WordPress is a content management system, usually called a CMS. It is an excellent tool for building and managing your website or blog. Whether you are building a personal blog, a business blog, a website, or even an eCommerce store, WordPress is, in many people’s opinion, the best tool to use. WordPress is an online tool usually, and you do not need to download any software. However, this is a great application called “Local” that allows you to install and run WordPress on your computer with no Internet access required. We have a tutorial on that software. You may find “Local” to be a valuable tool to use when following these tutorials.
This article is a part of a series of tutorials that will help you fully understand WordPress and provide the skills to use all its features successfully. The series will take users from zero knowledge to a place where they are proficient, without using technical jargon.
When you first open WordPress as an administrator, the first thing you will see is the “Dashboard.” This is the central point for your website. Depending on the version of WordPress you use, the layout may vary slightly, do not let this worry you as they all work pretty much the same. We will be using WordPress 2021.
The Welcome Panel
The welcome panel is the first thing you will see when you open the Dashboard. It offers you the opportunity to customize your website and change the theme you have installed. It also has links for “Writing your first blog post“, “Adding an About Page“, “Setting up your homepage“, and “Viewing your site.” These are all tasks that we will come to in the correct order during our tutorials, so we will not confuse things by jumping around now.
In the links in the Welcome Screen of the Dashboard, you will find some quick links to carrying out specific tasks. We won’t be using them, so click on “Dismiss” in the top right-hand corner of that panel. If you want it back at any point:
- Go to “Screen Options” on the top right and click on it.
- When it opens, put a check against “Welcome“.
- Leave Screen options, and on the left of that option, you will see a “Help” button. This will take you to various sources of help.
You can click and hold on the top bar of all the panels on the right of the Dashboard and drag them and reorder them how you prefer. You can also shrink them, so they are out of sight as well.
One of the panels is labelled “Quick Drafts.” If you have a bright idea for a post at odd moments, you can quickly enter the title and make a few notes in the Content box. When you click “Save as Draft“, it will retain that information in the drafts section so you can flesh it out at a later date. Underneath, you will see a list of all current drafts. Drafts are blog posts that are under construction and not yet published online. They are a handy tool and save you from opening up an “Add New Post” page when all you want to do is add a couple of notes to remind you of your Amazing Idea you had just before going to bed.
Site Health Status
WordPress will identify any “matters for concern” and list them for access through this panel as you start working on your site. There will be nothing there at first, but check it in the future. Click on the “Visit the Site Health Screen” link to get further information. That page will list any critical issues and also guides improvements that should be made to your site. It is a handy tool. It also lists checks that it has already made and where the website has been approved.
At a Glance
This is a “quick statistical summary” of your site, listing how many posts, pages, and comments there are. It also tells you your current theme. We will be looking at themes at a later stage in the tutorials.
WordPress Events & News
Just a place to learn more about WordPress from the community. It is possible to pick up some handy information from this section. You can even enter your nearest city to find out if there are any meet-ups in your region. This is not necessary at this point, so we will not pay any attention at this point.
Just a reminder of what you have been doing on the website recently. This is especially useful if more than one person is working on a website from different locations. It is an excellent way of coordinating work between colleagues.
That is the right-hand side dealt with. We now come to the main menu on the left, the more critical section.
Click on this item, and it will display essential data about your website. For example, the current version of WordPress you are running and whether it is up-to-date. It will also keep you informed about the status of your plugins and themes that you may have installed. You have a choice with updates of WordPress and Plugins. You can choose to keep an eye on the Dashboard and decide when you need to update anything, or you can set the WordPress so that it will automatically make updates as and when the updates are released.
It is always essential to ensure that you are running updated versions of WordPress, Themes, and Plugins, as outdated versions can be a security issue that could put your website at risk.
This tutorial on the Dashboard is one we needed to work through before we got to the real meat of WordPress; I hope that you have found this quick tour of the WordPress dashboard to be helpful. In the following tutorial, we will be moving on to the WordPress Blog Post, and this is where we start to get familiar with the application.