How to Use WordPress Settings for Your Blog

By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

After you have your new blog software installed and running, you can log into your WordPress admin account and take a look around. The WordPress software does a lot right out of the box to make your blogging life as simple as possible.

How to log into your blog

Before you can start posting, you need to head on over to the Log In page and enter the username and password that were provided to you during the installation process.

How to set up an Editor account of your blog

WordPress allows you to set up and maintain several levels of user accounts in addition to the administrative account created during the setup process. These account types are called roles. They are as follows:

  • Administrator: Administrators have access to all features and areas of the blog software, from technical configuration to user accounts to content tools.

  • Editor: This is a user who can publish posts, manage posts, and manage other account posts.

  • Author: This is a user who can publish and manage his or her own posts.

  • Contributor: This is a user role that allows someone to write and manage posts but not publish them live to the blog.

  • Subscriber: This is a user who can read comments, post comments, and receive other private information.

Set up your Editor account by following these steps:

  1. Log into your WordPress installation.

  2. From the Dashboard, click Users.

    You see the full list of users and their roles.

  3. Click Add New.

    WordPress loads the Add New User screen.

  4. Fill out the user fields.

    You see a listing of text boxes: username, first name, last name, e-mail, website, and password. Only three are required: username, password, and e-mail address.

  5. Select the Editor role.

  6. Click Add User.

    The user is created.

How to use the Dashboard of your blog

Each time you log into your WordPress blog, you end up on the Dashboard page. Get to know this page well because you spend most of your blogging time here.

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On the left side of the Dashboard, a series of menus points you to the various sections of the administration panel. You likely visit some of these menus on a daily basis and some only once in a while:

  • Posts: Find links that allow you to edit posts, add new posts, and manage categories and tags.

  • Media: Get a link to upload new media files to your media library or manage previously uploaded media.

  • Links: Manage lists of links on your website. For example, group links together into categories and post them in sidebars as blogrolls or other link lists.

  • Pages: Click to go to the Page Administration section.

  • Comments: Post, delete, and respond to comments that readers have added to blog posts on your website.

  • Appearance: View installed themes, activate new themes, edit existing themes, and search for additional themes from the online WordPress theme catalog.

  • Plugins: View installed plug-ins, activate and deactivate plug-ins, search for new plug-ins from WordPress.org, and edit plug-in files right in the interface.

  • Users: Manage the users for your blog, including readers and additional authors.

  • Tools: Manage additional tools for improved speed by using Google Gears, import and export blog posts and comments, and conduct WordPress upgrades.

  • Settings: Make all the general changes to the blog, such as the name of the site, your e-mail address, and the date and time-zone settings.

    • Writing: Contains settings for the editor interface, as well as default settings for categories, RSS, and tags. You can also access settings to set up remote e-mail.

    • Reading: Choose the number of blog posts that appear on the front page of your blog and the number of postings available in your RSS feed.

    • Discussion Settings: Control what kinds of communication your blog sends out. For example, you can get the blog to notify you by e-mail when someone adds a new comment.

    • Media: Upload and manage any of your media files. You can add titles and descriptions, organize images and audio, add captions to images, and make minor changes to image sizes.

    • Privacy: Set your blog so that search engines ignore it. Use this option only if you have a private blog that you want to share with a small number of people.

    • Permalinks: Permalinks are the permanent links to your individual posts.

    • Miscellaneous: Settings for uploads, URL paths to files, settings for folder organization, and link update tracking.

How to check out the panels of your blog

On the right side of the Dashboard, you see a series of panels. Each panel gives you access to parts of the administrative interface for WordPress. The default panels are

  • Right Now: Contains a quick overview of what’s happening on your blog. The panel displays

    • The number of posts on the blog

    • The number of comments

    • The spam count

    • The number of categories and tags currently in use on the site

  • Recent Comments: Lists the most recent comment activity on your blog and provides links that allow you to moderate and respond to comments without leaving the Dashboard.

  • Incoming Links: Uses Google searches to show the sites that are sending visitors to your blog.

  • Plugins: Gives you a quick list of the newest, the most popular, and the most recently updated plug-ins.

  • QuickPress: Allows you to post a quick note on your blog right from the administration panel.

  • Recent Drafts: Contains a listing of posts that you saved as drafts but haven’t yet published.

  • WordPress Development Blog: The latest postings from the WordPress development blog, which announces security patches and any other important updates.

  • Other WordPress News: Contains a listing of blog posts from other WordPress blogs that talk about WordPress.