Control WordPress Dashboard

Control WordPress Dashboard

Control WordPress Dashboard

By Joan | WordPress

Congratulations! You’ve arrived in the WordPress Dashboard. Please look around the Dashboard, and you’re in control.

The WordPress Dashboard

The first thing you should do when arriving in the Dashboard is make sure you’re running an up-to-date version of WordPress.  

Update WordPress

If you update WordPress and your website collapses it usually means you’re running a Theme that is not compatible with the latest WordPress update. This is something you want to avoid.

The WordPress Theme

The Theme you’re going to use needs to be uploaded into the dashboard. You upload a .zip Theme file in the Appearance section.

 

You can use any WordPress Theme. This website is using the Divi Theme. A Theme is an essential part of a website and overlays WordPress. The Theme has a specific design and layout and comes readymade. You can build a WordPress website from scratch, but that’s what developers do.

The makers of a WordPress Theme built the theme readymade for use. There are so many choices when it comes to using a Theme that you might find yourself unable to choose one.

You need to know which theme you are going to use before you arrive in your Dashboard. Otherwise you’ll load any theme and then the problems will multiply. If you need help choosing a Theme read about the theme I’m using.

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The Details

Each one of these sections needs to be visited to enable the settings so the website operates the different functions.

All the settings are well explained. Go into each setting and look at the information page. It will make sense because WordPress is intuitive and not difficult to use.

As you go through the various links in the Dashboard you will get to know how the website is organized. This is why WordPress is used for so many websites.

NOTE: these settings are different from your Theme Settings. The Theme overlays the WordPress frame, it sits on top of it but does not disturb the core structure of WordPress.

WordPress Plugins

The functions you can add to enhance your website.

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Your Plugin Philosophy

The WordPress Plugin Repository has 44,000+ plugins.

Don’t rely on people to tell you about a plugin always do the research yourself so you know what the plugin does.

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Theme Specific Plugins

These plugins may not be in the WordPress Repository and can be purchased diretly from th developer.

Using a plugin will depend on what functions you want to add.

Theme Settings

The area where you enable the functions of the theme you’re going to use.

After uploading the .zip file and activating the theme you will need to enable the Theme Options so the theme functions. As mentioned this website is using the Divi Theme. 

Managing your website from the Dashboard puts you in control. You just have to acquaint yourself with all the settings. It is not possible to go through all of the settings in this blog post.

This can be overwhelming. It took me some time to get to know how WordPress, Themes, and Plugins work. There is a learning curve to with websites. No one starts out by knowing how something works before they’ve used it. If you need help with your website contact me.

The People Behind WordPress

The People Behind WordPress

The People Behind WordPress

Joan | Blog

Developers Designers & Users

are the people behind WordPress.

The people behind WordPress are too numerous to name. Since it’s debut in 2003 WordPress has gone on to be the software of choice because of its flexibility and strength at the base of the software.

Approximately 60 million Websites run on WordPress.

The Developer

The creator of the code that runs WordPress.

The Developer

A developer is a unique individual devoted to logic and challenge and knows HTML and PHP. PHP is an acronym for Hypertext Processor. This is a recurring acronym for all web pages. It’s a scripting language used in source software.

PHP files have text, hypertext markup language (HTML) and cascading style sheets (CSS) and JavaScript the programming language invented by Brendan Eich in 1995. All these “languages” are used by the developer to write the code.

The Designer

The creator of the WordPress Theme.

The Designer

The designer plans the form and the workings of something before it’s made or built. A WordPress Theme designer is working with the WordPress frame or shell. The language of computer software design includes HTML and CSS, using the code to produce aesthetic effects. The designer brings out a style that overlays the WordPress core software.

The designer is more than a visual artist. They have the challenge to present the visual structure of the framework of the website. Their vision has to reach into the architect of the layout of the website as well as into the user’s perspective.

The User

This is the all important person. You. Using the combination of the work of the developer and the designer.

Which is the best Theme?

There isn’t one. It’s what appeals to you when you look at the Theme. You’re the judge and the jury. 

At some point you are going to use the site and operate the Theme. You’ll need a foundational knowledge of how the Theme and WordPress works.

Results of using a Theme

  • A unique individual who knows how to use WordpPress
  • You’ll be using a Theme built for the user but you don’t have to be a designer or a developer to use the Theme.

Use the Theme for Users

Who don’t develop or design

Is there such a Theme? Yes.

