If you’re a blog owner or author, you’ve probably noticed a change in the look and feel of the dashboard.

WordPress 3.1 makes a few prominent visual changes, ones that — once you get used to them — should make your work a little easier.

The first is the black Admin Bar you’ll see across the top of your blog when you’re logged in:

Only visible to logged-in users with publishing rights, it puts the most-used features right where you can get to them — add a page, add a post, search, edit, or look at the comments.

From the Dashboard things have changed as well, though most of it is only obvious to administrators. Don’t like it? You can turn it off via your profile page.

One thing I’ve always wanted is the ability to quickly link to a previous story. Before 3.1 you had to look up the story on the blog, copy the link, and paste it in. Now (though only in the visual editor, not the HTML editor) you have to option of searching and picking your internal link off of a list.

And if you’re into programming, there are new taxonomy and post-type features that can let WordPress behave more like a full-fledged CMS.

The details are here…