21 Days to a WordPress Blog: Day 2: Navigating WordPress

Whether you need a simple site for your business, want to start a blog or just want to try building a WordPress website, you’ll learn all the basics in these daily lessons. In three weeks—and about 30 minutes a day—you’ll build your first WordPress blog.

When you login to the WordPress Dashboard for the first time, it can be a little confusing. But once you get the hang of it, it’s quite simple. (Click the image below to enlarge it.)

wordpress, dashboard orientation, how to, build a wordpress blog

The Dashboard can always be accessed by going to http://yourdomain.wordpress.com/wp-admin and typing in your username and password. (If you’re ever taken directly into the Dashboard, it’s because WordPress remembered you from your last login.)

Once you’re in the Dashboard, you’ll see some notifications you can read and dismiss. You’ll also see windows with site statistics, facts and action items. The Dashboard is very customizable—you can show or hide windows, rearrange them by dragging and dropping, or use Screen Options at the top right corner to choose what to show or change the layout.

The most important parts for you to know about I’ve numbered in the screenshot above. The navigation bar on the left side of the dashboard has all the controls for your site. Posts (1) is the home of most all your content. From that section you can add, edit and organize posts with categories and tags. Media (2) is where all your uploaded images and files are stored. Pages (3) are similar to Posts but are static, and you can moderate discussion on your site in Comments (4).

Below the divider are setting areas that affect the whole site. Appearance (5) has controls for themes, widgets, menus, headers and custom design. In the Users section (6) you can add contributors to your site and update preferences. Settings (7) contains more top-level controls regarding the appearance and function of your website. I’ll go into all of these areas in depth in future days.

Tomorrow: Setting up your domain

Learn more about making a WordPress website with our great design resources. Can’t wait for the rest of the posts in this series? Download the whole guide to build a WordPress site now.