When you’ve prepared the database and successfully carried out the installation procedure, you’ll be able to access the backend of the website via the WordPress dashboard. I can imagine it will take some getting used to the first time you visit. That’s why, in this episode, I’m taking you on a dashboard tour. On this tour you will get answers to the following questions:
- What can I do with the various dashboard items?
- How do I create a menu?
- How do I edit this menu?
In the previous episode of this blog series, I helped you along with the manual installation of WordPress. You learned how to create a MySQL database, how to load this and have it cleaned up automatically, and also how to deal with a critical error.
Welcome to WordPress!
First of all, you need to login. You can do this by adding ‘/wp-admin’ to your domain name in the address bar of your browser: http://domeinnaam.com/wp-admin. If you’ve connected WordPress to an existing website, you can simply fill in the current name in the address bar. In any case, you’ll end up on your login page. Here you fill in the username and password that you created before the installation and you’ll find yourself on your dashboard. At the top of the dashboard you’ll find the toolbar. If you click your website name there, you’ll see your new website. It may not look very impressive at the moment, but this will soon change once you get started on your website after the tour.
Now, click ‘Dashboard’ in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, below the toolbar, and in the area to the right, you’ll see: ‘Welcome to WordPress!’, with all kinds of tasks you can carry out called ‘widgets’ listed below. I’m going to show you around via the main navigation menu on the left-hand side, because that’s where you can perform all the tasks to create and maintain your website.
Roles and capabilities in the WordPress dashboard
Which menu items are visible, depends on your role. Because you’re the one who installed WordPress in this case, you’ll have the role with the most capabilities. That’s the Administrator role, which gives you access to all of the menu items. If you’re creating the website for someone else, for example a client, you can assign this role to them later on. The other roles are: Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber. And for so-called ‘multisites’ there’s the Super Admin.
You should be able to see these menu items:
Changing the appearance of your website
Let’s take a look at these menu items one by one. First of all, we’ll look at Users. Click that item and you’ll see that the screen changes into the All Users screen. Here is a list of all of the users. In your case, you’ll be the only user, but you can add other people as users and then assign roles and capabilities. If you click the submenu Profile now, you’ll get to your personal screen. Here you can enter information such as your name and contact details and change your password.
OK, now we’re going to Appearance. Here you can change the appearance of your website with a WordPress theme. A theme is a template on which you base the design of the website. For detailed information on themes and how to choose the right theme, you can check out article 2 of my previous blog series: How do I choose the right theme for my WordPress website?. And in the next episode of this blog series I will take a closer look at Divi, the theme that I use. The default theme that comes with WordPress is Twenty Twenty-One. Its name is based on the year in which you download and install WordPress. When you’ve finally chosen and activated a theme, click your website name in the toolbar at the top to see what your website looks like with that theme.
A blog gives your website that personal touch
Now we’re going to see how you can add content to your website. WordPress was originally developed for creating blogs with. Blog is an abbreviation for ‘weblog’. It’s a website or web page that constantly publishes new information in the form of articles and stories that are called posts. With a blog you can give your website that personal touch and attract visitors who are interested in what you do and what you have to offer. In addition, it makes it easier to find in search engines. The standard appearance of posts on your blog page is in reverse chronological order, but you can change this if you want.
You can find the blog function in the main navigation menu in Posts. Click that and you’ll see the All Posts page. To create a new post, click the Add New button. In the screen that appears, fill in a title first and then add text and media such as images and videos in so-called ‘content blocks’. To publish your post, click the Publish button. Your post readers can comment with Comments. To moderate these comments and to reply, you go to the main navigation menu item called Comments. When moderating, you can approve of and reject comments and also remove these.
Add content to Pages
Now you’ve found out what you can do with a blog, we’re going to take a look at another important content item: Pages. With its telltale name, this item enables you to create the website’s web pages. Unlike blog posts, pages are not time related and visitors aren’t able to comment on the content right away. On pages you can add all kinds of content to inform your visitors, such as prospective clients and other business contacts, about the organization and what it has to offer. You can create new pages and add content in pretty much the same way as with posts on the blog. You simply click the Add New button and add content in blocks.
By the way, all of the media that you upload and use for your posts and pages are stored in a media library, the Library. You can view these by clicking Media in the main navigation menu. Just like on the blog and the web pages, you can add new media using the Add New button.
Creating and editing a menu
Before you start creating pages and posts, it’s better to create a menu for these first. With this menu, you can provide visitors with an overview of the information that can be found on the website. So, it’s important to create a structure that is easy to understand. Click Appearance and then the submenu Menus. Here you can create a new menu for the web pages, blog and footer by clicking Create Menu at the top of the screen. In each menu, you can add, remove and rearrange items, such as pages. The pages can be added and removed in the left pane, called ‘Add to Menu’. You can rearrange or change the order of menu items by dragging them in the right pane, called ‘Menu Structure’ to a different position in the menu.
Besides content-related menu items, there are three items about the website operation. These items are: Plugins, Tools and Settings. In Settings you can manage all of the website’s settings, such as the title, the email address, privacy, comments on the blog, anti-spam and permalinks. In Tools you’ll find extra functions that have been built in or imported to WordPress. They’re similar to Plugins. Plugins are ready-to-use tools in the form of code that you can use as an extension of the WordPress software to create more possibilities. For example, there are plugins for multilingual websites, events calendars and SEO.
Do you want to outsource maintenance of your website? View the possible subscriptions.
WordPress dashboard items overview
We’ve now seen all of the dashboard items and you’ve discovered the basic functions. I’ve put these in an overview for you:
- Users provides an overview of the users with their roles and capabilities
- Appearance allows you to change the appearance of the website using a theme
- Posts is the item where you create new posts for the blog
- In Comments you can moderate comments on your posts
- Pages are the web pages that you can fill with content
- In the Media Library you will find the images and videos that you upload
- Menu enables you to provide visitors with an overview of the web pages
- In Settings you can manage the settings
- Tools provides extra functions
- Plugins are an extension of the WordPress software