Log in to WordPress and use the dashboard

There are two user interfaces at wordpress.com and the one you see depends on how you log in. When the site is first set up and you log in to it for the first time, a simplified interface is displayed, but there is a more advanced one and this is what we will use here.

Why not use the simple interface, after all, it is easier to use?

Building a website at wordpress.com should be a learning experience and you will learn much more if you use the standard WordPress back end.

If you ignore the simple interface and use the traditional WordPress admin interface, you will learn valuable skills that can be applied to self-hosted (sometimes called .org) WordPress websites.

The aim is to use wordpress.com to learn WordPress by building a small test site and then to launch your real site on a self-hosted installation.

View your website

To visit your website, open a browser and enter the URL. My site is at photosfunblog.wordpress.com but yours is obviously different. It is something like:


You might be automatically logged in. That is OK. To see your website as a visitor would see it, open an incognito or private browsing window. (In Chrome click the three dots menu button and select New incognito window.)

Your WordPress website


Log in to your website

To log in to the website back end and access the WordPress admin pages, open a web browser and go to:


Obviously you need to replace yoursite with whatever your URL is. The example website used here is photosfunblog.wordpress.com and so I would enter photosfunblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin

You might be automatically logged in, but if you are not, you are prompted to enter your username and password. (There is a Stay signed in option to skip this step next time.)

Log in to WordPress


The WordPress dashboard

When you go to yoursite.wordpress.com/wp-admin the WordPress admin interface is displayed and the dashboard appears. This is where you configure WordPress settings, change how it looks, check for comments, write the content, upload images you might use and so on.

Only you can view and change the information here.

The WordPress dashboard

The WordPress dashboard has a collection of panels that display information about your site, such as the number of posts and pages, Quick Draft where you can quickly post something to the site, statistics and more. There are also a lot of help links.

The WordPress dashboard

The sidebar on the left provides access to the different sections of the admin interface. Each of these, including the dashboard, has a Screen Options button at the top right. Click it and there are tickboxes to show or hide items.

Clear a tick box and an item is hidden. This makes WordPress simpler and you can focus on the things that are important. Remember that each section in the sidebar has its own Screen Options.

The screen options in the WordPress dashboard


Set the site title and tagline

Click Settings on the left.

Click General below Settings.

Among the general settings is Site Title and Tagline. This is the website title and subtitle. One of the first tasks when setting up a website is to enter the title and tagline. Click in the boxes and enter your own text,

WordPress settings


Save the changes

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

You now know how to access the WordPress admin interface (go to wp-admin), how to configure the information displayed (Screen Options), and how to access Settings to change the site title and tagline.

Action points

  • Learn how to log in to the admin interface of your website
  • Get to know the admin Dashboard
  • Set the website title and tagline