Let’s have a look around now that we’ve arrived at the dashboard!
To begin, there are a few key areas on the WordPress admin page where you can make changes to your site.
The first is this dashboard, which contains the majority of the tools you’ll need to make modifications to your website.
It’s only available to you and the people for whom you create WordPress accounts.
When you’re logged in and seeing your main site, you’ll see various “customize” options, which we’ll go over later.
Let’s start with the most significant elements of the WordPress dashboard.
Those metaphorical needles in a haystack of buttons, pages, and options WordPress just threw on you.
To begin, hover your cursor over the name of your site in the top left corner and select “view site” to see what your website looks like right now (and every time you make updates and changes)
On the left is the main menu where you’ll find all the tools you’ll use when creating your WordPress website.
Any WordPress website will include the following tools:The Updates section is where you’ll find and install WordPress updates.
platform, as well as any plugins and themes that you’ve set up.
In Posts, you’ll write new blog posts or update old ones, such as “Top 10 WordPress Secrets” or “How to Use WordPress Tutorial.” To better organize your entries, you can also see and add categories and tags here.
You can upload or change all of the photographs, images, and other files on your site in the Media section.
Pages allows you to build or update pages that aren’t part of your blog, such as “About” and “Contact Us.”
You can read, approve, delete, or respond to all of the comments left on your posts and pages in the Comments section.
Appearance includes a lot of choices behind it, but the most important thing you can do here for our needs is install themes. However, depending on the theme you install, you can also control widgets, menus, alter your blog’s header, and a few other features.
Plugins are areas on your website where you can install various pieces of code that add apps and functionality.
Users is where you can make changes to your WordPress profile and create or update accounts for other individuals on your site (name, password, etc.)
By default, you’ll be able to import and export blog content here; plugins can provide more functionality.
Settings includes options for your blog, the WordPress page/post editor, comments, media, and permalinks, among other things.
You’ll also see menu options for the plugins you’ve installed.
You might locate it in the main left-hand menu, or as an option beneath any of the above primary menu items, depending on the plugin’s functionality and how it’s written.
In our guide, for example, HostGator automatically installed the following:
WP Forms is a plugin; if you install WordPress with HostGator, they’ll automatically include it; if you went with another host that didn’t include it, you can add it later — it simply makes it very easy to construct contact forms for your site (check out that tutorial here).
Marketplace is a HostGator-specific feature that allows you to purchase premium themes. Because we use other sites, this is typically overlooked.
The WordPress dashboard: A deeper dive
WordPress, like any other popular software (content management system or otherwise), often makes updates, some of which include important improvements such as new features, and others which include minor bug fixes and security patches.
These days, WordPress will install minor updates automatically and prompt you to make significant changes (since major updates can occasionally break plugins and themes, and they’re clever enough not to do that to you for everyone’s sake).
However, you will need to update plugins and themes yourself, which you can do from this page or the plugins/themes pages.
The Posts menu lets you control the content you add to your blog, a few options here:
- All Posts takes you to a page that lists all of the posts in your dashboard. From here, you can quickly edit one or more posts to change things like categories, tags, and author, or you can click on a particular post to view it or edit its content.
- Add New will automatically fire up a page where you can create a new blog post.
- Categories lets you view all the categories your posts are listed under, then edit those and add new ones.
- Tags is just like Categories, only for tags options-wise. The basic idea here is that each post should only have one Category that groups it with other posts that are similar, while a post might have a lot of Tags based on topics or keywords mentioned in your post.
The Media menu item lets you upload videos, images, audio and other files to your site then manage them (change meta details, add them to posts, pages, sidebars, etc).
You’ll find a couple of options here:
- Library lets you view and edit all of the media you’ve uploaded to your site.
- Add New is just like it sounds… a quick way to upload new media to your site!
Unlike blog posts, which show up on a “blog” page that lists all your blog posts in reverse chronological order (aka the last one you post is at the top), Pages are places on your site that don’t change much; things like About, Contact, Our Services, etc.
The usual suspects as far as options:
- All Pages is basically the pages version of the “All Posts” option above (you can quickly edit all your pages or deep dive into editing one).
- Add New lets you create a new page. Whoda thunk it!
Comments lets you manage messages left on your site from other people – both on pages and blog posts.
