Understanding the WordPress Dashboard

You have your own WordPress blog set up on your domain. That’s great! You’ve taken the first step towards creating an awesome blog.

Your next step is to make yourself familiar with the WordPress dashboard, and that’s what this page will help you achieve.

Each time you log in to your blog’s back-end using your username and password, you’ll be taken to the WordPress dashboard, which looks like this:

wordpress dashboard

The whole thing may look overwhelming and confusing at first, but in no time, you’ll get used to it. It’s actually much easier to use than you can imagine.

The most important parts of the WordPress dashboard are:

  1. The toolbar (the horizontal bar at the top of the page)
  2. The sidebar (the column by the left of the page)

Both parts remain in place when you’re browsing through any part of your blog’s back-end and enable you to easily navigate and access any function or feature you need.

Now, let’s explore each of them.

The toolbar

wordpress toolbar

The toolbar will remain in its position even when you access the front end of your blog. You can verify that by entering your blog’s URL in another browser window, or by simply hovering over the name of your blog in your toolbar and clicking on “Visit site”.

In addition to making it easy for you to switch between the back-end and front-end of your blog, the toolbar helps you easily access popular parts of the back-end that you will most likely use often.

The toolbar doesn’t contain anything new. In fact, you can do without it — because all the menus and buttons on the toolbar only replicate what you have on the sidebar. It only provides quick access to features and functions you want to access quickly.

From the left to the right, here are the buttons on the toolbar:

  • The WordPress icon: This provides easy access to WordPress.org, the Codex (WordPress’ online instruction manual), the free Support Forums, and the Requests and Feedback Forum.
  • Home: From the backend, this will redirect to your blog’s home page. But from the front end, it links to some of the most important parts of the back-end (such as Themes, Widgets, and Menus — all discussed later).
  • Available plugin updates: This quick notification icon tells you if any of your plugins have new updates available. If you click on the icon, you’ll be taken to the WordPress Updates page, where you can choose to complete any pending updates.
  • Comments: This icon tells you if there are any new comments awaiting moderation. Clicking on the button takes you to the Comments page, where you can read and moderate comments.
  • New: This is a multipurpose button. Hovering on it gives you the option to add a new Post, Page, User, or Media
  • MOJO marketplace: This is a third-party package added by Bluehost. You don’t need to worry about it, though.
  • Account details: This menu gives you quick access to your WordPress user profile for the site, as well as a Log Out

The sidebar

wordpress sidebar

As you can see in the screenshot above, the sidebar has a lot more contents than the toolbar. And that’s because it contains every single feature and function within WordPress. So, you’ll be using it a lot. Note, however, that the sidebar won’t show on the front-end of your blog.

Now, let’s look at the buttons on the WordPress sidebar from top to bottom:

  • Dashboard: This links to the dashboard, so you can easily find your way in case you’re lost.
  • Jetpack: This button represents a plugin that is installed on WordPress by default. Many plugins add extra buttons like this to the sidebar, so you can easily access their functions and settings.
  • Posts: With this option, you can view, create, and edit posts and post-related meta data (such as Categories and Tags).
  • Media: This menu allows you to access your Media Library, upload media files to your blog, and edit them when necessary.
  • Pages: With this menu, you can view, create, and edit pages.
  • Comments: This buttons links to the Comments page, where you can moderate, edit, and reply comments left on your blog.
  • Marketplace: This men offers essentially the same option as the MOJO Marketplace menu in the toolbar. Just ignore it.
  • Appearance: The multiple options within this menu will help you change how your site looks and functions.
  • Plugins: This menu allows you to add plugins to your files. (Plugins help you add extra functions and more flexibility to your blog).
  • Users: This allows you to add, remove, edit, and search for users. You don’t really need to worry about this part when you’re getting started.
  • Tools: This allows you to import or export data and do some other things. You may never use this menu, so don’t bother about it at this point.
  • Settings: This is where you can change your blog’s settings. We’ll be digging dipper into the settings later on.

And that’s it!

By now you should be able to navigate around the WordPress back-end with relative ease. I’m sure you’d agree that it’s not as complex as you initially saw it.

Now, before you start publishing posts on your blog, you still need to do some few things. Just keep following the guide.

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