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Getting started with WordPress

Getting started with the WordPress dashboard

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Let’s get acquainted with the WordPress dashboard. To log into your site into the following in a web browser address bar, fill in your details and click on “Log In”.

Admin bar

Once we log into the dashboard, we can see the main admin bar at the top. Let’s start with the home icon for your site; clicking on this takes you to the public-facing home page of your site or the front end of your site. And when you click on it again, it takes you back to your dashboard. Then, there are two notification icons. New comments and updates will appear here. Hovering over “New” brings up a menu of links to create new items such as posts, media items, and pages or even add new users. The actual contents of this list depend on the user’s role. All the way in the right corner of the admin bar, you’ll see your username and avatar. From this menu, clicking on either your name or edit profile will take you to the edit profile page. Just below the dark grey admin bar are the screen options tab and the help tab. The screen options tab appears on most administrative pages, and it allows you to control the elements that appear on that page. If you deselect a widget, it disappears.

Administrative widgets

In the body of the dashboard, you’ll find a number of administrative widgets or panels and you’ve seen how these can be shown or hidden using the checkboxes in the screen options tab. Their position can also be changed simply by dragging and dropping them where you want. As a side note, this is just one of the possible WordPress dashboard configurations.

The dashboard view will change based on what plugins you have active, your hosting company, and how you personally configure it. When using the quick draft widget, anything entered into this forum will be saved as a draft post. That is, it will be saved but not published on your site. This is very handy for jotting down quick ideas for posts you would like to return to and finish later. The At a Glance widget gives you a quick total for the number of pages, posts, and comments that are currently on your site. It also displays the current theme and the version of WordPress that you’re using. Activity shows your most recent posts and comments. The WordPress Events and News panel is a great way to get involved with the WordPress community. Based on your location, you’ll see a list of different WordPress-related events and meetups.

Left Sidebar

Now the most common way of moving around the admin area is by using the navigation links in the left sidebar. Some of these are used much more frequently than others, particularly posts, pages, and comments. With that in mind, you’ll notice that more content-focused menu items are in the top section. Menu items focused on functionality, appearance, and other settings are grouped together at the bottom.


Next up, let’s talk about posts. Posts are for dynamic content, such as a blog post or a book review. For example, they are individual pieces of content on your blog page or news page. When you publish a post, it will generally appear in reverse chronological order on your posts page. So visitors will always be presented with the latest posts when they come to your site. Posts will change over time as you add new content. Pages, on the other hand, are for more static content.

When you click on Quick Edit, you can quickly change categories, tags, and other items. Trash moves the post to the trash folder, and you can recover anything that you’ve put into the trash for up to 30 days. You can use checkboxes next to the posts to perform actions on multiple items, like editing or trashing. You can also filter the list of posts by date, month, year, and category. Lastly, you can search for words or phrases that may be contained in your posts.


Before we look at media, let’s talk about pages. A page is for static content. A page generally will always stay the same. Though just like a post, you can update it whenever you want. Pages are useful things, like an About page, a Contact page, or even something like the history of your site or company.


Next, let’s talk about media. The media library contains all your media files, from images to audio files, Excel spreadsheets, and even PDF documents. You can display items in the grid view or list view. When you select Add New and click on Select Files, you can upload media from your computer or drag and drop multiple files at the top. The only bulk action for the media library is permanently deleting media items.


Next up, we are going to talk about comments. Comments are, of course, the messages that visitors to your site leave below posts. When you click on comments, you will see a list of all the comments on your site. As you hover over each comment, you can see the different options that are available to you, such as approve, unapprove, reply, quick edit, edit, spam, and trash. To the left, you can see the comment has information, like their name, their gravatar, and their email address. As you move your cursor to the right, you can also see which post or page this comment was left on. All the way to the right, you’ll find the date and the time that the comment was submitted.


Next, let’s discuss Appearance. In the appearance section, you can change your site’s theme. If you use a block-based theme, you will have access to the Site Editor, allowing you to create an overall site structure and edit your site cohesively from one place. But if you are using a classic theme, you will have access to the Customizer, widgets, etc.


Next up, plugins. When you open the plugins menu and click on add new, you will be able to install, manage, and uninstall plugins for your site.


Lastly, let’s touch on users. Under the user’s menu, you can manage users on your site. The different roles are subscriber, contributor, author, editor, and administrator.


We will learn more about these and the settings below in later lessons. I trust you can better understand navigating your way through the dashboard.


Go to WordPress Playground and complete the following steps to apply the knowledge you have learned:

  1. Widget Management: Use the screen options tab to show or hide administrative widgets on the dashboard. Drag and drop widgets to rearrange their position.
  2. Quick Draft and At a Glance: Utilize the Quick Draft widget to create a draft post.
  3. Posts Management: Create a new post and edit the existing post using the Quick Edit feature.
  4. Media Upload and Management: From your computer, upload two new media files, such as an image or document, to the media library. Experiment with displaying items in the grid and list views, and permanently delete a media item as a bulk action.
  5. Page Creation: Create a new page with static content, such as an About page or Contact page. Explore the options available in the Page editor, including Quick Edit and bulk actions.
  6. Comment Moderation: Mark the dummy comment as spam.