WordPress Dashboard Overview (Beginner’s Guide)
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WordPress Dashboard Overview (Beginner’s Guide)

Let’s learn how the WordPress dashboard works.

The dashboard is the first screen users see after logging in. On the right panel, you have a bunch of menus, setting options, and data. Once logged in for the first time, you must place various possibilities.

In this resource, we explain the WordPress dashboard in more detail. Let’s proceed.

What is a WordPress dashboard?

The first screen you see after logging in is the WordPress dashboard. In other words, the dashboard is the admin, back-end, and cPanel area for controlling a WordPress website.

As an administrator, you have the options, access, and control of everything in the dashboard, such as creating users, content management, changing site appearance, setting up permalink structure, and installing/removing various plugins.

A screenshot of the basic overview of the WordPress dashboard is included.

WordPress Dashboard Overview

Let’s learn more about how the WordPress dashboard works.

How to use WordPress Dashboard?

The WordPress login page is accessible at website-address.com/wp-admin/. Once you’ve browsed the URL, you can see the WordPress login screen. If the login information is successful, entering the site credentials will take you to the WordPress dashboard.

Note: You can also access the WordPress login page at website-address.com/wp-login.php/. Please note, WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com. WordPress.org refers to the open-source WordPress platform, while WordPress.com is a company that helps users create WordPress-like sites and provides web hosting plans.

WordPress dashboard overview: In-depth Review for Beginners

Basic Overview

The WordPress dashboard features an introductory overview With three elements – a top bar, a left panel of WordPress menus, and the screen body section. The screen you see on login also refers to the Home Feed.

Dashboard Top Bar

Note: The following information best suits WordPress admin users. Low-privileged users may have depreciated access levels – which can cause different screen options, limited functionality, and access control.

The WordPress Top Bar features basic options to handle repetitive tasks, including:

  • It helps you visit the site’s Home page, which is accessible on the left side.
  • The comment icon takes users to the Comment screen – where changing, removing, or accepting comments is possible.
  • The top bar has a New button that helps users add new pages, posts, and media.
  • The rightmost corner shows your site’s name and a short menu where users can edit their profiles, see email addresses, and sign out.

Here is a basic screenshot of the WordPress Dashboard Top Bar.

WordPress Admin Top Bar

Note: The WordPress top bar shows more buttons if you’ve installed many plugins.

WordPress Data Panels (Body sections)

Note: Before explaining WordPress menus, let’s briefly address how Body panels in the WordPress dashboard work.

Data panels show a brief explanation of what’s happening on site. For example, the following screen shows brief posts, comments, and page information on Home Feed.

WordPress Dashboard

The Home Feed also shows a panel for draft creation. You can create a post’s draft without landing on the Posts -> Add New Post screen.

On top of the Home Feed screen, you can see the (Screen Options), which includes checkboxes to show or hide on-screen widgets on the Dashboard page. Here – the more you’ve installed various plugins, the more options you can see. Remember, showing more on-screen widgets (data panels) can slow down the dashboard. For more information on speeding up the WordPress dashboard, visit this detailed tutorial.

Note: WordPress populates data panels as you install new plugins. For example, after you’ve installed WordFence, one of the WordPress security plugins – the WordFence data panel shows relevant information, as shown in the screenshot below.

WordPress Dashboard at a glance

Note 2: More data panels cause a slower dashboard. You can remove unused data panels by clicking on the Screen Options above.

WordPress Menus

Dashboard

Clicking the dashboard takes users to the Home Feed. The Dashboard menu helps users return to the primary screen.

Home

The Home menu, right below the Dashboard menu, takes users to the same screen as the dashboard. Below, users can go to the Updates page, where upgrading existing assets is a click away. The updates page under Home helps users update the WordPress core, Themes, and Plugins.

Posts

The Posts menu includes two sub-menus – one for creating new posts and the other for seeing all posts made to date. The posts menu helps users manage WordPress content. Once you land on the posts page, you can see WordPress content’s published dates, categories, drafts, and trash section. You can quickly change specific post details, such as title, slug, and categories.

