When you log into your WordPress website, you’re taken to the Dashboard. This is your control center where you will work with your website. The first time you login, you’re greeted by a Welcome screen which suggests some first steps for building your website. We will dismiss that Welcome for now, but we’ll be able to come back to it if we’d like to.
Your Dashboard is made up of three areas.
- Navigation links on the left
- “Admin bar” along the top
- Main Content Area filled with Content Boxes.
You can click and drag these boxes around, or collapse them. However if you want to hide a few, you can click on the “Screen Options” tab in the upper right. Uncheck any boxes you don’t want. From here, you can recheck any box you want in the future.
The three most useful boxes in my experience are “Right Now” which gives you a snapshot of your website, “Recent Comments” where you can moderate comments on your posts, and “Recent Drafts” which holds drafts of content you are working on.
At any time, if you need help or want more information about the screen you’re on, there’s a nice “Help” tab in the upper right.
Now looking at the Navigation Links on the left of your screen.
These are the basic options you will use when building your website. Hover your mouse over any main link to get a pop-up of additional sub-links. For those of you using a small laptop screen or using an iPad you can also collapse the menu to save your screen real estate.
Let’s go through some of the important Navigation Links.
“Updates” is very important link you will want to use to keep your website updated and secured.
Pro Tip- Make sure you backup you website before doing updates. In general, you won’t have a problem with an update affecting your website, but strange things can happen so it’s best to be prepared with a backup.
“Posts” is a link you will use a lot, especially if you’ll be blogging regularly and most of the content you add to your website will probably be a post. The “Posts” link is where you will go to Add New Posts, Edit Drafts and Old Posts, and organize your posts into Categories.
You might think you’re going to use “Media” and “Links” quite a bit, but in practical use you’ll only use those links to view the archives of your Media.
“Pages” is another link you will use a lot, especially as you’re developing the base content of your website.
Pages differs from Posts in that Pages tend to be “set it and forget it” Pages on your site like, “About Us.” Once you create that page, it won’t change very much.
“Comments” helps you moderate comments on your posts.
“Appearance” is the design and ‘look’ of your website. Once you set things up the way you want them, you will rarely return to this section.
“Plugins” is what sets WordPress apart as a website platform. Plugins allow you to add functionality to your base website. Some common plugin solutions businesses add to their website (which will be covered later in this book) are: A Feature-Rich Form creator, Backup solution, SEO software, Security measures, and much more. Podcasting software, Event registration and management, e-commerce, invoicing, and whatever else you want your website to do, “There’s a plugin for that!”
“Users” is the next link which allows you to add and manage users and manage your profile.
“Settings” will allow you to customize your basic website settings and plugin settings.
Pro Tip- Your website may have other links. For example: Forms, Testimonies, SEO, and much more. These are additional features added to your site by your theme or plugins.