Clicking on this option will let you read comments that have been left across your site, approve, disapprove or delete them (because spam happens), and leave responses as well.
This menu item is how to a lot of the options for changing the design of your site (though not all of them – see below!).
Lots of options here (these are what any WordPress site will have, if you install certain themes and plugins you’ll find more):
- Themes is where you can search for and install new themes from the WordPress themes directory, or upload and install themes you’ve found somewhere else online.
- Customize this one changes a lot depending on the theme you’ve chosen. The basic options are your site’s title and tagline, color, background image, and whether or not you have a static homepage (or one that shows your latest blog posts). Themes/plugins will add a ton of other options to this list.
- Widgets are boxes of special code you can add to various places on your site, like your homepage, header/footer, or sidebar. What’s “special code” mean? Anything from calendars, social media links, and recent posts to videos, audio players, and contact forms.
- Menus are lists of links to pages/posts on your site; any WordPress website will have a header and footer menu, certain themes will have more.
- Header will provide options for customizing your header menu; those options depend on the theme you’ve installed but generally include changing the background color and uploading your logo
Plugins are pieces of easy to install code that change how your site looks, feels, and functions.
They can add entirely new features like contact forms that integrate with an email management software like Mailchimp, extend your theme’s capabilities with a drag and drop editor, or let you do backend things like manage page redirects.
- Installed Plugins is the plugin version of “All Pages/Posts” – lets you manage and update the plugins you’ve already installed.
- Add New lets you find and install new plugins.
- Plugin Editor is like the theme editor – only for advanced users, definitely requires coding skills.
This menu item lets you create new accounts for people on your site (for example, for someone to write blog posts for you or for a web developer to make changes), as well as edit existing users and your own user account preferences.
Options you’ll find:
- All Users lets you manage all the user accounts on your site.
- Add New …we’ll let you guess this one.
- Your Profile is where you can update your user account preferences (email address, password, profile image, etc.)
And each new user you add can have the following roles:
- Administrators can do anything on your blog from adding new pages/posts/users, to installing plugins and themes and editing everything.
- Editors can access all posts, pages, comments, categories, and tags but can’t edit appearance, themes, plugins or add new users.
- Authors can publish and edit posts as well as upload media.
- Contributors can write and edit their own posts, but can’t publish them or edit other posts/pages.
- Subscribers can comment on posts and pages (by default anyone can comment, but you can enable “only people who are logged in can comment” in the settings).
Tools is kind of a catchall bucket for backend functions.
Plugins will add to this list but by default you’ve got three options:
- Available Tools takes you to a page with a list of tools from certain plugins.
- Import allows you to import data into WordPress from other website platforms (either another CMS or a website builder).
- Export Lets you export content so you can import it into another WordPress installation.
- Site Health shows stats, tips, and info about your site so you can make sure it stays running optimally.
- Export Personal Data lets you export any personal information about users with accounts on your site.
- Erase Personal Data lets you erase any personal information about users with accounts on your site.
This menu holds most of the general settings options for your WordPress site.
Plugins will add more options, the defaults include:
- General – which lets you configure basic options like timezone, date format, site name, URL, etc.
- Writing – which lets you set default categories and post format.
- Reading – which lets you set your homepage to either a static page or your latest blog post and the number of posts to show on your blog page.
- Discussion – which has settings for controlling how comments work on your site.
- Media – which lets you change the default sizes for images you upload.
- Permalinks – which lets you customize the structure of URLs on your site.
Table of Contents
- The first step is to obtain a domain name and web hosting.
- Step 2: Installing WordPress
- Step 3: Using WordPress to Login
- Step 4: How to Use the WordPress Admin Panel
- Step 5: Putting WordPress Themes Into Place
- Step 6: How to Install WordPress Plugins
- Step 7: How to Change the Look and Feel of Your WordPress Theme
- Step 8: Adding Pages to WordPress
- Step 9: How to make a WordPress blog post
- Step 10: Creating WordPress Menus
- Step 11: Putting Your WordPress Site Online
- Step 12: How to speed up WordPress
- Step 13: Enable gzip compression for WordPress
- Step 14: How to Make Your WordPress Site More Secure
- Step 15: How to update your WordPress site
- Step 16: How do you backup your WordPress site
- Website tips and tricks for WordPress
- Now that you can build your own personal website