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Introduction to the WordPress Dashboard

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The WordPress Dashboard is the hub from where all WordPress settings, posts and plugins can be controlled.

It is where we start our WordPress journey when we log in.

At first the interface may seem a little daunting but you will quickly get used to it and become familiar with the areas of it you use the most.

The WordPress Dashboard
The WordPress Dashboard

The various boxes in the main paret of the screen are for information only. We are mainly interested in the options in the left-hand menu.

It is important to note that every WordPress site is different and your left-hand menu may not contain the same options as are shown here.

The two most commonly used menu items are Posts and Media. Posts are news or blog articles.

Creating a new blog post or news article

To create a new blog post we need to hover over the Posts menu item and then choose Add a New Post.

The Post editing screen will load.

Here we have an editing environment which is not unlike a word processor to use. In the main part of the screen there is space for a main title, then article text.

Create new wordpress post

In the right-hand column of the screen you can assign a Category for your article. Categories will have been set up but you can also add your own at this stage if necessary. Your categories will vary according to what sort of site you have.

The right-hand column is also where you can add a Featured Image to your article. Featured Images are the main images associated with the article, and in most cases the image is displayed on the News/Blog post with the title so it will look wrong if youd don't add one.

I strongly suggest you get into a habit of completing the following steps in a certain order (not necessarily as described here) so that they begin to form a habit and none of the steps get forgotten.

Give your post a suitable title. Be aware that SEO is very important here as the title will be used in several places where SEO keywords are important so choose your title wisely.

If appropriate you can add your new post to one of the categories in the Category section in the right-hand column.

Now let's add a Featured Image.

This can be an image which is already in the system or it can be a new image which you upload from your computer especially for this post.

If you are uploading a new image it is a good idea to resize the image before uploading. Something around 1200px on the long side works well on most sites.

Click the grey box marked Set Featured Image

Uploading a new featured image

Choose Select Files.
Select the file from your computer and click the Open button.
Wait for the file to upload (a few seconds) and then it will appear in your media library.
On the right hand side, add a description for the image in the Alt Text section. Make it a genuine description of what the image shows - great for SEO!
Finally click the Set featured image button to finish the process.

To choose an image which is already in the Media library

Click on the Media library tab. This will open the library and display the available images.
Select and click a suitable image.
Make sure there is some descriptive Alt text and add some if not.

Now that we have done those jobs we can concentrate on actually writing the post text itself.

From an SEO perspective, the longer the post the better. Obviously sometimes we don't have that much to write but if the post is too short then search engines may decide that the article is "thin content" and not worthy of a high position in their results.

As you write, WordPress will autosave your post to prevent you losing your changes. However the post will not be live on the website until you press the Publish button and then confirm your decision by pressing the Publish button again.

Other considerations

Before publishing check the URL isn't too long. By default WordPress will use the title you have chosen for your post to create a suitable web address for your post, but a URL which is too long is a bad idea for SEO reasons. You write your own URL by opening the Summary section on the right-hand side, clicking on the blue URL text and then adjusting the Permalink text to shorten it to a reasonable length. When you've finished you can click the cross in the corner to close the dialog and set your URL.

Depending on the particular design of the news/blog page

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About Nico

I am an equine photographer, website designer and hosting provider living in Lincolnshire.

I work with clients who are sole traders and others which are FTSE companies. They are equally important to me.

If you need commercial photographyeditorial photography, event photography, lifestyle, equestrian or wedding photography, then I can help you, with over 30 years experience in these areas.

I also teach photography. I mentor photographers with a range of experience, from beginners to working professionals and run an equine photography course which gives members access to articles about the business of equestrian photography.

I have a varied set of skills, having worked for well known web design, SEO and analytics companies in parallel to my photography.

I design, host and maintain websites for clients as varied as farms, interior designers and equestrian centres, as well as for bloggers and sportspeople, including many riders.

I am the Public Relations Officer for the Midlands Area Point-to-Point Association, a role which utilises my PR and social media skills to promote horse racing both online and in the National press.

If you think that I could be the right person to help you, whatever your project, then please get in touch and we can discuss what you need and the ways in which I can help.

You can find out more about me here.

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