It’s the Divi Theme…

New To WordPress

New To WordPress

New To WordPress

Joan | Blog

Everyone starts out not knowing how something works before they’ve used it.

There is a learning curve with WordPress as there is with all software.

WordPress is a Sophisticated Software

It started out as a blogging platform. Today it is the most used software for a website worldwide. When you are new to WordPress the idea of a FREE blog with a FREE theme sounds attractive.

This is when your problems start. It’s an easy set up everything is already installed all you have to is write the content for the website. Then if WordPress is free and easy why is it so difficult to use? This is a question I hear all the time from people using a free WordPress theme.

You Must Have Someone Show You How

I started using WordPress in 2006 with a WordPress Theme that wasn’t free. I would not have been able to use WordPress if it had not been for the tutorials supplied by the makers of the Theme I was using.

The next issue was the Theme expired after one year and I had to buy another theme. This meant I had to start all over again with another Theme. This is not what I wanted. I wanted a Theme that I could use without needing to change it every year.

Where are you?

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Which Software?

The comparison of one type of software versus another comes down to personal preference not the software. Every person approaches something in their unique way. No one can say there’s only one perfect Website software to use.

WordPress is my personal preference. I wanted a website but didn’t know how to use code. 

Over 60 million people, 30% of websites worldwide use WordPress.

The Beginnings of WordPress

WordPress was first created as a blogging software. The project was a “fork” (a developer term, used to describe a new avenue to contribute to an existing project) that needed fixing. The software needing fixing was b2 Cafelog.

Matt Mullenweg, a smart computer programmer participated in an online forum and asked if anyone was interested in assisting him to improve the software. This resulted in the teamwork of Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, together they solved the blogging software dilemma.

The result, the creation of the blogging software, WordPress.

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The Free Blog

WordPress.com is where you can set up a blog for free. The free platform has limitations and when you decide you want to turn your blog into a Website, you will need to upgrade to WordPress.org.

Upgrading to WordPress.org means you need your own domain name and a Hosting Company. This is called self-hosting.

 

Self Hosting Explained

Let me clear up something here. Self-hosting implies you download WordPress to your computer and work on it and have a website. This isn’t the way it works.

We use these terms all the time but take a look at this graphic to get the practical picture.

You access the web from your coputer. The Web Hosting Service is on a server. Your website rents space on a server prodived to you by the Hosting Company. 

Information from your computer travels back and forth in HTML packages. On the Web, we have a system of links that connect your computer to all the pages on the Web.

Each person operates from their own individual computer to the World Wide Web, through an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

 

You’ll download the WordPress Theme file after purchasing it from a reputable theme company. The Theme overlays the core WordPress software.

A Theme is the decorative element of the Website or Blog. There is a whole lot to using a WordPress Theme and your choice of theme matters.

The WordPress core software exists on the Host Company’s server.

About the Web

We have to pause and reflect on how the web came into existence. It wasn’t always there. It was invented by engineers and physicists who built a system of networked computers for private communication between institutions.

Originally the public did not have access. Until the idea of an individual being able to access information from a personal computer was presented by a team of physicists at CERN Laboratories in Switzerland. Among them was Sir Tim Berners-Lee who is credited with the invention of the abstract concept of the Word Wide Web.

The simple system of hyperlinks was the connecting factor from computer to computer and Berners-Lee developed the HTML language to enable the information to travel from your computer through your browser, through the web host server onto the network, the web.

On another front was Jacques Vallee who led the team to develop the network software on ARPANET, the ancestor of the Internet. Vallee has been called one of the “fathers” of the Internet.

 

History of the Web

The history of the web is fascinating and there are more than two people involved in the evolution of the web. I mention these two men specifically because their work brought us the Internet and the Web. 

Read More About the Web

They wrote informative and inspiring books about their experience, The Heart of the Internet by Jacques Vallee, and Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee, with Mark Fischetti  These are books in my collection, and no, I’m not an affiliate with Amazon. I believe in passing on information when I’ve read something worthwhile.

General Public License (GPL)

The inventor of the software, has the right to make their software available to the public under a general public license (GPL).

When you use a WordPress Theme, you are granted a license to use the Theme for your purposes. The person who created the Theme, the Designer, may offer it free or for a price.

WordPress Front End

The developers of WordPress core feel WordPress should work without much configuration on the user’s end.

All software requires learning how.

