Wordpress Tips

8 Things You Didn’t Know About the WordPress.com Admin Dashboard

Wordpress.com Tips

When I first started blogging, I rarely went into the admin dashboard. Mostly because I couldn’t remember how to get there. I also assumed it was an obsolete area, because you can just click on My Sites to see your stats and find all the settings you want or need to change. Once I started exploring it, I realized the admin dashboard  is far from obsolete, and quite useful in many ways.

Here are 10 things you might not know about the admin dashboard.

1.) Do you know how to find the admin dashboard?

All you have to do is add /wp-admin to the end of your blog address, and it will take you there. When you arrive, the menu is along the left side of the page. 

N.B. – Make sure you’re adding it to your complete blog address. For example, I access my dashboard via https://thegeekybibliophile.wordpress.com/wp-admin/

A special thank you to Subinita for asking the question that made me realize this is something I should have included!

2.) Some settings can ONLY be accessed via the admin dashboard.

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Settings Menu

Here are a few examples:

  • Reading settings is the only place where you can select how many posts are shown per page (mine is set at 3), whether to show the full text or a summary of your post in the reader feed, and have the ability to alter the text of an email sent to blog followers and comments subscribers.
  • Discussion settings allows you to set anti-spam  strictness Akismet to ‘strict’ or ‘safe’. It also allows you to enable/disable avatars, as well as choose what the default avatar should look like for commenters who don’t have an avatar of their own.
  • Media settings is the place to go for a range of media-related settings, including image sizes for thumbnails, settings for image gallery carousels, and video player podcasting.
  • Poll settings is where you enter your information for you Polldaddy account, which can be used to publish polls you’ve created on your blog.

There are a total of 12 items total listed in the Settings menu. Some can also be found when clicking on My Sites, but it’s an area worth exploring!

3.) There are more free themes to be found there… 40 more, to be exact.

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Appearance Menu

I discovered this by accident, while trying to find a theme another blogger was using. It was nowhere to be found via My Sites➡Themes, but when I looked at the themes listed in the dashboard, I found it!

An example of this is the Forever theme. It is only available via the admin dashboard. If you search for it under My Sites➡Themes, the only result you will get is the updated version named Toujours.

If you feel like you can’t find a theme you like, be sure to check this out!

(In case you’re wondering, My Sites➡Themes has 168 themes. Admin➡Themes has 208 themes.)

4.) You can retrieve deleted widgets.

If you’re like me, you’ve deleted widgets only to regret it later, and wished there was some way you could get them back WITHOUT having to reenter all the text, links, etc. If that’s the case, you’ll be thrilled to know that all you have to do is go to Appearance➡Widgets and look for the Inactive Widgets sub-header. It’s sort of like a widget graveyard, because that’s where every widget you’ve ever deleted ends up. A simple drag and drop to Sidebar will restore your lost widget to its former glory!

5.) You can change categories to tags, and vice versa.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a really bad habit of changing my mind about my categories and tags. What I think works great as a category one day, feels better suited as a tag the next. The fastest (not to mention, easiest) way to deal with it is to use the Category to Tag converter, which can be found under Tools➡Import.

Look for Categories and Tags Converter in the list, and click on Run Importer. On the next page, simply check off the category items you want to change to tags, and click the Convert Categories to Tags button.

Want to change Tags to Categories? Click the Tags to Categories button at the top of the page. As before, select the items you want to change, then click the Convert Tags to Categories button.

6.) You can edit comments.

Have you ever replied to a comment on your blog, only to notice (too late) you’ve made a typo? Or perhaps there is an ongoing discussion about a book/movie/tv series and someone inadvertently drops a MAJOR spoiler in the midst of what is otherwise an interesting, thought-provoking response. No worries… you can fix it in the Comments area of the dashboard!

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Once you’ve found the comment you want to edit, hover your mouse over the comment to reveal the menu. Click on Quick Edit, fix what needs fixing, and click Update Comment when you’re done. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

7.) You can copy an existing post/page to use as a template for a new post/page.

No need to waste time starting from scratch when you don’t have to, especially if the post or page has a complex layout. Just copy the post or page you need, and give yourself a head start on it!

8.) It’s the only place you can check your comment spam.

Spam filters are good, but they aren’t perfect. Sooner or later, a comment will be tagged as spam when it’s NOT spam. Luckily, it can be found at the top of your main dashboard page, under the At a Glance heading.

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“Akismet has protected your site from 216 spam comments already.” Whoa, that was a LOT of spam!

If you have any spam to check, it will say “There are __ comments in your spam queue…” Just click on the number to view it. Once you’ve checked it, click Approve or Delete Permanently… whichever is appropriate.

I hope you find these tips useful. If you have any questions about any of them, please feel free to ask!

 

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21 thoughts on “8 Things You Didn’t Know About the WordPress.com Admin Dashboard”

    1. Do you mean you have to approve each comment every person makes, even if you’ve approved comments from them before? If so, check your discussion settings. In the “Before a comment appears” section, you may have the “comment must be manually approved ” checkbox ticked. Untick that box, and tick the one below that says ” Comment author must have a previously approved comment”… that way you’ll only have to approve someone once.

      I don’t *think* it works differently when you have your own domain, but I might be wrong about that.

      And you’re welcome! I love helping people however I can. 🙂

      Like

    1. Thank you, Drew! It’s not easy to figure it out at all, because most of what you find when you search for tips is aimed at wordpress.org. That’s why I wanted to start writing about the things I learned, because it’s exactly what I kept trying to find when I was a blogging newbie.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I think a lot of people who write .org tips don’t realize that it’s important to make the distinction. I couldn’t begin to count all the times I got all excited about a plugin, only to get bummed out when I tried to use it and found out I couldn’t. And it all could have been avoided, if only it had been noted as a .org tip.

          Liked by 1 person

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