How to get started on WordPress

When you log in to your WordPress dashboard for the first time, it can be a little intimidating – Especially if you are transitioning from Blogger. WordPress is not difficult by any means, and once you get used to it, you will wonder how you ever got along without all of the features.

WordPress Dashboard

 

The first thing you will see when you log in to your WordPress account is the dashboard. This is the hub of everything for your new WordPress blog. From this single screen, you can easily get to anything and everything your blog has to offer. You can see how many posts, pages, categories, comments, etc. from this view and click on any of them to view and edit them all. You will also notice that on the left side of the screen are all of your menus. Each of those headings (Dashboard, Posts, Media, Links, etc) can be expanded to show you all of the menus available under them. 

Setting up your theme

One of the main reasons a lot of people choose WordPress is because they love the themes and ease of changing. Setting up your theme is really simple and can be done in a couple of different ways. From your main dashboard, click Themes (under Appearance) or just click the name of your current theme to be taken to your Theme Management screen. From here, you can choose any of the default themes WordPress has to offer or install your own. I know that sounds scary, but it’s really very easy to install your own theme if you have the ZIP file. To get the ZIP file, just buy a WordPress theme (affiliate link) or pick one of hundreds of free themes online. You will be given a ZIP file to download. That is your theme!

To install your downloaded theme, just click the “Install Themes” tab at the top of the screen, click Upload and then choose your theme ZIP file. Once you click “Install Now,” WordPress will take your ZIP file and install it into the right directories for you. Once it is done installing the theme, you will be given the choice to Activate the theme. That’s it!

Widgets and Plug-Ins

Remember when you were on Blogger and you wanted to change something about your blog like the way comments worked or the way your posts appeared on your blog? On Blogger, you had to find a tutorial online outlining how to make the change you wanted, then go into the HTML file of your blog and hope beyond all hope that you don’t miss any steps or get any of them wrong. If you messed that up, your blog was going to be down until you could figure out how to reverse whatever you had just done.

WordPress is different. On WordPress, you have little friends called plug-ins that make all of those changes for you. There are thousands of different plug-ins for just about everything you could possibly want from your blog. On my personal blog, I have written about my favorite WordPress plug-ins and my favorite social media plug-ins, so be sure to check those out for some starter plug-ins. They are all pretty easy to set up and they will change your life.

Widgets are similar to the gadgets in Blogger. These are boxes that you add to your sidebar of your blog. To get to your Widgets area, just click Widgets under Appearance on the left. Your widgets screen may have different areas to add your widgets depending on your theme, but it is a simple drag-and-drop layout, so it’s not very difficult to figure out. You can add text/HTML widgets, or you can download plugins that make different widgets available to you, as well.

Customizing WordPress and making your blog stand out from anyone else’s blog is so simple. You are simply going to love it!

Writing Posts

Writing posts in WordPress is a bit different than in Blogger, although not much (and yet so much better, if you ask me). To start writing a new post, simply click “Add New” under Posts on the left side menu and you will be taken to the post composer. If you don’t see two rows of formatting options, make sure to click the “Show/Hide Kitchen Sink” option to get all of the formatting options available.

On the right-hand side of the screen, you should also see options to set the Categories (similar to Blogger’s labels) and Tags. Every single one of your posts should have at least one category AND tag to be properly indexed. Don’t skimp on the small stuff!

Questions?

If there is something here that hasn’t been covered, please leave your questions in the comment section here and I’ll do my best to answer your questions. My guess is, if you have questions, so do lots of others!

Article by BloggityBlah

Lindsay is the resident BloggityBlah blogger (say that three times fast) and can help answer your questions about WordPress, BloggityBlah and Social Media in general. You can connect with her on her personal blog, Lindsay Blogs, or on Facebook and Twitter.
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