This is a one day, one to one, web design training course for business owners and their employees based in and around Bradford or Leeds who need a quick start guide to the basics of updating and maintain a website from scratch.
Please note, due to the pandemic I’m not offering one to one training at the moment.
Website design essentials
Before the web design training course begins I will set up your website software on the web server. For me to do this you’ll need a domain name and web hosting. It’s best if you sign up for these yourself but I can guide you through the process.
You’ll need some basic website content
You will also need some content for your first few web pages. I can give you an outline of the type of content you’ll need. Useful information will include who your typical customer is, what they need from you and why you are ideally placed to solve their problems. What have you got that your customers want? You also need simple practical information such as your business contact details and opening times.
For your web design training course to be as effective as possible it would also be useful to know who your main competitors are. If you have any favourite websites I’d like to see them too so I can get an idea of the style of websites you like and the colours you prefer.
Once we’ve got the basics organised we’ll set a date for your web design training day. Your training course will start with the…
You start your web design training course with the WordPress dashboard
We’ll begin by navigating the WordPress control panel or dashboard where you will discover the powerful features at your fingertips. WordPress is both powerful and easy to use. That’s why it’s become so popular and now, with your new skills, you can use all this power to promote your business.
You’ll learn about the dashboard first, this will give you a clearer view of the big picture, once you understand the type of tools available, you’ll have a better idea of which features you need to use right away and which you want to leave until you’re more confident.
Some things you can do through the dashboard include…
- Writing blog posts.
- Writing standard web pages.
- Uploading images to use on your web site.
- Adding new users to your site and controlling what privileges they have.
- Making categories and tags to keep your site well organized.
- Making navigation bars and lists of links to place at the top of your site or in the sidebar.
- Allowing or disallowing comments on your site, you also have strong tools to deal with comment spam.
- Using plugins to add extra features such as feedback forms to your site.
- Formatting pages and blog posts
First you’ll learn the difference between a web page and a blog post. They’re very similar but do have some important differences. Then your web design training will move on to formatting. WordPress has buttons to make formatting text easy, it’s like a word processor. You can make text bold, italic or change it’s colour just by highlighting the text and pressing a button. You can also make lists, left or right align text and create web page headlines by simply highlighting the text and pressing the right button. WordPress even has a built in spell checker.
Uploading images and using them in your web pages
You’ll learn how to upload images and choose where to place them on the web page. You can also resize and crop images using WordPress. Google likes your images to have alternate text, alt text is used when blind people use screen readers or text synthesizers to read the web page text to them. You’ll learn how to add this alt text and image captions too.
Choose between a website and a blog
Many business websites have blogs built in to them and yours can too. The main difference between a website and a blog is how the pages or posts are organised. Blog posts are much easier to organise and display in lists than web pages. You can display a list of posts from a certain month, a particular category or all posts you have tagged with a particular word or phrase.
Adding categories and tags
These help you to manage your website content. First you need to make some categories and then you can assign each blog post you write to the most suitable category. It’s a bit like a filing system. Once the posts are organised correctly you can use all kinds of built in WordPress features to display just the categories or posts you want, in the places you want. You could group all posts in the up coming events category for instance and then list these category posts in the sidebar of your website, it’s easy to do (after your web design training) and saves you a lot of hassle.
You can only apply categories and tags to blog posts, not web pages. Tags are similar to categories but easier to use. If you had a restaurant you could have a category of lunches and a tag of broccoli. If someone liked broccoli they could click the broccoli tag to display all lunches served with broccoli.
Themes, menus and widgets
In WordPress the design of your website is controlled by a theme. You can buy ready made themes, pay someone to design a theme just for you or even make your own theme if you’re a programming whiz. Changing the theme of your site is more difficult with the newer versions of WordPress because themes are much more powerful now. But you can still change themes if you’re willing to do the extra work. You can also control which links appear in the navigation menu at the top of your pages and what content appears in the site sidebar areas. I’ll show you how to do this so you can change the look and layout of your site in the future if you need to.
In the next part of your web design training curse you’ll learn how to add new users to your site. You can allow these users to help you with the website administration but they only have the powers and privileges you give them. If you only want one user on your site that user will be the site administrator, if it’s your site you are the administrator.
The user accounts are…
- Administrator – Somebody who has access to all the administration features.
- Editor – Somebody who can publish and manage posts and pages as well as manage other users posts, etc.
- Author – Somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
- Contributor – Somebody who can write and manage their own posts but can not publish them without permission.
- Subscriber – Somebody who can only manage their own profile. You can also set your site commenting system to only allow logged in subscribers to comment.
WordPress has some easy to configure settings that you’ll find useful, you’ll learn…
- How to add sharing buttons to your web pages. These make it easier for site visitors to tell their friends about your site.
- Press This. This feature adds a special button to your web browser. Then when you find a web page you like, you just press the Press This button to quickly make a simple post on your own site about what you’ve just found on the internet.
- Reading Settings. You can set any page on your site to be your homepage and any page to be your blog page.
- Comment settings. You can choose whether or not you allow people to add comments to your posts or pages. You have a lot of control over how comments are handled. I’d recommend that you personally check and approve each comment before it is added to your site. If your site gets popular and you have too many comments to check individually there are some good automated ways to prevent spam.
SEO search engine optimisation
After all the time and effort you’ve put in to building your website or blog you want to make sure your customers can find it. You’ll learn how to use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. This is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. As you write a blog post or web page you are prompted to make corrections that will make your page more Google friendly. Sites like SearchEngineLand, The Next Web and Mashable now all use WordPress SEO by Yoast, so you’re in good company.
Backup and restore your site
There are many ways to backup your site. This enables you to restore the site to a previous condition if you make any big mistakes or have any problems. Backup buddy is reasonably priced and is the industry standard solution. However if you have a small site without too many pages and posts, there are many free ways to backup your site. We’ll discuss your options and I’ll show you how to do basic backups.
After your web design training course you should be able to confidently perform the day to day tasks needed to run a small business website. You’ll save yourself time and money and hassle in the log run.
I will also recommend some some free and some paid online training courses to help you gain even more useful skills in the future.