The WordPress Dashboard (2020 Beginners Crash Course)

The WordPress Dashboard (2020 Beginners Crash Course)

In this tutorial, we will take a quick tour of the WordPress dashboard. The dashboard provides access to all the site management features for your website.

To access the WordPress dashboard and begin managing your site’s content, you can get there in a couple of ways.

Video Tutorial

WordPress Dashboard Overview 2020!

Logging Into The WordPress Dashboard

The first way to login in is by going to the login link on your website’s homepage.

homepage login

If your site does not have a login link on the homepage just add wp-admin to your website URL.

Url taking you to the wordpress dashboard

For example https://mynewsite.com/wp-admin. This will bring you to your WordPress login screen. Here you can sign in with your username/email and password. Then click login.

main login page for your WordPress website

After logging in, the first screen you see is the WordPress dashboard for the site.

The 3 Sections of The WordPress Dashboard

Every page in the administration area contains 3 sections:

  1. A toolbar that is located at the top of the page.
  2. The main navigation menu located on the left-hand side.
  3. The main work area ( this area will change depending on the page your on).
3 main sections of the WordPress dashboard
3 sections of the WordPress dashboard

The Welcome Module and Toolbar

The first time you log into your WordPress dashboard you are pleasantly greeted with a welcome module.

welcome module in dashboard

Equally as important, it contains some very useful links to help you get started. 

This module includes shortcuts to customize your site’s theme. You can begin creating content, managing widgets, comments, and menus.

If your still curious about other actions you can click on the learn more link. Once you’re comfortable with the dashboard you can dismiss the welcome module. 

The Toolbar

At the top of the page is the toolbar, which carries links to the most commonly used administrative functions.

In addition, it includes links to find more information about WordPress. You’re able to view documentation and visit the support forums if you need help with anything. 

hover over wordpress link in toolbar to reveal more options about wordpress
visit live site link from dashboard toolbar

Hovering over your website’s name will allow you to view the public view of your site. While you are logged in the toolbar will remain across the top.

This enables you to quickly customize your site, or create new content at any time.

view dashboard link from main site toolbar

Hover over the site name again to return to the dashboard, review themes or other pages in the administration area. 

The toolbar can also show you t update notifications. This can be for updating plugins, a theme or comments. 

toolbar hot links to add pages and posts

You also have a quick link that will allow you to add a new post or page. Also, you can update a media file and even a new user.  

Your Profile and Screen Options

On the right side of the toolbar, you will find links to edit your profile or logout.

It is a good idea to visit your profile right away, so you can set up your preferences, these options allow you to customize WordPress to work best for you. 

To return to the dashboard just click on the dashboard link on top of the main navigation menu.

Just below your username in the toolbar are two hanging tabs labeled screen options and help

screen options and help tabs

These tabs expand to offer additional options and help depending on what page you’re currently viewing.

The screen options tab allows you to customize your dashboard by choosing which boxes to display in the work area. 

screen options checkboxes

You can completely hide boxes you don’t use. simply uncheck the box next to the item you want to hide. You can re-enable them at any time by rechecking the box you want to display.

main admin dashboard menu

Main Navigation Menu

On the left-hand side is your main navigation menu. This area contains all the administrative pages in WordPress.

Hovering over a menu item will display the sub-menu containing some additional pages or options. 

If you’re in need of more screen space you can collapse the entire menu in a strip of icons. Even though the menu is minimized you still have access to the submenu when you hover over the icon. 

For an in-depth walk-through of the WordPress dashboard, you can watch a detailed video here.

Main Work Area

In the main work area you can rearrange the boxes in any order you’d like. By clicking in the title area of a box, you can drag the box to a new location on the page.

Release your mouse when you see the grey dotted outline indicating that it is a space the box can be moved to. 

This gives you the control to completely customize your dashboard so it makes your work environment suited to your needs. 

Boxes can also be minimized simply by clicking anywhere within the title bar. You can just click the arrow in the top right corner of the box you want to collapse. 

Individual Boxes on The Dashboard Screen

Individual boxes in the dashboard

At a Glance -- Displays a summary of your site’s content. It shows you the version of WordPress your using and the theme your website is currently using.

Activity -- Displays your most recent posts, it allows you to moderate comments (if present) from your readers.

Simply hover your mouse over an individual comment. You can approve, reply and edit a comment directly from this box. 

WordPress Events and News -- Contains a list of WordPress upcoming events near you. Presents links to the latest articles from popular WordPress news sites from around the internet. 

Quick Draft -- Enables you to quickly create a new blog post and save it as a draft. Offering you the ability to save your ideas for future blog posts.

You can come back and expand on those ideas at a later time.  Simply enter a title, then some brief notes or starter content. Then save it as a draft, that’s it!

Your most recent drafts show up at the bottom of the box.

Now with one click on that post, it opens up directly in the editor.

There you have it, the WordPress dashboard. Believe it or not, your well equipped to start working on your site. Being more efficient, and navigating smoothly around with the knowledge you have of the WordPress dashboard.

I hope this has been a helpful tutorial, please leave a comment or a question, and check out the YouTube channel that has even more beginners content. 

Until next time, 

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Rockey Simmons

Writing about software and technology is my passion. When I am not writing, I am building responsive webpages, learning about marketing, or reading about business. As a Saas and technology copywriter, my obsession is to continue learning my craft and offering unique and useful content to businesses, entrepreneurs, and WordPress beginners.

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