The WordPress Dashboard
Let's start learning how to use WordPress. At this point, make sure you have a wordpress site you can play with. In the previous two videos we showed you options for installing a site. First we need to log in. Here's how to do it. We want to go to "/wp-login.php" on your site. You may find a link to that on your home page. Some themes set that up by default but if it's not there simply go to this address and then put in the username and password that you created during your setup. You can optionally remember me and if you can't remember your password you can click lost your password and it will email you a link to reset your password, then simply click login. When you first log into WordPress, the first thing you see is the dashboard. The dashboard is intended to give you an overlook of your entire site. The first box you see is called 'at a glance'. This will tell you how many posts you have, how many pages and how many comments. If you have any unmoderated comments or comments that need some attention they'll also be listed here. It tells you what version of WordPress you're running, what theme you're running and this is important. It says search engines discouraged. Normally, that would be a bad thing since this is on my own machine and I don't want Google to know about it yet. This is appropriate but it's nice to know that it's there because if this were your live site, you would want to change that quickly. Right below that is the activity box. This gives you a bit more information about your posts and comments. This shows the status of all your comments, it shows recent comments and gives you the option to actually take action on those comments. Here we have the quick draft box. Content placed into this box start a blog post but you can't publish one from here and it's not very complete at all, really. It's just for taking notes and beginning blog post ideas that you can come back to later. Something that's really slick about the dashboard is how flexible it is. Each of these boxes has a little arrow and you can window shade it. Additionally, you can move the boxes around. This is handy based on your needs and which ones you want to use. If there are some that you don't want at all, you can click on the screen options button here and you can hide quick draft, for example, and you'll note that there are some others here that we didn't see before. This holds some WordPress news. It shows a popular plugin and then there's a welcome screen. Normally you only see the welcome screen the first time you install WordPress but it has some pretty handy buttons and if you want to get it back you can do that. Then when you're done with it you simply click dismiss and all that does is uncheck this button. Each of these boxes is called a dashboard widget and there are many plugins which install other dashboard widgets. For example, if you get an e-commerce plug-in you'll end up with a great big dashboard widget that shows you recent sales, trends in sales, most recently purchased items and things like that. You can get statistics plugins that get information either from wordpress.com or Google Analytics and shows you your recent statistics right here in your dashboard. Just about anything could go in here really. Down at the very bottom, it says thank you for creating with WordPress. Over here is another important bit of information. You are using a development version. Cool. Stay updated. What this really does is show what version you're currently using. If your version is outdated it'll tell you and give you a link to update it immediately. The dashboard can be an extremely useful place for information about the health of your website. I recommend that you position the widgets in the way that makes it most effective for you and then keep your eye out for other good Dashboard widgets that can help you manage your website better.