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WordPress 3.9 Crash Course – Part 6 – A Tour of the WordPress Admin Interface

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Now that we’ve looked at the WordPress file structure, we’re going to take a look at an initial setup of WordPress 3.9. We’re going to start that off by logging in to WordPress.

Login to WordPress

In this default WordPress 3.9 theme that was installed, our login is down here under META. When you click on the login button it takes you to the login screen. So this is where you would put your username that you set. Mine was byobrick and I’ll add my password. Login.

Admin View of a WordPress Site

So now that we’ve logged in, you’re seeing a whole different view of WordPress, right? Here’s the front side of WordPress or the public side of your website and this is the backside or the admin side of WordPress.

This is why you’re going to use your password all the time because it’s on the admin side that you upload images, that you create pages and posts, that you install plugins, that you install themes and modify things.

Really, all the work that you do on your website is done from the admin dashboard or from the admin side of your site and the way you’ll get into that admin side of your site is by clicking on the log in. Once you’ve clicked on that login, it takes you to the login screen, you put in your username and password and it brings you immediately to this.

Delete Junkware that Comes with the Installation

Unfortunately Bluehost and WordPress 3.9 both install what I consider to be junkware. It installs things that are not useful to you but are useful to them. Either it provides them a means of selling you something or in some way connecting with you. Even the little “Hello Dolly” plugin while it’s cute it’s not useful. So the very first thing to do is start with a clean slate which in my mind means getting rid of the junkware.

The very first thing I do after starting a site is go to Plugins, which we’ll talk about more in a moment, and get rid of the junkware. Here I am at Plugins and I’ll go to Installed Plugins. I have all of these plugins installed. I’m going to put a check mark in this box here which then selects them all and use bulk action. I’m going to deactivate them. Hit apply and now the plugins are there but they’re no longer functioning.

We’re going to leave Akismet because Akismet is a very useful plugin once you have it setup. It will give you messages all the time until you set it up so we’re just deactivating it for the time being.

Now I’m going to delete Hello Dolly, jetpack by WordPress and MOJO Marketplace. Go back to bulk actions again and say delete. Hit apply and yes I want to delete the files and data. Now you only have one plugin installed. When I get to my dashboard it’s nice and clean, I don’t have ads, I don’t have invitations to buy anything. I have a nice clean dashboard to start with.

Sections of the WordPress Dashboard

Now that we have a clutter free dashboard we’re going to take a quick tour around the dashboard. Really, the dashboard has 3 sections to it.

Admin Toolbar

The first section is the admin toolbar and that’s this right across the top here. And this little link here will take you to various sites on WordPress. This here, if you click on this, essentially toggles back and forth between your admin and your public side of the site. And in fact, the menus are different when you toggle back and forth.

For example, the menu here just says, “Visit Site”. “Visit Site” and clicking on this are exactly the same thing. When you come back over here though, now you’ve got go to your dashboard and then specific places in the dashboard. So you can go to themes, customize, widgets, menus, background and header. There are new choices here depending upon which side of the site you’re on.

Comment Count

The next part of this is your comment count. This shows you how many comments you have that are awaiting moderation. We’re going to talk about comments more later.

Quick Toolbar

This is the new Quick Toolbar. From here you can create a new post, create a new page, add new media or you can create a new user. This is a real quick way of getting to something. You can also hover over Page here and say add new. They both do essentially the same thing.

In the upper right corner here it says hello to you. It shows your avatar if you’ve got an one set up. It allows you to edit your profile. You can log out. And it shows you your display name. We’ll set up our profile here in a few minutes but that’s what’s going on here.


Then there are two other things in this admin toolbar. You have Screen Options and Help. If you click on help, you may find some useful information but the help isn’t as great as you might like it to be. Some people have nice Help Addons, so you can use this. If you’re not clear on what to do when you’re on a specific admin screen, you can always click on the help tab to see if there’s something there that’s useful to you.

How to Use the Screen Options

The other thing is screen options. Screen options gives you a choice of things that you may want to keep open or close. So, if you click on “Welcome”, now the little welcome thing shows up. WordPress News shows you this. I’m going to uncheck Quick Draft for just a moment and close screen options.

Something to know is that screen options and help are different on every admin page you go to so if you expect to see something on a specific admin page and you don’t find it, go over here to screen options and look and see if there’s a box for you to check. And that is your admin toolbar.

Admin Menu

Then you have your admin menu which gives you access to all of the potential activities that you can do as an administrator. Some of those options are add a new page or go to all your pages, going to comments or setting up things on your theme or installing plugins or adjusting users. You have all of these different administrative things that you can do.

If you’re working on a small screen you can collapse the menu down so that all you see are just the icons and then when you hover over the icons, these little submenus fly out for you.

Admin Widget

Then the third part of your dashboard is the admin widget area. That’s on Home on the dashboard. When you go to a different menu, say you go to posts, then you don’t have widgets here anymore. Instead you have the option of adding or viewing or editing posts. The content of this changes but when you’re at the dashboard page specifically, you have these admin widgets.

This is essentially a blog feed telling you some WordPress news. This shows you recently published posts and pages and maybe recent comments. For example, if you look at mine you can see there are all kinds of things going on. I’ve got a request update to WordPress 3.9 and wishlist member wants me to update. I’ve just got all kinds of messages going on here and then my At a Glance says that there 179 pages, 185 posts, 23,136 comments.

This doesn’t actually show me everything because most of my content is in courses and seminars and live answers. I really have about 3,000 pages on the site. It tells you what version of WordPress you’re on and what your theme is. Here are my activities. There’s a bunch of comments that people have posted recently, these are forum posts that I have yet to view and answer. The dashboard can become fairly busy. When you first start off it’s actually pretty simple. And that’s it for the admin screen.

