WordPress basics Part 2: The dashboard

Now that you have installed an instance of WordPress to your web hosting space, under your chosen domain, it is time to start making the site your own. The first screen you should review is the WordPress dashboard.

Overview

Dashboard overview

The dashboard is, as the name indicates, a place where you can get very high level, summarized information about your website.

As you can see, there is, at the very top of the page, a section called “Screen Options”. These are essentially on/off switches for various features that can be used by the administrator of the website. The general rule here is to initially check all these boxes, and then uncheck the features that don’t interest you. You will probably find that most of them are quite useful at some point, and it is better to see a feature that you don’t use than be unaware of one that you might need.

Jetpack Manage

Jetpack Manage

When you install the Jetpack plug-in (covered in an upcoming installment of this series), you will have this Jetpack centralized site management option. At K-Logik Media, we choose to not enable this feature, since functionality of different sites might be different. However, should you have multiple websites and want to save time updating each plug-in on all of your websites in one action, you can enable this feature.

Welcome to WordPress

Welcome to WordPress

The section called “Welcome to WordPress” is a summarized management section where you can customize, edit the front page, and quickly manage various aspects of your website. When working on a website, we tend to use the specific function menus to this type of maintenance. So we don’t really pay attention to this section.

Summarized Information

Wordpress summarization

The rest of the dashboard is dedicated to providing summarized information for the website administrator. Here you can get information about site performance, the amount of visitors, the most popular posts, etc. If you have installed an SEO utility, you can also view analysis of its content and improve it in order to get better search engine results.

The majority of these sections, upon their selection, link to more detailed administration screens, allowing the administrator to perform maintenance.

So there you have it, the essential elements of the WordPress dashboard. This very basic interface is useful when you want to perform basic website maintenance, but as you become more comfortable with the use of WordPress, you’ll quickly find yourself bypassing its use in favor of the more specialized screens.

In the next installment, we will provide an overview of how to post a proper post in WordPress. Please stay tuned!

WordPress Basics Part 1: WordPress Installation

So you’ve decided to use WordPress for your new website or blog. At first glance, the task ahead can seem quite intimidating. However, breaking down the process into steps can greatly help to organize all your efforts and get you to your goal of having a very well structured and adaptable web page on which you can now build your audience.

Well, as you might have guessed, the first step, following your subscription to a web host and the registration of a domain name, is the actual installation of a WordPress site.

In our case, we have a multi-domain account with a reputable Canadian host. Any web host you choose should have a user interface available for you to interact with the server. Here you can manage your website(s), email accounts, security and other features pertaining to your host account.

There are many way that you can create your website environment. You can start from scratch, with your own HTML, CSS and Php files that you may have copied from a local test environment. However, in order to spare yourself efforts and time, the best approach is to start with a CMS (content management system) and customize your website within this environment.

Wordpress installation_1

The installation assistant starts with a straightforward installation screen. You simply choose “Install now” and you are guided through the process via a series of setup parameters.

Wordpress installation_2

Simply choose your domain, the name of your site, and other parameters. Make sure to choose and note your administrator password, without it you will not be bale to access the website management dashboard.

Wordpress installation_3

Here, you will also choose a theme for the website. Our recommendation is to keep it simple and choose a very basic theme, such as “Twenty Fourteen” or “Twenty Sixteen”. Keep it simple at the beginning, and then build on your foundation later. Your initial website will have a generic structure and pre-written content. At this point, you should have your own content ready, as well as any media (logos, photos, videos, etc.).

In the next installment, we discuss the fundamentals of customization.

Stay tuned…