August 7, 2013 E3

Web Design with WordPress 101 – Tour of the WordPress Dashboard

In today’s class we’ll explore the WordPress Dashboard. The Dashboard is the administrator area of the WordPress software. This area is only visible to those users you give access to, and won’t be seen by anyone visiting your site. We’ll get into the specifics of the various functions offered in this area in later classes, but for today we will give you a brief overview of how the Dashboard is setup.

Let’s start by showing you how to login to the Dashboard. There are two ways you can login: the first is a link found on the sample site that WordPress generates when you install the software. You can type in your domain in a web browser to access this site. Once the site has loaded, scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the login link. Click the login link to proceed to the login screen.

You can also access your WordPress Dashboard by typing the following into your browser address bar, your domain, backslash, the name of your wordpress folder, backslash, wp-admin. This will bring you to the login screen for WordPress. Enter your credentials and your WordPress Dashboard will be displayed.

Once the Dashboard has loaded you’ll land on the admin area homepage. There should be a welcome message at the top of the screen that gives you some options to start customizing your website. All of these options are present elsewhere in WordPress and we’ll talk about each function in time. You can dismiss the welcome message or leave it there for future use.

Below the welcome message are modules that contain information about your site and the WordPress community. There are 8 default modules that can be customized and rearrange to your liking. This page can provide useful information about new developments in the WordPress software, so you may want to check out the info displayed here occasionally.

There is a toolbar at the top of the page that you can utilize to help manage WordPress. If you highlight the salutation on the right side of the tool bar a drop down box gives you the option to edit your profile and log out. You can change your password and username by clicking the edit my profile link. It’s always a good idea to log out after you are done using WordPress especially if you are using a computer that other people use as well.

Directly below this are two tabs. The “Screen Options” tab allows you to select which modules you’d like displayed on your Dashboard homepage. The “Help” tab displays a context specific help drop down menu that provides information relevant to the specific part of WordPress you are viewing. It also provides you with a link on the far right that will direct you to the relevant documentation for the area of WordPress you are currently viewing. The link to the support forums is also present below the documentation link.

On the left side of the toolbar you’ll notice the WordPress icon. This icon provides a lot of the same links that you could find under the Help tab. Next to this icon you should notice the name you’ve given your site. If you highlight the link a drop down box will appear with a link that says “Visit Site”. This link will allow you to check your actual website and view the changes you have made using WordPress. If you click the link you are brought to your website, but the toolbar remains at the top of the page. Highlighting your site’s name on the toolbar again will present a new drop down box. This box has several options that will bring you back to various parts of the WordPress software. Click the Dashboard link to return to the dashboard.

There are two tabs remaining on the toolbar that we haven’t discussed. The dialogue cloud is a link to the comments section of WordPress and the “New” tab is a shortcut to create new posts, media, pages and users. Both of these options are located elsewhere in the software, but the tab provides convenient access to commonly used functions.

The navigation menu on the left hand side of the page is what you will use to add and manage your content. When you login to the Dashboard your homepage is displayed and selected on this menu. Directly below the homepage link is an “Update” link that will allow you to check for updates to the WordPress software. The update page provides information on updates for any themes or plugins you have installed as well.

We also will briefly cover the difference between Posts and Pages, how to upload Media like images and audio files, and many other items as we tour the WordPress Dashboard in this class.

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