How to Use WordPress Admin Panel (dashboard) – Detailed Overview of the Admin Area
WordPress admin panel also know as the WordPress login page or the Dashboard, is the place you make all of the changes to your site.
Over the years the login page gone through some slight changes to ease our development process. However, few things have changed in regards the functions. Let’s start:
How to use WordPress dashboard
Of course, the first step will be to actually access your WordPress. To do so, type yourdomain.com/wp-admin inside the browser your are using. Type your admin user and password and click Log in:
This is how the WordPress admin dashboard looks like:
Pretty clean, right?
WordPress Admin Panel Explained
Ok, we are in our new admin panel, let’s now take a look at all the available settings one by one:
Dashboard –The first screen, the one you saw on the pic above, is like a welcome screen. Here are listed a couple of useful links that will direct you to different sections of your WordPress. Click on customize to change the configurations of your current theme, quickly add new posts or page and etc. If your site is a brand new, you won’t see much.
Posts – The posts section inside your WordPress admin area is keeping all of your posts organized. Add your new category from Posts > Categories and start writing articles from Posts > Add new:
Media – Inside media are stored all of the images/pdf’s/audio files you upload. Add new or see your library by clicking on the corresponding buttons:
Pages – In the beginning, you might be a bit confusing by the pages and posts section and what is the difference between them. Pages are used for creating the foundations of your site. For example: About; Home; Sales; Contact page and etc. Their URL structure is yourdomain.com + the chosen keyword while writing the page (e.g. yourdomain.com/about). On the other hand. Posts are used to be published under a specific category. You can’t use New posts to create about section, simply because it will be listed in category Uncategorized and the URL structure will be yourdomain.com/uncategorized/about (as you can see this is not cool). The easiest way to explain the difference: you use pages to create the main sections of your site and posts are the ones that will populate your blog page (for example):
Comments – Will show your pending, approved,spam and deleted comments.
Appearance – Really important section of your WordPress login page. Since there are a couple of extra sections, I will go through them one by one:
- Themes – Install, Activate, Delete or Upload WordPress Themes.
Customize – The features inside this section are different depending on the theme you are going to use. Through the customizer you can add logo, change the site description and other cool stuff. Make sure to check it out.
- Widget section – Different tools that are added inside your Sidebar and can be used for promoting your products or listing additional content.
Menus – This section is organizing your menu elements, your navigation bar. Here you can add pages, links or categories and they will appear on the top of your site, right next to your logo:
Editor –You can edit the css of your theme and mess around with the code. I don’t advice you to touch anything inside this section unless you don’t know what you are doing.
The number of sections here will vary depending on the plugins and the themes you are going to use.
Plugins – Are extensions that add different functionality to your WordPress website. This section here is the place where you can install new and manage your existing ones.
- Installed plugins – In this window are listed all of your installed plugins. You can easily install or deactivate them by using the corresponding buttons below each of the plugins:
Add new – Easily install free or premium plugins. If a plugin is listed in the WordPress.org repository (meaning that is free), you can then installed it only by searching for it and clicking install. If you have a plugin downloaded on your local machine (free or premium) just upload it using the button on the top of the page:
Editor – Edit the CSS of the installed plugins. Again, I don’t advice you to touch anything inside this section unless you don’t know what you are doing.
Users – All of the people that can access your WordPress admin area are listed here. In case you are wondering why you would want someone else to access your WordPress dashboard, I can provide you with a couple of reasons.
- You can hire a writer to write posts for your blog section.
- You can hire a developer to make changes to your site.
- You can allow people to subscribe to content that is not visible for the other visitors.
- And more.
Summary of roles:
- Administrator – nothing is off limits.
- Editor – has access to all posts, pages, comments, categories, tags, and links.
- Author – can write, upload photos to, edit, and publish their own posts.
- Contributor – has no publishing or uploading capability, but can write and edit their own posts until they are published.
- Follower – (public sites) / Viewer (private sites only) – can read and comment on posts and pages.
Tools – This section is ofter used for importing demo data of demo themes provided by Theme developers. Additionally, it may list settings of some of the plugins you installed. If you are looking for the settings of a plugin and you are not finding it anywhere else, make sure to check this section also.
Settings – A couple of important configurations are listed inside this section. See below for details:
- General – Change your site title and tagline; configure your WordPress URL address; check the admin email; change the time zone/date and the site language if necessary:
- Writing – Change the default post category and format.
- Reading – Decide if you want to make your front page static or to show the latest posts. Also, you can discourage search engines from indexing this site, which I don’t recommend using unless you don’t want to make your website public yet.
- Discussion – This section allows you to manage the comments on your site. Enable disable comments or blacklist specific emails, IP or other to prevent spam messages.
- Media – Media section will give you permissions to modify the default sizes of media files. Most probably you will never access this section.
- Permalinks – Change the permalink structure of your website URL. This is really important and I highly recommend updating this structure before doing anything else. The most used is Custom Structure with these fields added inside the empty fields: /%category%/%postname%/ :
These are the basics.
Keep in mind that each WordPress theme and plugin will most probably add its own menu inside your WordPress admin panel. Which can potentially lead to confused, because of all these icons listed inside your WordPress login page.
So if it’s getting harder to find the setting you are looking for, try to disable plugins you are not using. This will not only help you better manage your site, but it will also help you improve your WordPress speed.
Comment below if you have other question related to the WordPress admin dashboard. I will be happy to help.