Are you one of the many people that log into their WordPress site and go what the heck do all these buttons mean? Well you’re not alone! WordPress has so many options and features it can feel overwhelming. But don’t let it scare you into switching to a new platform. If you’re on WordPress it’s probably because you have heard AMAZING things about it. WordPress was built to help you build and keep track of the way you build your blog. So before you throw your computer against the let’s learn about the WordPress Dashboard and Navigation options!
The WordPress Dashboard
As soon as you login to your WordPress site, you’ll land on this welcome page which is known as your WordPress Dashboard. Your Dashboard is a quick landing page for your to get quick tasks done if you’re in a hurry or want to see how your site is doing at a glance.
There is even a widget called “At a Glance!” There you can see quick stats of your blog like how many posts, pages and comments are on your site. Plus it tells you the version of WordPress and theme that is on your site currently.
The Welcome Box at the top gives you quick links which can come in pretty handy. These links are popular places most users go to which is why they are the first on top. You can also choose to dismiss that box if you find that you don’t need it.
The image above shows you all the widgets that are in your Dashboard. Adding new plugins to your site may also add new options here. You can easily drag them around to move whatever you want wherever you want. You can also close them (with the little triangle) or remove them altogether (see below).
At the very top of your Dashboard, you have this additional menu called “screen options.” When you click it this little drop down menu will appear. This will let you click to add or remove anything you don’t want to see in your Dashboard.
WordPress Top (Admin Toolbar) Navigation
At the very top of WordPress you have a small navigation. Similar to your Dashboard, it gives quick link options of things you can do or need to be addressed. The WordPress icon will allow you to go directly to WordPress’ website to see their documentations or if you just want to go to there site.
Next is your home option. Clicking this will allow you to quickly go visit your site. The wording next to the Home icon is your Site Name which you can change in your settings. Learn how to configure your WordPress Settings in this post.
The next icon is your comments. It will light up red and have a number there any time you have new comments. And lastly is “+New.” As you can see from the image, it has an additional drop down menu that lets you choose to quickly add a new Post, Media file, Page or User. Also like your dashboard, adding new plugins may also add new options to this menu.
WordPress Main Navigation
The Main Navigation can be found on the left hand of the page. This navigation menu is where you will be spending most of your time. As you can see, this is where you will can view, add and edit your posts, media, pages and comments.
Plus you will use this navigation to configure your settings, add your theme, plugins and users.
And AGAIN if you add plugins more options will appear on this menu.
Your main navigation is pretty clear and straight forward. One of the many things I love about WordPress is it’s functionality and being able to always see all my menu options regardless of which page I am on.
You also have the option at the bottom “Collapse menu” if you want to work with a wider page.
Main Navigation Options
This options allows you to view all your posts so you can edit, trash or add a new post. You can also add or edit any of your Categories and Tags here.
This is where you’ll come to add any images or files to your WordPress site. You can view your entire library so you can edit the title, caption or description. Plus each media file is given a URL and can be accessed in your Media Library.
This is where you can create and maintain all the pages on your site.
You will come here to manage all your comments which includes replying to, marking as spam or deleting comments from your site.
The top half of your main navigation is pretty straight forward and easy to manage. The second half has a few additional things to look at. Most of the options have an additional fly-out menu with more advanced options.
For example, the Appearance menu has a huge list of options. Still straight forward, this is where you will come to control how your site looks. By going to Themes you can change your theme or customize it by going to “Customize.”
You can also add or edit your Widgets, which is basically additional content that you can add to the surrounding areas of your site like your sidebar or footer. Menus will allow you to add or edit the menu navigation that will be on the frontend of your site.
The Header and Editor section will let you edit your site even more by allowing you to edit the files of your site.
As mentioned in my post What is WordPress, plugins are extra software you can add to your site to extend the functionality of your site. You can search, add, deactivate or delete plugins in this menu option.
This option will list all the existing users for your site which is most likely just you but you do have the option of adding more users if you have a team. You can update your profile here by adding a Gravatar (profile image), your nickname (what your readers will see) and the About you info.
This sections gives you access to some tools. Depending on your plugins this may add some options. This section is mostly used for Importing and Exporting all your WordPress data to a file. The Import tool will allow you to transfer information from another system like Blogger or WordPress(.com).
Just like the Appearance menu, your Settings menu has a pretty large amount of options to choose from. You will be coming here to configure your site as soon as you install WordPress.
Among MANY things, you can choose how your posts will be displayed and read, whether or not people will be allows to leave comments and so much more.
I have a list of essentials you can read about in my WordPress Setup Guide.