WordPress Plugins Explained

This tutorial explains what WordPress plugins are, how plugins work and how plugins help WordPress users extend their website’s functionality. 

Using WP Plugins - The Easy Way To Enhance Your Web Site's Features And FunctionalityOne of the most unique features of the WordPress platform is that you can quickly and easily increase your WordPress site’s functionality using inexpensive (even 100% free) software called ’plugins’.

What Are WordPress Plugins?

Like most people, you probably own a smart phone. What do you do when you would like access to something new on your phone like a new software or a new business productivity tool?

Why, simple … you download and install an app!

An app is a little software that is simple and easy to install and immediately integrates new features into a mobile phone.

A Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

(Just as there are social sharing apps for mobile devices …)

A WP plugin is like an app. You simply install and activate a software application that adds new functionality to your web site …

A Guide To WP Plugins

(… there are also social sharing plugins for WordPress users!)

Typically, if you want to expand the functionality of a web site, additional cost is involved. Depending on the complexity of the new feature or enhancements, this can get quite expensive, especially if it requires website development.

This is also applicable when starting a website. Many business owners will often fork out money upfront for extra bells and whistles they probably will never need.

As part of sound strategic business planning, we recommend a modular approach when growing a website and WordPress plugins are ideal for doing this.

Imagine being able to:

1) Start simply and with minimal cost involved. Get a basic, professional business web presence up and running fast, then …

2) As new features are required, install new software modules with a couple of clicks of the mouse that integrate with your current web site, giving your web site a completely new range of useful functionality, and also …

3) Cost not one dollar extra to install on your website?

Well, this is precisely what a WP plugin lets you do!

Plugins – Benefits

Earlier, we compared WordPress plugins with apps. In the same way that some apps are free to download and some apps may cost a little bit of money, so do plugins.

In fact, many plugins are available at no cost to users.

WP plugins that cost money are called “Premium” plugins. The good news, is that when compared to the cost of investing in web development services to get similar functionality on your site, most Premium (i.e. paid) plugins are priced quite low.

Also, because WordPress makes its source code publicly available, anybody can create, modify and customize any portion of the code. This has enabled thousands of third-party software developers to build more new plugins that “plug into” WordPress than you can probably imagine.

  • Plugins let you get started with only a simple yet professional online business presence and then add new features and enhancements to your site as required.
  • Plugins allow you to add practically unlimited functionality to your online business presence easily, quickly and cheaply.
  • WP plugins give your online business presence almost endless expanding capabilities.
  • WP plugins allow non-technical users to own a website that they can manage themselves.
  • Most plugins will normally work “right out of the box” and only require installation and activation to give your website or blog immediate capabilities and enhancements.
  • Some plugins provide more advanced features and could require some configuration.

WordPress Plugins – Powerful, Flexible … And (Often) 100% FREE!

Like many WP themes, loads of great plugins are made available for WordPress users … often at $0 cost!

You can view and download thousands of WP plugins from the Free WordPress Plugin Directory

A Beginner's Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

As mentioned earlier, you can find WordPress plugins that can do just about everything you could think of.

There are plugins for:

  • Web Site Administration
  • Content Management
  • Traffic
  • Visitor Interactivity
  • Social Engagement
  • Managing Media Files – Videocasts, Images, Audio, Multimedia, etc.
  • e-Biz And Online Sales And Advertising Automation
  • Increasing Sales And Opt-In Conversions And Lead Generation
  • Data Monitoring & Reporting
  • Web Site SEO

You can add features to your business online presence with plugins like the following:

