Complete customization of WordPress Backend

Lesson - 2

What is WordPress dashboard?

The WordPress Dashboard is the control panel or administrative area of a WordPress website.

It’s the first screen you see when you log in to your WordPress site, and it provides you with a comprehensive overview and access to various tools for managing and customizing your website.

In essence, the WordPress Dashboard serves as the central hub where you can manage your website’s content, appearance, and functionality.

It provides an intuitive interface for users, whether beginners or experienced website administrators, to navigate and control their WordPress sites effectively.

Exploring the WordPress dashboard

In the previous lesson, we have learnt how to install WordPress on the webserver.

Now we will explore the WordPress dashboard and will do advanced customization.

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Once WordPress has been installed on your web server, you can access your WordPress login page by typing the below URL format. Make sure you have replaced “” with your actual website URL.


On your WordPress login screen, you’ll enter the username and password that you set up during the WordPress installation process.

limit login attempt reloaded

If you’ve forgotten your WordPress login password, you can click the “Lost Your Password?” link to retrieve it via email.

After logging in you will be redirected to the WordPress dashboard, which looks like the below screen.

The dashboard might confuse you and you will feel a bit overwhelmed but don’t worry, I have explained everything in this post.

wordpress admin dashboard

Basically, the WordPress dashboard is divided into three sections:

  1. Top bar
  2. Side navigation menu
  3. Content area

The top bar will display notifications as well as the most frequently used administrative functions. The toolbar remains across the top of your site, allowing you to quickly customize your site or create a new post/page at any time.

On the right-hand side of the toolbar, you will get the option to edit your profile or log out.

The left side of the dashboard is the main navigation menu, which links to all administrative pages, software, plugin, and themes you have installed.

A brand new WordPress websites dashboard will have the following menu items:

1. Post: You can create, edit, delete, and categories posts on your WordPress website from this section. Posts are typically used for blogging.

If you are going to make a blogging website, then you will most often use the post for publishing your article.

2. Media: The media section allows you to upload photos, videos, files, and other multimedia content for your website.

Here you can also add alt text, title, and description to your multimedia file for better SEO of your website.

3. Pages: It is generally used to create an important page for your website. For example About page, Contact Page, Privacy Policy Page or other pages for your WordPress website.

4. Comments: This section shows the recent comment posted on your website. You can quickly unapproved or approve comments, reply, edit, mark them as spam or send them to the trash, too.

5. Appearance: From here you can install a new theme for your WordPress website.

6. Plugins: You can install or remove the plugin from this section based on your website’s needs.

Also, you’ll find information on the most popular, newest plugins and recently updated plugins in the WordPress directory.

7. Users: Here you will find all the details of your WordPress users.

8. Tools: This section helps you to check the site’s health and export/ erase personal data.

9. Settings: It includes some important settings of your website. In the next section, we will go into detail.

Important settings of WordPress dashboard

If you hover over the settings menu, you’ll see a submenu appear with options for various WordPress settings including:

  • General
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Discussion
  • Media
  • Permalinks

We will go one by one to each submenu and explain every terminology for better understanding and settings.

WordPress General Settings

1. Site Title and Tagline – The first thing you’ll notice in General Settings is Site Title and Tagline.

Make sure these titles match your site because your site title will be visible in Google search results. Also, update the tagline as per your website.

wordpress general settings

2. WordPress Address (URL) – The next section is the WordPress Address (URL). Leave these two lines as it is. If you have installed an SSL certificate, make sure you have updated the site URL to the HTTPS version.

3. Administration Email Address – Next, you’ll see the Email Address that’s used for admin purposes, like new user notifications or accessing your WordPress admin panel.

4. Membership – If you’re running a membership site then you can choose this option so anyone can register on your site.

5. New User Default Role – Probably you should leave this setting as a subscriber since you don’t want to grant administrative privileges to just anyone that registers for your site.

Next is Site Language, Timezone, Time Format, Date Formate, and Week Starts On update these settings as per your location and preference. Don’t forget to click Save before moving to the next tab.