Tour of the Admin Menus

I’m going to take you on a quick tour of the admin menus. This Updates button shows you everything that is available for you to update. Right now all the plugins are updated, all the themes are updated and WordPress is updated.

If we go look at the same thing here on my site, I actually have a lot of updates to do. That’s what this here. It’s showing me that I have 21 things to update on this site. I can update WordPress. I have a whole bunch of plugins that want some kind of updating and then I have 3 themes that want to be updated.

What posts shows is all of the posts that you have. You can edit the posts, you can delete them, you can do all kinds of things with them depending upon how complex your site is. Let’s go over to a more simple version of this, go to posts.

Obviously it comes pre-installed with one post, that’s the “Hello world!” post. If you click on it to edit it, here’s what all it says, “Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!” The add new dialog is a place for you to add a post and we’ll talk about this more in a few minutes. So that’s for posts and you may know that WordPress has essentially two types of content, it has posts and it has pages.

2 Types of WordPress Content

Posts serve up blog posts. If you’ve got a regular old blog then every time you do a blog post you would create a new post. Posts, as you would expect, show up on your blog page. We’ll be talking about the WordPress Blog in a little while.

Then you have pages. Pages don’t show up on your blog page. WordPress Pages stand alone all by themselves. Most everything you see here at the top level of my website are pages. So my dashboard is a page, my profile is a page, video lessons is a page, event registration is a page, member benefits is a page. These are all pages.

My blog is not a page and it displays blog posts, one after another. If you’re going to create pages you’re going to do it here. We’re going to talk more about the distinction between the two types of content and when you would use one over the other.


Comments is essentially a place for you to edit your comments. Look I already have a spam comment, that was fast. I installed WordPress and within the time I install this WordPress I got a spam comment.


Appearance is a place where you can set your themes, do some customization, set up widgets, menus and more. We’re going to spend time looking at those today.


We got a quick look at plugins when we deleted all the junkware. Plugins is a place for you to install plugins, activate them, update them, delete them and that kind of thing.


Most websites are only going to have one user or maybe a couple of users. BYOBWebsite has thousands of users. I think I have 5,300 or something like that but if we come down to users, note how busy my admin menu is? This is because I have lots of plugins that are installed and those plugins add other aspects to the admin menu. Anyway, you can see I have 5,357 users and in this case, you’re going to see all of my users right here. But for this new WordPress site there’s only one user, me. And we’ll work on the user profile in a few minutes.


The primary tools are importing and exporting. This isn’t really something you need to worry about at the moment, not on your first WordPress website. To the extent that you’re going to create your WordPress website by importing information from another site, you’re going to want to use the import tool and you can find videos on my site about that.


We’re going to spend a bunch of time today in settings where you can set up all of the basic things on your site. But what should be obvious to you is this admin menu here is the menu that you use to get to all of the things that you as the administrator of your site are going to need to do. And this is where you’ll find it all.

Update the User Profile

Now we’re going to update our user profile. We still have Users open on the menu so you can do that either by clicking on Your Profile below that or you can just hit edit here next to my user on the screen.

Note that when I’m on the user menu, it shows me the first menu item when I click on it but then the rest of the other menu items stay dropped down. They don’t fold up. So if I go to pages, I’ve got all pages and add new. If I go to plugins, it says installed plugins, add new and editor. If I go to users, all users, add new and your profile.

Keyboard Shortcuts

I’m just going to click Your Profile. The first thing it does is it gives you a choice of changing your color scheme. You’ve got all kinds of options here for fooling around with it to the extent that you really care. “Enable keyboard shortcuts for comment moderation.” Leave that unchecked. The only time you’re going to want keyboard shortcuts for comment moderation is if you have tons of comments all the time and you’re really having to work through them.


Check this “Show toolbar when viewing the site”. For administrators I think it’s essential because it’s very useful for you to be able to jump back and forth between the front and admin sides of your site using these tools. So we leave it checked.

User Name

This is my username. You can’t change it but you will want to put your first and last name in because once you’ve done that this gives you a chance to choose a nickname. To the extent that you are concerned about SEO, you’re going to want to use your real name for this.

I’ll choose display name publicly, Rick Anderson. If you’re going to try to integrate this with your Google author profile or your Google+ account or any of those things that are valuable for Search Engine Optimization purposes, you want to make sure your nickname and your display name and all this is filled out and accurate.

Someone asks “Would it be okay to use the name of your website as your nickname?”. Well, probably not. Again, the cutting edge of Search Engine Optimization right now is Google authorship and if you don’t use your real name as your nickname then you’re going to lose the benefit of that Google authorship search engine boost. So I would say this is a place for you to use your real name.

If you don’t want your real name on your website then you would do something else here but chances are, if you’re a small business owner and you’re doing this to make money for your business, your real name is going to be important here.

Contact Info

You can put contact info in. You don’t really have to do anything else here just as long as you put your correct name information in. When it says “Display name publicly as” this means how your name will show up on your website. For example, if the theme that you’re using displays your name next to your post, written by Rick Anderson on May 15th, it could say written by byobrick which would be horrible.

Biographical Information

You can put in biographical information which can be used by some plugins to display it on your author page. You can also set up a new password here. Somebody says one exception to the Google authorship nickname thing is that you can use a nickname if you have it established as a pen name. And I do actually have a member that does it that way. They have a pen name that they use but it’s a very unusual circumstance that applies to very few people.

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