I’ve been using WordPress for over a decade of blogging, and I’m not alone. WordPress powers 25% of the websites around the world. So if you’re thinking about using it, you should get acquainted with its back end. Here to help you is James Gorski, the Editor at designrfix who writes about tech, web and graphic design among other subjects. He loves to “unplug” and to be outdoors hiking and enjoying nature. If you can’t reach him, it’s probably because he doesn’t have cell phone reception where he is.
WordPress is a robust and versatile tool for web development. Whether you write a blog or want to develop a website for your business, WordPress offers features that do not require you to read or write code.
When you first open the administration tab on WordPress, it can be overwhelming. Let’s take a moment and go over what the different menu options are and how they work together to make content creation and publishing a breeze.
The menu at the top of the page provides quick access to some of the most basic features. Starting from left to right: The WordPress logo on the button that reads “My Site” provides you with a quick link to the back end’s default page. Immediately to the right, the Reader button can be used to bring up a list of other WordPress blogs you have followed.
On the right side of the Header Bar, there are three links. The Write button is a shortcut that opens a composition window for a new blog post. The user icon next to it can be used to access user settings, including your public profile. The bell icon notifies you if you have a new comment, like, or follower of you blog.
The sidebar contains four sections. The first section pertains to basic information about your site. It lists your site title with the web address listed underneath. From here, you can click View Site which will take you to your website as it appears publically.
There is a Stats page that allows you to track your site’s performance. From this page, you will be able to see a wealth of analytic data including: how many hits your site receives daily, when your sites most popular times are and where visitors to your site are from (both geographically and how they found your site).
The Plan button allows you to change your WordPress subscription plan. Clicking on this button provides you with information about available plans and the cost of each.
The Manage section of the sidebar contains basic tools for content administration. These options allow you to change the media on the page without changing the site’s format.
Site Pages: This button allows you to view and edit your site’s pages. Pages have individual html addresses and can be used to contain blog postings or other media. There are several page templates for you to choose from.
Blog Posts: This is the place to add blog style content. These posts can be categorized and arranged to for use on any of the site’s pages. While the screen is dominated by a large textbox and text formatting tools, you can add picture or video to blog posts. If you know how to code, you can even add flair to your posts by writing html.
Media: Here you can upload media for use on your site. Compatible media types include images, video and audio. File types that are not supported by the site can be uploaded as documents.
Comments: If you have comments enabled, users can comment on your blog posts. In this tab you can view all the comments made on your site. You can also set it up so you can moderate the comments, choosing whether a comment is visible on the site.
Feedback: Feedback allows you to make forms for users to fill out. This can be anything from an e-mail sign up list to a survey.
The personalize heading only has one option: customize. This contains advanced features that allow you to change the theme of your WordPress site. There are thousands of premade themes for you to choose from. Themes change the appearance and basic layout of your site.
The included theme editor allows you to not only chose a premade them but to modify a theme or create your own.
Sharing: Use this option to provide WordPress with social media accounts that are associated with your site. From here you can choose to share your content with any number of these services including: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
People: Use this tab to allow collaborators to access your site. From here, you can set users as authors, editors or even administrators. A description and list of abilities for each role can be found on this page.
Plugins: Plugins are used to add functionality to your WordPress site that is not natively supported. Think of these add-ons as apps that you can add to your site to enhance your user experience. Plugins can be used to integrate with other platforms, automate tasks and to add thousands of features to your site.
Domain: Your site’s domain, what appears in the address bar, can be changed here. You can purchase custom domains from WordPress or host your site on a domain you already own.
Settings: Settings includes a variety of site options. You can change your site title, language or time zone from this page. There are also privacy options and the ability to import or export WordPress sites from this page.