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At WPDesigns as a new WordPress website owner it is important to Discover the WordPress Dashboard and learn your way around it. The dashboard can be a little difficult to get your head around at the beginning as there are many things to check and options to use. Throughout this article on discovering the WordPress dashboard, we will go through and simplify it for you, giving you all the information you need to know and describe some of the key features and functions.
The WordPress dashboard (also known as the “Admin Panel”) is the first thing you will see once you have logged into the back end of your website. The dashboard is where you will carry out most of your website tasks such as creating new posts, creating new pages, menu items, adding new plugins, changing the theme, adding users and deleting spam.
As you go through this tutorial you will learn how to carry out some tasks and to customize your preferences and workflow.
How to Access the Dashboard
To access the WordPress dashboard, you must first log in to the back end of your website. At the end of your website URL, you need to add /wp-admin. Then you’ll see an interface similar to this (without the background image and custom logo), and you’ll need to fill in your login details before you can access the Dashboard.
Get to Know the WordPress Admin Dashboard
The First Things to Do
After you have logged in successfully to your dashboard the first thing to do before you really discover the WordPress Dashboard is create a backup of your website which will make sure that anything that you change can be undone if needed. You can read about how to easily create a backup for your website in our guide – Easily Backup Your WordPress Website Using UpdraftPlus.
Once the backup has been completed come back to the main dashboard by clicking the Dashboard button in the menu. From here you will come across all the widgets and boxes that have been added to your site by the plugins that are currently activated. Some create these messages necessarily and they can be quite invasive. I generally recommend to navigate to Screen Options in the top right of the screen and to tidy up the screens that are not needed.
With the Screen Options box opened up you can now go through and remove any boxes that you do not need or want, as you learn more about the dashboard you will learn which are useful to you and which are not. If you remove an item here you can also tick it again to bring it back.
The updates tab is an important one and it is one that should not be overlooked. If you cannot see it try hovering over Dashboard and if there is still nothing then that is likely because there is nothing to update. Through here you can update your WordPress theme, plugins, and WordPress core files when needed. Be sure to create a backup before updating these as there can sometimes be issues between plugins and/ or the theme.
If you have too many messages and notifications on your WordPress Admin Dashboard you can choose to hide them all using a simple but effective plugin. It will essentially remove all requests for upgrades to pro versions, feedback and any other reoccurring messages that you are unable to get rid of.
The Posts are an often key part of a website, they can be updated regularly without minimum risk of damaging anything on the website. They help users learn more about the business/ website etc that they can from the standard pages and they are also great for SEO purposes. To learn about SEO for your posts you can read our article on RankMath and Elementor.
From here posts can be viewed, created, edited and deleted. We have a guide on how to work with posts and how to add, edit and delete posts.
As the number of posts on your website grows it can be useful to have something that can organise them, Happyfiles can organise effectively your posts, media, templates, and pages. We will mention HappyFiles a few more times in each of these sections, the free version they offer is great but I highly rate the paid version.
Then there is the media. This is where you’ll find all of your pictures, videos, PDFs, and other files. Your library would be empty if you are just starting out. You can add new media from here by clicking add new. Then you can upload what you want there.
The Media Library contains all of your websites media… this will likely include all the images, logos, videos, PDFs and any other files you have uploaded to the website. In the beginning, your media library will be empty but it will quickly fill up as your website grows, pages are created, blog articles are published and content is added.
The items you upload into here cannot be organised by default but by using something such as the preformentioned HappyFiles you can organise them all easily.
The main pieces of content on your website will be your pages, these are here for the long term and will not be changed and updated so often once the site has been finished. You can add dynamic content to your pages which is a good way to keep them up to date automatically with the latest blog posts, products etc.
Through the Pages tab you can do much the same as with posts – add, edit and delete pages. If you have RankMath installed you will be able to see their SEO score and some other important information.
As with the Posts and Media Library HappyFiles can help you to organise these once you have lots and especially if you have site pages and landing pages. In the beginning, the number of pages is generally low enough not to need any organisation.
Then you’ll get comments. All of the comments left on your blog are included in this section. You won’t have any comments if you’re brand new.
Comments will be left on things such as blog posts and products, you will also be notified here if someone links to one of your posts (depending on your site settings).
WordPress comments can be both great and a nightmare, spammers know to target WordPress sites with links for all sorts of crazy things and if you have no spam protection then you will likely start to get lots and lots of comments, possibly hundreds or even thousands. Using something such as Google’s reCaptcha or the plugin Spam Bee
The Appearance options are key to the look and feel of your website. From here you can control your Theme, Customise the options of your Theme and also set up and sort out your website Menu.
