As a WordPress user, you must have seen your Dashboard every time you logged into your account. This Dashboard is like an instant snapshot of what’s happening on your website. It shows you the latest updates such as new comments, new items posted, updates needed etc. It also provides links to almost every aspect of your website – posts, pages, theme settings, plugins, widgets etc. Let us have look at the WordPress Dashboard and see how it is the central platform from which you can carry out any necessary development or maintenance tasks in WordPress.
Given below is a list of the high level tasks you can do from your Dashboard, and I also have a video that introduces you to the WordPress Dashboard.
WordPress Dashboard Left Sidebar
Takes you to the updates screen, and lists any items such as plugins for which an update may be available.
Sub options include ‘Add New’, ‘Categories’ and ‘Tags’. You can add or edit new posts, define categories or tags. This is explained in detail in the video.
The Media section houses all images or videos that you use in your website. You can embed these in your pages or posts. This is where you assign tags, captions or names to your images, specify their size, crop them, or edit them in any way to make them usable for your purpose.
This is where you create your blogroll.
Almost everyone needs to use this since your website or blog will have a few pages. You can add or edit pages here.
This section will list all the comments on your blog. You can approve them, mark them as spam or move them to trash.
Appearance – Themes, Widgets, Menus, Theme settings, Background, Header, Editor
This is a big one. Select the theme you want, customize your widget areas, customize your theme, change your background, upload a header, edit your style sheet – it is all possible through the Appearance menu.
This is where you download plugins from the web, or upload them from your hard drive. You need to install and activate the plugin before you use them. You can also deactivate a plugin for a while if you are not using it.
If you are the Site Admin, this is where you go to create new users, delete inactive ones, and assign roles based on what each user does.
This section allows you to import other files such as backups from your other blogs, and also allows you to export existing data into a file. It is a great practice to take periodic backups of your blog, whether you host it on WordPress or your own site.
Grouped under General, Writing, Reading etc., this section allows you to customize various things such as your blog title, time zone, email address, date format etc. Check out my video below for more details.
As you download different plugins, some of them are added as part of the Settings menu, or they may get their own link in the left sidebar. ‘Share and Get It’, ‘Wordfence’ and ‘Subscribe2’ are some plugins which get added to your sidebar with several sub menus or links under them.
Now that we have exhausted what you can see in the left sidebar, let us move to the main section of the Dashboard. This may vary slightly based on the theme you have installed, or the version you’re using.
The Right Now section
This part gives you a snapshot of your content – the number of pages and posts you have, and the categories or tags you defined. It also shows approved comments, spam, your theme name and the number of widgets you have installed.
As the name suggests, this part lists the new comments posted – these may be pending or approved.
As the name suggests, this section shows the recent content that is still in a Draft status.
The content of this section depends on the plugins you have installed. Some plugins provide a performance snapshot on your Dashboard, which is a great way to keep track of their performance.
Other WordPress news
Breaking news from the world of WordPress; this is a good guide to what’s new, and what’s causing a stir in the WordPress community. It’s a great way to keep abreast of trends without leaving your Dashboard.
As you see, the WordPress Dashboard is the central location from which you can access most features related to your blog or website. And a secret tip – you can customize what you want to see here with the help of Screen Options.
If you’re new to WordPress, I hope that these videos and this post helped you get a quick overview of what’s possible. Even if you are a long time WordPress user, maybe you learned of some small setting that you didn’t know of before? I am eager to know whether this was all too simple for you, or if it was helpful.
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