WordPress Writing Settings

All of the settings on this page apply to writing and publishing content for your site.

1. Default categories and Format of posts – If you have created the category then you can choose the default post category from here.

However, from the post editor itself, you can assign the category and choose the format for your article.

wordpress writing setting

2. Post via email – It allows you to send an email to your site with the post content.

To use this, you’ll need to set up a secret e-mail account with POP3 access, and any mail received at this address will be posted. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep this address secret.

3. Update Services – Update Services are tools you can use to let other people know you’ve updated your blog.

WordPress automatically notifies popular Update Services that you’ve updated your blog by sending an XML-RPC ping each time you create or update a post.

WordPress Reading Settings

1. Homepage Display – Here you can choose what to display on the front page of your site — either your latest posts or a fixed/static page.

In the next section, you can control the display of your content, including the maximum number of posts to display and whether to show full text or a summary.


2. Search Engine Visibility – You should never tick this checkbox, doing so discourages the search engines from indexing your site.

This might be a helpful setting if you’re currently developing your site and you’re not ready for it to be indexed by search engines.

But when your site is ready make sure you have unchecked this checkbox.

Want To Grow Your Website Into A Profitable Brand?

WordPress Discussion Settings

This section provides lots of options for the management of comments and controlling links to your posts/pages.

1. Default Post Settings – It is divided into three options. The first option attempt to notify any blog linked to from the post, the second will let you know about pingbacks and trackbacks, and the third setting allows people to post comments on the new post.

2. Other Comment Settings – From this section, you can control how visitors will comment on your blog post, and what details they have to fill in before posting any comment.

You can also set after how many days the comment option will close automatically.

WP Discussion Settings

3. Email Me Whenever – Whenever a new comment is made or if the comment is held for moderation you will get notified. You just have to enable the options here.

4. Before A Comment Appears – The internet is full of automated software and bots which will start bombarding your comment section with lots of junk comments and spammy links.

So, it’s a good idea to manually approved the comments.

5. Comment Moderation – Here you can customize how a comment is held based on the number of links. You can also add words, names, URLs, emails or even IPs to filter comments into the moderation queue.

6. Disallowed Comment – If you want to automatically disallow comments for certain words, emails, IPs or other user strings.

Then simply enter the key phrase in the box, and WordPress will automatically put those comments in the trash.

WORDPRESS Discussion Settings

7. Avatar – An avatar is a profile image you can have assigned to your email address when you comment on avatar enabled sites.

Discussion Settings WORDPRESS

Enable the display of avatars for people who comment on your site, filter by their rating or choose a default avatar for people that don’t already have a custom avatar of their own.

To know more about the avatar, check this detailed guide: What is Gravatar

WordPress Media Settings

Media Settings allows you to set maximum sizes for images inserted into the body of a post.

The Uploading files option allows you to select whether or not your uploads are organized into the month and year-based folder.

wordpress media setting

WordPress Permalink Settings

A permalink or permanent link is the address (URL) of a web page. It is called a permanent link because it’s not expected to change.

Every page published on the web has a unique URL it is expected to remain the same as long as the page is published on the web.

wordpress permalink setting

So it’s really important to set the permalink structure in the first place after installing WordPress.

WordPress gives you a number of options for setting up the URL structure of your posts. The best setting to use is the ‘Post Name’.

Permalink plays an important role in SEO and it consists of two-part.

  • The website domain
  • The page slug

The page slug is what comes after the domain slash and you have to make it SEO friendly by considering a few points:

1. It should be short and descriptive – Try to make your permalink short and informative.

For example:

2. It needs to include SEO keywords – By inserting SEO keywords in the permalink, you give a strong clue to search engines about the content of your page.

Learn more about keyword research in-depth for better search ranking.

3. Permalinks are lowercase – Some web servers treat uppercase and lowercase characters differently. To avoid any confusion keep all the letters in lowercase.

