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Welcome to WordPress 101

WordPress is an Open source blogging software that runs on php and MySql in a Linux environment. Wake up… you must have nodded off there for a second. Now, before your eyes glaze over too much, I’ll try to keep the technical jargon to a minimum. Let me break it down a bit. Open source just means that the source code is provided as-is, and is able to be modified by the installer, free to use for both commercial and private use. Php is the scripting language – it stands for hypertext preprocessor, but don’t worry you won’t need to remember that – it’s not on the test – but you may need it to complete that crossword puzzle. MySql is just the language that the database uses. A database is basically just a fancy spreadsheet. Linux is an operating system type, like Windows or OSX.

There are two ways to get a WordPress blog: signing up through wordpress.com, in which case forget everything I just mentioned above (except for maybe the php definition so that you can finish 30 across). Mostly though, I recommend using the wordpress.org blog which you can have installed on your sites server. I’ll weigh the benefits in a later article.

Let’s assume you have your blog all set up with one of the above. The first thing you’ll want to do is to log in to the back end. If there is no link in the sidebar, you can usually reach it by going to mydomain.com/wp-login.php. Type in your username and password and you’ll be directed to the dashboard. This is your main landing page that will tell you a lot of information about your blog. There are many pieces to the dashboard, so I’ll just give a brief introduction to the main elements that you may be accessing. I’ll go a little more in depth later so that you can learn some cool tricks.

Dashboard When you first login, this is what you see.  It gives you a quick synopsis as to whats going on in your blog. From the main page, let me go over a few things that you might not notice right away. In the upper right, there is a small tab called “screen options” (1) – this appears on all of the pages. If you click it on your main page, you can modify how it looks. Don’t like the wordpress blog stuff on there? No problem, gone!! (2) Ugh, 2 columns that’s so even! Can I have three columns instead of two? Sure!! (3) You can also drag these items around to layout how you want them to. Move what is most important to you to the top of the page, etc. Also note to the right of the screen options is the help menu this will give you help on the area of the site that you are in. On the left you’ll see the navigation. Here you will find the main parts of the site that you can edit. Here are the main 3 I’ll be going over:

  • Posts – your blog entries are your posts from here you can create edit
  • Pages – your website pages
  • Comments – if you are allowing comments for your posts and pages they can be edited approved deleted here.

Next week I’ll go more in depth into editing a post and some cool tips

Wait! Where are the other navigational items!? Hold on, what are widgets??
Never fear! – I’ll go over the second set of items in the next series of wordpress articles.

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