WordPress Dashboard Overview

by | Nov 30, 2016 | Computers, Networking, Web Design

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WordPress Dashboard Overview

The WordPress dashboard has many great features. Here is a video that goes over the WordPress dashboard when you first install WordPress. If you are designing a website using WordPress, the first steps can be quite daunting if you have never used it before. We take you through and provide brief explanations and examples for most of the icons listed in the dashboard.

In this video we cover the dashboard home and updates pages. We then move on to the posts menu item and provide an example of how to create a post, including adding images, featured images and text examples with headings.

Moving on to the dashboard media menu item, covering uploading images and also some of the editing features that are available within WordPress. Next up is the pages menu item. We show how to briefly create a page with an image, publish the page or save a draft. The comments menu item is where blog post comments will appear if you have set up your WordPress to allow comments.

The WordPress dashboard appearance section is covered in greater detail. We cover theme previews and installation, customization options and widget placement. We than move on to menu creation and adding pages to the created menus. Below the menus is the header and background editing tabs where we briefly explain how to change their background images. Below the background WordPress dashboard item we find the editor menu item. This is where you can add custom css code to change your sites looks. Usually we would recommend creating a child theme if you are going to use this feature, as when the theme that you use is updated, there is a good chance that you custom code may be overwritten.

Below the WordPress dashboard appearance menu item is the plugins tab. As we explain, this is where a lot of the magic of WordPress happens! If you can think of a task that needs to be done on a website, from setting up an online store, to adding a live chat box, or adding a photographic image gallery, you will find that someone has created a plugin to do it. There are thousands of fantastic free plugins out there to do almost any job. Most of them have paid versions with extra features. These plugins are usually really easy to install and activate via the dashboard plugin tab.

The users tab is used to let other people access the back end of your site. Here you can give people various permissions to add or edit content on your site:

Administrator is the most powerful user role. Users with the administrator role can add new posts, edit any posts by any users on the site, and even delete those posts.

They can install, edit, and delete plugins as well as themes. Most importantly an administrator user can add new users to the site, change information about existing users including their passwords as well as delete any user (yes other administrators too).

This role is basically reserved for site owners and gives you the full control of your WordPress site. If you are running a multi-user WordPress site, then you need to be very careful who you assign an administrator user role.


Editor role in WordPress have full control on the content sections your website. They can add, edit, publish, and delete any posts on a WordPress site including the ones written by others. An editor can moderate, edit, and delete comments as well.

Editors do not have access to change your site settings, install plugins and themes, or add new users.


Author role can write, edit, and publish their own posts. They can also delete their own posts, even if they are published.

When writing posts, authors cannot create categories however they can choose from existing categories. On the other hand, they can add tags to their posts (See: Categories vs Tags – Which one is better for SEO?).

Authors can view comments even those that are pending review, but they cannot moderate, approve, or delete any comments.

They do not have access to settings, plugins, or themes, so it is a fairly low-risk user role on a site with the exception of their ability to delete their own posts once they’re published.


Contributor can add new posts and edit their own posts, but they cannot publish any posts not even their own. When writing posts they cannot create new categories and will have to choose from existing categories. However, they can add tags to their posts.

The biggest disadvantage of a contributor role is that they cannot upload files (meaning they can’t add images on their own article).

Contributors can view comments even those awaiting moderation. But they cannot approve or delete comments.

They do not have access to settings, plugins, or themes, so they cannot change any settings on your site.


Subscriber user role can login to your WordPress site and update their user profiles. They can change their passwords if they want to. They cannot write posts, view comments, or do anything else inside your WordPress admin area.

This user role is particularly useful if you require users to login before they can read a post or leave a comment.

Below users on the dashboard we find the tools tab. This has the press this tool that allows you to grab bits of the web and create new posts. The tools tab is also where we find the import and export items. These are used for exporting and importing various data including blog posts.

Finally we move on to the WordPress dashboard settings menu item. Here under general you can change the basic WordPress settings such as site title, URL, contact email address and date and time format. The writing tab allows you to set default values for your posts, and allow people to post via email. The reading tab below where you can set how many posts are displayed in the latest posts page, how much text and how many items. The discussions dashboard tab will allow you to deny or allow people to post comments on your posts and decide how you are notified when a new comment is posted. The media tab is used for setting up the custom image sizes, thumbnail, medium and large sizes. These will be applied when you add images to your posts or pages. Lastly under the settings tab we find permalinks. Here you can customize your permalinks, this will change the look of the url displayed in the address bar of your browser. That about completes the overview of the default WordPress dashboard.


Learn how to install WordPress locally here

Learn how to transfer your WordPress site from local to a live server here

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