WordPress Dashboard Exclusive User Guide for Beginners

Now you have self hosted domain with WordPress installed on it. If you don’t have self hosted domains go here to see how o start a WordPress blog. The WordPress Installation procedure using fantastic and manual installation in hostgater hosting and basic configuration settings in WordPress admin has explained here. Once you finished the configuration. It is important to see WordPress basic configuration post to setup permalinks, homepage settings and privacy settings even though you have installed the WordPress already. You have WordPress Blog or website with hello world post and default WordPress theme.

As a beginner to use all the functionality of WordPress and to maintain WordPress blogs we need to know the each part of the WordPress admin dashboard. And reorganize how these individual parts in the wp-admin dashboard can be reflected in the WordPress blog. This WordPress dashboard user guide will help you to deeply understand the concepts.

WordPress Admin User Guide

WordPress admin has the below components. Once you have installed WordPress you will see these components in the WordPress admin area.

  • Dashboard Home
  • Posts
  • Media
  • Pages
  • Comments
  • Users
  • Appearance (Themes ,widgets and Menus)
  • Plugins
  • Tools and Network
  • Settings

Every individual user of WordPress should know each function above mentioned WordPress admin components. Then only we can easily manage content on the WordPress blogs.

WP Dashboard Home

After logged in to the WordPress admin using the Url http://Yourblogdomain.com/wp-admin where yourblogdomain is the WordPress installed directory of the main domain. if you have installed WordPress in the directory name called blog in yourblogdomain Then the login Url should be http://Yourblogdomain.com/blog/wp-admin. After Login you should enter wp-admin dashboard home  in the WordPress installed directory.

WordPress dashboard options

WordPress dashboard options

Under dashboard home tab you will have the settings option for akismet.  Akismet is the WordPress anti-spam WordPress plugin used to protect WordPress blogs from the spammers in the internet. By default akismet plugin has installed in all new blog. But to activate this plugin we need to enter the API key for your WordPress blog here.

How to get API key for my WordPress account?

Each WordPress account has separate API Key go to this URL to get your API key. And enter the details in the akismet settings. Now This plugin has activated. The new WordPress plugins installation will be explained in the plugins part.

WP Posts

 Every WordPress blog has two ways to publish your content listed below

  1. Posts
  2. Pages

The main difference between post and page is when you publish your content as post it will be shown on the homepage of the blog. And if you add more posts latest post will be shown at the top of the blog homepage others are listed below. The number of posts shown on the homepage has been specified in the reading settings available in the settings tab in the admin dashboard we change the numbers it was shown in the below image.

Homepage Settings of WordPress

Homepage Settings of WordPress

You have one sample post and one sample page in your blog for every new WordPress installation. The post is called ‘Hello world’ and the page is called ‘About’. Now come to WordPress Post. We will see pages in later now get in to the posts.

How to delete default hello world Post and How to add new posts in WordPress Blogs?

Under The posts tab in the WordPress admin You have  Add new, All Posts, Category and tags like below image. To delete hello world post click on edit Link you will see the list of post available in this blog. At the bottom of every post you have options to edit, view, preview, trash and others you will see these options if you mouse hover below every post title listed here.

Click on trash option under hello world post. Now the post will moved to trash it will not shown on the WordPress blog. But it was not completely removed from the database. We can restore this hello world post at any time from the trash.

How to completely remove or Restore the trashed post from the database?.

In the Posts edit section you will see all the list of posts available on the blog. At the top of the list you will have options to view published posts, trash posts, and post available in the draft. Go to trash you will see the option to remove the hello world post completely from the database. Here we can also have options to restore the already trashed posts.

How to publish new post in the WordPress Blog?.

Click on add new under Posts section of WordPress admin.  Here you will see the page like the below image. The main things available on this page are Post Title, Post editor, Category, Tags, Author, Save and Publish. These things should be noted before publishing any post on the WordPress blog.

Posts Section in wp-admin

Posts Section in wp-admin

Post title is the Name of the post. Example ‘hello world’ in the default post.

Post editor- Post editor has two modes at the top one is html another is visual. Use visual mode to add your content to publish the post. You have number of icons to change the font color, size, and style and other setting we can also insert images and text links using the post editor icons. Html mode used to add youtube videos embed codes and other embeds on the post.

