WordPress is my chosen platform when building websites for my clients. I chose WordPress because it’s an open-source software that’s easy to use (once you know how). For some people, logging into WordPress can be overwhelming and that’s what I’m here to help with.
This post will guide you through the WordPress lingo and explain to you each part of the WordPress dashboard so you can feel confident updating your WordPress website.
The WordPress dashboard is where it all starts. Once you log into the back end of your WordPress website, the dashboard is the first thing you will see. The dashboard provides an overview of your website including the number of posts, pages and comments. You can also customise your WordPress dashboard but I’ll go into that in more detail in a future post.
The toolbar is the area of the screen just above the dashboard that links to useful items such as ‘add a new post’ or ‘add a new page’. Again, as you add plugins to your website, quick links to these plugins may appear in the toolbar.
The toolbar also provides easy access to view your website by hovering over the ‘home’ icon. Once on your site, you can easily go back to the dashboard by hovering over the same icon.
WordPress was originally created as a blogging platform so the posts section is where you would add new posts for your blog. You can view existing posts, categories and tags here also.
The media library is an online storage library for all of your images, documents and videos that you want to include on your website.
As mentioned above, WordPress was originally created as a blogging platform however as the vast majority of people now use WordPress for their entire websites, you can add pages such as Home, About, Services, Contact using this section.
The comments section is where you can view all the comments that have been left on your blog. You can approve, trash or spam them here.
The appearance section of WordPress is the place to go to change themes, add or remove widgets and add or remove menu items.
A WordPress theme is a collection of files that work together to produce the overall appearance for your website. You can change the look of your website whilst maintaining the posts and pages, simply by changing the theme. WordPress comes with a set of pre-made themes or you can download more free themes from their library. Premium WordPress themes are available from a number of third-party developers or you can work with a WordPress designer to create a custom theme.
A WordPress widget is a small area of your website that provides a specific function. Widgets add additional content and function to your WordPress website. By default widgets are placed in the sidebar of your website. This can be customised further depending on the theme you are using and you can essentially place widgets on any ‘widget ready’ areas of your website such as the footer.
The wide range of WordPress plugins available mean you can add a large variety of widgets to your website from simple text and images, to custom menus, to Instagram feeds to newsletter sign-ups.
The menu section enables you to create custom navigation menus for your website. You can use menus to link to pages, posts, categories and even add custom links.
Plugins are pieces of software that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality on your website and add new features.
I predominantly use plugins to add functionality to my website such as contact forms, pin it buttons, SEO software and backup software. You can also add design features such as your Instagram feed.
The tools section is where you would import blog posts from another website that you own or export your WordPress site to install into another site or platform.
The settings area allows you to update settings such as your email address, timezone, date and time format, number of blog posts displayed and what your front page displays. You can also access the settings for permalinks from this menu.
Permalinks are how your URL is displayed and how the pages and posts after your URL is displayed. By default, WordPress sets your permalinks to display a link such as http://example.com/?p=123 which let’s be honest, is pretty ugly. Fortunately you can change the way this looks under the permalinks setting section. I always set mine by post name.
Categories are a method to sort blog posts into specific topics. For example, I have my categories set up to include branding, websites, business, marketing, wordpress and launch love. I have then added these categories to my sidebar using a custom menu widget. This means that if a visitor clicks on one of these categories, they will view all posts within that specific topic.
Similar to categories, tags can also organise blog posts by topics. I like to use categories for broader topics and tags to go into more detail. For example, under marketing, I may have social media, email marketing, content marketing etc…