  • Contact forms
  • Polls and quizzes
  • Social contests
  • Managing banners
  • E-commerce (from setting up single sales with PayPal buttons, to full e-commerce stores with shopping carts, payment processing, recurring billing, discount codes, etc …)
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Membership sites
  • List-building subscription forms
  • Sales funnels
  • Mobile conversion
  • Improving your site’s SEO
  • Image galleries (including rotating images, lightboxes, etc.)
  • Customer testimonials
  • Language translation (e.g. you can instantly change all content on your website from English to German)
  • Statistical reporting (e.g. number of visitors, pages visited, keywords searched, etc.)
  • Custom navigation menus
  • Customer interactivity – contest, live chat, currency conversion, etc.
  • Media integration
  • Faster page loading
  • Event management
  • Business listing directories
  • Automatically sell and manage spots on your site
  • Set up client appointments and appointment reminders
  • Manage reservations and bookings
  • Detect broken hyperlinks and send you reports
  • Redirect visitors from missing pages to other pages on your site or other sites
  • Monitor what social media users are posting about your business
  • Make your pages available for printing or downloading as PDF
  • Add sitemaps
  • Hide specific from showing on areas of your site (e.g. sitemaps, feeds, etc.)
  • Hide post content sections
  • Migrate content from different CMS applications
  • Search and replace data
  • Prevent SPAM commenting
  • Customize visitor commenting (e.g. displaying Facebook posts)
  • Insert code and script elements into your pages
  • Add formatted tables
  • Add animated graphics and advanced content formatting options
  • Add and manage QR codes
  • Improve your local search listings on Google
  • Add a map
  • Syndicate your content automatically on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and many others
  • Show countdown timers (for scarcity offers, coupons, etc …)
  • Display personal greetings, timed offers, etc …
  • And so much more!

As it’s clear to see, plugins give you endless business scalability. If you are planning to build a website or blog for your business, or your existing site wasn’t built using WordPress, then consider getting one in the future, or you could be missing out on some serious functionality.

In case you’re still wondering just how powerful and flexible plugins are, let me show you some practical uses of adding a plugin to your website.

For example, if you need to protect your content, you can install plugins to make an area of your post inaccessible, or transform your WordPress site into a complete membership site with personal login details for all users …

A Basic Guide To WordPress Plugins

As mentioned previously, free plugins can be used to improve your web presence in lots of ways. From installing features that can improve your business, your site’s user experience and your understanding of what is taking place on your site …

A Beginner's Guide To WordPress Plugins

To increasing your site’s reach across various social networks and search engines …

A Guide To WP Plugins

You can also add sophisticated features to your site using inexpensive paid plugins. For example, you can download plugins that automate functionality on your site such as user testimonial and event bookings management …

A Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

And even set up a custom-branded bookings and reservations system online … all for a small fraction of the cost of paying programmers to create the same applications for you …

A Guide To WP Plugins

Additionally, you can take advantage of native WP commenting features and plugins that can make your site even more interactive …

A Guide To WP Plugins

For example, your web visitors can easily:

  • Leave comments on your site (which can grow into online discussions) using either the built-in WordPress commenting function, or integrated Facebook comments (which then get shared throughout your visitors’ Facebook pages, giving your site added exposure).
  • Share your posts with other online visitors on bookmarking sites.
  • Contact you using contact forms
  • Engage online with your team members using online forums or even set up a private social network on your own site.
  • Engage with your staff via live video chats
  • Dial your business directly from their cellphones when browsing your site
  • Get help and support via a dedicated client helpdesk
  • And much more …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

You can also integrate sophisticated “back end” solutions using a WP “front end”. This lets you manage your business sales and marketing, while your third-party application handles the technological functions …

A Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

Some Useful Tips About Plugins

  • There are loads of plugins to choose from. Be careful of overloading your server with an excessive amount of plugins, as this can start to affect your website’s performance and site loading speed. It can also create more maintenance issues for you resulting from potential conflicts and errors.
  • Install only the plugins you really use. Delete any plugins you don’t need from your site, as these also utilize server resources.
  • Many free plugins often come with little to no support from the plugin author. When considering premium WP plugins, make sure you do a little research first to see what kind of reputation the developer has when it comes to offering support, upgrades, new features, etc. Be sure to check some of our WP plugin reviews for more information.
  • If you see that an unsupported plugin has not been updated for a while (e.g. two years), then think twice before using it. WordPress is updated often and older plugins that have not been updated can create errors.
  • Always upgrade your plugins. Outdated plugin not only can cause issues, they could also have security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers and malware.

A Guide To WP Plugins

As you can see, plugins are an important component of WordPress and contribute to making it the most downloaded website management software available. Plugins also provide WordPress users with easy, simple and inexpensive ways to add new features to their website without spending thousands of dollars on web developers.

