Introduction to the WordPress Dashboard

The WordPress Dashboard is the first screen you see when you log into the administrative section of your website.  This is where you can add and update the pages and posts of your website.

wordpress-3.3-new-welcome-screen

At the top of your WordPress dashboard you will notice a  navigation menu with the title of your website. The menu also contains the name of the person who is logged in at the present time . If you click on it, you will see there is a link to log out of your WordPress dashboard. You will also notice that  there is a link to edit your profile settings.

When WordPress introduces or updates its features,  they will conveniently bring it to your attention  by giving you a  a Dashboard tour of that new or updated feature. After you have read about the new feature, please click” Dismiss” to hide the tour.

Unless you have a customized version of WordPress, you should see that  just below your name on the top navigation menu, there are a two tabs: Help and Screen Options.  When you click on these tabs, a slide down panel will appear.  The Help section displays helpful information to assist you in navigating your way around the dashboard. The Screen Options section displays various several choices that allow you to customize what is viewed on the current post or page. The options in in this section vary depending on which page or post you are currently looking at.

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Dashboard Menu Options

If you look to the left side of your WordPress Dashboard you can the administrative menu. Here is where the links to edit your website are located.

If you hover over these links, you will see that a “slide out” menu with various options will be displayed for each menu choice. When each of the links is click on the admin menu, that  menu option will expand to reveal  any available options for that section.

Below is a brief overview of the options on the Administrative Navigation menu:

Dashboard Homepage

The first page that will appear when you Login into your WordPress Dashboard, is your dashboard homepage. When you look to the left at the very top of the Dashboard, in the “Right Now” section, you will see that it lists the amount of  Blog Posts, Pages, Categories, as well as Tags that your site contain, in addition to the amount of pending, approved and spam comments.

PostsPost menu item

In the Posts section, you are able to create and update Blog posts.You are also able to add and update Blog Categories and Blog Post Tags.

Media

In the Media Library,  is where are all the images, videos, documents and files that you have uploaded are saved. You may scroll  through the Media section to find and edit any media files.

Links

Starting with version 3.5 of WordPress, the Links option is removed by default. This was done to simplify the interface of the dashboard.  However, if you were already utilizing the Links option in a version prior to WordPress 3.5, when you update it it will automatically stay in place for you to use.  But, if you are not currently utilizing this feature or if this is your first installation of WordPress, you must go to WordPress Plugin Directory to get the Link Manager plugin. Once you activate this plugin, it will then show up on your Dashboard admin menu.

The Link Manager is a plugin that is adds links to your WordPress website. The links are generally shown in list format using one of WordPress Widgets.  The links in the section may also be separated by Categories.

Pages

In the Pages section, you can add and edit Pages in your WordPress website.

Comments

In this section, you are allowed to manage all your comments. This also includes replying, deleting or marking Spam comments.

Appearance

In the Appearance section, you  control the look of your WordPress website. You are allowed to choose, change or delete a Theme, edit and add Menus and/or Widgets,  and if you have enough advanced knowledge you are even allowed to edit your theme source files, such as PHP and CSS.

Plugins

In the Plugins section, you can extend your WordPress website functionality. You are allowed to add or remove plugins, in addition to activating or deactivating plugins.

Users

In the Users section, all the users for your website are listed. If you have a Admin or Super Admin Role, you are also allowed to add new users and manage their admin privileges (Roles).

Tools

In the Tools section, you are given access to several tools. You are also allowed to Import and Export data to and from your WordPress website as a data file.

Settings

The Settings section is where you edit your site configuration. There are many things that can be configured in this area. Among them are,the website name and web address, whether or not your  site visitors can add comments and several other website settings. Quite often, once you set your website is up, it is usually not necessary to edit any of the website settings.

At the very bottom in the Admin menu you will see the Collapse menu link. Clicking on this link will  minimize it and you will just see icons instead. Clicking the arrow will extend the menu back to its former status.

On occasion, after installing a WordPress Plugin,  You will also see additional links on the Admin Menu. The position of these links is dependent on the Plugin. However, often times the links will appear either  under the Settings section or the Tools section or they will create a entirely new menu item on the Admin menu.