About the Backend Dashboard in the WordPress Admin Area
If you’ve been visiting this site for any length of time, you’ll know that I rarely ever write about the front-end portion of WordPress.
Sure, it’s important to have a beautiful and functional website. And since WordPress is the most popular content management system available, it’s important to cover the basics of how to make the most of WordPress’s powerful functionality from the back-end, or admin, perspective.
Key Info On the WordPress Admin Area Backend
Since the back-end admin area of WordPress is where you’ll spend the vast majority of your time, it’s important to have some key info about it first.
Here’s a short rundown of what you need to know.
WordPress 4.7+ comes with an awesome new feature called the Backend Dashboard, or the BP Dashboard for short.
The Dashboard is a virtual portal that connects you to the guts of WordPress, allowing you to manage and improve your site without ever leaving the comfort of your browser.
You can access the Dashboard by clicking the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the WordPress admin area and selecting the option to switch to the back-end.
When you’re in the Backend Dashboard, you’re looking at a completely new interface that’s designed to make WordPress managing and improving your site as easy and fun as possible.
The Regions And The Sidebars
When you land on the Dashboard, you’ll notice that it’s organized into two distinct regions: Regions 1 and 2.
These are the areas where you’ll find the blue widgets that extend the functionality of WordPress. In the left-hand sidebar is a collection of widgets that you can use to add some basic stats and analysis to your site, along with a widget that connects you to PayPal if you’d like to accept payments online via a Paypal account.
Clicking on the Dashboard’s gear icon will direct you to the upper right-hand portion of the admin area, where you’ll find additional options including displaying recent posts from your site or choosing to display archives of posts from a certain date range.
The left-hand side of the Dashboard displays handy toolbars that provide you with a variety of functions and actions at your fingertips. If you know what toolbars are, you’ll know what the various icons on the left-hand side of the Dashboard mean.
The top toolbar contains the most basic elements necessary for editing posts and pages. This toolbar provides you with a text input area, a visual editor, and a variety of action buttons that let you do things like preview a page, change the content, or head back to the Dashboard to edit some more.
The middle toolbar contains more administrative functions, like removing and installing plugins, viewing site-wide stats, and changing your site’s theme. This toolbar provides you with a drop-down menu, along with a few action buttons.
The bottom toolbar is similar to the middle one, but instead of having a drop-down menu, it contains a section called “Shortcuts” which provides you with even more options. This toolbar is right above where you’ll find the frequently used (or frequently misused) ctrl+X keyboard shortcut which, as you may guess, removes or “X” out content on your site. In addition to the short-cut buttons, this toolbar provides you with stats, a logout button, and a button to add a new topic to the forum which you’ll visit when you land on the WordPress forums’ front page.
Another noteworthy feature of the BP Dashboard is the inclusion of widgets, or smaller modules that display content and functionality within the Dashboard itself, or within a page or post.
Widgets greatly expand the Dashboard’s functionality by providing interactive elements that can be included in your site’s design or displayed in a widget area, like the one found on this site’s front page.
This is also where you’ll find the RSS and email notifications, which I’ve already covered in a previous blog post.
The Posts And Pages
At the top of the Dashboard, you’ll find a collection of posts and pages which you can use to edit content that’s already published on your site, as well as publish new content.
These are the two main sections of the BP Dashboard. Within each section, you’ll find a variety of posts and pages, as well as the ability to create new content through the dashboard’s visual editor.
To add a new post or page, simply click the Add New button in the upper right-hand corner of the Dashboard’s front page. A dialog box will then appear, asking you to enter a title and content for the new post or page.
As you start to write your content, the default text editor or the one that you choose will appear below, with formatting already applied, making it easy to just start typing and organizing your thoughts.
Further Exploration Of The WordPress Backend
As mentioned above, the WordPress admin area is where you’ll spend the vast majority of your time. This is where you’ll find the Settings → Advance Options panel, a variety of Plugins and Themes, as well as other useful tidbits.
If you ever want to take a peek at what’s going on behind the scenes, whether you’re performing maintenance tasks or want to learn something new, this is the place to be. Just click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the admin area, select the option to switch to the backend, and you’ll be transported to your WordPress dashboard, which you can then use to perform any number of tasks.
WordPress’s backend is constantly evolving and improving, so feel free to explore it as much as you like. Just remember that you’ll only know as much as its documentation knows about what it is and how to use it. Hopefully, this overview of the WordPress backend will help you get started.