Tutorial: starting a blog with WordPress, part 2

Wait! Before you read this, read part 1.

Now that you’ve gotten your blog all set up, we can start getting familiar with it.

If you’ve forgotten, I’m writing a sample blog as we go along so you can follow along with this guide.

Your Dashboard

Your Dashboard is where you can administrate your blog by writing new posts, moderating comments, and more. This is where it all goes down, and obviously no visitors are allowed in. To visit your dashboard, go to <your blog url.wordpress.com>/wp-admin and sign in using the password and username you signed up with.

You’ll be greeted with your dashboard, which should look something like this.

Your WordPress Dashboard
Your blog's Dashboard

Once you’re there, watch the video (it’s in the yellow box, but it didn’t show up in the screenshot.) That’s a good, if brief, introduction to the Dashboard.

The first thing you want to do is change your profile – the link’s on the right side of the yellow box. Enter your name and display name (what your viewers will see your name as), as well as any social network accounts you have, if you feel like connecting with your readers.

You can also change the general settings; again, the link’s on the right side of the yellow box. (Yeah, it would be a good idea to read/click on all the stuff in that yellow box.)

While you’re at it, look at the menu bar on the left. That’s where you can make a new post, check out your comments, or make a poll. Click on a menu item to see some subitems. Take some time to look at what’s available to you in these menus and where to find it. (I’d recommend looking at the Posts, Appearance, and Settings menus at the very least.)

Make sure you change your Site Title, Tagline, and Time Zone in the Settings menu.

By the way, you can collapse the menu bar (look under the settings tab) so it’s a lot less intrusive, not to mention easier to use.

At this point, you might have the flashiest date formatting on the web, but that’s not going to draw readers. This is what will.

Making your first post

That’s right! Your posts are the heart and soul of your blog. Go to the Post menu and click Add New.

You’ll see a standard text editor – it works just like a normal word processor would. Go ahead and type some stuff. (You can use bold, italic, and underline, and you can put in links too.) Not much to say here – you know what you want to write.

You can insert images that you’ve saved to your computer too. Click on the box next to “Upload/insert”, which will bring up the image insertion dialog. Choose the image you want to upload and fill out the text fields.

Inserting image into post
This is what the image upload form looks like.

Once you’re done writing, just click Publish and voila! Your post has been published for the masses to feast their eyes on.

Check out my sample post:

Sample first blog post
A sample first blog post

More to come in part 3 – comments, themes, and more! Until then, keep blogging.

Published by

Neel Mehta

Harvard College. Web developer. Sometime philosopher. Baseball junkie.

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