Before You Start This Walkthrough
Accessing Your Site
The Administration Panel
The Administration Panel has three sections that you will be working with:
- The Header
The Header is the shaded strip at the top of the page. On the left, you will see the name of your blog and a “View Site” button that will take you back to your site. On the right, you will see a Favorites Menu of common tasks, your name (When clicked takes you to your profile settings page.), and the Log Out button. (Ignore the “Turbo” button, it is not installed on Colby WordPress MU.)
- The Navigation Menu
The left side of the screen holds the Navigation Menu. This is a listing of functions and features you will be using. At the very top, you will see the “Dashboard”. This view is currently displayed in the image above. The “My Blogs” link takes you to a listing of your blogs. The following menu items can be expanded or collapsed by clicking on the down-arrow that is to the right of each menu item. This arrow is hidden until you hover your mouse pointer over the title of the item.
Expanded Collapsed Icons
- The Work Area
The Work Area is in the center of your screen. When you click on any Navigation Menu item, the features and functions available to you related to that item will display in this area. In the current image, the Work Area for the Dashboard is displayed.
The Dashboard displays information about your site. It tells you howmany pages and posts and comments you have. It tells you what Widgets you have installed and what version of WordPress your are running. From here, you jump into the functional areas of the WordPress Administrative Panel.
The Order of Things…
This is a “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” type of question. We could start talking about posts and pages and then move on to themes and widgets; or we could first talk about themes and widgets and then move on to posts and pages. It probably is a matter of personal preference. We have chosen to talk about themes and widgets first because many themes predetermine how your posts and pages will be displayed. It would be possible to get all your posts and pages created and then choose a theme or widget that would force you to re-design.
(The following section of tutorial content is based heavily on the WordPress Codex at http://codex.wordpress.org/Administration_Panels#Settings_-_Configuration_Settings)
Defining Your General Settings
Here you will find all the settings that define your blog as a whole. They effect how your site behaves, how you interact with your site, and how the rest of the world interacts with your site.
The General subpanel defines the most basic configuration settings for your site: the title and location, who may register on your blog, and how dates and times are calculated and displayed.
This subpanel controls your interface for writing new posts. They control such things as the size of the ‘post box’, the default Category, the default Link Category, default image sizes, and the optional Post-via email feature.
The settings in the Settings Reading SubPanel are few in number, but still important. You can decide if you want posts, or a “static” Page, displayed as your blog’s front (main) page. You can also adjust how many posts are displayed on that main page. In addition, you can adjust syndication feed features to determine how the information from your site is sent to a reader’s web browser or other applications.
The Settings Discussion SubPanel allows you to control settings concerning incoming and outgoing comments, pingbacks and trackbacks. You can also control from this SubPanel the circumstances under which your blog sends you e-mail notifying you about the goings on at your site, and you can decide if your blog should show Avatars and their ratings.
The Settings Media SubPanel allows you to determine where images, documents, and other media files will be linked to when inserted into the body of a post and to specify the maximum dimensions in pixels to use when inserting an image into the body of a post.
The Settings Privacy SubPanel controls your blog visibility to search engines such as Google and Technorati. You can decide if you would like your blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers. If you don’t want your blog available to the search engines you can block search engines, but allow normal visitors to see your site.
By default WordPress uses web URLs which have question marks and lots of numbers in them, however WordPress offers you the ability to create a custom URL structure for your permalinks and archives. This can improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of your links.
WordPress has so many features, that some of them defy categorization. Features like file uploads, link tracking and support for custom “hacks” can be controlled from the Settings Miscellaneous SubPanel.
Selecting a Theme for Your Site
Choosing and Displaying Widgets
Creating and Editing Posts
Creating and Editing Pages