WordPress dashboard is one of the most confusing things that beginner bloggers find it hard to understand and make use of.
Most bloggers will show you how to start a blog as a beginner in 5 minutes but fail to help new bloggers to understand the features that makeup WordPress.
In this blog post, I will be highlighting the basic features of the WordPress admin dashboard to help beginner bloggers like you, find it easy to use WordPress right from the beginning.
Let’s get started !
WordPress Dashboard Customization
Call me the black sheep of my family. No one practically takes me seriously because of my being introverted.
The idea of starting a blog really meant something important to me.
I really got excited when I got my domain name , hosting and wordpress installed. It was such an emotional excitement period for me.
All the excitement died down when I logged in to my dashboard.
That dashboard practically gave me a heart attack with all those technical jargons there
I absolutely had zero experience with WordPress and it was such a damper on my excitement.
At that moment I hated WordPress for being so complicated……well, for a short time.
But that did not pull me down.
I decided I was going to figure out the WordPress dashboard apps no matter what. I can say I won in the end.
Here are the features of the WordPress dashboard I will be highlighting.
These are the features and I will be talking briefly on each feature.
Are you ready? Come on! let’s rock it!
The dashboard is where you can access a quick overview of your WordPress admin panel. It features quick access for your posts, pages, menus, theme customization, etc.
However, the dashboard area is not where you should be focusing on.
On your left-hand side is the dark background dashboard menu within WordPress where all the settings are accessed.
This is where your WordPress settings energy should be focused on.
The posts section has 4 subpages under it. You need to click or hover over it for the subpages to appear on your screen.
These are the sub pages you will see under the posts section.
You will find all your posts in this section. Whether it has been published or it’s in a draft, you will find all of them there. At the top of your ‘All Posts’ page, you will see the state of your posts categories at the top.
If you want to write a blog post, you will just click on the add new link and it will take you to a new post page for you to start writing your epic new posts.
This part is the tricky part. There is a need to put your blog posts in categories so that your blog visitors can access posts that are related to what they are reading.
For instance, if you are a food blogger, you should create categories for the recipes you write on.
You can have a rice category where all the dishes you create using rice are grouped together.
The default category of WordPress is uncategorized.
You should make sure you don’t add a post to several categories. It will just create duplicates for your post.
I’m sorry to break to you that tags are not the same as hashtags. Unfortunately, I also fell victim to this thought when I started my first blog.
I tagged several of posts using hashtags. It was such a perfect waste of time.
Let’s use the food blog category example I made above to explain the use of tags.
Early on, I said if you are a food blogger, you can categorize all your rice recipes under one specific category.
Now, if you have several recipes for fried rice which is in the rice category, from all over the world, that is when you tag your fried rice recipes with a tag name like Fried rice.
So, you will have a rice category and under that category, you have assigned a tag for fried rice.
Assigning a tag for your posts can help a visitor to see topics under a specific category.
You should, however, make sure that you separate your tags with a comma if you intend to tag a post in more than one tag.
Here is a link explaining category and tags
The media contains all the photos on your blog.
You can access your photo library from this section.
Again, you can click on it and under its submenu, you can click on add new to add new images
It can come off as weird but I really hard trouble differentiating between creating pages and posts.
I didn’t know whether to write in my posts pages or not.
It was one hell of a struggle for me and kind of still is.
You can create pages to display your posts.
Those are on my primary menu.
The home page displays static posts. That is posts I want to be seen by all visitors.
The about page is where I have information about me.
Here is a spectacular guide to Wp pages. Do read for more information on creating pages.
The comments section is where all people who have commented on your blog will be sent for you to approve and reply to their comments.
In the comments section, you will see the following pages in the comments menu listed below.
- Mine: Your replies to comments
- Pending: Comments that ave not been approved by you
- Approved: comments you have approved
- Spam: Comments you think were not written by humans and therefore you have sent them to spam. Make sure to send any comment that is ridden with links to spam
- Trash: Comments you have sent to the WordPress trash.
