Performing Setup Tasks in the WordPress Admin Panel

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Create your own complete website or blog from scratch with WordPress

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by April Hodge Silver | February 2011 | Open Source WordPress

WordPress installs a powerful and flexible administration area where you can manage all of your website content, and do much more. In this article we will perform some basic setup tasks in the WordPress Admin Panel.

In this article by April Hodge Silver, author of WordPress 3 Complete, we will cover the following:

  • Changing general blog information
  • Write posts
  • Write comment on those posts
  • Retrieving a lost password

 

WordPress 3 Complete

WordPress 3 Complete

Create your own complete website or blog from scratch with WordPress

  • Learn everything you need for creating your own feature-rich website or blog from scratch
  • Clear and practical explanations of all aspects of WordPress
  • In-depth coverage of installation, themes, plugins, and syndication
  • Explore WordPress as a fully functional content management system
  • Clear, easy-to-follow, concise; rich with examples and screenshots
        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Wordpress, see here.)

The reader can benefit from the previous article on Getting Started with WordPress 3.

After you've successfully installed WordPress, it's time for our first look at the WP Admin. There are some immediate basic changes that I recommend doing right away to make sure your installation is set up properly.

You can always get to the WP Admin by going to this URL: http://yoursite.com/wp-admin/. Your first time here, you'll be re-directed to the login page. In the future, WordPress will check to see if you're already logged in and, if so, you'll skip the login page. Following is the login page:

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To log in, just enter the username and password you chose during the installation. Then click on Log In. Note for the future that on this page there is a link you can use to retrieve your lost password.

Whenever you log in, you'll be taken directly to the Dashboard of the WP Admin. Following is a screenshot of the WP Admin that you will see immediately after you log into the blog you just installed:

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You'll see a lot of information and options here. We will focus on the items that we need to touch upon right after a successful installation. First, let's take a brief look at the top of the WP Admin and the Dashboard.

The very top bar, which I'll refer to as the top bar, is mostly a medium grey and contains:

  • A link to the front page of your WordPress website
  • A rollover drop-down menu with handy links to New Post, Drafts, New Page, Upload, and Comments
  • Your username linked to your profile
  • A link to log out

You'll also notice the Screen Options tab, which appears on many screens within the WP Admin. If you click on it, it will slide down a checklist of items on the page to show or hide. It will be different on each page. I encourage you to play around with that by checking and unchecking items, as you find you need them or don't need them.

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On the left, of course, is the main menu:

WordPress 3 Complete

You can click on any word in the main menu to be taken to the main page for that section, or you can click on the rollover arrow to slide down the subpages for that section. For example, if you click on the arrow next to Settings, you'll see the subpages for the Settings section:

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The top menu and the main menu exist on every page within the WP Admin. The main section on the right contains information for the current page you're on. In this case, we're on the Dashboard. It contains boxes that have a variety of information about your blog, and about WordPress in general.

Before WordPress 3, the first thing you'd have to do would be to change the password to something easier to remember. However, now that you can choose your password during installation, this is no longer necessary. Let's jump right to general site settings.

 

WordPress 3 Complete Create your own complete website or blog from scratch with WordPress
Published: January 2011
eBook Price: £14.99
Book Price: £24.99
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        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Wordpress, see here.)

Changing general blog information

You may need to change and add some general blog information (such as blog title, one-sentence description, and so on) after a successful installation to get your website set up with the correct information. To get started with this, navigate to Settings in the main menu.

There are many options you can set here, most of which are pretty self-explanatory. We'll look at the most important ones, and you can explore the rest on your own. Obviously, you can change your blog's title. You can see from my screenshots that I've called mine Daily Cooking:

WordPress 3 Complete

You can also change the blog description, which is used in most themes as a subtitle for the blog, like the subtitle of a book. The default description is Just another WordPress site. You'll probably want to change that! I'll change mine to 'Exploring cooking every day of the week'.

The only other thing you probably want to take a look at on this page is the Timezone:

WordPress 3 Complete

Whether you have a blog (with timestamps on every post) or not, it's important that WordPress knows what timezone you're in, in case you want to schedule a page or post for the future, show users accurate timestamps, or even just make sure that e-mail notifications are correctly time-stamped.

The pull-down menu will show you different UTC settings, along with cities. Just choose a city in your timezone. After you save the changes you made, the time that shows further down the page (next to Time Format) will change to the time you chose, so that you can check and make sure it's correct.

When you're done making changes to this page, be sure to click on the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page.

Your first post

So, with that in mind, let's add the first piece of content to your new blog—a blog post. (This won't be the very first post on the blog itself, because WordPress created a post, a comment, and a page for you when it installed. It will be YOUR first post, however!). To create a post, just click on New Post on the top menu. You'll be taken to the following page:

(Move the mouse over the image to enlarge.)

As you can see, there are a lot of options for your post. Every post should have, at minimum, a title and some content. So go ahead and write in some text for those two things. When you are happy with it, click on the Publish button.

You'll get a yellow note telling you that the post is published. Take a look at the front page of your site by clicking on the name of your site in the top bar. You'll see the following:

WordPress 3 Complete

Your first comment

Now let's see what it's like to post a comment. One of the great things about blogs is that they give you, the writer, the opportunity to spark a conversation with your readers. WordPress comes with a fantastic commenting system that allows visitors to add comments to your blog. To add your own comment to your first post, click on the Leave a comment link underneath your first post. You'll be taken to the post's individual page at the bottom, where you can find a comment form like the following:

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Your visitors, who won't already be logged into the WP Admin, will see a form that looks like the following instead:

WordPress 3 Complete

As you're already logged in, all you have to do is write something in the text area and click on Submit Comment. Then, you'll see your comment show up under the post, and that's it. Later, we'll explore how you can control which comments show up right away, and which comments have to wait for you to verify them as valid, as well as which fields are required for visitors.

Retrieving a lost password

If you have lost your password and can't get into your WP Admin panel, you can easily retrieve your password by clicking on the Lost your password? link on the login page. A newly generated password will be e-mailed to you at the e-mail address you gave during the WordPress installation. This is why you need to be sure that you enter a valid e-mail address. Otherwise, you will not be able to retrieve your password.

Summary

This article showed you how to change the basic default settings of your blog, write posts, and comment on those posts.


Further resources on this subject:


WordPress 3 Complete Create your own complete website or blog from scratch with WordPress
Published: January 2011
eBook Price: £14.99
Book Price: £24.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:

About the Author :


April Hodge Silver

April has been designing and developing new web sites from scratch since 1999, just before her graduation from Columbia University. Early in her career, she worked for several web companies and startups, including DoubleClick and About.com. Since 2004, she has been self-employed through her company Springthistle Design and has worked with a staggering variety of companies, non-profits, and individuals to realize their web site dreams. In her professional work, April's focus is always on usability, efficiency, flexibility, clean design, and client happiness. WordPress is the best solution for many of Springthistle's Clients, though April also develops custom web applications using PHP and MySQL. More about April's professional work at http://springthistle.com

In her free time, April enjoys developing recipes in the kitchen, bicycling, and relaxing with her daughter, dog, and darlin wife.

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