The WordPress Dashboard

Finding Your Way Around the WordPress Dashboard

The WordPress dashboard is the control panel for your website. It is the backend, administrative area where you can access and manage all areas of your website. The dashboard includes a menu on the left-hand side and a summary area on the right. There is a toolbar across the top and a small bit of information in the footer (and I mean small). Realistically, I don’t think you’ll use the summary area very much but there are a few things to take note of, which I will point out below.

1. Toolbar

The Toolbar section of the dashboard runs across the very top of the dashboard screen. It may have some different options dependingon the theme you have installed. This diagram shows the basic element that would be available no matter what theme you are using.

Some options are located on the far left side of the toolbar and other options are on the far right side:

Left Side:

WordPress Info: Support, Documentation etc
View Site: Toggle btwn Front End and Backend of site
Updates: Quick Access to Updates Page
Comments: Quick Access to Comments Page
 “Add New” Shortcut: Add a new Post, Media, Page or User.

Right Side:
Edit Profile/Logout: Change profile pic, screen name etc.
Screen Options: Allows you to customize what you see on a particular page.
Help: Clicking this help items will give you an overview and additional information on the section you are currently in.

2. Menu:

The dashboard menu is located on the left side of the dashboard. This by far will be your most used area of the dashboard. Here you have direct access to all parts of your site. Your dashboard may look different depending on the theme you are using.
Updates: The updates section will show all items which need to be updated. This includes: WordPress, Plugins, and themes. You can select all, or individually select items you want to update.

Posts: Clicking this menu item will take you to the main posts page. There you can see all existing posts, “Add” a new post or click an edit and existing post. There is also a handy hover menu which allows you to “Edit, Quick Edit, Trash, Preview” You can also create categories and tags for your posts within this section.

Media: This menu item takes you to the media library where you can see all images, audio and video that have been uploaded to your site. Here you can add new items to the library. You can view in list view or thumbnail view, sort by file type or date or by file name.

Pages: Clicking this menu item will take you to the main “pages” section. Here you can create a new page or click and edit an existing page (one you have previously created). You can sort by page status (All, Published, Drafts), Alphabetically by title, or by date or author. Similar to the Posts section your also get the handy hover menu which allows “Edit, Quick Edit, Trash, Preview”.

Comments: Posts and Pages can accept comments. Clicking here you can access the comment management area. You will see a list of all comments, ones with a yellow background are waiting for approval. In your hover menu you have the options to “Approve, Reply, Quick Edit, Edit, Mark as Spam, or Trash”. You can sort by status, date etc.

Appearance: This section has a significant sub-menu which gives access to multiple areas related to the appearance of your site.
      Themes: Here you can add or install themes. Themes are a collection of files which provide the overall design or style of your site.
      Customize: Takes you to a whole other menu which allows you to style different aspects of your website. (This section will be featured in another blog post).
      Widgets: Prebuilt modules you can use to build out your side bar (and other areas). Examples of Widget modules are: calendar, gallery, and search bar.
      Menus: 2 main options; Edit Menus or Manage Locations. Manage locations has to do with where on your page you want the end to display. Depending on the theme you have installed this area may look slightly different.Edit Menu may also look slightly different depending on your theme. With a basic theme you will likely have these options: Pages, Posts, Custom Links and Categories. Select them and Click add to menu. The menu structure area allows you to drag and drop and create sub menu items.
      Editor: This si where you can edit your theme files. If you are not a developer or a strong coder I suggest you stay out of here.

Plugins: Plugins are pieces of software that extend the functionality to your website. On this page I can see what plugins are installed, search and add new plugins, activate or deactivate plugins, and see which plugins need to be updated. I can also read a description of what the plugin does.

Users: Here you can see and edit all existing users and add new ones. Users can have different roles and access privileges. Each user has a login and password. User roles include: site administrator, editor, author, subscriber.

Tools: Import/Export WordPress Componants

Settings:This area allows youth set a variety of specifications for different parts of your site.
General: Site title, admin email, time zone, language etc.
Writing: Default Post category and format, also setup if you want to post by email.
Reading: Homepage setup (blog or static page), blog specifics. *Search Engine Visibility
Discussion: Comment settings for the most part.
Media: Specifics for images sizes.
Permalinks: Settings for creating a custom url structure (IE a url that doesn’t have question marks, numbers etc in it)
Privacy: Contains a privacy policy settings tool, so you can create a privacy policy. 

3. Work Area

Your work area is the largest portion of the dashboard and ironically the part you will probably use the least.  It is broken up into several areas. You can drag items around to customize the look of the work area and you can access the sceen options at the top right of your page and turn off areas you don’t use.
Welcome: Links to get you started…create first page etc.

At a Glance: Summary of pages, posts and comments on your website.

Activity: Recent activity on your website.

News & Events: Recent WordPress news and Announcements, also upcoming events in your area. *Take note that WordPress Meetup Announcements are made here. 

Quick Draft: Allows you to create a post.

4. Footer

The footer is at the very bottom of the dashboard and doesn’t really contain a lot of valuable information. On the left side is a “Thank you for creating with WordPress” and on the right side there are numbers indicating which version of WordPress you are using.

Resources: Admin Screens page:

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