Beginners Guide to Using the WordPress (Hosted .COM) Platform

My recent post was about choosing a blogging platform – WordPress vs Blogger, now that you’ve decided to go with WordPress.com, it’s time to learn a little bit more about it. This guide will give you a quick insight into setting up a blog, finding your way around the dashboard, writing your first post and how to use the different features available.

Setting up you WordPress.com Account

  1. Head over to the signup page of wordpress.com
  2. Enter you’re account details and hit create blog. You will then need to verify your email address and activate your new blog.
  3. Once this is done, you’ll be moved into the blog setup. Here you can pick your blog title, tagline and language of the blog. Choose a theme, you then get the option to customise it and start posting. We’ll skip these for now as I’ll explain them below. When you click finish, you should see the window below.
  4. wordpress setup

  5. Click my blogs from the top menu, find your new blog and click blog admin. This will bring us to the dashboard – your new blogging home. Only you can see the dashboard, it is used to manage your entire blog. I’ll explain the different options below.
  6. On the left hand side, you’ll see the menu. This has everything you need for creating content, managing comments, posts and images as well as changing the design of your blog. Lets have a closer look at the main parts you’ll be using.

guide to wordpress dashboard

  • The first heading is Dashboard. The Home shows a general overview of your blog. Showing you how many posts, pages, categories, comments are on you blog as well as stats and other information. You can also see recent comments and a section for making a quick post. For more details on any of these, go through the sub menus.
  • Under that is Store. Here you can buy themes, domains and other features for your blog.
  • The next section is one you will want to get familiar with. Under the Posts menu item, you can see all your posts where you can edit one by one or bulk edit. Theres an option to add categories (your blog topics) and tags (a sub-topic) for your posts and navigation. To create a new post, click add new. Fill in your post title and start writing. You’ll see many other boxes available below the post box and along the side. These are options for your post, such as entering categories or changing the format/layout of your post or changing the featured/thumbnail image. If you blog has more than one author you can change that too. To hide the options or see more, click the screen options at the very top of the page. This appears in almost every section, so have a look at it and choose what you want to appear, you can re-arrange the boxes too.
  • The media menu is for organising your images, video, document and sound files. If you want to offer a free image, PDF or other file for your readers to download, you can upload it here and use the link in a post. You only have a certain amount of space though, so use it wisely.
  • Next menu is links – this may not be available on your blog. An area to store external links, can be used to create a blogroll.
  • In the Pages menu. Here you can add pages, such as about me or a contact page.
  • The next two, Comments & Feedbacks will show you any comments that are on your blog in order to moderate them (reply, delete, publish, etc). You can see the results of polls and ratings for your posts in the feedback section.
  • The next is also very important, the appearance section. Here you can add themes, widgets (like gadgets on Blogger), Menu’s (Navigation) and change your theme options (depending on what theme you are using, this may not appear). You can also customise you’re header, background and other layout options. If you want a further, more in depth post about this section, let me know below.
  • If you are the only author of you’re blog, you probably won’t use the User menu too much. Here you can invite someone else to come to your blog and assign them a role; follower, administrator, writer, contributor or author. Learn more about the different roles. You can also edit your personal profile and settings.
  • The second last option is Tools. Here you can delete your site, export content, import content and data from another system such as Blogger or Tumblr. There are also some tools available, such as Press This which you can add to your browser bookmarks and it clips and stores things from the internet for you to use. Theres also a tool to convert your categories and tags and enter verification codes for webmaster tools, Pinterest, etc. Read more about verification tools here.
  • You should take your time and carefully go through this last section, the settings. There are loads of different options for many things running on your blog. Here you can change the number of posts that show on the homepage, the site title and tagline, who can comment, default image & thumbnail sizes and many other settings.

 

The WordPress Checklist

  • Set up your account – register your blog name, fill out your details.
  • Using the above guide, get familiar with the different menus and options
  • Add categories and tags to help your readers navigate around your blog and understand what topics you will be writing about.
  • Write an about and contact page
  • Head over to Appearance and choose a theme. Customise it – add a header and background. Set up a navigation menu and add in your pages and categories
  • Add some widgets to your blog – such as recent posts, search bar, follow options, most popular, etc.
  • Write a post using images. Play around with the format and settings, see what you like.
  • Explore other blogs and add them to your reader
  • To learn more about wordpress.com check out this getting started section.

Hope this wordpress.com overview helped you understand your new blog. If there is anything you want more detail on, please let me know below.

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