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

The WordPress Dashboard

In this tutorial, you will learn your way around the WordPress administration area and familiarize yourself with the WordPress control panel, the WordPress administration menu and the main admin modules of your website or blog.

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

Please note: We assume that you already have 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 runs on WordPress, see this tutorial:

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

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Your WordPress Dashboard

Once you’ve logged into your blog via the login page, you will typically be taken to your Dashboard, which is the main admin area of your website.

The WordPress Dashboard

The WP dashboard is the place where all of your website’s management and admin tasks are controlled from.

The WordPress Dashboard is divided into several useful sections that provide you with access to things such as:

The Dashboard “At A Glance” Feature

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

Your WP Control Area Explained

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

Although this new design was mostly cosmetic and introduced for the purpose of giving WordPress site administrators and web developers cleaner typography for a better optimized mobile and desktop viewing experience and a more aesthetic experience, 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 WP admin area, expect to see new design changes to back-end features whenever WordPress releases new versions.

If new versions of WordPress include new software features or functionality, then rest assured that we will post an update about what’s new on this site.

Important: If your site 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 of WordPress is released.

Your WordPress 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 your WordPress site, 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, just click on the “Get Started” or “Next Step” links.

To dismiss 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 panel …

Note: You will also see “Welcome to WordPress” announcements displayed 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 return to the dashboard, just select “Dashboard” (or click on Dashboard > Home) on your admin menu …

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

WP Dashboard Screen Areas

Your Dashboard gives you access to all of the main features and controls required to administrate the site …

The Dashboard is divided into different areas

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

WordPress Admin Area: Header Section

Header Section

The header section displays system updates, warnings and notifications …

A whole range of system updates, messages, banners, announcements, notifications and warnings can appear 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 …

Screen Options Feature

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

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

For example, if you are in the main Dashboard, clicking on the Screen Options tab lets you configure options like 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 allows you to specify completely different options, like 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 …

Tip: Some developers or web designers may choose to hide certain elements from displaying on your dashboard because they may know from experience that their clients won’t be using to access these features, or simply to give sections of your site a less “cluttered” look, or to prevent accidental errors from happening.

If you are looking for a specific function or information block in your admin section 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 searching for!

Go here to learn more:

WordPress Online Help Section

You can view 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 context-specific information.

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

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

WP Admin Area: Toolbar

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

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

For example, the “updates” icon on the toolbar lets you see if the WordPress software or any plugins or themes need to be upgraded …

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

You can also view your site the way your visitors will see it as you are making updates.

Tip: To keep working on your site and also see your home page, right-click on the Visit Site link and choose either “Open Link In New Tab”, or “Open Link In New Window” in your web browser to see your site in a different window …

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

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 begin to add new functionality to your website, you may notice that additional items begin to appear on your admin toolbar …

Important: If you log in and the Toolbar is not displaying when viewing your site, then make sure that the Toolbar is set to display on your ”Profile” settings.

The section below shows you how to do this …

The “Howdy, User” Area

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

If you hover over this area with your mouse it displays your name and username, and 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 inside the Toolbar information area of your Profile page …

Remember to click the Update Profile button at the bottom of your screen 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 Admin Section: Navigation Menu

On the left-hand side of the Dashboard is the main navigation menu linking to all your administrative features …

Your WordPress Admin Menu

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

In order to access all of the WordPress administration section features, you must be an administrator of the site. …

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

Users assigned roles other than ”Administrator” (e.g. “Subscriber”, ”Editor”, etc.) have 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 navigation menu section …

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

Use this 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 menu items, or hover over an icon to display its submenus …

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

To stick” submenus into the main 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.

WP Administration Section: Main Working Area

The large area in the middle of your administration page is your main 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 related to these, add images and media to your site, add, update and configure plugins and themes, change your site settings, etc…

When you log into your admin area, your Dashboard displays a number of  panels containing information about various activities taking place on your site, including news and content feeds from a range of different 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 visitors begin to interact online with your website or blog, you will see that this area begins to get really busy …

Fortunately, you can customize your admin area by hiding, minimizing and reorganizing the layout and display of your Admin panels.

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

WordPress Administration Area: Footer

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

Congratulations! Now you know how to navigate around your WordPress dashboard and administration sections.

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group

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