Let’s take a step-by-step tour through the WordPress administration panel or wp-admin and learn about how all the different functions work. I was planning an instructional video but decided to write a series of posts with screenshots so you can proceed at your own pace. The screenshots used in this introduction to the wp-admin use WordPress version 2.9.
LOG IN: Point your browser to your website url adding wp-admin to the end of the address http://www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin. Some themes will include a log in link within the site possibly in a column or in the footer so have a look around. When WordPress is installed the system will generate a password and email it to you. Log in the first time using that password.
RESET YOUR PASSWORD: The first time you log in WordPress will prompt you to change your password to something you can remember more easily. You can always return to change your password and add new users by selecting users from the left column. Click edit to change your password. The password should be at least seven characters long. To make it stronger, use upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols like ! ” ? $ % ^ & ). Don’t give out your password. If you want to allow someone access to the wp-admin for your site make them a user and set a privilege level that is appropriate. An administrator can do all functions in the wp-admin.
THE DASHBOARD: When ever you log in to the wp-admin you will arrive at your dashboard. The Dashboard helps to keep you up-to-date on new and interesting bits of information from the many WordPress resources. It also features a list of the most recent activity you’ve done on your site. You can customize your Dashboard by dragging and dropping the menu items. Click on Screen options and you can set the number of columns and turn off items you don’t care to see. You can always return and edit this later when you are more familiar with your blog.
SETTINGS: (If you are reading this as one of my clients, I’ve already taken care of these settings so you can just move on.) In the Settings Administration Panel are all of the settings that define your blog as a whole. Select Settings at the bottom of the left hand column. On the first page of General Settings you can edit the Title of your blog from what was entered during the installation, change your tagline from the default “Just another WordPress weblog”.
The two other settings that you need to know about at this early stage are Reading settings and Permalinks.
In the READING SETTINGS you determine if your blog displays your latest posts or a static page. If you are using WordPress as a content management system you may want to have a home page and display your posts on a secondary Blog page. This is where you make that happen. You will need to go to Pages and create a page in order to set it as your static page… more about creating pages will come in our third tutorial.
PERMALINKS are the permanent URLs assigned to your posts, pages, categories and archives. URLs are frequently visible to the people who click them, and should therefore be crafted in such a way that they make sense, and not be filled with incomprehensible parameters. WordPress offers you the ability to create a custom URL structure to improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of your links. You can select a common setting or customize your structure. i.e. Change http://www.yoursite.com/?p=123 to http://www.yoursite.com/2009/12/name-of-post. When you write a post (we will get there in the next tutorial!) you will see that WordPress gives you a place to edit the individual permalink. So before you are ready to start blogging you will want to set your permalinks to use a pretty structure.
Did you find this post helpful? Please leave a comment before you move on to WP-admin Lesson 2 – creating a Post?