How To Navigate Your WordPress Dashboard

wordpress dashboard When you log into your WordPress dashboard you should see a similar menu setup as seen in the image here on this page.

Menu items, on the left navigation bar, will include Posts, Media, Pages Comments, Appearance, Plugins, Users, Tools and Settings, with sub categories in each.

In the everyday maintenance and updating of your website you will probably use most, if not all of these main menu items, but you will not use all of the subcategories. This is a condensed explanation of the menu and subcategory items on the WordPress dashboard, the backend of your website.

Posts and Pages are very similar, but there are differences. Posts are used mostly by bloggers who are looking to increase their online search results. The basic difference between Posts and Pages is that you can organize and publish your posts in categories and add tags. Under the Post category on the WordPress dashboard you will find the following subcategories

“All Posts” See all posts you have published.

“Add New Post” Add and publish a new post.

“Categories” Create and edit post categories.

“Tags” Create and edit post tags.

Media This is where you will upload your images, videos, etc., for use on your website.

Subcategories include

“Library” where you see all of your images,

“Add New” where you upload your images etc.

Pages Most developers will tell you to use pages for the business information side of your business such as the privacy page, contact page, home page, etc. You can’t organize your pages into categories unless you make your own categories and post those in a widget, a table or make a site map page to list them on.

Subcategories of the “Pages” menu item include:

“All Pages” where you can view all the pages of your website.

“Add new” Where you add new pages to your website..

Comments If you allow comments on your posts and/or pages you will see a number in a red circle indicating how many comments there are to moderate. Just keep in mind that if you allow comments you should really attend to those (moderate them) and decide if you want to allow the negative comments as well as the positive ones. You can allow comments, which can be controlled when you edit a page or post. You can also, in the “Setting” section, allow comments but they will only show when you OK them. There are a few options for comments in the setting section. Comments are something you may or may not want depending on the focus of your website.

Appearance In this section you can do things, as the name indicates, that determine the appearance of your website.

The subcategories include:

“Themes” which is where you choose which theme you will use. You can also search, install and deactivate themes here.

“Customize” is the option where you get into the nitty gritty of how your site appears online. You can change which page will be your home page, colors, font size, site identity and many more options depending on the theme you choose. Some themes have many more options than some of the basic themes.

“Widgets” are very useful and normally there are many widget choices. These are used for example in a side bar navigation, bottom navigation, etc. Widget choices range from a text widget, latest posts, pages, archives, calendar, meta, categories, audio, custom HTML, gallery, image, recent comments, RSS, tag cloud, video, etc.

“Menus” is where you can make menus for use on your site and you can make menus for use on the top navigation, bottom navigation, etc.

“Background” is where you can change the background of your site but I have never used this option.

“Theme Editor” Unless you are proficient at writing code you should avoid this, but if you know code you can make changes here in the way your site looks and interacts with visitors.

Plugins The most useful option on your dashboard. If you going to be building your website, adding posts and pages on a regular basis, and want to make you site more interactive for your visitors, then you will need plugins to help with organization and maintenance.

Some important plugins you will probably install are contact forms, image gallery, SEO, affiliate link cloaking, etc. You will also see notifications indicated with a red circle with a number in it which will indicate how many of your installed plugins need to be updated.

Just a note about installing plugins. Some times after a plugin is installed access to it may not appear on the dashboard but you may have to look in another dashboard option such as Tools, Settings etc. to find it. Many plugins have a link directly from the dashboard and some plugins will have widgets which get added to your widget area so you can install them with a click.

As well it is always a good idea to back up your website, this can be done with a plugin or from your Cpanel. It has been known that updating plugins can affect your site (hasn’t happened to me yet) but I know that it can happen.

Do not overload your site with plugins. If you are not using a plugin deactivate it or delete it.

Subcategories under this option are:

“Installed Plugins” Where you will be able to view all your installed plugins.

“Add New Plugin” Here you search for and add new plugins. You can also download plugins online and upload and install them in this option.

“Plugin Editor” With this option as with the Theme Editor option mentioned above, unless you are proficient with code you should stay away from this, it takes very little to make a plugin not work which can affect your entire site.

Users Users will be other people you allow to access the backend of your site. You can manage, in settings, who and what pages, posts, etc. they can access. These users may be guest authors or someone on your team that helps with site management.

Subcategories under this option are:

“All Users” A list of all users that use the site.

“Add User” Add a new user and grant permissions to access certain pages, posts, etc.

“Profile” Here you can set personal options of the current user including the visual editor when writing, syntax highlighting when editing code, admin color scheme, keyboard shortcuts for comment moderation, information about the user, contact info, email, website, add Twitter and Facebook account information, , biographical info, add a profile picture and change your password.

Tools

“Available Tools” A page of avaiable tools.

“Import” If you have posts or comments on another website, WordPress can import those into your site.

