*Holds up sign* I <3 WordPress
I’ve read many articles that refer to the WordPress admin area (the WordPress backend, the back-office, the admin-bar, the toolbar – whatthehellever you want to call it) as intimidating and time-consuming.
The way those articles read, if I were a new blogger, it might make me shy away from blogging with WordPress – which would be a shame because WordPress is an incredibly powerful blogging platform.
What’s even worse: it actually ISN’T that hard to learn to use the WordPress toolbar, even if you’re a new blogger.
So just shying away because it looks intimidating could leave you missing out!
Because I love WordPress with all my blog-loving-heart, and one of my goals here on TechYourBlog (or should I said ShrekYourBlog…??? Ahem. Moving on!) is to help spread the love of tech, I’ve created this post to help new bloggers get a look at what really goes on in the WordPress admin area. Like many things, once you understand it just a little, it becomes much less scary.
I’m going to give you a brief look at the tabs in the WordPress toolbar including:
Dashboard | Jetpack | Posts | Pages | Media | Comments | Feedback | Appearances | Plugins | Users | Tools | Settings.
Click on any of the links to go directly to that part of the post!
NOTE: Although there are similarities between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, I’m working off of WordPress.org – which means it’s self-hosted. If you’re serious about blogging or want a professional-looking website, you need to go this route, get a domain name and grab a host for your site.
Welcome to the dashboard!
This is the area you’re automatically brought to as soon as you click the name of your blog on the admin bar.
See where it says “TechYourBlog” up there at the top-left? That bar sits at the top of the page as long as you’re logged in, and you click the name of your blog to toggle between the live view of the site (aka the view all your readers see) and your WordPress admin area.
The dashboard area gives you a basic rundown of things on your WordPress site:
- quick draft box
- extras that are placed there after you install certain plugins – in this case you can see MailChimp and Google Analytics
The boxes pictured are closed for privacy, but they are easily toggled between open and close with just a click.
Jetpack is WordPress’ plugin. You don’t have to install it, but it gives you access to all sorts of additional features if you do. To install you simply connect it to a WordPress.com account, and BAM! you’re hooked up with cool stuff like message forms, anti-spam software for you comments, Omnisearch – which makes it easy to find pretty much anything on your site – and more rad features that really pump up WordPress’ power.
The posts tab is pretty self-explanatory.
Click it and you’ll find all your posts and be able to filter what you’re looking at by drafts, date, category, ect. You’ll notice once you open the Posts tab you’ll see a few new tabs appear:
- Add new (start writing a new post)
- Categories (organize and edit your categories)
- Tags (organize and edit your tags)
This is what the “Tags” page looks like
Under Media you’ll find your “media library” with all your pictures, documents, videos, ect. that have been uploaded to your website. You can choose “Add New” on the menu bar as you see, or there’s also a button on the actual Library page where you can choose files to upload.
Pages are different than posts.
Posts are blog articles. Pages are static – think Home page, Contact page, Work With Me page. Aside from that different though, editing pages works very similarly to blog posts.
The comments tab shows you comments from all around your site and allows you to edit them, delete them, all that jazz.
Feedback houses messages that have been sent to you. For instance, if someone has sent you an e-mail through your contact form it will also turn up in this area.
The fun place! (Or at least I think so)
The Appearance tab holds:
- WordPress themes
- customization (where you customize your active theme)
- widgets – those handy things that go in your sidebar or footer
- menus (create and edit your menus to make navigating your site easy)
- background – this option comes up or disappears depending on your theme
- edit css – add your own css rules to make your site pretty (if you don’t have any idea what this means, no worries, you don’t need to use it)
- editor – your theme’s files (don’t go here unless you know what you’re doing)
Plugins are one of the things that makes WordPress so powerful. They also make it easy to change things on your website that would otherwise require a lot of coding know-how.
Under this tab you’ll find the plugins you’ve already installed (some come pre-installed with WordPress) and be able to edit their settings, deactivate/active, or delete them.
If you choose add new you can either upload a plugin file from your computer, or you can type something into the search bar.
This can be super handy if you know you want a plugin that does something in particular, but you don’t know a specific plugin you want to use. Type in a keyword (ex: “Twitter”) and see all the plugins that show up related to that, along with their reviews, and how long it’s been since they were updated.
(NOTE: Be wary of plugins that haven’t been updated for more than 6 months, and start keeping an eye on them after 3 months. The longer it’s been the more likely they are to malfunction or be susceptible to hacking)
You’re a user. When you created your WordPress.org blog a user profile was automatically created for you, and if you click on the Users tab you’ll see it. You’ll be designated as an “Administrator” which means you can edit ANYTHING.
If you want other people to be able to access your admin area (maybe to write posts) you can designate different roles for them – such as subscriber or editor – which will give them limited access, so they can’t change your site code or anything like that. As the administrator you can create and delete other users.
This is where you go to import files from other platforms (like one of your Blogger blogs) or export your WordPress files to save them onto your computer. You may also want to use services like Pinterest or Google Analytics which both require “site verification” to make sure you actually own the site. You’ll find a place to add verification code (given to you by Google or Pinterest) under “available tools.”
If you’re setting up a new WordPress blog you will spend some time in settings just to make sure everything is how you want it. BUT you don’t actually need to change anything here unless you want to. It’ll all work fine from the start.
- Your site name and tagline
- Your e-mail address
- Your blog address
- Default “New User” role
- set the default post category (normally “uncategorized”)
- set the default post format (normally “standard”)
- set up posting by e-mail (where you can basically e-mail a post to your blog to publish it)
- choose whether you want a static front page (“Welcome page”) or if you want your homepage to be your blogroll
- do you want to show the whole post or a summary on the homepage
- write a new subscriber confirmation message (when someone subscribes to your blog) or keep the default one
Tons of options for customizing the comments section.
Who can comment? Who can’t? Do you need to approve all comments before they’re public? Will there be a comment area at all???? So many choices!
Choose the default picture sizes for “large” “medium” and “thumbnail.” You can always change the sizes in your actual posts, this is just the defaults.
Permalink settings will determine how your blog posts URL will be named. Normally I suggest using the “post name” option so your post URL is automatically made to be “www.yourblog.com/yourpostname” but you could choose any of the other options. It’s as simple as looking over the options and ticking a box.
The Pinterest, Click to Tweet, and Google Fonts choices here are there because I’ve installed those WordPress plugins, they won’t show up unless you have those plugins installed and active on your WordPress blog.
- Connect to your social networks so your posts are automatically shared when you hit publish.
- Drag and drop the social sharing buttons you want on each of your posts, and choose how you want them displayed (text and icon, just icons, just text.)
Not so scary, huh?
WordPress isn’t something made from the nightmares of new bloggers – it just looks kinda intimidating. It’s the Shrek of the blogging platforms.
Layers. WordPress has layers! 😛
I hope this helped you understand what the WordPress admin area actually looks like and where things are. If you’re still on the fence, feel free to ask a question or two, and also check out this list of a few different blogging platforms to consider for your new blog.
*There may be affiliate links in this post. There may not be affiliate links in this post. Life’s full of mystery. And hopefully pizza.