The WordPress Admin Panel & Dashboard – A Beginners Guide

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Once you have successfully installed WordPress, it’s time to start building your website!

Whoop Whoop!

In WordPress, you control everything on your website from the WordPress admin panel. Think of it as WordPress’s command center. From here you will be able to publish content, change and configure settings, change how your website looks and add more functionality.

But, before you begin you will need to log into your WordPress Admin Panel.

How To Get To Your WordPress Admin Panel / Dashboard

You can find the login screen for your WordPress admin dashboard by adding “/wp-admin” to the end of your website URL.

For example, if your URL is:

https://www.myawesomewebsite.com

Then your WordPress admin panel log-in URL will be

https://www.myawesomewebsite.com/wp-admin

This is what the WordPress admin dashboard login screen looks like:

WP-Admin Log In Page
WP-Admin Log-In Page

Simply enter your username and password and you will be taken to the WordPress admin panel.

This is what the default WordPress Admin panel looks like:

Default WordPress Admin Panel
The Default WordPress Admin Dashboard

By default, these are the menu items that WordPress comes with:

  • Home
  • Updates
  • Posts
  • Media
  • Pages
  • Comments
  • Appearance
  • Plugins
  • Users
  • Tools
  • Settings

Home

Your dashboard’s home page contains an overview of your site and this is where you will see notifications about different aspects of your website including your site health, comments, and WordPress news. 

You will be able to customize your home page to show all the info you would like to see when you log into WordPress.

Updates

The updates menu will show you any updates that are needed for your site.  This page will include notifications for updates for WordPress itself, plugin updates, and theme updates.

If WordPress needs updates, red notification circles will appear in the menu.

WordPress Menu With Update Notifications
WordPress Update Notifications

It is very important that you keep your WordPress website, themes, and plugins updated so that your website is secure and up to date with the latest security patches or anything else that could affect your WordPress security.

Posts

The posts menu is where you will create posts for your website. You will also be able to view and edit any existing posts as well as add categories and tags for your website. 

In this menu you will see options for:

  • All Posts – A list of all posts you have published.
  • Add New – Choose this option if you would like to create a new post.
  • Categories – This is where you can create and manage the categories for your website.
  • Tags – This is where you can create and manage the tags for your website.

Media

The media menu has two menu items:

  • Library – Your media library
  • Add New – Add new items to your media library

Your library is where you will store all your media files.  This includes your photos, videos, documents, audio files, etc. 

Pages

The pages menu has two menu items:

  • All Pages – A list of all the pages you have created for your website.
  • Add New – Create a new page for your website.

Comments

The comments section is where you will be able to see and manage all the comments that are added to your site by your visitors.  Depending on your website settings, you will be able to see:

  • Pending comments
  • Approved comments
  • Spam comments
  • Trash

Note that it is optional to have comments on your website.  If you would prefer not to allow people to add comments, then you can simply turn this option off.

Appearance

The appearance menu consists of the following menu items:

Themes

This is where you can choose different themes for your website.  Themes control the look and feel of your website.

Customize

This is where you will customize your WordPress theme once it is installed.  For example, you might want to change the colors, fonts, layout, etc.  The customize option makes it easy for you to do this.

Widgets

Widgets are small blocks of software or code that allow you to add all sorts of cool functionality to your site.  For example, let’s say you would like your website to have a sidebar displaying products that are related to the page that your visitors are on, you can do this with widgets.

Menus

The menus section is where you can set up and customize the menus for your website.

Theme File Editor

The Theme File Editor is where you can edit the code of your WordPress theme.  But beware! It is better not to edit anything in these files because one mistake could mean that your site goes down or becomes unusable.

Plugins

Plugins are pieces of software that developers and coders have created to add extra functionality to your site. 

For example, let’s say you would like to add a newsletter or contact form to your website.  With plugins, you can easily do this without having to know anything about coding.  And the best part is that many of these plugins are free for you to use.

The plugins menu consists of three menu items:

  • Installed Plugins – The plugins you have installed on your site.
  • Add New – The place you can add new plugins.
  • Plugin File Editor – The plugin file editor is similar to the Theme File Editor.  Here you will be able to edit the code for any of the plugins installed on your site.  But, just like the Theme File Editor, it can be dangerous to edit these files if you aren’t sure what you are doing.

Users

The Users menu is where you will be able to control who has access to your WordPress website and what they will be able to do there. 

For example, let’s say you have an assistant that will be helping you with writing content for your website.  She will need access to the WordPress admin dashboard to add her articles but you may not want her to have access to your other important functions such as themes or plugins.  With Users, you will be able to restrict access to these sections of your website.

The current user roles are available for you to use:

  • Subscriber
  • Contributor
  • Author
  • Editor
  • Administrator

By default, you are an Administrator with full access to the WordPress admin dashboard. 

The Users menu contains the following sub-menus:

  • All Users – A list of all the users who have access to your website.
  • Add New – This is where you will be able to add a new user to your website.  You will also be able to assign the user different permissions depending on what you would like them to be able to access on your website.
  • Profile – This is where you will be able to specify your personal profile options such as your preferred color scheme (for your WordPress admin panel), your nickname, password, website details, etc. 

Tools

The tools menu contains a couple of sub-menu items when you start out.  These include:

  • Available tools
  • Import
  • Export
  • Site Health

As you add more plugins to your site, you will see that your number of tools will also increase.

Settings

The settings menu is where you will specify all the default settings for your website.

It includes the following sub-menus:

  • General
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Discussion
  • Media
  • Permalinks
  • Privacy

WordPress Top Menu

At the top of your WordPress dashboard you will see another menu that looks like this:

Wordpress Admin Dashboard Top Menu
Top WordPress Admin Menu

This menu is used to help you move easily between your WordPress website and your admin dashboard.

You will see your website name displayed on the left-hand side of the menu. If you hover your mouse over the name you will see that a “Visit Site” option will be displayed.  If you click on it, you will be taken to your website.

There are other options in this menu which we will go through as we need them. Also, as you add different plugins to your website, more menu items could be added to this menu depending on the functionality you need.

Conclusion

Your WordPress admin panel is where you will be able to customize just about everything for your website. And once you get used to all the options, you will find them quick and easy to use.

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