Once you log into your account, you’ll be presented with a page titled Dashboard. The first thing on the page is an announcement from WordPress. Under that, in the section called Your Stuff, you’ll find links to your most recent posts. What’s Hot, displays links to the hottest posts, blogs and the newest content.
Now, go over to the left side of the screen and click on Blog Stats. This page will be very important to you, once you have content on your site.
You’ll see a great chart here, that we’ll show the number of people going to your site. Referrers: are people that were nice enough to link to your site. Top Posts & Pages: display data on which of your posts people are visiting the most. Search Engine Terms: will display the keywords people used in search engines to get to your site. Clicks: displays a list of your most popular links.
The final bit of data, can be found under Blog Stats. Here you can find out information on how busy your site is, information on your own activity, and the number of people who subscribed to be notified every time you make a change to your site.
A brief explanation maybe in order here. Posts: are the individual articles you have put on your website. By default, WordPress provides the readers of your site the opportunity to comment on each of your articles. This option can be withdrawn if you like.
Categories: provide an organizational structure to your site. Let’s say I plan to talk about marketing and cats on my website. It would make sense to separate these two things into separate categories, so that people who visit my site can easy chose which subject is important to them. By separating my information into separate categories, I give them that ability.
Tags provide you with the ability to assign keywords to each of your posts. This is a great way for you to allow people to search through your site and find exactly what they want. If you associate the tag turtle to one of your posts, people will be able to click it and find all of the posts you have written on turtles. By using tags you will also increase your odds of ranking well with search engines. So, take the time and use tags through out your entire site. I’ll go into doing this in a later article.
The final bit of data on the Blog Stats page, refers to email subscribers. You can set up a system in which, those who chose, can be sent an email every time you post a new article. On this page, you’ll see how many people have chosen to be alerted. I’ll cover this in more detail in a later post.
Now click on the link Blog Surfer, which is located on the left side of your screen. Here you are able to search and track other blogs that would be of interest to you.
Click on the link to the left titled My Comments. This page will show you all of the comments you have made on other people’s WordPress blogs.
If you click on Readomattic, you’ll be taken to a page that displays the top news posts made by the WordPress community.
Tag Surfer, provides you with the ability to see the posts of others that write about the same topics that you do. Just type a topic into the subscribe box and hit add. Your page will display the newest posts made on WordPress.com blogs that refer to that topic. To remove those posts, just click on the X next to the keyword you just typed in.
If you click on the My Blogs link, you’ll be taken to a page that lists out every blog you have hosted on WordPress.com. You can use this page to quickly jump to stat pages, set up a system to automatically post your posts to Yahoo Updates and/or Twitter and setup a way to post to your blog just by sending an email. I’ll cover these topics in a future article.
On the final link under Dashboard you’ll find Subscriptions. Here you’ll see, what blogs you have subscribed to. By subscribing to a blog, you have chosen to receive an email every time someone makes a change to their blog.
You may or not have noticed, that there is a drop down box across the top of your screen. One of those links is called My Account. There are duplicate links found here, that are also found under the Dashboard link, we have been working with. I’ll now cover those links that differ between the two.
The first new link found under My Account is Edit Profile. You can also access this page by just clicking the link labeled Profile, on the left toolbar. Here you will find a reference to what they call an API key. This series of letters and numbers, is a password of sorts. We will use it in a later post to set up a spam blocking tool. Don’t worry about it at this time.
Under Personal Options leave the Visual Editor box unchecked and chose the color palette of your dashboard, if you like. Keyboard Shortcuts, will be of use when your website is getting a large number of comments. Refer back to it when this day comes.
The Browser Connection option, provides you with the ability to add a layer of security, whenever you log on to your WordPress Dashboard. If you chose to use HTTPS, every time you make an update to your site, those changes will be encrypted before they are sent. The only negative to using HTTPS, is that it will take longer to update your site.
The next two options allow you to change your specified language and assign your Primary Blog. The Primary Blog is considered, the blog to be the blog you will make the largest number of posts to.
WordPress comes preinstalled with a great grammar checker. You can decide under Proofreading, what errors you want WordPress to check for.
The information under both the Name and Contact Info section are self explanatory. Make sure you fill in as much information as possible here. AIM, Yahoo IM, and Jabber / Google Talk are all instant messaging clients. If you know what they are, have one, and want others to contact you through them, enter that information here. If you need to change your password you can also do so on the Account page.
The final two options available for you on the Profile page are My Gravatar and My Location. A Gravatar is simply an image that you want to represent you in your posts. You can set up a system in which this image will represent you not only on your blog, but also other social networking sites. I’ll describe Gravatars in a later post.
Geotagging can be enabled, if you want to give others very specific data on your location. I’m referring to latitude and longitude information. If this sounds great, go for it. I may cover this subject further in a later post.
There are three final links provided under the My Account link, found in the upper left hand corner of your browser window. Click on Support, if you have any questions on using WordPress. WordPress.com, will take you to the WordPress home page. Log Out should be clicked if you don’t want others to gain access to your blog without entering a username and password.
The only link left to cover is the link labeled Tools, in the left toolbar. Here you can decide if you want to install Gears on your home computer. Never do this on any other computer other than your own. As it states, Gears allows you to install your site content on your home computer. If installed your interactions with your WordPress blog will receive a speed increase.
Finally, here you have the option to set up a system, that will allow you to post to your blog by just sending an email. If you post often, this could be a great option for you. You set up this account by clicking on the link My Blogs, under Dashboard in your left toolbar. Locate the blog you wish to publish to by email. Click on the button located under Post-by-email to enable the account. Now you have an email account set up for posting to your blog from any where.
That completely covers all the options found both under the Global Dashboard and My Account categories. Next, I’ll cover everything you ever wanted to know about posting articles and every other feature available on WordPress.com.