Hopefully by now you’ve read my post Simple Steps to Starting a Profitable Blog.
If you have, you’re here because you have decided on your voice, found a domain name & registered it, signed up with WordPress and have installed it on your Bluehost hosting account.
Well now it’s time for the fun part!
I’m going to give you a tour of your WordPress dashboard so you can get started writing amazing content – and eventually making an income!
First, log into WordPress through your Admin URL using the credentials that were given to you after installation – you should probably have an email waiting for you in your inbox with this information. Make sure to create a bookmark for where you log in; for example, I log in at www.mysitename.com/wp-admin
Related Reading: Simple Steps to Starting a Profitable Blog.
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Welcome to the WordPress Dashboard!
The column on left-hand side of the WordPress Dashboard is where you can access most of your tools, let’s run through them:
This is where you can organize all of your blog posts, categories and tags.
By clicking on “All Posts” you can view/edit all of your published posts and drafts.
To add a new post, click on “Add New” – this gives you a blank page to start typing out your post content, add images or other media, categorize & tag content, etc.
Categories are, as the name suggests, the categories of your blog. You create the categories based on what you will be writing about, and it helps create menus and keep your blog organized. For example, I have categories like Lifestyle, Travel, Humanism, etc. You can display them in a variety of ways so folks can browse them & find what they are looking for.
Tags on blog posts are like hashtags on Instagram or Twitter – they should be relevant to your content & help others find your post.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW: You should be posting as much as you possibly can, building the content that will become the backbone of your site. Without posts, there is no reason for people to visit your page, no matter how pretty it is.
This section is where you can find all of the media files you upload to your blog, including images. Click on “Library” to see what media you already have stored and click on “Add New” to upload new content to the library. You can also do this within the posts themselves.
Once you upload a new photo, you can change the size, titles and alt text. Make sure your image title and alt text something relevant to the image, as it will help your website rank higher on search engines. The description should be the title of the blog post it belongs to, or a great description with some click bait or searchable terms, as it is what will appear below your images when folks pin your images to Pinterest.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW: Great content is nothing without great visuals. You should be adding AT LEAST one or two high-quality images per post with proper descriptions and alt text. Find a local photographer or get a friend to take some photos of you for the ‘About Me’ page, or invest in a great Digital SLR Camera and perhaps take photography lessons.
Pages are basically static posts that stand alone such as an “About Me” page or “Contact” page. They aren’t called posts because they don’t belong in a category, and can stand alone in menus.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW: Get your Contact Form & About Me sections up and running.
This is where you can read, reply & manage all of the comments that you get on your blog posts – including marking them as spam. FYI you will get a LOT of spam starting out, as there are bots that will constantly be fishing for new pages.
To me, this is the most exciting section of the dashboard – I love styling my blog! When I was first setting up my blog, I would browse other bloggers sites for hours trying to figure out what my style was.
Click on “Themes” and you can select one of the free WordPress themes to get you started, or you can purchase a paid theme to get something a little more unique.
Paid themes vary in cost but they will give you more options when it comes to the customization of your blog. A website called My Theme Shop has a huge selection of themes to get you started. You can view full demos of their themes and see what they’ll look like on your PC, Tablet, phone, etc.
Just remember, you want it to be clean, easy to read, and reflect your brand. But it also helps if your theme is easily view-able across all devices and loads quickly.
Click on “Customize” to change the fonts, colors and layout of your site. Now, it’s easy to get carried away and spend hours or days looking for that perfect font, but you can always come back to this later.
Click on “Menus” to arrange your menu structure and settings. Depending on your theme, your menu will probably be found at the top of your blog and will allow your readers to easily navigate through your content. This is where the categories come in handy, it will be hard to make your menus work until you have a reasonable amount of categorized content to organize.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW: Pick a theme, any theme (preferably free). You can work on this later and upgrade to a nice shiny paid theme once you have a better idea of what you need your menu structure to look like & you have some content to fill it out. There are so many options out there, and it’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetic when you really should be focusing on your content.
Think of plugins for your blog like apps for your phone. Similar to apps, there is a plugin for almost everything you would ever want your site to do without having to know any coding whatsoever. From social sharing buttons, showcasing Instagram photos, customizing your comment sections, running mailing lists, inserting ads into your posts, etc. It’s a matter of picking which ones you need and what works for your style.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW: There are SO MANY PLUGINS to choose from, and some are better than others. There are some that I would recommend installing right away, such as:
Have you completed all the THINGS YOU NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW I’ve listed above? If you’re ready to monetize your blog, lets jump right in.