How To Install A WordPress Theme (overview)

Installing a WordPress theme is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the installation:

Method 1: Installing a Free Theme from the WordPress Theme Repository

  1. Login to Your WordPress Dashboard: Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard using your credentials.

  2. Navigate to the Themes Section: In the left sidebar, hover over “Appearance” and click on “Themes.”

  3. Click on “Add New”: At the top of the Themes page, click on the “Add New” button.

  4. Search for a Theme: You can search for a theme using keywords or browse through the featured, popular, and latest themes.

  5. Preview the Theme: Hover over a theme to see a “Preview” button. Clicking on it allows you to preview how your site will look with that theme.

  6. Install the Theme: If you’re satisfied with the preview, click on the “Install” button.

  7. Activate the Theme: After installation, the “Install” button will change to “Activate.” Click on it to make the theme active on your site.

Method 2: Uploading a Theme from Your Computer

  1. Download the Theme: If you have a theme in a .zip file, download it to your computer.

  2. Login to Your WordPress Dashboard: Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.

  3. Navigate to the Themes Section: Go to “Appearance” > “Themes.”

  4. Click on “Add New”: Click on the “Add New” button at the top of the Themes page.

  5. Upload the Theme: Click on the “Upload Theme” button. Then, click on the “Choose File” button to locate and select the .zip file of the theme you downloaded.

  6. Install and Activate: Click the “Install Now” button. After installation, click the “Activate” link to activate the theme.

Method 3: Installing a Premium Theme

If you have purchased a premium theme, the process is similar to Method 2. You’ll download the theme from your account on the theme provider’s website and follow the steps to upload and activate it.

After you’ve installed and activated the theme, you can further customize it by going to “Appearance” > “Customize” to modify its settings, colors, layout, and more.

Remember that changing your theme might affect the appearance of your website. Make sure to review and adjust settings as needed to maintain your desired look and functionality.

Method 1: Installing A Free Theme From the WordPress Theme Repository

To install a free WordPress theme from the themes directory, the first thing you need to go to the Appearance » Themes page and click on the Add New button.

how to install a wordpress theme

On the next screen, you will get an option to sort themes by subject, specific features, and layout. For example:

  • Blog
  • E-Commerce
  • News
  • Photography
  • custom colours
  • post Formats
  • Grid Layout

Select an option to filter out the desired theme for your website.

filter option on theme

Or you can directly search the theme. In our case, we searched for the popular Astra theme.

When you enter the theme name in the search box your theme will come up, then bring your mouse to the image. Go ahead and click on the install button followed by activate button.

install theme in wordpress

Upon installation, depending on the theme, it may add additional settings options that you may need to configure.

For instance, your theme may ask you to install the supporting plugin or page builder.

To customize the theme, click on the customize button/ Astra option to start setting up your theme.

If you find any difficulties, click on the knowledge bank to get an idea of how something works in the theme?

astra theme customization

Method 2: Uploading a Theme from Your Computer / WordPress dashboard

Using the first method you can only install a free theme.

What if you want to install a custom theme/ premium theme? Well, in this case, you would need to install the theme using the upload method from your WordPress admin.

To do so follow the below steps:

Download the .zip file of the theme that you have purchased from a marketplace. Here we will take Astra Pro Theme as an example.

download astra theme

Go to Appearance » Theme and click on Add New button.

how to install a wordpress theme

This will take you to the add new theme page showing featured free themes.

On the same page check the Upload Theme option and click on it to upload the zip file of the theme you have downloaded from the website.

upload theme zip file on wordpress

Once your theme is installed, you will see a success message along with the link to activate and preview the theme.

FAQs About Installing WordPress Themes

1. Simplicity: It will be great if you choose simple themes.

These themes would be easy to navigate.

2. Responsive design: A significant number of web traffic is generated from smarts phones and tablets.

Make sure the theme you are choosing is mobile friendly.

3. SEO Friendly: Always go for the theme which is SEO optimized because it plays a crucial role in the overall SEO ranking factor.

4. Light-weighted: Light theme helps the website to load fast. A site that loads under 2 seconds ranks better in the search result.

The theme I recommend is Astra – It’s has all the quality and is the fastest-growing theme of all time.

If you are on a tight budget then start with a free theme.

