Top 10 Most Important WordPress Dashboard Components

wordpress dashboard

If you want to set up a website or blog but you’re not familiar with WordPress, there’s no time like now to learn how to use it.

WordPress was founded in 2005 as a blogging platform and now encompasses all types of websites, especially those with an ecommerce focus. Today, WordPress is used by almost 30% of all websites, and every month, more than 400 million people view over 15 billion webpages hosted on it.

The WordPress interface can be overwhelming for novices, so the guide below will help you learn to navigate the basics as easily as possible.

The WordPress Dashboard

wordpress dashboard

The key to managing your WordPress site is the dashboard you’re taken to after logging in. This is the command center where you can create webpages and posts, manage media files, check your current visitor statistics, and access a variety of powerful tools. There’s a lot going on, but don’t worry. We’ll walk you through the most important WordPress dashboard components you need to know and use.

1. The Five Widgets

The first thing you’ll see on the screen are five widgets:

  • At a Glance: Site overview including number of posts and pages, theme being used, amount of spam filtered out, and total storage used and available.
  • Activity: Titles and publication dates of your most recent posts.
  • Your Stuff: Posts recently edited as well as notification of comments in moderation.
  • Stats: Visitor stats for the previous seven days.
  • Quick Draft: Thumbnail post editor to allow for quick posts without using the full editor.

These widgets can be rearranged as you’d like and minimized by clicking the upper right-hand corner of each one.

2. The Left-Hand Navigation Menu

the left hand navigation

Most of the work you do from the dashboard will utilize the left-hand navigation menu. There are 17 different menu options, most of which open a pop-up menu with even more options to choose from. This is where things can become a little confusing until you’re familiar with exactly where different features are located. We’ll detail the most important and frequently used ones below.

3. Site Stats

site stats

While there is the quick stats widget mentioned above, select Site Stats to access much more information about your site’s usage: visitors and the countries they’re from, pages and posts viewed, links clicked, and search terms used to find your site. Plus, this information can be sorted by day, week, month, or year.

4. Posts

blog post archive

If you’re using your site to publish new content on a regular basis, you’ll frequently be using the Posts option which has a pop-up menu with 5 more options: all posts, new post, categories, tags, and copy a post. As these options indicate, not only can you access the full-blown WYSIWYG post editor, you can edit the properties of existing posts as well as manage the tags and categories you’re using with them.

5. Media

media library

You’ll likely be uploading different types of media – photos, graphics, video, audio – as you build your site, and from here, you can manage your media library as well as upload new files.

6. Pages

Wordpress page

Like the Posts option, selecting Pages will allow you to create a new page for your site, edit the properties of current pages, or copy an existing page to use as a template.


Wordpress comment page

While you can access your own comments underneath the Home option at the top of the left-hand navigation menu, this Comments option allows you to see comments other people have made on your site. Checking for spam comments not already filtered out will be an ongoing issue as well as making sure comments made by actual people follow the usage standards and guidelines for your site.

8. Appearance

Wordpress image menu structure

There are multiple options available here, all of which deal with how your site looks: the theme, widgets, menus, header, background, and more. Happily, you can try out almost all the different possibilities available in these areas via a preview mode before deciding which ones you want to incorporate into your site.

9. Tools

Wordpress tools page

Tools can be easy to confuse with the Settings option below, but from here you can import different types of content into your site, export your site, and verify your website with Google, Bing, Pinterest, and Yandex.

10. Settings

Wordpress settings page

From here, you can give your site a title and subtitle and set parameters for how content is read, shared, and commented upon.

Don’t Worry, Stay Calm!

The WordPress interface is intimidating the first time you log into it. There are a lot of bells and whistles simultaneously competing for your attention, and it may seem hard to know what to do first. Once you spend some time familiarizing yourself with the WordPress dashboard, though, you should quickly become more confident.

If you’re interested in learning more, there’s plenty of information available about setting up your first WordPress site.

Want to set up a WordPress ecommerce site? Check out these plans we offer to see which one is right for you! 

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