First steps with the WordPress administration area

First steps with the WordPress administration area

WordPress 101 – First steps with the WordPress administration area

Now that you have finished installing WordPress on your desktop or server, it is time to get familiar with the WordPress administration area. I will take you through some of the basics of using the web interface and begin customising your website.

Logging in to the WordPress administration area

First step to using WordPress is accessing the WordPress administration area or the backend of your website. You can access the WordPress login page by adding “wp-admin” to the end of your URL (e.g. http://mywebsite.com/wp-admin). Now you will be presented with a form prompting you for a username and password. If you recall during the installation process we created a username and password which you will enter into this form. Please not this is not the MySQL username and password.

wordpress administration username passwordThe Dashboard

After logging into the administration page you will be greeted with the Dashboard. In WordPress a Dashboard is the main administration screen for a site.  It summarizes information about the site in one or more Widgets that you can add and remove. The Dashboard is also where you will plant the seeds of your new website – Creating pages, writing posts, designing the layout and making the website your own.

Starting at the top of this page we can see the toolbar.  The toolbar contains links to information about WordPress, as well as quick-links to create new posts, pages and links, add new plugins and users, review comments, and alerts to available updates to plugins and themes on your site. It also has a handy link to directly view your new website by clicking on your name.

wordpress administration toolbar

On the left side of the WordPress administration page is the main navigation menu, which is where you will perform most of your functions. As you move your cursor down this list you will see a number of sub lists pop out detailing further actions. You should get familiar with this menu – Poke around at the various options and sub menus available.

Viewing your posts

A post is a single article within a blog. What you are reading right now is a post. Assuming you are using the default WordPress theme then you will only have one post to work with in the beginning. This post will be visible on the front page, or the homepage of your website. Go take a look for yourself by navigating to your website using the WordPress toolbar. If you click on the title of the post it will bring you to the page of the post. Alternatively you can also view the post by clicking the ‘View’ button in the posts page:

wordpress administration postsPosts are usually stored in Categories and/or Tags so you can keep related topics together. Every Post in WordPress is filed under one or more Categories. Categories allow the classification of your Posts into groups and subgroups. Tags are the keywords you might assign to each post. The difference is that tags have no relationship to each other. They can be completely random for each post. Tags provide another means to aid your readers in accessing information on your blog. Looking at the screenshot above you can see that post is in the WordPress category, and does not have any tags.

Viewing your pages

Pages are not to be confused with posts. Pages are for content such as “About,” “Contact me”, etc.. For example I have an about me page. They live outside of your blogs home page. To look at your pages you can click on the ‘Pages’ option in the navigation menu. One thing to note is that normal web pages can be either static or dynamic. Static pages are created once and do not have to be regenerated every time a person visits the website. If you take a look at my about me page you might think that this is static – Nothing changes on this page whenever you visit it. However, almost everything in WordPress is generated dynamically including pages.

As I discussed in my previous post on WordPress installation everything published within WordPress is stored in the MySQL database. When the page is accessed the database information is queried by your WordPress template from your theme and the web page is generated. Technically this would be considered a “pseudo-static” page as static information is generated dynamically by the template. I will discuss this further in future posts.. Stay tuned.

By default you will not have any pages available to look at, so try creating one and see what happens. How does your page look?

Looking for more?

For now I would recommend taking a look at the WordPress Codex, but in future posts I aim to expand on the details behind pages, posts, templates, themes, plugins, and anything else related to WordPress that I can expand on..

Thanks for reading!

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