How to make changes to your WordPress website

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I see the question a lot. “How do I make changes to my WordPress website?” Or, “My company put me in charge of our WordPress website, how do I edit it?” Fortunately, it is relatively easy to make changes to a WordPress site and this article will help you get started right away making changes and edits and winning the praise and admiration of your colleagues and superiors. First, let’s take a quick look at a WordPress website and understand the basic structure. The website you see on the “front-end” gets rendered in a browser which interprets the html, CSS and Javascript code. When a user on the internet types in your website address, that information get’s passed to the server your site is hosted on, which then gets redirected to your website’s PHP files which ultimately create the website seen by your visitors. Of course, that is a very high-level overview of what happens without discussing domain settings, DNS records, host names, Apache web servers and more.

WordPress Structure

A typical WordPress website consists of the WordPress Core, a MySql Database, a Theme, and Plugins. When WordPress is installed, it creates a file structure on your website’s server. If you have access to a cPanel account, you have more control over your website and the ability to modify some of your website account settings, server email settings (if your email is hosted on your server), PHP versions and settings, MySql Database, backups, and website files.

The majority of the files you may need to interact with are installed in the wp_content folder. This folder contains the main functions.php file, your theme files and plugin files.

Now that we have a overall understanding of the components and environment our website operates within, let’s look at the basic way to make changes to your WordPress website.

Make Changes to your WordPress Site

First, you must login to your website using a “Role” that grants you the ability to make changes. When WordPress is first installed, the system creates 5 default User Roles.
  • Administrator
  • Editor
  • Author
  • Contributor
  • Subscriber
If you have an eCommerce website running WooCommerce, you will have 2 additional roles.
  • Customer
  • Shop Manager

WordPress Administrator

The Administrator or Admin role has complete authority to edit all aspects of the WordPress Website. If you are in charge of your company’s website, you will need Admin access.

Once logged in, you will see the WordPress Dashboard. On the Left, you will see the navigation links to manage different parts and pages of the site. The Pages link will take you to a list view of all the pages within your website, including the Homepage.

To edit or change any of the Pages in your website, simply click on the page. That will bring up the default page editor. If your website was built with a “page builder” or “theme editor” like Fusion Builder, Elementor, or Divi, you will have the option of editing your pages using the Theme Editor. These typically give you more control over elements on a page and make the design and development process of changing or editing a WordPress website much easier.

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