However, If you can spend a little more, then choose a premium theme. Premium themes come with more functionality priority support.

A child theme in WordPress is a sub-theme that inherits all the functionality, features, and style of its parent theme. 

Of course, you can. But make sure you have taken the complete backup of your website.

Sometimes making a big change can ruin the entire website.

How To Install A WordPress Plugins (overview)

Installing WordPress plugins is an easy process that enhances your website’s functionality. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Method 1: Installing Plugins from the WordPress Plugin Repository

  1. Login to Your WordPress Dashboard: Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard using your credentials.

  2. Navigate to the Plugins Section: In the left sidebar, hover over “Plugins” and click on “Add New.”

  3. Search for a Plugin: Use keywords to search for a specific plugin or browse through the featured, popular, and recommended plugins.

  4. Install the Plugin: Find the plugin you want and click the “Install Now” button.

  5. Activate the Plugin: Once the installation is complete, the “Install Now” button changes to “Activate.” Click on it to activate the plugin.

Method 2: Uploading Plugins from Your Computer

  1. Download the Plugin: If you’ve obtained a plugin as a .zip file, download it to your computer.

  2. Login to Your WordPress Dashboard: Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.

  3. Navigate to the Plugins Section: Go to “Plugins” > “Add New.”

  4. Click on “Upload Plugin”: At the top of the Plugins page, click on the “Upload Plugin” button.

  5. Upload the Plugin: Click on the “Choose File” button and select the .zip file of the plugin you downloaded. Then, click “Install Now.”

  6. Activate the Plugin: Once the installation is complete, click on the “Activate” link to activate the plugin.

After Installation:

  1. Plugin Settings: Depending on the plugin, you might need to configure its settings. This can usually be done from the “Settings” or “Tools” section of your dashboard.

  2. Using the Plugin: Once activated, the plugin will add its features to your website. This could include new menu items, widgets, shortcodes, or integrations.

  3. Managing Plugins: You can deactivate or delete plugins from the “Plugins” page in your dashboard. Deactivating a plugin will turn off its features without removing it from your site.

Keep in mind that while plugins can add functionality, having too many can impact your site’s performance. Only install plugins you truly need, and ensure they’re from reputable sources to maintain your site’s security and performance.

Method 1: Installing Plugins from the WordPress Plugin Repository

The easiest way of installing a FREE WordPress plugin is to use the inbuilt plugin search.

To do so:

Go to Plugins » Add New page inside your WordPress admin area.

how to install plugin

Type the plugin name in the search area.

After that, you will see a bunch of listings like the example below:

install plugin in wordpress

In our case, we have searched for one of the best SEO plugins – “Yoast SEO

Now, we’ll click on the Install Now button followed by Activate.

That’s all, you have successfully installed your first WordPress plugin.

NOTE: Yoast SEO plugin is a very important and must-have plugin for all WordPress websites. It helps in creating SEO friendly URLs, Titles, Meta Descriptions, Sitemaps, and much more.

Method 2: Uploading Plugins from Your Computer: For Premium & Customized Plugins

Paid WordPress plugins are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. These plugins cannot be installed using the first method.

To install the premium plugin, WordPress has come up with the upload method.

To do so:

First, you need to download the plugin in a zip file from the source.

Next, go to the WordPress admin area then click on  Plugins » Add New page. there you have to click on the “Upload Plugin” button.

upload zip file of plugin

Then you need to click on the ‘Choose File’ button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer.

WordPress will upload and install the plugin for you. After installation, you just have to click on Activate Plugin button.

That’s it for how to install a premium plugin on your WordPress website. I hope this has been helpful!

You might be interested in reading: Things you should know about WordPress plugin.

Next Lessons


How to start with wordpress

In this lesson, you will learn everything about WordPress. Like how it works, the difference between the .com version and the .org version, the features, the themes and the plugins everything in details.

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how to create content on WordPress

In this lesson, you will learn how to create a post and pages for your website. Also, you will get to know how links, images, button, featured image insert in the post.

How to Generate Content Using WordPress

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Lesson 3

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