Hosting Your Own Website, Part 2: The Dashboard (Control Panel)

Wordpress log-in page to your own website dashboard

WordPress log-in page to your own website dashboard

Access to your own website dashboard (c0ntrol panel) is all you need to edit your blogs, save them in the queue, post them, or schedule them for a future day.

Your dashboard offers many functions and options, like editing text, adding art, adding (embedding) links to related Internet pages, automatically posting your blogs to Facebook and Twitter, and search engine optimization (SEO), a system for attracting Google searchers to your blog,

It lists all your past, current, and future blogs, and lets you save a work in progress. It lets you schedule a finished blog to be posted automatically on a day and time you specify.

You might print this blog, open your website dashboard, take a tour, and practice using one function at a time.  Don’t try to learn everything at once, or memorize procedures Learn as you go along.  Get comfortable with one function before you learn the next one

Tour of Your Website Dashboard

The first page of y9ur own website's dashboard

The first page of y9ur own website’s dashboard

Once you’ve logged in to the your own website dashboard, you will see the word Posts in the upper left margin of the screen, and the upper left of the middle section of the screen.  Either one will take you where you want to go.

Hover over the top left post, and a drop-down menu will appear.  One of the options is New Post.  If you click on “Posts” in the middle section, your list of blogs will appear.  Near the top of the page, above the list, is a button that says “Add New.”  Either way, a screen with space for new copy and buttons for all the editing functions will appear

Pasting and Saving Copy in the Dashboard

First, paste your copy into the large box in the middle section.  In the blank rectangle above that section, write a title or headline.  That’s how it will be listed in your list of blogs. Then, go to the top of the right margin, and click the oval that says Save as Pending or Draft.

The WordPress dashboard's editing page

The WordPress dashboard’s editing page

On the second page of the dashboard, edit your copy in the big center box.  The buttons above it control editing functions.  Below  are the summaries and SEO checklist  In the right margin are the save, schedule, and publish functions, which category you want the blog to appear in on your own website, and tags, which are words and phrases from you copy people are likely to search for on Google.

Below the copy are your short and long summaries, and the search engine optimization checklist.

You can stop there  and come back later to edit, or go back and edit right away, coming and going as often as you like.  But never leave that page for any reason without first clicking the Save oval.  Otherwise, you will lose all the work you did since your last save.  In fact, get in the habit of clicking Save often, even if you don’t leave the page.

Under the Save oval, there’s a little rectangle that either says Pending or Draft.  To the right is a blue button that says Edit. Click on it, and a drop-down will appear that allows you to choose Pending or Draft.  The word in the oval will change to show your choice, and which list in the directory your blog will appear on.

That feature helpse me keep the Wellness Wordworks blogs organized, where I have so many in different stages of readiness.  I don’t use it on my personal site.  It might not be important to you, either.

Go back to Posts in the top left margin, and click All Posts. Make sure your blog is there, in the queue you chose.  It will be listed according to your tentative headline.  If you hover over the headline in your list, a feature called Quick Edit will allow you to make several push-button changes easily. To go back to your work in progress on the dashboard, click on the title.

When the words and images are OK with you, drop down below the copy to the Search Engine Optimization checklist.  We deal with that tomorrow.  Choose a keyword phrase that repeats in your copy, headline, sub-heads, and at least one caption.   Write a short summary and a long summary  containing the keyword.  If necessary, go back through the blog quickly and try to increase the keyword density.  1.0 is optimal, but anything above 0.50 is good enough

Save the draft again, and click Preview Post to see what the blog will look like on your own website.  If it’s OK, go back to the dashboard and publish it, or schedule it for a future day and time.  That choice is in the upper right margin, right below the save oval.

Becoming your own editor is empowering, but can be dangerous.  When you get into controversial issues,, or use passionate language some may find inflammatory, it’s prudent to have someone who does not share your passions and prejudices review your work before you post it.

Can you find someone to help you get started operating your own website?

Part 1 looks at website language.   Part 3 covers editing and search engine optimization (SEO)

 

 

 

Wordworks Blog Author: Ken Braiterman

Ken Braiterman, Wellness Wordworks board chair, has been an activist, news reporter, opinion writer, and columnist since 1968. From 1997 to 2009, he was New Hampshire's leading advocate for recovery-based mental health services. He is an advanced Wellness and Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) facilitator.

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