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Using the WordPress Dashboard

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Part 1 – The Parts of the WordPress Dashboard

In this introductory WordPress Video we take a tour of the WordPress Dashboard. We look at the three main parts of the Dashboard. We look at the admin bar, the dashboard menu and the dashboard widgets.

Video Transcript

We’re going to look at the WordPress dashboard. So the first thing we’re going to look at is the dashboard parts and the dashboard has 3 main areas. It has the administrative menu or the administrative bar, I’m sorry. The admin bar across the top, it has the dashboard menu which is this menu on the left and then it has the dashboard widgets which are these right here in the middle.

Now the admin bar has a corollary on the side itself so if you flip back over here to the site, you have another version of the admin bar. It does different things but this is the bar that shows up when you’re the administrator. Actually, this bar shows up when you’re logged in no matter what but because you’re the administrator, it’s considered to be the admin bar. On the admin bar, it starts off with a link to your site. It also happens to be this message about search engines. If we look at my current site, byobwebsite, you can see I don’t have that little message here because I haven’t blocked search engines from my site so that message is missing. But if you see that message, you can go ahead and click that link and it’ll take you to the privacy settings where you can change your site visibility.

Okay then what you have is this quick access menu. The quick access menu will take you to your drafts, it will allow you to create a new page, it will allow you to upload something to your Media Library or will take you to your comments. So for example, we don’t have any drafts so there’s nothing to display here. But we could go to new post you know, and then it would take us to the new post. We could go to a new page, it would take us to the new page. If we go to upload, it takes us to the Media Library where we could select files to upload. And if you go to comments, it takes you to your comment section where you can review and administer your comments.

And then it has your login section. You know, first off, it gives you who your username is so if you select on that, you can edit your user profile. And if you select this, you can log out. Jared asks, “Why would you want to block search engines?” The reason why you’d want to block search engines is because the site isn’t really for general public consumption. This site is a demonstration site that I use to teach off of. It has content that is duplicated elsewhere. I don’t really want people looking for that content and ending up here on this site. So that’s why I leave this site blocked by search engines. It’s really only used for demonstration purposes just like we’re doing here.

So then you have the screen options section which allows you to change things on your screen. The screen options section is context sensitive which means that it shows something different on each page of your dashboard. If we go back to the dashboard, which is where we’re supposed to be, and go to screen options, you can see that you have these different settings that you can change to change the appearance of your dashboard. We’re going to talk about those settings in a minute.

And then finally, again, you also have context sensitive help. Now, each page has its own help section and this help is a varying value actually. But nevertheless, each page has its help section and that help section isn’t the same on each page. In fact, for my clients, I often add additional help to the page especially in the form of links to videos and things like that so that they have a little bit more assistance working with the website that I’ve worked on for them. So that’s your admin bar.

Then the next part of the dashboard menu and the dashboard menu is this menu here on the left. You can see on this site, it’s not particularly big but if you look on my main site you know, on the main site, I have lots and lots of dashboard items mostly because of all the different plugins that I have operating. And so, plugins can add their own dialogs to this dashboard menu.

And then finally, you have the dashboard widgets and Thesis comes…oh no, sorry…WordPress comes with a certain set of default widgets and we’re going to talk about these widgets a little bit more in a moment but that’s what each one of these things are. This is a widget that displays a certain kind of data or does a certain thing on your dashboard. Again, if you go back to my dashboard on byob website, you can see that the forum plugin that I use has placed a widget on the dashboard and Backup Buddy has placed a widget on the dashboard. And so, there are other widgets that get end up on the dashboard as well. But they’re not widgets that you can add yourself without programming so these are widgets that get added by plugins or a developer.

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