The WordPress Dashboard: A Beginner’s Guide For Clients
Although every WordPress site is different, the dashboard shares the same basic options. This is a broad overview of the features a client might need on their website: logging in, identifying pages and posts, editing menus and managing their media library.
Logging In To Your Website
Once your site has launched, you’ll be given login details so that you can access your content. Typically, you’d login via yoursite.com/wp-admin. Your developer will let you know the specific URL when they hand you your username and password.
You should have an Editor account that lets you tweak pages without the clutter of theme options. An Administrator account would also be given for developer access, or for you to manage critical settings such as security or plugins.
Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be in the main dashboard. The headings referred to below can be found on the left hand side. You can return to your dashboard anytime by visiting yoursite.com/wp-admin or by hovering over the black bar at the top while browsing.
Pages are permanent, cornerstone parts of your website: About Us, Contact Us, Delivery etc. Unlike the blog area, Pages don’t change much and aren’t updated automatically when news is published.
Most of the time, ‘posts’ means ‘blog’ or ‘news’. In other words, posts are published in date order, sorted by categories, and archived in one area of your website: the Blog page or the News page. So whereas pages are long-lasting (or ‘evergreen’), posts are topical and pile up in a big list.
You might have custom posts like Team, Portfolio or Recipes. If you have a group of services that need special treatment, it’s probably tidier to have them under a Custom Post Type. See my Custom Posts Guide for more information about this feature.
If you run a blog or write a lot of opinion pieces, you might have comments enabled. Here you’ll be able to manage comments and trash all that pesky spam. Comments can also be managed through the individual post entries.
Editing Posts & Pages
You can edit posts and pages in one of two ways:
- Go to the Dashboard and click Posts/Pages on the left hand side. Then, click Edit on the post/page in question.
- Browse the site while logged in and visit the post/page you want to edit. At the top of the screen, you should see an Edit button in the black bar. Click that, and you’ll be taken to the editor.
For more information about editing individual posts/pages, please visit this detailed guide.
The Media section is a library of all your website’s photos and videos. By visiting the Media Library you can upload, view, crop and delete your images, as well as input their captions and metadata. If you want to add images to a specific page, do so via that page’s editor.
The Appearance area is for sitewide changes. If you’ve bought a theme, it might let you edit certain options such as colour palettes, fonts or logo options. It also lets you edit Widgets and Menus, which recur throughout your website.
Your site might feature Widgets. These are small areas on certain pages that can hold custom content. For example, your site footer might have a widget that displays your social networks. Or, you might have a widget in your blog’s sidebar that features your main categories.
In the Widgets section, drag and drop the features on the left hand side into the widget areas on the right hand side.
Your site’s menus can also be found in the Appearance section. In this area, you’ll see how the list of page titles corresponds with your website’s navigation. Simply drag and drop these headings to reorder them, or add new pages from the box on the left hand side.
So there you have it – a quick tutorial of the WordPress Dashboard. Using these options you can login, find the area you want to edit, manage your images and update your website’s menus.