The appearance section is where all your WordPress dashboard theme customization will be done.
Everything that relates to your theme appearance can be found in this section.
Here is a comprehensive post on how to install a theme in WordPress
If you don’t want the themes from the WordPress repository, read this post on how to download and upload a theme to wordpress
A plugin is a dashboard widget for WordPress which you can use to enhance your site.
Moreover, installing plugins will help you not to mess with your Cpanel.
If it were not for the invention of WordPress plugins, I think quitting would have been my next option.
When you click on plugins, you will see three sub-menus popping out. They are
- Installed Plugins: It will show you all the plugins you have installed. you can also deactivate and delete activated plugins from this plugin setting.
- Add new: For adding new plugins
- Plugin editor: For adding codes and scripts to make the plugin function better for you.
Don’t touch the WordPress dashboard plugin editor ever. Well, Unless you know your way around coding.
When you install a plugin, you need to activate it before it will work.
Installing plugins that clash with other plugins can make your WordPress dashboard slow.
It can also lead to your WordPress dashboard not loading.
Also, whenever you want to delete a plugin, deactivate it before you delete it.
This is where your profile information and that of other users are stored.
Let’s say you want to add another person who can have access to your blog.
You will create a user a role for the person and assign a role to them.
Here are the roles you can assign to a user
- Administrator: They will have access to everything on your site. If you want somebody to alter your site design, you will assign them the administrator role to enable them to alter your site design
- Editor: When you want to add a user who will only have access to writing and publishing your posts, you assign to them the editor role.
- Author: A user added as an author can publish posts under their own name. They can also delete their posts if they want to.
- Contributor: A contributor can only write text posts. You will have to modify their posts after they are done by adding images and probably assigning a new category to the post if the topic does not have a category on your site
- Subscriber: You can assign a user to be a subscriber when you intend to have your readers to log in before they can have access to your content.
For SEO Editor and Manager user roles, please refer to this post on SEO roles by Yoast
These are tools that are used to maintain or make changes on your site.
Under the tools section on the WordPress dashboard, are the following tools
- Available Tools: You will find instructions on how you can convert your categories to tags and your tags to categories.
- Import: This is where you will be able to import files from other easily. It has built-in CMS like Blogger, Typepad, WordPress, etc.
- Export: You can export files from your WordPress site. Exported files will be downloaded in an XML file type which you can import to another WordPress site
- Site Health: This site will give you important recommended changes for your site as well as tell you testings your site has passed. you should make it a habit of checking your site health
This is the last section in the wordpress dashboard when it is newly installed.
The setttings part contains most of the site functions features
Under the settings section in the WordPress dashboard, you will find the following settings option.
- General: This is where you will find general settings like your site title, tagline, your URL, date format, etc.
- Writing: determine a default category and the post format for your blog posts. There is also a way for you to post via email. that setting can also be accessed in the writing section.
- Reading: What do you want to display on your homepage? how many pages do you want to display? Do you want posts showing on your pages to be in full text or summary? if you have an answer for all these questions then this is where you make those settings.
- Discussion: The discussion settings are mainly about your comments section. You can make changes to your comments section as you want. you can also select an icon that is known as the Gravatar to display as an image of commenters.
- Media: if you want to assign specific image width and height for your thumbnails, medium and large uploaded images, you can make those changes in the media under settings.
- Permalinks: You have read posts on changing your URLs that contain dates and numbers. But where exactly do you make these changes? Those changes are made in the permalinks section. Make sure your permalink structure is set to post name.
You I know you are probably thinking and saying this is too much information but I promise you that you will get your hands around it and in no time, you will get used to it.
Nobody died of too much info anyway. lol
Now that you know what every term in the WordPress dashboard does and means, its time for you to start creating and writing posts with these tips for SEO in mind.
I hope this blog post has been helpful. Feel free to comment on your thoughts and suggestions.
PS: Will you be a sweetheart and share this post? I will really appreciate it.