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The WordPress dashboard can look overwhelming at first glance. In fact, it’s more straightforward than you may imagine. I’m going to guide you through a brief introduction to the WordPress Dashboard, working my way, in order, through the various menus available.
WordPress multi-site feature, this is how a contributor of multiple sites in a single installation navigates between their different backends, or admin areas.
Most installations will just start with this link. If you’re in your backend, it will take you to your site. If you’re on your site, it will take you to your admin area!
Quick access to update your plugins, themes, and installation. Do this often, as they can lead to security holes. I am speaking from experience!
Updates about new comments awaiting moderation. Spam comments can bring down your SEO, so you want to delete any of those.
One of the more straightforward menus! New posts, pages, media, or users.
The last links will usually be plugin-inserted settings to help you control them easily.
This is the landing page for your admin area. Adjustable widget areas give you at-a-glance views of different parts of your site. I have a ‘notepad’ plugin installed that lets me keep a list of post ideas, tasks I need to get done, etc.
This is an optional plugin that adds a lot of WordPress.COM features. It has a lot included, so the best idea is to turn off every module except the ones you actually plan on using. Using too many has been suggested to slow down you site’s performance.
Allows you add and edit posts, categories, and tags.
You can upload images directly using this media area, though I would recommend uploading them inside your post editor, as this will “attach” them to your post. When I need to add an image into my sidebar or something, I upload it through this area.
Add and edit your pages.
Read, moderate, and respond to your comments.
When you add contact forms through the Jetpack plugin, the responses you get are emailed to the creator, as well as recorded here.
My site is built on Genesis, a WordPress framework. Themes with backend settings will have some kind of area where you can change different options. My Genesis-specific plugins also appear here, too.
These are the standard WordPress settings now. I can do some general theme customizations here, as well as manage my widgets and create my menus.
Install new plugins and manage the ones you already have.
Here you can manage your users as well as your own account. Your author box bio comes from your account and you can change the way the back end appears for yourself. If you’re using an SEO optimized theme like Genesis, putting your Google+ link here will make connecting your Google authorship easier.
Usually just your standard “import” and “export” options, some plugins will be located here as well.
Your site settings are here, mostly remaining unchanged after you set up your site initially. Most of your plugins will be located here.
At the very bottom of your sidebar, some more robust plugins will place their setting links outright rather than nested under another item.
Once you start playing around in your site, you’ll learn that things are pretty logically structured (except maybe the plugins that just feel like inserting themselves wherever they want)! It takes some time to get familiar with WordPress, but it isn’t very difficult itself. It’s when you want WordPress to do a specific feature and you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for that everything becomes more confusing! Please feel free to ask me any questions that you come across, should that be the case!