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

The WordPress Dashboard

The WP administration area of your website is one of the most important areas of WordPress to master. In this tutorial you will learn how to navigate around admin area of your WP web site.

You will also discover some of the “hidden” features of the WordPress administration panel that will become more useful to you as you become more skilled at using WordPress.

Important: We assume that you already have installed a self-hosted WordPress site on your domain and that you know how to log into your site.

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

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

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

***

Your WordPress Dashboard

Once you’ve logged into your blog via the login form, you will normally be taken to your Dashboard, which is your website’s administration area.

The Dashboard

The WordPress Dashboard is where all of your website’s management is performed.

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

The Dashboard “At A Glance” Section

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

How To Use Your WP Control Page

In version 3.8, WordPress introduced a modern design to the Dashboard …

Although the new design was mostly cosmetic and and intended to give WordPress site administrators and web developers cleaner typography for a better optimized mobile and desktop viewing experience and more options on customizing the look of the administration pages, 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 in need of being updated.

With the ability to customize the look and feel of the administration area, you can now expect to see other design changes to back-end features when WordPress releases new versions.

If any new versions of WordPress include changes to any of the functional aspects or features of the software, then rest assured that we will post an update about it here.

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

The WP Dashboard

WordPress Dashboard Notifications

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 powered by WordPress, you may see a “Welcome to WordPress” message displayed inside your Dashboard …

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

To hide the “Welcome” message and prevent it from showing again inside your dashboard area 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” messages displayed whenever your site gets updated to a new version of WordPress …

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

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

Or scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the link to dismiss the message and go back to your main Dashboard …

WordPress Dashboard Screen Sections

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

The Dashboard is divided into different areas

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

WordPress Dashboard Area: Header Section

Header Section

The header section displays updates, warnings and notifications …

Different messages, announcements, banners, notifications and warnings can display in the header, depending on what area you are working on, what action has been completed, or which plugins you have installed on your site …

Screen Options Feature

The Screen Options feature is located 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 like which panels of your Dashboard work area you want to hide/display …

If you are in the Posts section, clicking on the Screen Options tab allows you to configure entirely different settings, like showing or hiding information in the listings section (e.g. tags, comments, etc…), specifying the number of posts to display on your Posts area, and other configurable settings depending on the plugins you have installed on your site …

Tip: Some web developers or designers may choose to hide backend features from displaying in your dashboard because they may assume that their clients 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 function or element in your administration area 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 support forums by clicking on the Help tab located on the top right-hand corner of your header area …

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

So, for example, if you are editing content in the Edit Post area of your site admin, clicking on the Help tab will bring up help information and tutorials relevant to editing posts …

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

WP Administration Area: Toolbar

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

Many Toolbar items can flyout to display additional information when you hover over the icons with your mouse …

For example, the “updates” icon on the toolbar lets you see if the WordPress software or any plugins or themes are out of date …

You can also see at a glance how many comments are awaiting moderation, create new pages and posts, add new media and links into your content, add new users to your site and much more …

The admin toolbar also lets you see how any changes 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 browser to continue working on your site …

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 site.

This is great, because it lets you easily get back into your admin area and continue working on your content without having to log back in …

As you add new functionality to your site, you may see that new items will be added to the toolbar …

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

The section below shows you how to enable the toolbar …

The “Howdy, User” Section

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

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

Enabling Your Admin Toolbar

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 page …

Remember to click the Update Profile button before leaving to update your settings …

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

WordPress Administration Area: Navigation Menu

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

Your WordPress Admin Menu

Keep in mind that what users see inside the Dashboard area when logged in will depend 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 administration area 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 Assigned Different Capabilities And Options Inside The WordPress Dashboard

Regardless 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 menu section …

And the sidebar menu collapse into a narrow strip with only a set of icons showing …

This is a useful function to create more space in your admin working area.

If you are not sure what the icons mean, just click on 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 sub-menus to the navigation menu column while you’re working, click on a menu item …

We plan to provide helpful tutorials about each of the navigation menu items in future blog posts.

WordPress Administration Section: Working Area

The large area in the middle of your admin page is your working area. This is where you will get access to most of your site’s information, configure most of your settings, create, edit and delete posts, pages and content inside these, upload images and media to your site, add, update and configure plugins and themes, modify your site settings, and so on.

When you log into your site, the Dashboard will display a number of  panels with information about various activities taking place on your site, plus news and notices 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 your site grows with content and functionality (e.g. adding e-commerce or a support helpdesk, etc.) and more users begin to interact with your site, this section will start looking very busy …

Fortunately, you can “tidy up” the work area 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 area is found at the bottom of your WordPress Dashboard area and displays links to WordPress and your current WordPress software version …

Congratulations! Now you know how to navigate around your WordPress dashboard and admin areas.

***

"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

Build A WordPress Site ... Fast!

Need a new website or blog in a hurry?

This video course shows you how to quickly install and configure a WordPress website or blog on your own domain name and be up and running in no time!

More info: Build A WordPress Site ... Fast!

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

WordPress 101: How To Use WordPress

Learn how to unlock the power of the WordPress content management system (CMS) using the many powerful features inside your WordPress administration area.

More info: WordPress 101: How To Use WordPress

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

WordPress Traffic & User Engagement

Learn how to drive more targeted traffic to your website and discover ways to improve user engagement with your business online.

More info: WordPress Traffic & User Engagement

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

Why Your Business Needs WordPress

Learn about the unique features, benefits, and advantages of using WordPress to start or grow your business online.

More info: Why Your Business Needs WordPress

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

WordPress SEO

In this WordPress SEO training series you will learn how to optimize your WordPress site and how to craft website pages and blog posts that will help you get better search engine rankings and improve your traffic results.

More info: WordPress SEO

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Create Engaging Presentations

Learn how to create beautiful and engaging presentations that will help you sell more products and services online.

More info: How To Create Engaging Presentations