Managing Your Blog Site
This tutorial will describe just a little bit about managing your blog site. Though what it will do, is show you how to find out how to do blog site management.
This may seem like a cop-out, but there are, I believe, good reasons for taking this approach:
The information you will be directed to, is either part of WordPress and so directly accessible, or is maintained on the official WordPress documentation site (wordpress.org). It does not seem particularly good use of our time to duplicate that information as it is both freely available and someone else does the updating 🙂 Also, at least in theory, it should be accurate as it is brought to you by the folks who write and maintain the WordPress software.
We will discuss topics that are either not as easily accessible or simply not described in the official documentation. If you come across other topics that fit this description, tell us and we will attempt to fill the void. Having said that, here are the topics to be covered:
- Navigation — finding your way around easily
- Spam — Management with Akismet (a WordPress “Plugin”)
- Help — accessing it
I have a very strong preference for clicking on the “Collapse menu” button/link at the bottom of the left-hand side-bar. Before I clicked it, the side-bar looked like the one shown at the right; after I clicked it, it looks like the one on the left. I leave it that way — all the time. Why do I do that?
- It gives me more space for the stuff I really want to see, such as the edit-pane in which I’m composing this tutorial.
- It is less distracting.
- I can hover the cursor over an icon in the side-bar if I do not remember what it is for — but one learns them quickly anyway, even if making a conscious effort not to remember them.
- There are a lot of alternatives around for many of the things one wants to do.
Below, let us look at an example.
When one logs into WordPress, the first thing that appears is the Dashboard — see the illustration below.
As described in the New Bloggers Guide, the “Right Now” area is probably the most important area of this page.
We discussed the content of this area, but probably did not mention something nice about it.
Each of those entries under “Content” and “Discussion” are links. Clicking one of them will navigate directly to the appropriate page for you to manage whatever it is. For example, clicking “Posts” gives exactly the same result as clicking the “Posts” icon in the left-hand side-bar (or “All Posts” if you hover over it).
You can click the “Comments” icon in the left-hand scroll-bar (it is the chat-bubble icon) or simply click on “Comments” in the “Right Now” area. Both of them will display a list of all comments. You can achieve the same result by clicking “All” which is at the bottom of the “Recent Comments” area (see the above picture).
Speaking of which…
If you navigate to a list of comments, perhaps by clicking “Comments” as mentioned above or “Spam”, etc., there will be a heading for the page and also more navigation and filtering available as illustrated at the right.
If you look at the line that reads, “All | Pending (0) | Approved”, etc., you can see that “All” is highlighted. That means the list of comments shows all of them except those quarantined as spam or like the Sesame Street character, residing in the trash can.
Clicking any of them will refresh the list to show only that type of comment. Well, the exception is the highlighted one which does nothing — you are already looking at that list!
Spam and mal-ware are the bane of our Internet existence. Fortunately, WordPress is pretty robust when it comes to hackers (in the pejorative sense) and there are generally security updates in any new release of the software (which is why we strive to keep it up to date).
“Akismet” is a WordPress plugin (it is also available for other software as well) that attempts to identify and isolate spam comments. It was created by a company called Automattic who also created the WordPress.com site (another blog hosting site). As you can guess from that, they had a vested interest in doing a very good job of it. The good news is that they have succeeded.
The plugin works by identifying what it thinks are spam comments and quarantining them. If you do not do anything to take care of spam, comments that have been sitting in quarantine for 10 days will be deleted automatically. If you want to check to make sure genuine comments are not lost (I have never seen a “false positive” but apparently they happen from time to time), be sure to check those quarantined comments.
If you click on “Spam” to see what is there, it will likely be something similar to what is shown in the (partial) picture above — “vitaminfaq.net”, sure! As well, when you are viewing a list of spam comments, an additional “Delete Spam” button is added to the actions. Just click on it to relegate that annoying junk to a black hole.
When you are logged into WordPress to manage your blog site, almost every page has a little “Help” tab hanging down just underneath where it says “Howdy, …” in the upper-right of the window. It is illustrated at the left.
Suppose you are viewing the list of comments page and click that tab. it will be expanded like a drop-down reference area. See the illustration below.
It provides a little bit of information, but it may not be enough to answer the question you had in mind. Look at the left-hand end of this drop-down area. There are usually a number of topics to choose from. Just click on one to see if that provides a better answer. Still no joy? Then look over at the right-hand end of this “Help” area. It is headed, “For more information”, which sounds promising.
Move the cursor over one of the topics listed and right-click with your mouse. A menu will be displayed, similar to the one at the right, which allows you to do various things. If you are actively working on something, you may find it best to “Open Link in New Window” so that you can move it off to the side as a reference while you continue working. If you simply click on one of the topics, it will be opened in a new tab (in most modern browsers). I selected the topic “Documentation on Comment Spam”, which I thought appropriate considering the subject discussed previously.
An image of part of the page that was displayed is shown below.
The only problem with this information is that it does not directly tell you about Akismet, though if you follow the right links you can find it. One more example should give you an idea of the level of detail available. The example below is a snippet from the help about “Links”. It was obtained follow the same procedure described above, but starting from the list of links page.
As mentioned at the beginning, if you have tried to find help on an area and found it deficient, let us know and we will see if we can address it.