One last thing on the topic of plugins:

If there is a feature you want for your web site, you can be sure that a plugin currently exists that will do just what you need, and that this plugin can either be accessed at no cost, or if it’s a paid plugin, that it will be reasonably affordable.

Whatever you need done, there's a WordPress plugin for that!

(Whatever you need done, there’s a WordPress plugin for that!)

And, if by chance this WordPress plugin does not exist, then it can probably be created for you at a reasonable cost.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of WP plugins – what plugins are and how they can improve your business blog. See our published posts to learn more about using WordPress plugins.


"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)


WordPress Posts Vs. WordPress Pages Explained

Learn about the main differences between WordPress posts and WordPress pages and when to use posts or pages to publish your content online …

WP Posts & Pages - Important Differences Between Posts & Pages

If you want an easy CMS platform to publish information about your business online, then you really should consider using WordPress.

WordPress provides site owners with two content publishing types: Posts and Pages.

In this tutorial, you are going to learn about the most important differences between WordPress Posts and Pages and which type to use when publishing content to your web site.

First, we’ll explain the differences, and then we’ll focus on when to use Pages and Posts on your WordPress website.

Using WordPress: An Introduction To Pages And Posts

With WordPress, you can publish content online using either Posts or Pages.

Although your readers and visitors may not really care whether you choose to publish content online using Pages or Posts, it’s important that you understand the differences between these two features, so you can choose whichever one you feel is the most appropriate type whenever you have new information to publish online.

Let’s take a look, then, at these differences, starting with WordPress Posts.


What do you think about when you hear the word “blogging”? Most people associate weblogs with content related to tips and advice, sharing latest news and updates, and so on.

Normal “blogging” entries are typically written using posts. We refer to these as “blog posts.”

Posts can be used to publish all of this content online, but there’s another reason for using WordPress posts, and that is discussed in detail in our WordPress Traffic Blueprint article series.

To learn more about this article series, go here:

By default, Posts are entries listed by date and typically displayed in reverse chronological order on your blog’s home page, so that the most recent post entry shows above the older posts …

Blog posts normally display in reverse chronological order, with the latest blog entry showing above earlier posts

(Blog posts typically display in reverse chronological order, with the latest entry at the top)

How WordPress Posts Display On Your Site

Posts and post content can be displayed as a list of entries in the site’s main page or the blog page …

Posts displayed as entries on a blog page

(Posts displayed as entries on a blog page)

And also as a single post on a theme’s single blog page …

Single post page

(Single post page)

Practical Tip

Learn how to set up a blog page in WordPress here:

Learn how to create a new Post in WordPress here:

Sticky WordPress Posts

”Sticky” Posts display before your other blog posts …

WP Posts can be featured on your blog page

(Posts can be featured on your blog)

Note: Making WP Posts “sticky” is explained in more detail in a different tutorial.

Where Posts Display On Your Web Site

Posts can be referenced in various sections of your WordPress site like Archives, Categories, Recent Posts, as well as on several widgets …

Posts appear throughout different sections of your WordPress site

(Posts appear throughout different sections of your WordPress site)

Posts automatically display in your RSS feed, which makes your content easier to syndicate …

WP RSS Section

(Posts automatically display in your WordPress RSS feed section)

A post can display a comments section below the main content area, allowing blog readers to comment on your post …

WP Post Comments

(WordPress Commenting Area)

You can group posts using Categories

WordPress Post Category Archive Page

(Post Category Archives)

And posts can be grouped by Post Tags

WP Post Tags

(Post Tags)

Note: We explain WordPress Categories, Tags, RSS Feeds, etc. in more detail in separate tutorials.

Now that you’ve seen some of the unique characteristics of Posts, let’s take a look at the similarities between Posts and Pages.

Similarities Between WP Posts Vs Pages

Here are some of the main similarities between WP pages and posts:

  • Pages and posts both share the same functions and methods for adding page/post titles using title fields and composing and formatting content using the WordPress Visual/Text Editor.
  • WordPress posts and pages both use theme templates to help keep the look of your website or blog consistent.
  • WordPress pages and posts let you use search engine friendly URLs
  • WP pages and posts are viewed by search engines as indexable content.
  • Depending on the plugins and theme you have installed, WP posts and pages give you control over settings like Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords.
  • Depending on the plugins and theme you have installed, content from or links to posts and pages can display in your menus and widgets.