The Add New Post screen loads the WordPress editor to create content. The editor page is sensitive for content publishers. An input field asks for the content Title, followed by the Body Text section. A formatting bar is also present, helping users quickly format textual content, insert media, and create in-text links with point-and-click options.

Let’s address categories and tags in more detail.

Under Posts, you can also see sub-menus for Categories and Tags. In WordPress, categories help users group related content, while Tags differentiate content based on flavors, such as colors, size, or location in online stores.

Tags and Categories could be more helpful, especially for SEO purposes. Using categories causes content duplication in WordPress. However, eCommerce stores do use categories for product pages.

Media

The media menu helps users manage the uploaded media files, such as images, PDF files, documents, and random files – possibly.

You can upload new files, remove or change SEO data for uploaded image files, bulk delete, or search for required information. The media screen also helps you obtain media permalinks. Moreover, the images you upload to WordPress content are automatically saved in Media. You can also upload media directly to Media and get the permalinks to include in WordPress content.

Pages

Like Posts, the Pages menu helps users create new pages. The menu includes two options – one to create a new page and the other to see all pages created to date.

Difference between WordPress Pages and Posts

Posts are created to address explanatory information, such as a detailed explanation of a topic, case study, or event. WordPress pages are different.

WordPress pages help users address rarely-changing information, such as company information, career opportunities, team information, or contact channels.

Comments

The Comments page shows users’ conversations in one place. Here, you can see the approved comments, new pending ones, spam entries, and a trash corner for deleted comments.

WordPress Dashboard comments

If your site is attracting users, the comments page holds recent comments. Admin users need to see the comments page, let’s say – every week to see if something needs attention. The comments page is more important if you’re running a discussion forum, an eCommerce store, or a site with user-generated content.

Appearance

One of the most essential menus in the WordPress dashboard – is the Appearance menu, where users can change the site’s Appearance. Remember, the Appearance menu holds several sub-menuses, including widgets, menus, themes, customization, background, and theme file editor.

Widgets are small sidebar areas to show relevant content. If you feature sidebar widgets on posts, you can set relevant widgets to show related content.

In simple words, the Appearance menu helps users:

  • Change WordPress themes
  • Customize theme options with a live customizer
  • Create menus and widgets

Note: You can also access the Theme File Editor under Appearance. This option allows you to change core files without leaving the WordPress dashboard.

Note 2: Be aware changing WordPress core files is risky. Even if you know how to make changes, updating WordPress assets (Themes, Plugins, or WordPress Core) will erase changes.

The appearance page is specifically made to address site design. Once landed on the page, you can upload WordPress themes. If you’re using a page builder, you can upload one, too, such as Divi Builder. Ready-to-use Themes provide premade templates for WordPress pages, posts, and other projects compared to page builders. On the other hand, a page builder like Divi helps users create custom pages the way they want. In the case of a page builder, users can create and design pages with drag-and-drop blocks, elements, or content boxes – without learning how to code. Nowadays, the WordPress design psychology is shifting towards page-building experiences.

Moreover, you can upload multiple themes on the Themes page; however, only a single theme is applied at a time. Keep in mind that keeping a backup theme in WordPress is ideal. WordPress can automatically activate a backup Theme in case of corruption.

Plugins

As its name suggests, the Plugins page helps users manage WordPress Plugins. Here, installing, activating, deactivating, or removing WordPress plugins is a matter of clicks.

Like the Appearance menu, the Plugin menu can change plugin files. Other options include an Add New Plugin button and another to see all plugins. Plugin management is available on the Installed Plugins page. Here, you can see the active plugins and the ones requiring an update. Users can also see which plugins are set to auto-update.

Users

The WordPress Users page helps admins manage users on a WordPress website. Here, creating new users is a click away.