Inside the WordPress Dashboard

At first this is overwhelming. But once you start to use the commands you’ll see how they work and you’ll control the WordPress Dasbhoard. When you hover your mouse over the icon the tool tip will popup to remind you of the function.

WordPress gives you your own private printing press which turns into a publishing platform. A powerful tool to use to get your message out onto the Web. So now you’re not new to WordPress, and your passion led you here.

Want to know more about WordPress

And which theme to use because there are too many?

WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress.com and WordPress.org

Joan | Blog

What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

There’s a big difference. 

This post gives you the information based on user experience. It is not full of the usual comparisons and statistics about the different kinds of software to use for a website. I’ve used WordPress since 2006. I am not a developer but I found WordPress is an excellent software to power a website. Especially if you don’t know how to code.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with creating the abstract concept of the Web writes in his book Weaving The Web, “I never intended HTML source code (the stuff with the angle brackets) <href> to be seen by users. A browser/editor would let a user simply view or edit the language of a page or hypertext as if they were using a word processor.”

The WordPress end product is a word processing content management system intended for the user. The code operates in the background and you’re interacting with the commands and using the content management system known as WordPress. 

WordPress.com Explained

WordPress.com is a hosting platform. This means your website is hosted on WordPress.com servers.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com offers you a free startup site with a website or blog with a free theme. 

A free platform has limited uses. One of these limitations is you have WordPress ads on your site. Another is restricted memory and technical service. 

Anytime something is free, it means upgrade to WordPress.com plans.

WordPress.com

Eventually you’ll come to the point where you want to do more with your website.

You can upgrade your free account and stay with WordPress.com. Within the WordPress.com environment you are subject to what is specific to WordPress.com

WordPress.org Explained

WordPress.org is the information resource website. It is NOT a Hosting Company.

WordPress.org provides the codex information. Codex is a library of information for developers.

WordPress.org is Self-Hosting

This means you are going to manage your WordPress website yourself, but you’re going to need the services of a Hosting Company to occupy space on their servers to store your website files.

Self-hosting implies you download WordPress to your computer and start using it and then publish it to the web. This is what developers do. This is NOT what you should do.

 

WordPress is Open Source Software

Open source means developers from all over the world contribute to the WordPress core code. WordPress has become one of the most widely used software applications to power a website.

WordPress.org recommends hosting companies that meet the requirements of WordPress. WordPress.org provides the codex information. Codex is a library of information to help developers and designers with using code to build WordPress websites. The entire website uses this core software code to operate. 

Self-Hosting

Self-hosting means having your own website hosted on a Hosting Company’s server. Your website must have a domain name.

Your website is independent from a platform and you can use any WordPress Theme and any Plugins you need for your website. 

The Hosting Company will have a WordPress install feature in the back panel. This is where the WordPress core software is imported into your website, from the WordPress.org repository, the official, updated WordPress core software.

About WordPress Themes

All themes come with a GPL license, (general public license) valid for one year.

WordPress Themes

Theme Developers have created gorgeous themes. Depending on the arrangement with the Theme developer, you may have to purchase an upgrade to continue to use the Theme, or worse, find another Theme.

 

Theme Checklist

  • When was the theme developed?
  • Is it updated regularly?
  • Is there tech support?
  • Are there tutorials?

Follow the Designer's Lead

Something I learned; follow the designer’s lead and you’ll have a professional website.

Following the Designer’s Leed

The designer is the one who thoroughly understands the framework of WordPress and the design element to complement the content within your site. I found one such designer, Nick Roach. The lead designer and CEO of Elegant Themes.

With each Theme I have used in their Theme repository, I find the element of clean, open design. From this vantage point you’re using the Theme for your website’s intended purpose

In 2013 Elegant Themes produced the Divi Theme.

The Divi Theme is for every type of user. A beginner, a designer, and a developer. Here’s a little known secret; designers and developers use the Divi Theme to build professional websites.

I’m not a developer, but I designed my websites using Divi, without having to know code and I followed the designer’s leed with the premade layout packs that come with the Divi Theme.

To answer the question: which theme should you use, my recommendation, the Divi Theme.

Elegant Themes is a reputable company. The Divi Theme is updated regularly. There is sufficient tech support and built in video tutorials for every module.

I have been a member of Elegant Themes since 2010. In 2015 I found out about Elegant Themes affiliate program (this is my affiliate link).  I’m comfortable recommending their Themes and services based on my experience. 

If you’re still not sure

about what do do about your website…