Although pages and posts can be very similar in many respects, pages have a number of distinct features that separate them from posts.


Pages normally reside outside the blog chronology and are mostly used to display information to readers that is less likely to change, such as:

  • ”About Us” Page
  • Contact Us Page
  • Product And Service Pages
  • Timetables
  • Earning Disclaimers
  • Reprint Permissions
  • Site Map
  • etc …

WordPress Pages are not listed by date and are not organized using tags and categories.

You can, however, use Pages to help you organize and manage your site content hierarchically.

Go here to learn how to create a new WordPress page:

WordPress Parent & Child Pages

For example, you can organize main content topics into “Parent” pages (where you assign each of your main subjects its own page), and then add subpages (called “child” pages) to each of these information sections …

WordPress Parent And Child Pages

(In WordPress, top-level pages and nested pages are referred to as “parent” pages and “child” pages)

You can add as many “child” pages as you require to organize your content within “topic hierarchies”, as shown in the diagram below …

WordPress Parent And Child Pages

(Organize Your Content Using Parent & Child Pages)

Pages can also be displayed in the sidebar of your website using the Pages Widget

WP Pages Widgets

(Displaying A List Of Your Pages Using A Pages Widget)

In the example above, a “Pages Widget” is used to display links to five parent pages and three ”child” pages.

As well as displaying pages through sidebar widgets, many themes also display pages in menus within the header and footer sections of the site …

WP Pages

Templates For WP Pages

Pages can also use different templates. Page templates normally include template files, template tags and other PHP code that allow unique, complex or sophisticated elements to be added.

This is useful for creating different types of pages, such as:

  • Sales Pages
  • Opt-In Pages
  • Video Pages
  • Membership Pages
  • etc.

For example, below are just some of the different kinds of sales page templates used in a very popular theme called OptimizePress

Sample templates from OptimizePress

(Sample sales pages from OptimizePress)

In its most basic form, Use “pages” for “non-blog” information and “posts” for telling people about your business. In fact, if you deleted every post from your website, you should end up with something that closely resembles your traditional website structure (i.e. a website comprising only of the regular web pages found in most business websites.)

What WP Pages Are Not

Another way to understand the main differences between posts and pages is to look at what WP pages are not:

  • Pages are not posts. Pages are not processed by the WordPress Loop, which is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts and to cycle post data (like time, category, etc.) through your blog’s main page. Note, however, that you can change this using various plugins or customizations.
  • Pages cannot be associated with categories and cannot be assigned post tags. This means that pages can only be organized according to a hierarchy where you specify and assign parent pages and child pages, not by referencing tags or categories.
  • Pages are not files. Unlike most websites that are built from a collection of static pages saved as separate files in your server, pages are created, managed and stored in your WordPress CMS database (same goes for Posts).
  • Pages are not included in your website’s feed. Earlier, we explained that posts show up in your WordPress RSS feed section. Pages do not. Note: there are WordPress plugins available that will add your pages to your site’s RSS feed.
  • Pages (or even a specific post) can be set as the “front” page. In separate tutorials, we explain how to specify a page to display as the front page of your site, and show you how to create a blog page (where a list of your most recent blog posts will display in a separate blog page).


Because posts and post content are referenced from many different areas of your WordPress site (e.g. archive pages, searches, tags, categories, RSS feeds, custom menus, etc.) than content published using pages, many WordPress SEO experts will argue that it is generally better to publish content designed to attract more exposure from search engines using posts rather than pages.

When To Use WP Pages Or Posts

What Type Of Content Can Be Added To WP Pages And Posts?

WordPress lets you easily add, format and edit the following types of content into both Pages and Posts:

Add Text

You can add plain, formatted and/or hyperlinked text using different fonts and styles to posts and pages …

Add Content In Pages And Posts

(Add text to WordPress)

WordPress lets you insert text-based content into posts and pages using either the Visual Editor, or an HTML Editor (or both).