Users can also change information for existing users, such as user role, display options, and email address. Adding new users, changing users’ data, or managing users require admin privileges. In WordPress, users with low privileges, such as authors, can’t manage WordPress users’ data in WordPress Dashboard. Once a user logs into the dashboard, the Edit User screen provides options for changing colors.

Tools

The tools menu helps you explore WordPress native Import and Export options, which allow users to backup, import, or export WordPress data across various platforms, such as other CMS like Tumblr.

Under the Tools menu, you can experience your site’s health status. As shown in the screenshot below, the Health Status page lets users see the necessary options for WordPress performance.

WordPress Site Health

Users can see and update WordPress’s infrastructure accordingly, such as asset upgrades, PHP alerts, and date settings. Users can also see the passed tests WordPress uses to help them calculate positive aspects.

Settings

Settings are the most crucial menu in the WordPress dashboard. As its name implies, the Settings page helps users control the WordPress website.

The Settings menu contains eight sub-pages. Let’s describe each in more detail.

The General page provides access to basic WordPress settings, including site titles, emails, date settings, and taglines. Once you’ve installed WordPress, the General page helps users quickly set basic settings.

On the other hand, the Writing and Reading pages help users configure WordPress editors and control the number of posts on Home, respectively. You can also see different options on the Writing and Reading pages, such as “Posting content by Email.” On the Reading page, the option That says “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is sensitive. If checked, it instructs search engines not to index your site content. However, as mentioned on the page, search engines can ignore indexing, de-indexing, or crawling requests from users.

The Discussion page under (Settings) provides access to various Comments settings. Here, you can set the default avatar, new comments on posts, pingbacks, manual approval of new comment entries, and email notifications for new comments.

Note: Under the (Settings) menu, other sub-menus will exist depending on your site’s assets. For example, some menus appear if you install specific assets/plugins in the dashboard.

Let’s discuss the final sub-menu, which is the most important for link structures in WordPress – Permalinks.

The Permalinks page provides sensitive information and access to change link structure. Be aware that any changes will affect the site’s link structure. Only change if you know how to deal with settings on the Permalinks page.

The link structure is the primary measure on the Permalinks page. As you land on the page, you can see various options for WordPress permalink structure, as shown in the screenshot below.

WordPress Permalink Structure

Now, setting a permalink structure is mandatory after installing WordPress. Once you put it, you shouldn’t change the link structure. If you do, it will create redirect indexing and rankings issues on search pages.

Here, you can choose one based on the requirement and save changes. For everyday use on Blogs, select the (post name) structure. For custom cases, you can create a custom structure below and save changes at the end. The Permalinks page also contains settings for a base category.

Let’s describe the Privacy sub-menu under Settings.

The privacy page helps users create legal pages. Once you’ve landed on the page, you can see WordPress’ built-in option to create legal pages, such as Privacy Policy. The page helps users address users’ concerns when your site sells products, handles sensitive information, or deals with users’ credentials, such as credit cards.

Moreover, the (Settings) page shows sub-menus based on various WordPress settings, Plugins, or parameters. For example, if you’ve installed a backup plugin like Up Drafts Plus, you’ll see a relevant menu under Settings. In the case of a backup plugin, the submenu will help you create a backup, restore, or manage ZIP packages.

Theme/Plugin specific Menus

If a specific theme or plugin is installed in the WordPress dashboard, relevant menus are shown in the left panel. For example, WordFence, Pretty Links, and Divi Builder create specific menus in the WordPress dashboard.

Theme/Plugin-specific menus don’t offer site-wide options. In this case, specific menus only provide options for the respective themes/plugins installed.

Another example of themes/plugins with relevant menus in the dashboard is Yoast SEO, the plugin used for SEO content optimization.

Professional Tips

Tip 1: The left panel in the WordPress dashboard helps users navigate cPanel options. The panel contains menus, and changing specific options in respective menus changes WordPress’s front-end and back-end interface. For example, changing the theme affects the site’s front-end appearance.

Tip 2: If you’re using a backup plugin in the dashboard, make sure you deactivate the plugin after you’ve backed up your website. Keeping unnecessary ZIP files will also slow down the WordPress dashboard.

