and only one domain registrar from the get-go.

This lectures describes the best options for hosting your WordPress website. It will also show you how to get high-performance managed WordPress Hosting for 1/3 of the going rate (jump to minute 3:50).

Once your domain is “hosted”, you can install WordPress on it. Almost all hosts have a 2-click WordPress installer program. You can Google “Installing WordPress on [your hosting company]” for instructions, or else review the Installation tutorials on WordPress.TV
Section 3: Building out your site: content and navigation
Tour of an out-of-the-box WordPress site

How to access your WordPress site dashboard

Your WordPress dashboard is the administrative interface to your WordPress site. This is where you manage all your content, navigation, site layout, etc.

For most self-hosted WordPress sites, you normally access your dashboard by simply appending "/wp-admin" to your url, as in:


And then logging in with your username and password.


Understanding WordPress data elements

You need to understand the basic WordPress data elements: Posts, Pages and Links.

•Posts are time-sensitive articles, and are normally listed on your “Blog” page in reverse chronological order. You may choose not to have a “Blog” page at all (e.g. your site could have only static pages or “Pages”), OR you may choose to configure your WordPress site as a blog and to have your home page display your blog posts (this is the default configuration). Posts allow comments, although you can close or disable comments on individual posts. Posts have categories, which you set up in the Posts > Categories menu. If you create a post but don’t assign a category, it automatically gets assigned to the “Uncategorized” category (which you can rename to something else).

•Pages are so-called static pages – they display content that isn’t time-sensitive, such as your Home page, About Us, Services page, and so on. Pages do not normally allow comments, nor are they part of your RSS feed (content distribution). Pages do not have categories, but can be created in a hierarchical structure.


The WordPress Visual Editor is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) web-based editor that you can use to create and edit all your WordPress pages and posts. It is a very powerful editor that allows you to enter and format text, hyperlink text and images, insert images and videos, insert html code, and more.

Some people prefer to use a client-side editor for their sites such as the free Windows Live Writer, which has the advantage of easier formatting and allows you to paste in images directly.


This video shows you how to add Images in WordPress, and how to scale and crop images from inside WordPress.

Images are stored in your media library in 3 (sometimes 4) different sizes for the same image.  Once you add an image to your media library, you can reference that same image from different pages or posts — you don’t need to add it again.

We review the "Hyperlink" button on the WordPress Visual Editor toolbar.

How to setup WordPress for either a blog or a static site (business-oriented website)

Almost all business websites are configured as Static Sites -- meaning they have a Home page, Services pages, Contact page etc. 

By default, WordPress is configured as Blog -- meaning the front page has all the Posts in reverse chronological order.

Your first step (unless you are creating a Blog) is therefore going to be setup WordPress to function as a static site.

By default, all WordPress pages have user comments enabled. You will usually want to disable comments on all your Pages, and only allow them on Posts. 

You will also want to call your home page something other than "Home", or else tell WordPress not to display the page title. This video shows you how.
When first installed, WordPress puts a navigation bar with all your Pages.  You want to change this in order to put only the pages or posts that you want in your navigation bar, and also re-order them. 
A drop-down navigation bar allows you to better organize your content for easy access to visitors.  This video shows you how.
The most powerful feature of WordPress is the ability to easily change themes. Here is how to access thousands of free themes.
Using a commercial theme on your site will likely increase its quality and help you do the job faster. This is how you do it.
We take a peek inside the powerful Weaver theme options, then we prepare the theme to receive our header, and then we add the header graphic.
About Themes and Theme Frameworks

Themes are customizable to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the theme's design and complexity. Choosing a theme that meets your aesthetic and functional requirements, and yet is highly customizable, is likely the biggest challenge you will face in creating your new website.  At WP Academy, we recommend commercial themes as they can make a very attractive yet flexible site quite rapidly. The free Weaver theme however is also quite good, and so we have chosen it to build out our demo site.