We can insert images through the icon in the visual editor. The image alignment and size can be altered here from the original size. And the image uploaded directly from the pc, or from the media in the WordPress admin.

Once you added content you have option to save in draft and edit it later and publish it. Also we can preview the changes before publishing the post.

How to add category and Tags to the post?

Two most important things we should do before publishing the post. Add category and tags to the post. We can add existing category to this post or we can create new one based on the type of post content the category has chosen. My recommendation is to choose one category per post. We can add number of posts in single category. Category is mainly used for the readers to identify their needs from your blog.

Tags – Tags are the way to identify your blog content by reader with their intention. It is mainly used to connect same type of post content from different category posts. Because the same tag used in the both posts reader can list their relevant content from any category post using tags. So use same tag for relevant post within the category or other categories. We can add new tags and category in the post page itself.

But we should edit this category and add title and description to the category using category link available under posts section in the wp-admin dashboard.

Once you have added content, category, tags to the post now you are ready to publish the post. By default the admin username shown as post author name in the blog post we can change the author name display in Users section in wp-admin.

Can we schedule the post publishing time?

Before publishing the post we can save the post in draft. Or we can schedule the post publishing time to the future date and time. We can also set this post as sticky once you set a post as sticky this post will always at the top of the blog homepage.


Media section in wp-admin used to upload image, video, audio and text files inside the WordPress blog directory. These files have been used in the post or pages of the blog. We can change the media files upload path in the media under the settings section in wp-admin. We can use these media uploaded file anywhere in your website or blog. To upload media files use add new link. And we can get the existing image link using the library link in the media section. We can re-size the original image size inside the media library.

In this media part we can upload image directly from the computer or from website Url. While uploading the image we should add title tag, caption, alt tag and description of the image. WordPress allows to resize the original image to many levels with help of width and height adjustment.

WP Pages

Pages are similar to Posts here there is no category and tags. Also pages will not be displayed o the blog homepage. Pages have the special section called attributes.

In the attribute section we have drop down menu here we can select the layout of the blog into one column, or two columns. By default two column blog template has been selected in new WordPress twenty eleven theme.

By default WordPress has the following page layouts

  1. Front page
  2. Blog Homepage
  3. Archive pages
  4. 404 page (Page not found)
  5. General page

3. Archive pages has the below types pages the same archive template. The posts are listed in this page based on category, tag, author, and date.

  • Category archive
  • Tag archive
  • Author archive
  • Daily archive
  • Monthly archive
  • Yearly archive

Based on the theme used in the WordPress blog we can design the page layout as per our wish. If any reader type unavailable pages on the address bar your blog will display 404 pages. These 404 pages can also be customizable in some WordPress themes.

In the WordPress pages  we can add custom Title tag, meta description, meta keywords, page alt tag and 301 redirect for the newly created page. These are very useful for search engine optimization perspective.

We will see WordPress themes later and its importance later.

WP Comments

Comments are the important feedback part from your blog reader and visitors. We can use auto approval of comments or manual approval of visitor’s comments in this section. In manual approval we can avoid spam comments.  In the comment section we have list of comments. Here admin user can replay visitor’s comments.

The comment auto approval and manual approval was selected in the discussion settings available under settings section. We can also disable and enable comments on particular post in the bottom of the edit post editor page. In comments fields comments will be separated using spam, pending for approval, approved and trash. we can delete the unwanted comments using trash section. first we need to add the comments in trash and we can delete the comments permanently using trash.

WP Users

Users section gives opportunity to write multiple authors to post on a single WordPress blog. In this users section we can add number of blog users and we can give certain control over the blog. By default WordPress has five user roles as listed below

  • Administrator or admin
  • Editor
  • Contributor
  • Author
  • Subscriber

Admin has the highest priority to access the blog. If a site has two admin any one admin can remove another admin from the blog.  So while give roles to the user we should be careful on this. Subscriber has the lowest priority he has no access to edit any part of the blog.

Author can edit post that he has written. Author can cannot edit or approve other others post or comments.

Contributor cannot have post publishing option. Contributors post is under review by the editor then it will be published by editor. only editor can publish contributors post. After the post has published contributor can approve and reply comments for post he has written. He has no access to others post.

