Welcome to the WordPress Dashboard

January 25, 2012

Congratulations on setting up your first WordPress website.  Now, however, you must learn how to use it correctly to get the most out of your experience.  In order to do this, the dashboard must become your friend.  Here we go!

Up at the top, you will see the name of your WordPress site.  Underneath which you will see any announcements that pertain to you; for instance, if there are any upgrades available, you will see these here.

The Dashboard is split into two halves.  On the left half will be your posts that you have created thus far, any comments you may have received to your posts, an incoming links to your posts, and finally, an outline of your recent posts.  Below that will be links to read others’ posts and it is called the What’s Hot section.

The right half of your Dashboard, at the top, will have a place for you to create what is called a Quick Post; in other words, instead of navigating the Dashboard to the New Post section, you can simply post directly from your Dashboard.  This section is incredibly useful if you have no links that you need to contain within the post, such as if you are simply giving your readers a quick update.

Below that, there is a section called Recent Drafts.  If you have any posts that you have started and have not finished and published, they will be here in this portion.

Underneath that will be a section called Stats.  This will show you how many visitors have come to your site and on which days.  It will show you what posts are most popular with your visitors, as well as your Top Searches, and what posts have been most active.  Now, all of this information is simply the beginning.  Don’t feel overwhelmed, as the rest of the information will be easy enough to learn with some practice.

Along the very left hand side of your Dashboard will be all the tools you need to create your site in the image in which you wish to have it.  These tools will prove invaluable when creating your site, and here each one will be explained.

Along the left, you will see such sections as Dashboard (where you are right now), Upgrades, Posts, Media, Links, Pages, Comments, Feedbacks, Polls, Ratings, Appearance, Polls, Users, Tools, and Settings.  As you are a new user, here I will simply explain Posts and Appearance, as these are the first two tools that you need to create your site the way you wish.   Depending on your own choice of which is most important, you can choose to change the Appearance first, or you can write your first Post.  This part is up to you.  I will begin with Posts.

Under the Posts tab, there are four subtabs; the most important of these for a WordPress newbie are Add New and Categories.  When you click on Add New, a page will open up that looks very much like the Quick Post portion of the actual Dashboard; only from here you are able to upload pictures, add links, and do much more than you can with simply the Quick Post.  Up in the right hand corner, you will see options to save your post as a draft or to publish it to the web when you are finished.  Once you are finished, you click on Publish.  Another page will open with a link at the top that says View Post.  You can then view your post as it looks on the web.

From the Categories tab, you are able to create categories in which you will be able to place new posts.  This makes it simpler for people to find exactly what they may be looking for when they come to your site.

The next, or first, depending on your point of view, item on the agenda is the Appearance tab.  From here, you can choose to edit your theme, add widgets, or change the background.  All of these important topics will be explored in more depth in subsequent articles in this series.

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