When you are learning how to use WordPress, the first thing you will do is log into your site. You will be faced with the WordPress backend, commonly known as the Dashboard, and it  contains all your settings options and services, including post creation, user settings, themes, well everything!

Let’s look at the navigation items one by one and explore what’s available.

Firstly the Dashboard area on the navigation bar holds two options: Home and Updates.


This the main Dashboard area, and there’s a lot going on. If you look in the top right hand corner you will see a little tab called Screen options. This allows you to select/deselect the different boxes on the screen. This works on ALL the different option screens and is a great way to only show what you need so you screen isn’t all cluttered up.

Note: It’s also worth rechecking your dashboard screen and settings screens after you install a new plugin or theme.

OK, so what have we got on this screen?

Right Now

This is a really useful box, it shows all you post/page stats and comment stats, as well as the theme in use and the WordPress version number. All useful stuff.

Recent Comments

Erm, it displays the most recent comments on the site, can be customised to show the number you want.

Incoming Links

Displays any backlinks that are linked to your site. Don’t count on it as your indispensable backlink counter, it isn’t that good.


Displays the latest, most popular and recently updated plugins from the WordPress directory.


If you need to publish or save a draft of a quick post, you can do it directly from the dashboard. Perfect for lazy people or for marking down an idea in a draft post.

Recent Drafts

Displays your recent drafts so you don’t forget abut them!

WordPress Blog

News and info direct from the WordPress blog.

Other WordPress News

Links to other sites about WordPress


A welcome page.

As you can see, most of these can be hidden as they provide no real assistance and clutter up the workspace. The most useful ones are: Right Now, Recent Drafts and Recent Comments or and any ones from plugins that prove useful.


This other section is all about updates. Now these are really important, as they fix security holes and vulnerabilities within WordPress. It is advised to back up your site before running updates.

When an update is available you will see a dark circle with a number in it over the updates link in the navigation. The number denotes how many updates are needed (it includes plugins and themes).

This section is pretty much self explanatory as it provides a button to update the WordPress install.

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