In our last blog post about building a website with EarthLink Web Hosting, we showed you how easy it was to install WordPress blogging software on your domain website.
Today we’ll walk you through the WordPress interface, to get you familiar with some basic features you’ll need to know about to publish your first blog post.
Logging in to Your WordPress Admin Dashboard
Whenever you publish or edit your blog with WordPress, you need to log in.
One way is to go the EarthLink Control Center and click on the same WordPress Installer icon you used to install WordPress. Then click the link that says Go to WordPress.
To go directly to your WordPress login screen, just enter /wp-admin after the folder you used to install WordPress. If you installed WordPress directly in your root directory, the login URL will look like this: www.YourWebSite.com/wp-admin. If it is installed in a /blog/ directory, go to www.YourWebSite.com/blog/wp-admin.
Either way, log in with the username and password you chose when you installed WordPress (there’s a link if you forgot your password).
After you log in, you’ll be in the main administration area of WordPress called the Dashboard. This is where you’ll work most of the time.
So, where to start…?
Looking at Your Default Blog
Even though you may think you haven’t published your blog yet, there is something there you should probably look at before you do anything else. Click the link at the top of the page that says Site Title (if you did not yet name your site) or the name of your website (if you did name it).
This will take you to the default of your blog, which is based on the default WordPress theme. Themes are the overall look and structure of a blog. You’ll also see some default copy (one short Hello World post), and layout (main page, one Sample Page link, side links). This is the homepage for your blog and your most recent blog posts will appear hear, newest first. Click any blog post title to see that post on its own page.
Click your browser’s back button (or the Site Admin link in the Meta section of links) to return to your Dashboard.
Changing Your Blog Theme & Appearance
Now that you’ve seen what your default blog theme looks like, you may want to change it. If so, click the arrow to the right of the Appearance tab on the left and click the Themes link.
This takes you to the Manage Themes page, which shows you your current theme and lets you manage others if you have them. To find a new theme, click the large Install Themes tab at the top of the page. There are over 1,000 free WordPress blog themes to choose from.
Use the search box at the top if you happened to know a theme you’re looking for. You can also use the checkboxes below to search for blog themes by various categories. But to start browsing top-rated blog themes, I recommend you to click the Featured link at the top. The Newest and Recently Updated categories are also worth exploring.
Each theme is described and shown in thumbnail. Click Preview to get a better look. Details will show you a star rating for the theme. When you find one you want, click the Install link. You’ll need to enter your FTP credentials to complete the installation. Then, back on the Theme page, click Activate under your new theme to activate it. Click back on the Site Title (or your site name) link at the top of the dashboard to see what your new theme looks like.
From the Add New Posts page, your job is mostly to fill in the blanks. Enter your blog post title on top, then paste your blog copy in if you’ve written it in another program, or start typing. When the Visual tab is active in the right-side of the content box, you’ll see the post as it will appear online. Click the HTML tab to see the code or to add HTML elements like links to your post. Just above the left side of the main content area there are icons you can click to add photos, video, audio or other media.
Here is an overview of the buttons available to you in the HTML mode of the new post window:
• b – Inserts HTML tags around selected text to make it bold.
• i – Inserts HTML tags to italicize selected text.
• b-quote – Formats selected text as block quotes; this indents and separates cited text.
• del – Labels selected text as deleted, displayed as strike-through.
• link – Inserts a link tag around selected text. You add a URL to specify where the link goes.
• ins – Label selected text as inserted into a post; usually this is underlined text.
• ul – Creates an unordered list; typically a bulleted list, like the one you are reading right now.
• ol – Creates an ordered, or numbered list.
• li – Makes selected text a list item; used with the ul or ol tags.
• code – Sets selected text in a monospaced font like Courier.
• more – Use the tag to break your post into teaser/preview with a ((more…)) link that leads to the full post.
• page – Similar to the more tag, but it can be used multiple times in a post. It breaks and paginates the post wherever you insert the page tag.
• lookup – Click to check spelling of individual words.
• Close Tags – Closes any HTML tags you left open by mistake.
Once your post is written, you should use the boxes on the right side of the page to put the post into a category (you’ll need to add the categories first) and tag the post. Categories and tags are ways to organize your posts and help people find the kind of content they are looking for.
Publishing Your Post
When you think your blog post is ready to publish, looks for the Publish box in the upper-right side of the page. First click the Preview button to see what the post will look like. If it looks good, you can click the Publish button to make the post live immediately, or click the Edit link next to Publish immediately and select a date and time you’d like to publish your post. Posts are public by default; if you’d like to password-protect a post or make it private (visible only to you and any other site admins), click the Edit link next to Visibility: Public in the Publish box.
If you just published your first blog post—congratulations!
Check back for more about blogging with WordPress on your website.