Depending on how you configure your settings and plugins, you can also add SEO information to posts and pages (e.g. titles, descriptions and keywords that let you specify how you want your posts or pages to appear in search engine results), create custom excerpts, etc.

Add Media Content

You can add or embed media content into WordPress, such as videos, audio files, animation, images, photos, logos, banners, etc …

Add Media To WordPress

(Add media-based content to WordPress)


WordPress lets you insert scripts into your pages and posts with code or applications like Javascript, shortcodes and numerous plugins.

Many of these scripts also allow you to manage your content remotely. This is useful for managing site-wide advertising banners, subscription forms and time-sensitive content (e.g. special pricing), or adding information such as foreign conversion rates, feeds, etc …

Adding Scripts In Posts And Pages

(Add content to WordPress via externally-managed scripts)

To learn more about pasting scripts into your pages and posts, see this tutorial:

Important Info

Content can also be added to posts and pages by inserting code directly into your file templates. Please note, however, that in order to be able to modify file templates, you should have at least a basic understanding of code languages like HTML and PHP.

As you can see, pages and posts have a number of significant differences, and knowing about these differences can help you choose which type to use to publish your information.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the differences between WordPress Posts and Pages.


"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)


The WordPress Dashboard

Learn about the WordPress dashboard and how to navigate your way around inside the WordPress administration area …

The WordPress Dashboard

The WordPress dashboard screen of your website or blog is one of the most important areas of WordPress to master. In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn how to navigate around dashboard section of your WordPress website or blog.

You will also discover some of the “hidden” features of the WP dashboard that will become more useful to you as you master using WordPress.


Please note: This tutorial assumes that you or your business already has a self-hosted WordPress website installed on your domain and that you know how to log into your website.

If you need help logging into WordPress, see this tutorial:

If you don’t know whether or not your website uses WordPress, see this tutorial:

If you want to learn more about why you should choose WordPress and the advantages of using the WordPress Content Management System to power your website or blog, see this section:


Your WordPress Control Area

After logging into your WordPress site via the login form, you will typically be taken to your WordPress Dashboard, which is your website or blog’s admin section.

Your WordPress Administration Panel Explained

Your WordPress Site Dashboard

Your WordPress Dashboard is the place where all of your website’s administration and management tasks are performed.

Your WordPress Site Dashboard is divided into a number of sections that provide you with immediate access to the following:

  • Useful data and information about the activities taking place on your website or blog. It also provides you with “at-a-glance” metrics and information about the most recent activity that has taken place on your site, system updates and notifications, and keeps you updated on the latest news from the WordPress community and various WordPress-related resources, such as notifications and announcements from WordPress product vendors of plugins and themes that you have installed on your site.
  • Control and management of your website’s settings and options.
  • Features that let you change, expand, update and enhance the design and functionality of your site, upgrade plugins and themes, plus add, modify and delete your content or content sections.

How To Use The WP Dashboard

The Dashboard “At A Glance” Section

Go through the step-by-step tutorial below, then, to learn more about using your WordPress Dashboard and your site’s main administration features.

The WP Dashboard Explained

In version 3.8, WordPress introduced new design changes to its Dashboard …

 The WP Dashboard - A Step-By-Step Tutorial


Although this new design was mostly cosmetic and introduced for the purpose of giving WordPress site administrators and developers cleaner typography for clarity, readability and more ways to customize the look and feel of the backend area, it also affected much of the existing information about WordPress around the web, including thousands of tutorials and articles about WordPress online, in print and on video that are now outdated.

With the ability to create an individual look and feel of the WP dashboard, expect to see new design changes to back-end features when WordPress releases new versions.

If any new versions of WordPress include new features, then rest assured that we will post an update about it on this site.


Important: If your website runs on an older version of WordPress 3.8, then make sure you upgrade to the latest version immediately, as many bug and security fixes are made whenever a new version is released.

The Dashboard

WordPress Dashboard Announcements

Depending on how your site is managed and maintained, you may or may not see the messages below.

The first time you log into a new site that has been built using WordPress, you may see a “Welcome to WordPress” message displayed at the top of your Dashboard …

The WP Administration Panel Explained

If you are new to using your website and want to spend a few minutes learning more about WordPress, just click on the “Get Started” or “Next Step” links.

