WordPress For Non-Techies: Free WordPress Tutorials – WPCompendium.org

The WordPress Dashboard

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the WP administration section and get familiar with the WP dashboard, the WP admin menu and the main admin areas of your website.

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

Important: For the purposes of this tutorial, are assuming that you or your business already has installed a self-hosted WordPress website or blog on your domain and that you know how to log into your website or blog.

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:

To learn more about why you should choose WordPress and the benefits of using the WordPress CMS platform to power your website or blog, see this section:

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Your WordPress Administration Panel

Once you’ve logged into your WordPress site via the login page, you will normally be taken to your WordPress Dashboard, which is your website’s admin section.

The WordPress Dashboard

The WP dashboard is the place where all of your site’s management and admin is performed.

The Dashboard is divided into a number of important sections that provide you with access to tools and features such as:

The Dashboard “At A Glance” Feature

Let’s complete the step-by-step tutorial below, then, to learn more about using your WordPress Dashboard and your site’s main admin features.

Your WordPress Dashboard Explained

In version 3.8, WordPress introduced a redesigned look to its Dashboard …

Although this new design was mostly cosmetic and aimed at giving WordPress site administrators and web developers cleaner typography for a more optimized mobile and desktop viewing experience and more choices on styling the look of the administration screens, this has 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the web, including thousands of tutorials and articles about WordPress online, in print and on video that are now outdated.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 admin area, expect to see other design changes to backend features as WordPress releases new versions.

If any new versions of WordPress include changes to any of the functional aspects or features of the software, then you can be sure that we will keep you informed about what’s new on this site.

Important: If your website runs on an older version of WordPress 3.8, then you should upgrade to the latest version immediately, as newer versions of WordPress contain many bug and security fixes.

Your Dashboard

Dashboard Messages

Depending on who maintains your site updated, you may or may not see the messages below.

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

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

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

Note: You will also see “Welcome to WordPress” notices in your dashboard whenever WordPress gets updated to the latest version …

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 go back to the dashboard, just select “Dashboard” (or click on Dashboard > Home) in the admin menu …

Or scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the link to dismiss the message and return to your main Dashboard …

WP Dashboard Screen Sections

The Dashboard gives someone with the role of an administrator access to all of the main features and controls required to manage the site …

Your WordPress Dashboard is divided into different areas

The main screen of your Dashboard is divided into the following sections:

WP Administration Area: Header Section

Header Area

The header area displays updates, messages, warnings and notifications …

A whole range of system updates, notifications and warnings can appear in the header section, depending on what area you are working on, what action has been performed, or which plugins you have installed on your site …

Screen Options Feature

The Screen Options tab is found in the top-right corner of your WordPress admin screen, in the header section …

It displays different options and features on your screen, depending on which section of the administration backend you are currently on …

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 screen you want to view or keep hidden …

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

Tip: Some developers or web designers may choose to prevent backend features from displaying on your admin area because they may decide that most users won’t be needing to access 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 element in your backend and can’t seem to 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 looking for!

Go here to learn more:

Online Help Documentation

You can access the official WordPress documentation and community help forum sections by clicking on the Help tab located on the top right-hand corner of the screen …

Like the Screen Options tab, the Help tab also displays information that is relevant to the particular area that you are currently working on.

So, for example, if you are editing content in the Edit Post section of your site, clicking on the Help tab will bring up helpful information and tutorials specifically related to editing posts …

Tip: To learn more about a particular feature or function of WordPress whilst logged into the admin area, just click on the Help tab.

WP Administration Area: Toolbar

The WordPress Toolbar displays at the very top of your Administration screen and provides you and your logged in site users with access to various admin functions, features, information and “quick links” to other areas of your site …

Most Toolbar items can expand to display additional information when you hover your mouse over the icons …

For example, you can quickly see what features of your site need updating …

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

You can also see what effect any updates you make to your pages or content will have on your site as seen by your site visitors.

Tip: Open your site in a new window to keep working on your site …

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

This is great, because it allows you to easily get back into your control panel and continue working on your pages without having to log back in …

Depending on which section of the admin area you are working on and which plugins you have installed on your site, you may see additional information showing on the WordPress toolbar …

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

Here’s how to do this …

The “Howdy, User” Section

At the far right-hand side of the Admin Toolbar is the “Howdy, User” section with your Gravatar image.

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

How To Enable Your Toolbar When Viewing Your Site

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

Check that Show Toolbar when viewing site is enabled in the Toolbar information area of your Profile area …

Don’t forget to click the Update Profile button at the bottom of your page to save your changes …

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

WordPress Administration Section: Navigation Menu

On the far left-hand side of the admin screen is the main navigation menu that contains links to all your administrative features …

The WordPress Admin Menu

Keep in mind that what users see inside the Dashboard area when logged in depends on the role and capabilities assigned to them and how the site administrator has configured settings and options for different features.

In order to access all of the WP dashboard functions and capabilities, you must be an administrator of the site. …

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

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

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

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

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

And the menu collapse into a narrow band with only a set of icons displaying for all functions …

Use this function if you need to create more to work in your admin area.

If you are working with the collapsed menu and are not sure what the icons mean, just click the bottom icon to expand all items, or hover over an icon to display its submenus …

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

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

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

WordPress Admin Section: Working Area

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

When you log into your admin area, the Dashboard displays a number of  panels containing information about various activities happening on your site, including updates and content feeds from several WordPress-related sources …

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)

You can learn more about it here: WordPress 4.8

As you get busier and start adding more content and functionality (e.g. adding e-commerce or a support helpdesk, etc.) and more visitors begin to interact with your site, you will find that your working area can start to get really busy …

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

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

WordPress Administration Area: Footer

The footer area is found at the bottom of your WP Administration area and displays links to WordPress as well as your site’s current WordPress version …

As you can see, being familiar with your WordPress admin section is essential to successfully managing your website.

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