WordPress for Non-Techies the Fifth

Part 5 – The Home Stretch

Hup, Two, Three, Four! Keep it moving, keep it moving! No WP slackers allowed!

Today we’re tackling the middle of the dashboard. Most of it is self-explanatory, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to tell you what it does anyway. As anyone who has ever read one of my manuscripts can tell you, I love redundancy a lot. Repeatedly.

This is the middle of the dashboard, where most of the good stuff is. Some of it we’ll gloss over, and some we’ll dig in a little deeper. Shovels handy?
* Under each main category, ie posts, media, etc., is a drop down box. Clicking on the main title will bring you to the sub menu. Generally the first button in the drop down menu is the same as the main category tab. For example, under Posts, the first button is Posts. The same thing. You’ll see it listed below as Posts/Posts.

  • Posts/Posts: Your main column will list all of your current posts, categories, stats, tags, author and date posted. The posts button underneath shows the exact same screen.
    • Add New – Add in a new post
    • Categories – Add new categories; review the ones you have already listed. From here you can add and delete categories, as well as create a hierarchy of categories. For example Romance is one of your categories. If you’d like to make a sub-category underneath it, you would add in Comedy in the top box title then under the Parent drop down box you would choose Romance as the main category, and then add in a description.
    • Post Tags – Displays tags you already have in use and allows you to add more more more!
  • Media/Library: Displays the photos and other media you currently have uploaded to your library, what post they’re in, and allows you to delete them from here. You have limited space, so be careful what you upload! No videos of your time share in Aruba!
    • Add New – Upload new images or other media files here.
  • Links/Links: If you choose to have links as one of your sidebar widgets (see lesson 4) these are the links that will displayed. Feel free to add, delete and edit these to your hearts content.
    • Add New –  Add the title of the link, the URL and a description. Again, you can add different categories here, and there’s something new called Link Relationship. If you link to someone else’s blog, you can specify whether that person is your spouse, a co-worker or friend.
    • Link Category – Blogroll is the category that is default with WordPress. You can add other categories if you like, ie Recipes and Ghost Sightings if you’d like.
  • Pages/Pages: Displays pages already on your site, their posting date and author.
    • Add New – Add in a new page. Remember! Adding in a new page will also add a new button to your nav bar. Some good ones are Books, Authors, Contact, Armadillos (juuuuust checking to make sure you’re paying attention!)
  • Comments: This one is a little exciting. =) Once your blog gets to be well known, other people will comment on it. Sometimes it’s just Hey! Great post! And sometimes it’s an ad for toilet bowl cleanser. Either way, comments will end up here, waiting for your approval or disapproval. Mouseover each comment and you can choose Approve, Edit, Spam and Trash. You can also edit the comment.
  • Ratings/Settings: Click the check box if you’d like to enable ratings on your pages/posts/comments. On your page it will give you five stars and let visitors choose to rate your posts, just like RU has!
    • Reports – Will give you a report on how many stars you’ve gotten! Woot!
  • Polls: If you need to add a poll on your site, this is the spot to do it!
    • Click on Auto-Create
    • Click Do it
    • Click create!
    • The top box holds your poll question
    • The middle box holds your poll answers
    • The bottom box lets you pick a style.
    • The right hand boxes let you choose if you want to allow people unlimited voting, or restrict to just once and how you want to show your poll results

TADA! Done with the middle submenu, and we’re heading into the final group of menus, starting with appearance. Stop and have a cookie before continuing on, you’re going to want to keep your strength up! Hi-Ho Hi-Ho!

