Meetup: Dashboard and Post Formats

This week’s Focus on Content WordPress features a discussion of your WordPress Dashboard and what Post Formats are (and why you should care!), led by Corey Ellis and Bobbie Wilson.

To start out, Corey explained the features of the Dashboard itself. He showed the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin, which shows a snapshot of Google Analytics on the Dashboard home page.

He explained the Quick Post widget, great to use if you want to make a quick update from the Dashboard.

The Adminimize plugin will allow you to modify your Dashboard options to hide sections that you either don’t need. The Developer Mode plugin will allow you to hide features that you don’t want a client to have access to.

To add functions to your Dashboard there are tons of plugins that can add functionality to your admin area.

Using WordPress Roles, you can assign levels of access to different users.

Pages and Posts:

  • Pages: static pieces of content. One piece of content that isn’t going to change much. About me page, Contact me page, etc.
  • Posts: generally thought of as blog posts. You will be generating posts more often. Can be a blog, news releases, quotes, or other things that you want to add as new content, usually in a dated format.
  • Keep in mind that most themes will display a “page” slightly differently from a “post”. For example, most themes will display a date and author for a post, but not for a page.
  • You can have child pages which are hierarchical – you have a page that is a child of a parent page. This is how drop down menus work. Posts do not have the same hierarchy.

Categories and Tags:

  • Allow you to differentiate content.
  • You could have a category called “Dogs” and then have child categories of that category. Tags, however, have no hierarchy.
  • Plugin Term Management Tools allows you manage your categories and tags.
  • Tag clouds – there’s a Tag Cloud widget you can use in the standard WordPress installation. There are also other plugins that add extra functionality.
  • A good, responsible use of tags and categories can help users navigate your site better, and may help improve your SEO.


  • Usually only on posts, but this is theme dependent. Comments, with the right plugins, can be used for more things, like reviews. They are reader-created content that are attached to a specific post. Some themes have CSS attributes that can hide all comments that way.
  • Settings > Discussion is where you can modify your comments settings. You can restrict who can comment, or turn off comments altogether.
  • Akismet – a plugin that ships with WordPress. The cost is on a sliding scale – you can contribute as much as you want to the project, but it is free if you don’t want to pay for it. It will require you to connect to, so if you don’t have a account (also free) you will be directed to set one up.


  • Plugins allow you to do pretty much anything you want to do to extend the functionality of WordPress
  • Go to to search for plugins.
  • All plugins on are free and maintained by the developers who created them, and are created as the plugin developers’ way to contribute to the community. Some are better than others. Look at the comments, if the plugin is recently updated and compatible with the current version of WordPress, and most importantly, check to see if the author is actively paying attention (there is a link to the support forums on the plugin page).
  • You can also search on Google to find  other plugins, including premium ($$) plugins.
  • Google Fonts plugin: WP Google Fonts . Recommended that for purposes of design, you restrict a website to two fonts.

WordPress Codex:

  • The WordPress Codex documentation on how to use all of the functions within WordPress. This is all maintained by the WordPress community.

Post Formats:

  • Post Formats have been around for a while
  • Post format Documentation in the WordPress Codex
  • New theme Twenty Thirteen (still in beta, will be included in the upcoming WordPress 3.6 release) (information on how to download it prior to release at WPTuts)
  • Different formats will format a post differently depending on which one you choose.
  • There was a new user interface that was scheduled to release with WordPress 3.6 but has been pulled from that release
  • If you don’t see the Post Formats, you can turn them on with your Screen Options tab at the very top of your editor window (unless your theme does not support them)

Mobile posting:

  • Post by Email (Be sure to use a secure email)
  • The official WordPress mobile app is a great way to post from a mobile device


  1. You are so thorough Jackie. This is a great summary

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