So, you’ve built or invested in your WordPress website, and everything looks great. We all know that a well-designed website can make or break a small business. In the digital world, your homepage is the equivalent of a shop window on the high street. It needs to attract your customers.
But what do you do when the time comes to edit your WordPress site? No matter how amazing your page is, you’re going to need to learn how to edit pages in WordPress sooner or later.
Editing WordPress pages can seem tricky for beginners, as there isn’t a central editing tool. While you can edit a web page itself in WordPress, you’ll need to edit core files such as .htaccess (which controls access and URL redirection, amongst other functions) in your control panel or using a WordPress page editor (recommended).
If you’re stuck, the good news is our team at Instinct Marketing has put together this handy guide for small business owners who want to learn how to edit a page in WordPress.
Do This Before You Edit Anything in WordPress
The steps you should take before deciding how to edit a WordPress page will depend on the changes you want to make.
If you’re making frontend changes (for example, editing your text, images, or design), these are generally low-risk as you can make the edits within the WordPress editing pages. The program will store revisions in its database so you can access previous versions of your page.
This means that if you end up making a lot of changes only to decide that you want to return to the unedited copy, you can. Click on the ‘Pages’ tab, where you’ll find all your revisions and be able to reverse your changes. You can even do this if you’ve already saved your edits!
Drastic edits, however, are riskier. If you make a mistake, attempting to change a .htaccess file or any other configuration file that alters the backend could break your whole website.
So, how can you protect yourself against any botched edits?
Before you edit a WordPress site, the best thing to do is to make sure it’s manually backed up. To do this, you’ll need a reliable WordPress backup plugin such as UpdraftPlus (a free service used by more than 2 million people worldwide) or BackupBuddy. Not only will these mean you can edit a WordPress site with confidence, but they’ll also protect your site if hackers ever target you.
Page Builders as WordPress Editors
If you’re a WordPress beginner, you might find that editing your website within the WordPress editing pages makes it hard for you to customize your content. Although the premium themes on WordPress offer various layouts, many of them are hard to adapt if you’re unfamiliar with coding (particularly HTML or CSS).
That’s where page builders come in. Page builder plugins act as visual editor tools or a WordPress page editor, and many have a drag-and-drop capability that gives you a lot more freedom over the layout of your website. Even better, you won’t have to learn to code!
Examples of popular WordPress page editors include:
- Beaver Builder is a premium WordPress page editor and builder with a live drag-and-drop interface. If it’s the customization you’re after, you won’t be disappointed here – you can edit any element on your page simply by clicking on it.
- Elementor boasts a wide range of both simple and advanced customization options. It’s a live WordPress page editor tool, which means you don’t have to keep previewing your content (as you would have to when editing a page in WordPress, where you can’t see both the ‘admin’ area and ‘public’ area at once).
- Divi is a WordPress page editor with more than 20 different page layouts and 46 content modules. It’s named after the Divi theme on WordPress, but it’s a great choice with whichever theme you want to use.
These page builders are WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) systems, which means their interfaces look almost identical to the end product. WYSIWYG makes the editing process more intuitive, as you can accurately preview your content on the WordPress page editor before saving.
Edit Images in WordPress
Uploading your chosen images to WordPress is straightforward – select the ‘Insert Media’ option above the formatting controls. But knowing how to edit them can be a little more complicated.
Once you’re on the image upload screen, click on the button directly beneath the picture that says ‘Edit Image.’ This will take you to the WordPress image editing dashboard. It’s quite rudimentary but allows you to carry out various changes such as cropping, rotating, or adjusting your picture’s dimensions.
Unlike Photoshop, you’ll find no advanced settings such as color changes or background alterations. However, if you’re looking for simple edits, it does the job. You can also add your caption and Alt Text from within this dashboard.
Image optimization is the process of ensuring that the images on your site are the best size, resolution, and format they can be. It’s an important step for anyone learning how to edit a page in WordPress because it affects factors such as your SEO ranking and how quickly your page will load.
In turn, image optimization influences your bounce rate. The average amount of time someone will wait for your pages to load is three seconds. Anything above that, and you may have lost a potential customer!
You can edit the size of your image files (a step known as imagine compression) from within WordPress itself, using the dimension setting mentioned in the previous section. However, for more detailed options, many people prefer to use a WordPress plugin.
Some popular plugins are:
All three of these allow you to upload and compress your images in bulk – perfect if you don’t want to waste time going through them one by one.
Edit WordPress Headers and Footers
Most web pages feature both a header and a footer. These typically contain information such as:
- Your contact details
- Business logo
- Tabs that take the user to other areas of your site
Almost all WordPress themes will automatically add a header, but you’re probably going to want to edit its contents. The simplest way to do this is to click on the admin panel, where you’ll find a variety of header and footer customization options under the ‘Appearance’ tab.
The exact options will depend on the theme you’ve chosen, but almost all will allow you to change the header or footer’s layout, the size of its border, and its width.
Another way to edit your header or footer is by accessing the Theme Editor under the Appearance tab. The file entitled header.php will show you the code that determines the header’s function, while footer.php will show you the same for the footer.
You can use basic coding skills to edit these yourself, but if you’re not an experienced coder, you can use a plugin such as Simple Header Footer HTML or WP Custom Header Footer.
Edit Themes with WordPress
From basic to premium, WordPress offers a wide range of themes – 7,470, to be exact! However, you might not want to feel restricted by choosing a set theme, especially if you’re struggling to find one that truly represents your business.
If you want greater customization options than those offered by either your WordPress page editor or plugin, why not create your own WordPress child theme? This will use basic elements of the parent (original) theme, with your alterations layered on top.
When the time comes to edit your child theme, you’ll be at a huge advantage if you understand CSS. Don’t worry if not – tools such as ‘CSS Hero’ allow you to edit your pages without writing code yourself.
Edit WordPress Plugins
One of the major benefits of using a plugin or WordPress page editor is that it shouldn’t need editing itself. That said, some people want the opportunity to customize their site further – and if you’re one of them, there are a few ways you can do it.
The first way is to use the plugin editor tool within WordPress itself, which you can use to make your chosen alterations. However, whenever your plugin updates itself, it will automatically override any changes you’ve made. This means you’ll have to re-input them after every update, which can get annoying.
To ensure that your changes will survive any updates, you can use ‘CSS Hero’ or a similar tool to edit your plugin’s backend. This might be more complicated, but the upside is you’ll only have to make your edits once.
Edit Your WordPress Files
The WordPress platform makes up a group of core files that determine its functions and overall appearance. If you ever need to troubleshoot or adjust the WordPress settings, you’ll need to do it from within these files.
You can access the core files via an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client or use your web host’s cPanel (an online interface that enables you to manage your server). The main core files you’re likely to need are:
- wp-config.php: These files control the configuration of your WordPress website, as well as your access information. You’ll need to edit them if you want to update your login details.
- .htaccess: These are the files that enable you to directly edit your WordPress site’s elements, from its design to its function. This can also include installing a firewall or 301 redirects.
It’s not a straightforward issue, but we hope that this handy guide has helped you understand some of the processes behind learning how to edit a WordPress website.
From choosing plugins to accessing core files, there are many ways to customize your website. While this might seem overwhelming at first, remember that you’re giving yourself the freedom to make changes. You’re more likely to craft your site into the best possible reflection of your small business.
If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us at Instinct Marketing. We’ll be happy to work with you to perfect your WordPress site (or design you a new one) and talk all things online engagement!