Editor is the second highest level of the WordPress user he can have the access to edit any post from any author. But Editor cannot have access to edit theme, plugins and blog settings only admin have access for these things.

Only admin can add new users and change role of the users others not allowed.

Appearance (Themes, Widgets and Menus)

Appearance section is the main look and feel of the site. It has themes and widgets.


Widgets are the sidebar elements click on widgets link under appearance section we will see number of widget element in the default WordPress with sidebar widget. Just drag and drop widget elements I the sidebar widget it will be displayed in the sidebar of the post. For example we can take recent post and categories and drop it inside the sidebar widget.

Some of the plugins are designed widget based. Once you installed those plugins in the plugins section the new widget element listed in the widget area. We can drag and down in the sidebar widget.


By default WordPress blog has twenty eleven themes. We can add new themes by clicking theme link under appearance section.

Here you will see the theme library we have lots of free themes. I won’t recommend free themes because we cannot achieve design and look as we wanted. But If you have premium themes like thesis, genesis and optimize press we can alter the blog look as per your requirements.  If you have purchased premium WordPress theme like Thesis theme, Genesis theme, Optimizepress theme then just upload the zip file in the install new themes link available in the themes page. Thesis theme has number of skins on the online market we can use anyone or you can customize your site with your own. These themes are good for Search engine Point of view.


Menus are the wonderful thing in wordpress we can create number of new navigation menus with dropdown options.  Each menu have separate name we can choose any one of them to main WordPress menu.

WordPress Navigation Menu

WordPress Navigation Menu

We can feed custom links, pages, and categories while creating tabs to the wordpress menu. The default wordpress themes menu styles have inherited to the entire menu we have created in wordpress admin. We can use css for further design.

WP Plugins

Plugins are the heart of the WordPress software. There are hundreds of plugin developers has developing plugin to extend WordPress functionality in different detection. All the free and premium plugins are installed in this section.

Plugin installation has two main steps one is installation and the second is activation. All the free plugins are available in the WordPress plugins directory and these plugins were installed directly by searching the plugin name in add new plugins link in the plugins section. Once the plugin installed it is asking for the activation we can activate it during the install or later. While the later activation we should go to plugins link in the plugin section.

Here you will see list of plugins installed on this WordPress blog. Top of this list we have links as all, inactive, active plugins. We can choose inactive plugins and activate those plugins by clicking activate link.

For premium plugins click add new plugin link and upload the zip file once installation completed just activate the plugin. Basically there are four important types of plugins are listed below

  • Security plugins,
  • Backup plugins
  • Seo plugins
  • Design plugins
  • Social sharing plugins
  • Ad Management plugins
  • Q &A plugins
  • Shopping cart plugins and etc.

 Tools and networks

Here we have export and import options for the WordPress blog. We can export this blog details into a file and imported in another blog. This export and import features are mainly used during the migration of two are more blogs.

Network is the special feature of WordPress. We can enable network feature to use WordPress as multisite. WordPress multisite means we can create and manage multiple websites using one WordPress installation. This will be possible with help of network feature.

Here we have another option called backup we can take backup for this WordPress blog using this link.

WP Settings

The settings section has already explained in the WordPress installation and configuration post. The main things in settings section are Homepage settings available in the reading settings. And the Number of posts listed on the blog home page has specified here.

Media upload path and default dimension of the image files specified here. By default each uploaded image saved in three sizes Thumbnail, Medium and Large. The exact size has mentioned here.

Permalink settings used for specifies blog content URL format. And privacy settings used to block the search engine from indexing the site. In discussion settings we can enable or disable comments in pages. Also auto or manual approval of comments has been chosen here.


This WordPress admin user guide explained all uses of individual elements in the WordPress dashboard. The elements are Dashboard Home, Posts, Media, Pages, Comments, Appearance, Plugins, Users, Tools and Network, and finally Settings. This will be enough for a beginners to start understanding the concepts of WordPress.

Theme and Plugins are the very important of WordPress which are used to increase the functionality of WordPress in the next level and makes user to manage their content. We will see these plugin and theme in later posts in this blog. Share your experience in comments section. Updated.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • enil February 24, 2012, 5:24 am

    thanks but i already knew it better……

    • Suresh Karuppaiya February 24, 2012, 6:42 am

      you are welcome, This article will help People who new to WordPress.

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