  • Appearance/Themes: Review lesson one if you have any questions here!
  • Widgets: Covered in lesson four.
  • Menus: Not supported in most WordPress themes. If you have a theme that does support menus, make a very simple one following the instructions and then preview to see how it looks.
  • Extras:
    • mshots: Media Shots enable visitors to get a peek at the sites you link to. Mouseover and a preview will pop up. Pretty darn cool.
    • Display for a mobile phone – check this one, I just got a new Blackberry and I might be wandering by your site for a peek!
    • Hide related links on this blog. I keep this one unchecked – the more traffic the merrier!
  • Background: If you want to upload your own custom background image, or use a color that you love (ORANGE!) here’s the place to do it. Just for fun I put one of my stripey cat as a background. Luckily it lets you preview your horrifying mistakes before you make it a reality. Cute kitty, but not tiled thousands of times over. Yikes.
  • Header: Here you can custom load your own header – the top section of the page with your blog name. What fun! If you like making your own graphics, here’s the place to shine. You can also change the text color to your favorite color if you’d like. (ORANGE!)
  • Users/Users: If you want to have multiple posters on your site, like RU has, you’ll need to add them to this area.
    • Add user from community – If you’re adding a poster who already has a WP account, add in their email address here, then choose Contributor, Administrator, Editor, Author.
      • Administrator has complete control over every inch of your blog. Super Blog Powers. Be careful who you choose!
      • An editor can publish, edit, and delete any of your posts and pages, add categories, tags and links and upload files/images. One teeny step down from administrator.
      • An author can edit, change and post their own posts, as well as upload images.
      • A Contributor can edit their own posts, but have no publishing powers. Once the administrator gives the post the okay, it can no longer be edited by the contributor.
    • Invites: Invite someone to post on your blog who does not have a WP account. Follow the instructions, you can’t go wrong! Once they accept the invite, they’ll need to sign up to WP, and they’ll be listed under your Users tab.
    • My Profile: This is your public profile, featuring your Gravatar (if you don’t have one, get one at http://www.gravatar.com) and other information such as your name and contacts. This information is public! Don’t put information up there you don’t want the whole world to see!
    • Personal Settings: Playtime!
      • Fun – Check this box, and every time you publish a new post you’ll get a surprise!
      • Visual Editor – don’t disable this unless you’re very comfortable with HTML!
      • Admin Color Scheme – your choice of grays or blues. No orange. Darnit.
      • Keyboard Shortcuts – Before you click this, read the “more information” link. If you’re a keyboard shortcut fiend, by all means, give it a shot. Me? I can’t remember exactly where the spacebar is all the time. =)
      • Twitter API – Send messages from Twitter to your blog. Read the “more information” link on how to set it up, where to send it, and what to write. Okay, I just made that last part up. Sorry.
      • Browser Connection – If you sign into WP.com while on a public WiFi, your account could be hijacked. Click this box if you regularly post from somewhere other than your home computer.
      • Interface Language – leave as is for English, or specify which language you’d like.
      • Primary Blog – If you have more than one blog, this is the one you’ll be logged in to on WP.
      • Proofreading – Much like using Word, or having my old English teacher Mrs. Carter standing over my shoulder. Points out grammar and spelling mistakes, and various others depending on which boxes you check.
      • Account Details – Your username (I warned you it was permanent!) email and website. You can also change your password here.
    • If you’ve made any changes in this section – click SAVE! Do it!
  • Tools/Tools: A variety of tools and totally unnecessary yet fun things to spiff up your blogging life.
    • Press This – A bookmarklet that lets you grab pieces of the web and post them to your blog. Be careful you don’t wander off with copy-righted material! You can post YouTube videos and photos straight to your blog with this bookmarklet, without ever going to your blog.
    • Category to Tag Converter – Frankly, this button doesn’t work on my blog. =) If they get it fixed, I’ll try to post more about it.
    • Post by Email – Let’s you um…post…by email. Slick. =)
      • Click on My Blogs
      • Click enable next to the blog you wish to be able to post to
      • Receive a pretty wild secret email address
      • Use this address to send your post TO
      • The subject line of your email will be your post title
    • Webmaster Tools Verification – If you want your blog to be crawled by various search engines, you’ll need to verify your site with the three search engines linked here. Follow the directions, and you’ll be hooked up in no time!
  • Import:  Import posts from other blogs you might have.
  • Export: You can export and save your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags. Handy if you decide to change your blog name.
  • Delete Site: NOoooooooooooooooo!!! Don’t touch it! This is a forever button.

Okay, only one more lesson to go! Our next lesson will go over Settings – a hugely important button! For those of you who have started your own blog, next week we’ll be asking for your URL’s so we can all go see! Hey, get up off the floor…this is a GOOD thing! =)

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