Tip 3: WordPress plugins can also customize the WordPress default view. In this case, giving a custom touch to the WordPress dashboard is a click away. You can use various plugins, such as Ultimate Dashboard. Creating a custom dashboard with point-and-click options using page builders, such as Divi Builder, is even easier.

Tip 4: Users can unlock hidden pages in the WordPress dashboard. For example, adding a new user to the Users page will take the user(s) to a new page. The new page asks about new users’ usernames, names, email addresses, and user roles.

Tip 5: The WordPress dashboard also helps users allow registration. Random users can create subscriber accounts on WordPress, allowing users to perform basic routines, such as reading posts.

Tip 6: The Quick Draft section on Home Feed allows users to create post drafts without loading WordPress editors. The option is handy for quick drafts, as its name suggests. When making multiple drafts, the quick draft panel helps users a lot. Later, you can update posts with more details. However, the quick draft option only allows you to enter a Headline and content. You can add a featured image, set a category, and optimize content for SEO – later.

wp tech support

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I get WordPress Dashboard?

Users can see the WordPress dashboard right after logging into WordPress. In this case, you should have entered login details on the WordPress login page, accessible at website-address.com/wp-admin/. As described earlier, the WordPress login page is accessible at website-address.com/wp-login.php/.

How to create a Dashboard in WordPress?

WordPress dashboard is automatically created once you’ve installed WordPress. In this case, the user is automatically presented with the dashboard once a successful login occurs. So, users don’t have to take extra measures to create, manage, or develop a dashboard.

However, users can customize how the WordPress dashboard looks. In this case, assistance from WordPress plugins, page builders, or developers can help you change the WordPress dashboard’s colors and functionality or add custom changes.

Are WordPress websites free?

There are several aspects to this question.

WordPress is an open-source CMS that is free to use. The official WordPress package can be downloaded from WordPress.org.

However, to create a WordPress website, users must sign up for a web hosting plan and register a new domain. These two requirements cost money, from $30 to $100, depending on the quality of services.

Moreover, WordPress design, development, and management also cost money. This cost is within the pocket of those creating independent WordPress content, designs, and development. However, those needing knowledge must spend on WordPress development, content creation, and maintenance.

What is the URL for the WordPress Dashboard?

As mentioned earlier, the WordPress dashboard is accessible at website-domain-name.com/wp-admin/. This link loads the WordPress login screen where you can enter credentials. After successfully logging in, the first screen appears in the WordPress dashboard.

However, if the WordPress default login URL is changed for security purposes, the default link will not show the login screen. In this case, you should ask the site administrator for assistance. In this case, WP Hide Login is an example of a plugin that helps users hide the WordPress default login page. Such maneuvers help site owners avoid Brute Force attacks.

Can we customize the WordPress Dashboard?

Some plugins allow customization of the WordPress dashboard. In this scenario, the Ultimate Dashboard is an example of a plugin.

Some page builders also provide premade designs for WordPress custom dashboards. For example, explore the Divi Builder’s options to create custom dashboards. On the other hand, if you’re only concerned about changing colors, let’s say – the WordPress Plugins Directory hosts various plugins for the stated purpose.

The Support Team must assist with in-depth core edits. Custom edits include re-designing the WordPress login page, dashboard, and users’ interaction screens, such as registration pages. So, developmental changes cost money, too.

Wrapping up

WordPress is a user-friendly CMS that allows users to easily create and manage sites. The dashboard combines cPanel options, Home Feed panels, and menus.

Users who’ve migrated from other CMS platforms, such as Drupal, may find using the WordPress dashboard hard. However, the learning curve is achievable. Those who can install WordPress can quickly learn how the dashboard works.

For more information on WordPress speed optimization, content creation, or error removal, contact us for custom WordPress maintenance and support plans. We provide one-time support plans, live sessions, custom dashboards, support tickets, quotes, on-demand support, and performance reports.

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