The WordPress Dashboard allows you to control all of the behind-the-scene details of managing your site. Once you find your way around the dashboard, you’ll realize it’s really easy to use and navigate.
First we’ll take a look at the dashboard home screen. After you first log in, you’ll see a top welcome box from WordPress with some quick links to help you get started.
The next section is the Right Now section. Here you’ll see the number of post, pages, categories and tags for your site’s content. You’ll also see discussion information for comments, like the total number of comments, and numbers for those approved, pending or marked as spam.
In the Right now section, you’ll also see what WordPress theme you’re currently running on this site plus the number of widgets and your current version of WordPress.
The Recent Comments section shows you just that, recent comments. Here you can quickly unapprove or approve comments, reply, edit, mark as spam or send to trash, too.
The Incoming Links section shows incoming links to your website or blog found by Google Blog Search. Incoming links are when another blog links back to your site. If you have a brand new WordPress site, you probably won’t have any incoming links.
In the Plugins section, you’ll find information on the most popular, newest plugins and recently updated plugins from the WordPress.org Plugin Directory.
If you scroll back up to the second column, you’ll find the Quick Press section of the WordPress Dashboard. QuickPress will allow you to publish or save a draft of a post straight from this screen, which is great for quickly publishing content. You just won’t have all of the formatting options like you do in the WordPress post editor.
The Next section is for recent drafts of posts. Once you start creating posts and if they’re saved as drafts, the five most recent drafts you’ve started be visible here.
The last two sections are the WordPress Blog and other WordPress News. These are Updates from the official WordPress project and theWordPress Planet feed.
If you’d like to customize what sections you see from the WordPress dashboard, visit the Screen Options tab on the top right side of your screen. Click the arrow to expand this section and you’ll see checkboxes for each of the sections usually included in the WordPress Dashboard. To remove any of the sections, just unclick the checkbox beside the section you’d like to hide. You can also choose the number of columns for the screen layout, too.
If we return to the Dashbaord Home, you can also expand each of the sections by clicking the arrow to the right. You can also drag and drop the boxes to change the order.
In addition to the WordPress Dashboard Home screen, the other major component of the WordPress Dashboard is the left-hand navigation menu. This navigation menu provides links to all of the WordPress administration screens for posts, the media library, pages, comments, appearance options, plugins, users, tools and settings.
Widgets & Plugins
A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. – Wikipedia
WordPress Widgets add additional content and features to your WordPress site’s sidebars.
Examples are the default widgets that come with WordPress like those for archives, post categories, search bars and custom menus.
One of the great things about WordPress widgets is that they require no code experience or expertise. Thanks to WordPress, they can simply be added, removed and rearranged.
The actual location of widgets on your site depends on your WordPress theme. Most WordPress themes offer several different page templates that decide where widget locations are in the page design.
In addition to the default WordPress widgets, WordPress plugins often add their own widgets as well. Some may add additional options for customization features.
To see how widgets work, log in to your WordPress site and visit the:
Appearance > Widgets panel.
On the left side of the page, you’ll see all available widgets. Default widgets will be visible here, plus any additional widgets that have been added by your installed plugins. On the right, you’ll see all of your widget available widget locations.
To add a widget to a location, simply drag the widget from its place on the left into the right section to activate them. To remove them, simply drag the widget back or click delete.
For our current active theme, we have several widget locations. Say you want to add a search bar. Just drag the search widget over. Now, if you return to your site, you’ll see that a search bar has been added to the sidebar.
If you ever have questions or need help using widgets, just click the help tab from the top of the screen. Here you’ll find an overview, information on removing and reusing widgets and how to handle missing widgets if you change your WordPress theme.
A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress.
In the WordPress community, there is a saying that goes around: “there’s a plugin for that”. They makes it easy for users to add features to their website without knowing a single line of code. There are thousands available for free to download at the official WordPress plugin directory.
WPBeginner, has this link about all the best WordPress plugins. They have even shared a list of all the plugins we use.
Aside from free plugins, there are tons of amazing commercial ones available from third-party companies and developers.
As a site administrator, you can install/uninstall plugins from the admin area. You can also download and manually install them using an FTP client.
Because the vast majority of plugins are free, it is important to note that they usually do not come with tech support. For this reason it is important to be careful when choosing which ones you want to install on your site. Although there are plugins that can do virtually anything, some are much higher quality than others. In order to choose the right ones, you should ask yourself a couple questions. How long has it been since it was updated? Is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress? Are people getting answers to their support questions? What type of rating does it have?
There is a myth that WordPress plugins slow your site down. It is not true. Only the number of bad ones will slow down your site