The Theme tab will allow you to upload theme files, add a new theme from the repository, switch your current theme to any other that is in the list and you can also preview the theme before making the switch to see how it looks and works with your website. There will often be issues when swapping between themes as they are likely going to show the content in a slightly (or wildly!) different way.
If you have a premium theme that you have purchased from an online seller or marketplace that can be uploaded through here.
Within the Customisation options, you can edit the specifics of the current theme that is active on your WordPress account. If you purchase a premium theme, you will likely have access to multiple additional customisation features, while free themes features will be minimal. The appearance choice or the Customise tab can be used to modify the site identity, menus, homepage settings, and additional CSS.
Part of the journey as you discover the WordPress Dashboard is adding new and changing your plugins. Plugins allow you to expand and enhance the capabilities of your WordPress site. WordPress core is designed to be lean and lightweight, with a focus on maximising flexibility and reducing code bloat. Plugins have custom functionality and services, allowing users to customise their sites to meet their individual needs.
In the plugins tab, you will get all plugins you have currently installed and this allows you to manage them. When it comes to managing your plugins you have several options such as activating, deactivating and deleting them. To add a new plugin, click on Add New, and you’ll see a list of available free plugins, which you can install from here. To find the WPDesigns plugin guide you can find check out WordPress Plugin Maintenance.
The Users tab is where you can add new users and change your own profile. If you need several users with different login permissions you can do here. WordPress has a user function management framework that specifies what a certain user can and cannot do on your website. There are five default user roles in wordpress:
- Super Admin – The most powerful role that can be given. Someone who has access to all the site network admin features and all the other available features.
- Administrator – This user role is the most powerful for a single site. They have access to all the admin features within the site and can do everything.
- Editor – This role is given to someone who can publish and manage posts, this includes the posts of other users.
- Author – This user can publish and manage their own posts but not those of other users.
- Contributor – This role allows the person to write and manage their own posts but they need to be checked by an editor or admin before they are posted.
- Subscriber – This user role is given to someone who has signed up or perhaps purchased something. They are able to add and edit their own details but not those of anyone else or create posts.
While you discover the WordPress Dashboard you will learn that you need to be careful when giving user permissions, giving someone a role that is unnecessary can be dangerous for the security of the website. Making sure all users have strong passwords is a good way to maintain site security from external threats. Using something such as MasterPassword is a great way to help keep strong passwords. We have written an article about How to use MasterPassword.
Tools is a set of resources that can be used to execute certain non-routine management functions. There are three options you will get after install wordpress. Available Tools is the first selection.
You’ll also find import and export options beneath.
Using these tools, WordPress can import and export data to and from other content management systems. The import tool includes scripts for importing data into WordPress from other content management systems. And You may also use the export feature to export data from the web.
As you start to discover the WordPress Dashboard all the tabs will become apparent. The Settings tab in the WordPress Admin sidebar is where you can customise settings for various parts of your website. Many WordPress plugins add their settings page as a menu under the Settings tab, and it includes several sub-panels. Users will go to the Settings > General screen by clicking on it. Reading, Writing, Discussion, Media, and Permalinks are other default sub-panels under the settings tabs.
- General – Site Title, Tagline, WordPress URL, Site URL, E-mail, Registration feature, Site Language, Timezone and many others.
- Writing – This includes solutions for post formatting and category selection.
- Reading – In this section you can set the front page, the blog page, the number of blog pages. You can also check Search engine visibility to request that search engines do not index the site.
- Discussion – This includes tools for connecting posts to other sites that are linked to, comment settings, e-mail alerts for comments, and comment management options.
- Media – The media options allow you to set the image size classifications. You can monitor things like picture sizes and cropping choices.
- Permalinks – This is an important settings page that once set should not be adjusted. This section of the website includes parameters for the URL structure. Users would be able to search and recall URLs to individual posts better with these settings. Using the proper layout would also assist in the better organisation of posts within different categories. You can choose whether you want dates mirrored in your URLs, only names and categories, or a mixture of the two using the options in this environment.
Depending on the different active plugins, the theme you have installed and the hosting you are using there will also likely be other options available to you. These will be specific to the plugin, theme, host etc and can be configured individually and offer a huge amount of options and possibilities.
I hope this little venture into the dashboard has helped you to discover the WordPress Dashboard a little more and know somethings you did not before. We have many other articles on the other areas of WordPress that can help you out as you create and edit your site.