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5 Areas You Should Know More About In Your WordPress Admin Area

Posted by on Sep 24, 2010

This post is kind of a request, but in actuality I knew I was going to be writing something on it anyway. In the last 10 days I’ve created 2 blogs for clients, and so far neither client has done anything with the blogs because they said they don’t know what to do. I took to it like it was nothing, but I’m starting to recognize that it’s obviously not as simple as I think it is for everyone. And even if you know how to use it, maybe I know some things you might not have thought of. So, let’s get started.

1. Users. I’m betting most people thought I was going to start with Posts. That’s number two. Users has its own category on the left menu. Click on that and you’ll see all the names that are registered on your blog. Most probably it’ll only have your name or “admin” there, but if you see other names don’t panic, as some people like to subscribe to your blog that way.

Click on Edit under your name and you’ll be taken to the area where your settings are. The first choice you have is whether or not you want to use what they call the Visual Editor or not. This means do you want the site to add coding to certain things such as when you want to bold something or put a link in so other can just click on it or not. If you don’t know how to do any of that stuff via HTML, leave it alone. Next, decide if you want either blue or gray, as the default is gray. After that, you can change your Nickname, so if all your posts are going out under “admin”, which is the default, they don’t have to. You really don’t have to do anything else here unless you want to. Don’t forget to click Update Profile or else nothing you did will be saved.

2. Posts. Click on the Add New link. If you’ve been writing you know that this is where you write your posts. What you may not have known is that all the other things you see on this page can be moved around. All you have to do is go to the top of any of the boxes, such as categories or Publish or whatever and you’ll see your mouse arrow become a 4-way arrow. Hold down your mouse key and drag it wherever you want it to be, and you’re done. That’s neat to use if there’s something you do all the time and don’t want to have to jump around a lot. Many plugins you might decide to add later on will show up in here. I have 5 things that you may or may not have that show up here, and I’ve moved things around for my benefit.

The Publish area is one you should know about. I’m not going to rewrite a post I did called Future WordPress Posting, but I will say this is where you can change the date for posts if you want to write some ahead of time, make a post private so no one else can see it, or make it sticky so it’s always at the top of your main blog page. You can also click on Preview and it’ll open a new window so you can see what your blog post will look like before you publish it. I do this often to check my links and images beforehand.

Finally, this is the area where you can decide if you want comments or trackbacks on an individual post or not. This will override global settings. I have gone and turned off comments on old posts where it wouldn’t make sense for anyone to comment on anymore, and thus it blocks spam from finding those posts. Same with trackbacks; if something was time sensitive and we’re past that time, a trackback can only serve to tell you someone tried to steal it.

3. Comments. Some people respond to comments on the actual blog post. Others respond to the few comments they see in the dashboard. I always respond to comments here because sometimes you want to do some other things to them. For instance, in my comment policy, I mention that I don’t accept keyword names unless I know someone’s first name. Most of the time those comments are spam, but when they’re not, I edit the names. If you notice, under every comment there’s a menu of things you can do. I hit Edit, then go in and alter the name based on my policy. Strangely enough, I’ve never seen any of those people who I’ve edited come back; think it’s me? lol Also, this is where you can see your counts for how many comments a post received; depressing if you have none, I’ll admit.

4. Discussion Settings. Go to Settings and click on Discussion. This sets how you want the flow of your posts to go once you’re written them; this is where the global settings are (that means the normal rules for posts you decide not to override later on). For instance, you can determine whether people have to have a name and email address to leave comments on your blog; I strongly suggest you do that. You can set how long you want a blog post to be live to accept comments before you turn them off; I don’t use this, but many folks do (Rummuser, I’m talking about you lol). If you want comments to be threaded you can do it here; I’ve found, though, that some themes don’t offer this choice, so if you don’t have it, your theme might be old. Look at all the choices and determine what fits you. Especially look at the gravatars thing at the bottom and determine how raunchy an image you’ll accept on your blog; mine is set to PG.

5. Links. Yesterday I talked about blogrolls a little bit, but whether you want it for blogs, business, information or whatever, this is where you’d put those things in. You might already have some here that you want to delete; WordPress gives you about 7 when you first set up your blog. To add a new link of some kind, obviously click on Add New. The four important things to know here is to put in the name, put in the link to go to, put in the category you want it listed under (it allows you to create new categories), and finally what you want to happen if someone clicks on it. I always click on _blank so people go elsewhere and my blog is still sitting there.

That’s it. A very brief tutorial, but if you didn’t know all that stuff, now you do. And if you want to know more, then make sure you check out my post called 5 More Things To Know About Your WordPress Admin Area.

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24 Comments »

Renee Scherer:

Very helpful hints Mitch, thanks for getting me started on writing my blogs.

September 24th, 2010 | 10:56 AM
Mitch:

No problem; gotta get you a gravatar. lol

September 24th, 2010 | 11:04 AM

Thanks, Mitch. This is very helpful. I was familiar with about half of that stuff, and I don’t think I knew the other half was even there. Sometimes I fail to notice that there’s more on the screen, especially when you have to scroll down to see it. I still don’t understand what trackbacks are.

