Now you’re ready to let the world know what’s on your mind – how exciting is that! When we started, we didn’t even know what to call the things we put up every week. Is it a blog, is it a post, is it an entry? What’s it called? It’s called a post and every time you put a new one up on your blog, you are publishing a post.
The WP Dashboard
When we started, the dashboard scared the hell out of us, but now it’s one of our favourite places to be. However, it was sometimes hard to find things. This is still a challenge when we add a new plugin or widget (things I’ll talk about later).
Through workshops with our local WordPress group – WordPress Ottawa – and another great organization called Ladies Learning Code, I was able to set up a development site on my computer using something called XAMMP. That means I have a WordPress site on my computer, that isn’t live, but it’s where I can play around and try different things. When I’m thinking of adding a new plugin to our site, I try it out on the dev site first.
Using screenshots from our dev site, here’s what the dashboard looks like.
There is a lot of stuff on the dashboard that you don’t need to worry about when you’re starting out. For a blogger, the ‘Posts’ and the ‘Pages’ will be the most important menu items.
Pages are what you see in the main menu – often in a menu ribbon across the top of a website or down one side (ours is at the top). You’ll likely want to have an ‘About Us/Me’ page, that type of thing. We also use it for our Photo Galleries, and this series on the WP How-to pages.
Posts are where you’re going to regularly share all your great ideas. When you click on ‘Posts’ a side menu appears
And in your ‘Posts’ menu, you can see a list of your drafts and your published posts. And this is where you can add a new post – maybe your first one!
It’s also where you’ll add the ‘Categories’ you want to use. These are like an index for your posts and will show up in your sidebar. The ‘categories’ are something you name yourself, but there is a standard ‘Getting Started’ category, and if you don’t select a different one, this is the category that will automatically be selected.
You simply name a category and click ‘Add New Category’ and it’s done
Pages don’t have categories, but they can have ‘parents’. More on categories and parents in a later post.
Once you’re in this page ‘Edit Post’, you can just start typing like you would in Word. This is also where you add photos (by clicking on ‘Add Media’) and we do that a lot, but more on that in another post.
You can edit your post in the ‘Visual’ tab (also known as the ‘wysiswyg’, short for ‘what you see is what you get’) or the ‘Text’ tab (also known as the ‘html’ tab). Most of the time you’ll likely be using the ‘Visual’ tab, but if you’re adding video or an affiliate link, you’ll need to do that in the ‘Text’ tab because you’ll be ’embedding’ some code.
You can preview your post from here – another window will open on your computer for the preview, so you aren’t taken away from your ‘Edit Post’ page. Don’t forget to save your post as you’re writing it. And this is where you click ‘Publish’ when your post is ready to go.
And that’s all there is to it – you’re a blogger now!
And when you finish, remember to log out of your site.