To hide the “Welcome” message and prevent it from showing again the next time you log in, click on the Dismiss link near the top right-hand corner of the message block …

Your WP Dashboard Explained

Note: You will also see “Welcome to WordPress” messages displayed whenever your site gets updated to a new version of WordPress …

Understanding The WordPress Control Panel

Once again, feel free to read through the information displayed in the “welcome” message if you want to know more about new features and updates to the software.

To return to the dashboard, you can select “Dashboard” (or click on Dashboard > Home) on the admin menu …

 The WordPress Control Screen - A Tutorial

Or scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on the link to dismiss the message and go back to your Dashboard …

Your WordPress Dashboard Explained

Dashboard Screen Sections

The Dashboard gives someone with the role of an administrator access to all of the main features and controls that you will need to manage your website …

 Your WordPress Dashboard - A Step-By-Step Tutorial

Your WordPress Dashboard is divided into different areas

Your main Dashboard screen is divided into a number of different areas:

  • Header And Toolbar Section (1)
  • Main Navigation Menu (2)
  • Work Area (3)
  • Footer Section (4)

WP Admin Area: Header Section

Header Area

The header area displays updates, warnings and notifications …

 Your WP Dashboard - A Tutorial

A whole range of messages, announcements, banners, warnings and notifications can display on your header section, depending on what area you are working on, what action has been completed, or which plugins you have installed on your site …

How To Use Your WordPress Dashboard

Screen Options Tab

The Screen Options feature is found in the top-right corner of your WP dashboard screen, in the header section …

The WordPress Dashboard Explained

Clicking on this tab displays different options and features on your screen, depending on which section of the admin backend you are currently viewing …

The WordPress Administration Section Explained

For example, if you are in the main Dashboard, clicking on the Screen Options tab allows you to specify options such as which panels of your Dashboard work area you want to hide/display …

Understanding Your WordPress Dashboard

If you are in the Posts section, clicking on the Screen Options tab lets you select totally different settings, such as displaying or hiding information in the listings section (e.g. tags, comments, etc…), specifying the number of posts to display per page, and other configurable options depending on which plugins you have installed on your website or blog …

The WordPress Control Screen Explained


Tip: Some web developers or web designers may choose to prevent elements from displaying in your dashboard because they may assume that their clients probably won’t be needing these features, or simply to give parts of your site a less “cluttered” look, or to prevent accidental errors from happening.

If you are looking for a particular feature or information block in your admin section and can’t find it, or don’t know where to look for it, just try clicking on the Screen Options tab … you may just find what you were searching for!

Go here to learn more:

WordPress Online Help Section

You can view the official WordPress documentation and user help forums by clicking on the Help tab located at the top of your screen …

How To Navigate Around The WordPress Dashboard

Like the Screen Options tab, the Help tab also displays context-specific information.

For example, if you are editing content in the Edit Post area, clicking on the Help tab will bring up helpful information relevant to editing posts …

 Your WP Control Screen - A Tutorial


Tip: To learn more about any particular feature of WordPress when logged into the administration area, click on the Help tab.

WP Administration Area: Toolbar

The WordPress Toolbar is located at the very top of your Admin screen and provides you and your logged in site users with access to a number of important administration functions, features, information and “quick links” to other areas of your site …

Understanding Your WordPress Dashboard

Many Toolbar items can expand to display additional information by hovering your mouse over the icons …

Your WordPress Admin Panel Explained

For example, you can quickly see if the WordPress software or any plugins or themes need to be upgraded …

Your WordPress Control Area Explained

You can also view how many comments are currently awaiting moderation, create new pages and posts, add new media and links into your content, add new users to your site and a whole lot more …

 Your WP Administration Area - A Tutorial

The admin toolbar also lets you view how any updates made to your posts, pages or settings will affect your site. Just hover your mouse over the website title displayed in the toolbar and click on Visit Site.

Tip: Open your site in a new window to continue working in the admin section of your site …

Your WP Dashboard Explained

As long as you remain logged into your admin area, the toolbar will continue displaying on your screen while you’re viewing the “front end” of your website.