September 24th, 2010 | 11:29 AM
Mitch:

Glad to help, Charles. Course, you’re on WP.com, so I hope everything I mentioned is on there as well.

September 24th, 2010 | 11:37 AM

Hello Charles, trackbacks are pings that warn/announce you that someone mentioned your link in their posts.

Very comprehensive guide for a first timer in wp, Mitch! Yes everything you mentioned is in the wp.com menus, the only thing missing is the plugins menu, but you didnt mention that…that’s odd.

September 24th, 2010 | 12:12 PM
Mitch:

Alex, I didn’t mention it because it’s not a top 5, since many new people will only start with two plugins, Akismet and Hello Dolly. This is more of a post for beginners, but did you see how long this post was with what I already talked about?

September 24th, 2010 | 1:59 PM

Thanks, Alex.

September 25th, 2010 | 6:51 AM

Hey Charles, a trackback is simply a link version of a high-five. If I write about one of your posts and link to it, WordPress will send out a notification to YOUR blog, saying, “Yo, Mitch wrote something about this post. Go visit him and say ‘Thanks, dude. Up Top!'”

I bet that helps loads. LOL

Cheers,

Mitch

September 26th, 2011 | 8:27 AM

Mitchell, your comment had my head spinning for almost a full minute. My original question was sent exactly one year ago, but when I just looked at your reply, I saw only the month and day and failed to notice the year. I couldn’t figure out how I’d sent a comment yesterday and had no memory of it. (Well, I could, but it made me too nervous to dwell on it for long.) And now, of course, I’m wondering how it’s possible that a whole year has gone by.

Thanks, Dude. Up top!

September 26th, 2011 | 8:51 AM

That’s too funny. I had the same moment of disorientation when I saw what appeared to be TWO posts on the same day from Mitch.

Serendipity-doo-dah! 🙂

Cheers,

Mitch

September 26th, 2011 | 4:09 PM

You guys are killing me! lol

September 26th, 2011 | 4:22 PM
Val:

Ah, I saw this post after I posted my comment to your previous one, sorry! Nevermind, maybe there’s something there of interest, if not – delete it!
🙂
Things are a little different in wp.com dashboard, but only slightly. On the ‘post’ page one can see all the posts but has to click sub-links in the side panel to get to the categories, etc. Some of the elements of other areas can be moved around as you mention, but I can’t remember what they are right now!

September 24th, 2010 | 8:39 PM
Mitch:

Nah, let’s leave the other comment as someone else might benefit from it. And thanks for sharing this new info about WP.com as well.

September 24th, 2010 | 8:47 PM

Thanks a lot for sharing amazing information about wordpress. even i had struggled to use wordpress blog,now i got an great idea about wordpress,keep on doing good things.

September 25th, 2010 | 2:15 AM
Mitch:

No problem, WOt; I hope it benefits you a lot. BTW, please note the comment policy & how I changed your name.

September 25th, 2010 | 2:33 AM

Hmmm, I really never look deeply at the “Discussion Settings” area of my wp admin page. I think I need to check it out now and see if I can do something to make my blog a bit interesting. =)

September 25th, 2010 | 3:09 AM
Mitch:

Good deal Ron. I didn’t mention anything about plugins, but there’s one that can change colors in the admin panel as well, though I’ve never tried it out.

September 25th, 2010 | 4:47 PM

Why did this remind me getting to know your body in health class? Anyways I did not know about the sticky post nor about moving things around. How do you set your gravatar to PG, I mean how does WP know what the gravatar looks like? I need to investigate more.

September 25th, 2010 | 8:36 PM
Mitch:

I think when you create the gravatar it figures out the rating for you.

September 25th, 2010 | 8:52 PM

This are good points, many people do not understand how WP is working, but the interface is really simple compared to Joomla and Dupral. I think everybody can handle it very easy. Even people without any knowledge of website building can install and work with WordPress.

September 27th, 2010 | 9:31 AM
Mitch:

For sure; I love WordPress and its functionality, and I’ve never seen anyone mess it up like Drupal.

September 27th, 2010 | 11:53 AM

Hi Mitch, Great overview of the dashboard. The last time I needed to schedule a post was when 2 guest posts arrived on the same day. I bet that won’t happen again! I’ve moved some things around on the post editor page and I often use the HTML view to delete erroneous formatting tags. I have a question about trackbacks, do you know if there’s a plugin that will put all of the trackbacks in a group at the end or beginning of the comment section? I see this happening on Thesis theme but I haven’t found a plugin that I can use yet.

Thanks Mitch.

September 28th, 2010 | 3:34 AM
Mitch:

Ileane, I’ve never used any of the plugins, but I do believe I’ve seen a couple that will help you handle trackbacks. You can do a search through WP and the plugins area there to your left in the admin panel by clicking on Add New.

September 28th, 2010 | 9:59 AM

Mitch, I’ve tried about 3 different track back plugins but none of them are what I need. I’ll keep looking and let you know if I come up with something. Thanks.

September 28th, 2010 | 7:58 PM