Where to find your theme options panel

Your theme options panel is under the "Appearance" menu. Depending on the complexity of the theme, you may find just a few settings, or you may find pages and pages of available settings. A sophisticated theme will give you very fine-grained control of the styling (or presentation) of every element of your site, and may also give you a choice of sidebar locations, allow you to change the width of your site and of your sidebars, etc.

Note that even for a theme that does not give a lot of theme options, you can always customize your theme's look-and-feel (colors, fonts etc) by changing your theme's CSS.
By default, WordPress comes configured as a Blog.  This means your home page contains all of your posts, across all categories.  You can move your blog page to a place other than the front (home) page, and link it from your navigation bar as described here; but by default your blog page will still contain posts in all categories.

Sometimes you want to configure your site to have many different Blog pages, each specializing in a particular content area, or Post Category.  Many people are confused by how to do this, but its quite simple. This lecture will show you how.
Section 4: Widgets and Widget Areas
Widgets are used to add content to a "Widget Area".  Widget areas are provided by your theme to put your content.  Themes provide, at minimum, a Widget Area called a Sidebar. 

Inside a Widget Area you add "Widgets", which are content items that are either pre-filled by WordPress, or in which you can put your own content.  Some widgets are built-in to WordPress, and others are installed (made available) by your theme or by a plugin. 

Here are 3 very popular built-in widgets that you can use: the Recent Posts, Post Categories & Custom Menu Widgets. We show you how they work and explain everything about Widgets, Widget Areas and Sidebars.

The Text widget is the most important one for you to know as it allows you to put arbitrary html into your sidebar (or into any widget area).  This can include text, images, videos, subscription forms, etc. 

This lecture you will show you how it works.

Posting video to your sidebar in WordPress is super-easy with a Text widget. Here is how you do it.
Section 5: Plugins
A "plugin" is like an "app" that you add to your WordPress site -- it adds functionality that is not included in the base WordPress installation. 

Plugins, like Themes, can either be free (you download them from the WordPress.org plugin repository from inside your dashboard), or you buy them from a plugin vendor and install them from a zipfile (also using your dashboard).

This lecture introduces you to plugins and shows you how to use a very popular one called Akismet, that provides comment spam protection on WordPress sites.
RSSImport is a powerful free plugin that allows you to place content from any site or blog which has an RSS feed. Seeing how it works will help you understand plugins.  We also demonstrate a very powerful feature used by some plugins called "shortcodes".
A commercial plugin is one that you have to buy (i.e. it is NOT free).  Commercial plugins can be extremely useful and sometimes are essential. Here is how you work with them.
Section 6: Fine-tuning your site
How to give your pages and posts user-friendly links (url's)

A "Permalink" is the expanded url of any page of your site, as in "http://yoursite/your-fantastic-article-here" . You want it to be as friendly as possible to humans and to search-engines as well. This is easy to do.
When someone comments to one of your site's posts, the comment is normally held in the moderation queue until you approve it. Here we review the suggested Comment Moderation settings in WordPress.
Section 7: Next Steps
Using a commercial theme is the fastest way to a professional-looking site.  But with so many choices, where to begin?  This lecture introduces a concept called the "Theme Functionality Grid" which will help select the best theme for a business-oriented website. 
Professional stock-photos and graphic headers are the second predictor (besides commercial themes) for a site that looks professional. Here is where to find great stock photos and look for talented and affordable graphic designers.
Your WordPress site MUST be backed-up and updated regularly. If you don't, it is virtually certain that you will get hacked sooner or later, leading to hassles and embarrassment, or even having Google displaying an ugly security warning on your site and nobody being able to access your website. Follow the simple instructions in this video, however, and you should be good. 
Section 8: Where to learn more

Instructor Biography

Marc Beneteau, Founder of WP Academy, Best-Selling Instructor/ 25k students

Marc Beneteau a WordPress trainer and Productivity specialist.  He is the founder of WP Academy, where he has trained thousands of small-business owners, self-employed people, virtual assistants and others to make professional-looking, and profitable, websites in WordPress. Previously he owned a web design business, and was CTO of an internet startup.  He has traveled the world practicing the Digital Nomad lifestyle but has now settled down in Boulder, Colorado. 

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