This is great, because it allows you to easily return to your dashboard and continue working on your site without having to log back in …

How To Use Your WP Administration Section

As you begin adding new plugins to your website, you may notice that additional items begin to appear on your admin toolbar …

Your WordPress Control Area Explained


Important: If you are logged in and cannot see the Toolbar when viewing your site, then make sure that you have enabled it on your site.

Your WordPress Control Section Explained

The section below shows you how to enable the toolbar …

The “Howdy, User” Section

On the far right in your admin area is the “Howdy, User” section with an image of your Gravatar.

Hover over this area with your mouse and it displays your name and username, with links pointing to your “Profile Screen” and a “Log Out” link …

The WordPress Control Area Explained

Enabling Your Admin Toolbar

Click on the “Howdy, User” tab and select Edit My Profile

Understanding Your WP Administration Section

Make sure that Show Toolbar when viewing site is enabled in the Toolbar section of your Profile area …

 The WP Administration Screen - A Step-By-Step Tutorial

Don’t forget to click the Update Profile button before leaving this section to save your changes …

An Overview Of Your WordPress Dashboard

Now, you should be able to see the WordPress Toolbar displayed at the top of your screen when you visit your site …

Understanding The WP Administration Panel

WordPress Administration Section: Navigation Menu

On the far left-hand side of the administration screen is the main navigation menu linking to all the management functions that you can perform on your website …

 The WP Control Area - An Overview

The WordPress Admin Menu


Keep in mind that what users see inside the Dashboard area when logged in will depend on the role and capabilities they have been assigned by the admin and how the site administrator has configured settings and options for different features.

In order to access all of the WP control panel features, you must be an administrator of the site. …

Using Your WP Dashboard

User Roles give users different capabilities and can limit access to dashboard features

Users with roles other than ”Administrator” (e.g. “Subscriber”, ”Editor”, etc.) get access to fewer menu options inside the dashboard …

Understanding The WP Control Panel

Different Roles Get Access To Different Capabilities And Options Inside The WP Dashboard

Irrespective of the role assigned to a user, some menu items like “Collapse menu” remain accessible to all.

Click the Collapse menu button at the bottom of the navigation menu section …

Using Your WP Admin Area

And your menu collapse into a narrow column with only a list of icons displaying for all functions …

 Your WordPress Control Screen - A Step-By-Step Tutorial

This is a useful feature if you want more to work in your admin area.

If you are not sure what the icons mean, just click on the bottom icon to expand all items, or hover over the icon to display its submenus …

 Your WP Admin Screen - A Tutorial

If you hover your mouse over a menu item, a sub-menu will fly out …

The WordPress Dashboard Explained

To add submenus to the navigation menu column while you’re working, click on a menu item …

 The WP Control Screen - A Tutorial


We plan to provide helpful tutorials about using menu features and functions in future blog posts.

WP Admin Section: Working Area

The large area in the middle of your admin screen is your work area. This is where you will get access to most of your site’s information, do most of your admin work, create, modify and delete posts, pages and content within these, upload images and media to your site, add, update and configure plugins and themes, make changes to site settings, etc…

When you log into your admin area, your Dashboard displays a number of  blocks containing information about various activities taking place on your site, plus news and content feeds from a range of different sources …

 The WP Dashboard - A Step-By-Step Tutorial

Occasionally, you may even find that new panels have been added to your WordPress dashboard.

For example, in version 4.8, WordPress added a new dashboard panel that displays nearby WordCamps and local WordPress Meetups in your area …

WordPress Events and News

(WordPress Events and News)

You can learn more about it here: WordPress 4.8

As your site grows with content and functionality (e.g. adding e-commerce or a support helpdesk, etc.) and more visitors begin to interact with your site, this area can start looking very busy …

Your WP Admin Screen Explained

Fortunately, you can customize the WordPress dashboard by hiding, minimizing and reorganizing the layout and display of your your information panels.

For a quick and easy tutorial on ways to customize your WordPress Dashboard, go here:

WordPress Administration Area: Footer

The footer section is found at the bottom of your WordPress Administration screen and displays links to WordPress as well as your current WordPress software version …

The WP Dashboard Explained

As you can see, being familiar with your WP control area is essential to the success of your digital presence.

The WordPress Admin Dashboard


"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now