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WordPress 101: get published

WordPress.com has developed a serious of tutorials on getting started. Here’s what you need to know/do to publish your first post.

1. Log in and get thee to the dashboard

Whether you’re working with WP.com or self-hosted WordPress, you’ll need to login. Usually the login address follows this pattern:

  • mysitename.wordpress.com/wp-admin
  • mysitename.com/wp-admin

The dashboard is mission control – it’s where you create new posts or pages, tweak your design, review any comments being held for moderation. You can also check out your stats, see which posts are popular, see who has linked to you, upload new media.

2. Check out the menus on the left

You’ll see a lot of links on the left side of the dashboard. These links empower you to change the appearance and behavior of your site as well as create new content.

3. Publish a post

A post acts like an update. That is, as you publish each new one, it shows at the top of the “blog” page (which may or may not be the home page) and the prior posts will be pushed down the page.

  • Mouseover Posts on the left to select Add New or mouseover “+ New” at the top and select Post.
  • Type a title in the top field. This is your headline.
  • In the larger box beneath your title, write the text of your post. Writer’s block? Check out the WordPress daily prompts or the writing challenges in the Daily Post.
  • The formatting menu looks something like a word processor or web mail. Click the funny looking icon on the right (the “kitchen sink”) to disclose additional formatting options.
    WP formatting bar
  • Save as draft, then click “Preview” to see what your post would look like published. Remember to spell-check!
  • To add an image, place your cursor in the text where you’d like to place the image. Then click Add Media. You’ll need to upload an image or select an existing one. See this step-by-step for details.
    add media
  • Finally, give your post a “category” and consider adding some “tags” as well. If you publish without selecting a category, WordPress automatically sticks the post into the category “uncategorized.” That kinda makes you look like a newbie.
  • When you’re good to go, click Publish and WordPress will make the post live for all to see. Unless you’ve password-protected the post or unless your blog is hidden from prying search bots, of course!WordPress dashboard

4. Publish a page

Posts are ephemeral but can be found using categories and tags or calendar archives. A page, on the other hand, is a piece of content you want to stick around.

  • Pages are usually linked from the site navigation, and the most common page type is “About me.” Second most common: “Contact me.” Check out the WordPress About Page 101 and About Page 201 tutorials for some guidance.
  • Pages are not associated with a date or time like posts.
  • Pages do not have tags or categories.

Other than the lack of tags and categories, you create and edit a page just like a post: only you get started by selecting Pages on the left or “+ NewPage at the top.

There are two key differences in the page dashboard view:

  • Parent (page) choice
  • Template choice

wordpress dashboard

If you have a site with a lot of content, you might have a “parent” or top-level page and many “children” pages. This is one way to build portfolios, for example. You create a hierarchy that makes sense for your site.

Not all WordPress themes have alternate design templates, but when they do, the most common one is “full-width” page. This means that any widget sidebar would be hidden if you used this template. Because those sidebars are often specific to posts (categories, tags, calendar archives), it sometimes makes sense to drop them from pages.

As with the posts, you should save as draft and check the preview before hitting that big Publish button!

 

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