“Export” WordPress will create an XML file for you to save to your computer and this format, which is called WordPress eXtended RSS or WXR, will contain your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags. You can download the file and you can use the Import function in another WordPress installation to import the content from your site.

“Site Health” Here you can check critical information about your WordPress configuration and items that may require your attention.

“Export Personal Data” Export personal data to an email address.

“Erase Personal Data” Delete personal data.

Settings

“General” In the general setting you can set the following:

“Site Title” – The title of your website.
“Tagline” – Add your website’s description
“Site Address – Add your site’s URL
“Administration Email Address” – Set the administration email address
“Membership” – Determine who can register or choose no registration
“New User Default Role” – What roles your users will have, subsciber, contributor, etc.
“Site Language” – The language of your website.
“Timezone”- The time zone you are in
“Date Format” – How the date is shown on your site..

“Writing” Here you can set the following:

“Default Post Category” – Choose a default category for your posts.
“Default Post Format” – Choose to Post to your site via email
“Update Services”- Choose what update services that helps promote your posts hat helps promote your posts.

“Reading” Here you can choose the following options:

“Your homepage displays” – Choose your latest posts, a static page or posts page as your homepage
“Blog pages show at most” – Choose how many posts show, if your homepage is blogs posts
“Syndication feeds show the most recent” – Choose how many items included in your feed, if you have one, and for each post in a feed choose to include the full text or an excerpt
“Search engine visibility” – Choose whether you want to discourage search engines from indexing this site and it is up to search engines to honor this request.

“Discussion” This section covers a lot of ground and includes the following options.

“Default post settings” Three settings including…

1. Default post settings Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the post
2. Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts and 3. Allow people to submit comments on new posts

“Other comment settings” Seven options in this section including

1. Other comment settings Comment author must fill out name and email
2. Users must be registered and logged in to comment
3.Automatically close comments on posts older than (choose amount) of days
4. Show comments cookies opt-in checkbox, allowing comment author cookies to be set
5. Enable threaded (nested) comments (Choose amount) levels deep
6. Break comments into pages with (choose amount) top level comments per page, and the (choose first or last) page displayed by default
7. Comments should be displayed with the (choose latest or older) comments at the top of each page.

“email me whenever” Two options here which are:

1. anyone posts a comment

2. A comment is held for moderation

“Before a comment appears” Two options here as well which are

1. Before a comment appears Comment must be manually approved

2. Comment author must have a previously approved comment

“Comment Moderation” Here you can hold a comment in the queue if it contains (choose number) or more links. Spam has the characteristic of containing more than two links. As well you can choose when a comment contains certain words in its content, in the author name, in the URL, email, IP address, or browser’s user agent string, to have it held in the moderation queue.

“Disallowed Comment Keys” Here you control comments, much like above, that contain certain words in its content, author name, URL, email, IP address, or browser’s user agent string, and if found, it will be put in the Trash.

“Avatars” Here you can choose to add your avatar, choose one from example avatars or use a default avatar.

“Media” Here you determine the size of the image files that will be uploaded to the media location of your site. You can choose pixel size for thumbnails, medium and large sizes and as well you can organize your uploads into month- and year-based folders if you wish.

“Permalinks” Basically this is where you determine how your homepage URL will look in a browser. This section includes:

“Common Settings”, choose one of the following, which will be how the URL appears in a browser.

Plain
https://yoursite.ext/?p=123
Day and name
https://yoursite.ext/2021/09/06/sample-post/
Month and name
https://yoursite.ext/2021/09/sample-post/
Numeric
https://yoursite.ext/archives/123
Post name (Most Common)
https://yoursite.ext/sample-post/
Custom Structure
https://websitemanagement.ca/ (choose how it will look) using the following tags:

%year%
%monthnum%
%day%
%hour%
%minute%
%second%
%post_id%
%postname%
%category%
%author%

and you may also choose to enter custom structures for your category base and tag base URLs here. For example, using topics as your category base would make your category links like:

https://websitemanagement.ca/topics/uncategorized/. If you leave these blank the defaults will be used.

“Privacy” Here you choose between:

“Create a new Privacy Policy Page” or
“Change your Privacy Policy Page”

Below is the content on the WordPress Privacy settings page…

As a website owner, you may need to follow national or international privacy laws. For example, you may need to create and display a Privacy Policy. If you already have a Privacy Policy page, please select it below. If not, please create one.

The new page will include help and suggestions for your Privacy Policy. However, it is your responsibility to use those resources correctly, to provide the information that your Privacy Policy requires, and to keep that information current and accurate.

After your Privacy Policy page is set, we suggest that you edit it. We would also suggest reviewing your Privacy Policy from time to time, especially after installing or updating any themes or plugins. There may be changes or new suggested information for you to consider adding to your policy.

Edit or view your Privacy Policy page content. Need help putting together your new Privacy Policy page? Check out our Privacy Policy guide for recommendations on what content to include, along with policies suggested by your plugins and theme.

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