The WordPress Dashboard

In this video, we’ll take a quick tour of the WordPress Dashboard, which provides access to all the site management tools for your website.

This video is 16 minutes long.

To view the video in full-screen mode for a better look, click the bottom right hand corner of the video. Hit escape to return to the smaller size.


Getting to Know the WordPress Dashboard

To access the WordPress Dashboard and begin managing your site’s content, click the Log In link on your site’s home page or if your site doesn’t have a Log In link, you can simply type W-P-hyphon-admin at the end of your website’s URL which will bring up the log in screen. Enter your username and password and then click the Log In button.

The Dashboard is the first screen you’ll see when you’ve successfully logged in to WordPress. Each screen in the administration area contains three sections: a toolbar across the top of the page, the main navigation menu on the left-hand side, and the main work area.

The first time you log in to your WordPress Dashboard, you’ll be greeted with a Welcome module that contains a simple collection of links to help you get started included shortcuts to customize your site’s theme, begin creating content for your site, manage your widgets or menus, enable comments, or learn more. When you’re comfortable with the Dashboard, you can dismiss this Welcome module.

At the top of the Dashboard is the toolbar, which contains links to the most commonly used administrative functions including links to find more information about WordPress, documentation, and the support forums if your need help. Hovering over your site’s name reveals a link to visit the public view of your site and when you’re logged in, the toolbar remains across the top of your site while you browse, enabling you to quickly edit the page or post you’re currently viewing or to create new content.

Hover over the site name again to return to the Dashboard or any of the other panels in the administration area. The toolbar also displays simple notifications if there are updates available for your site’s theme or plugins or if there are new comments to approve and you’ll find quick links to create a new post, upload media files, add a new page, or create a user.

On the right-hand side of the toolbar, you’ll find links to edit your profile or log out. It’s a good idea to visit your profile right away and set-up your personal preferences. These options allow you to customize WordPress to work best for you and even choose from a number of different color schemes for the admin area.

Complete your name and contact information, enter a brief description about yourself, and select a strong password. And speaking of security, if you’ve logged in to your WordPress from another computer or mobile device, this button will log out all those other sessions besides the one you’re currently using. To return to the Dashboard at any time, simply click the Dashboard link at the top of the main navigation menu.

Just below your username in the toolbar are two hanging tabs labeled Screen Options and Help. These expand to provide additional options or contextual help specific to whatever page or panel you’re currently on.

Screen Options allow you to customize your Dashboard choosing which options to be displayed on that page. You can completely hide things that you don’t plan to use by simply unchecking the box next to each item. You can obviously re-enable this at any time.

On the left-hand side of the screen is the main navigation menu, which contains links to all of the administrative screens in WordPress. Depending on your user access you will see more or less items in your navigation menu. All of the options can be somewhat overwhelming so it is possible for you to set up two user logins for yourself. One for administrative activities and another for adding posts and page content. You can do that under Users on the navigation menu.

Hovering over a menu item displays the sub-menu, revealing additional functions or options that are available. If you need more screen space, you can minimize the entire menu into just a strip of icons by clicking the Collapse Menu link at the bottom.

When the menu is minimized like this, you can still access sub-menus by simply hovering over the icon for each item. If you like, you can re-arrange the boxes on the Main Dashboard. Click anywhere in the title bar of a box and then drag the box to a new location on the page. Release your mouse button when you see the dotted gray outline in the location where you want the box to appear. This enables you to completely personalize your Dashboard in a way that works best for you. The boxes can also be minimized by clicking anywhere in the title bar itself or by clicking the arrow on the right.

Now, let’s take a look at the individual boxes on the dashboard screen. The At a Glance module displays a summary of your site’s content and identifies which version of WordPress and theme you’re currently using. The Activity module displays your most recent posts and allows you to moderate comments from your readers by simply hovering your mouse over an individual comment. You can approve, reply to, edit, mark as spam, or delete a comment directly from this box. WordPress News contains links to the latest updates from the official WordPress project as well as articles from popular WordPress Sites around the web and a featured WordPress plugin.

Some people find Quick Draft a handy tool, which enables you to quickly create a new post and save it as a draft. This is a great way to save ideas for future articles that you might want to come back and finish later. Simply enter a title, add some descriptive content, and then click Save Draft. Your most recent drafts are displayed at the bottom of the box, enabling you to easily open that post directly in the Editor.

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