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5 More Things To Know About Your WordPress Admin Area

Posted by on Oct 18, 2010

About 3 weeks ago I wrote a post titled 5 Areas You Should Know More About In Your WordPress Admin Area. Some folks who commented said they’d love to know more. I don’t always do an “ask and you shall receive” type of post, but in this case I’m making an exception, so here’s 5 more things to talk to you about.

1. Screen Options. At the top right of every admin page, there’s something that’s called Screen Options. If you click on it, every box you see on that particular page will have a check mark in it. There might be some unchecked you want, and you might see some that you decide you don’t need to see anymore. This is another way to help customize everything, and if you’re someone using All In One SEO and you’ve done the latest upgrade you’ve probably noticed how it’s added some columns to your Posts admin page, and thus things are looking screwy. Going into Screen Options allows you to get rid of some of those things you probably don’t care about.

2. Permalinks. Unless you’re pretty savvy, you probably have the date contained within your link right now. That’s not a drastic problem, but it’s killing your SEO and making your link sometimes 8 characters longer than it has to be. If you look at it, you’ll see 5 options for changing how your link will look. I suggest going to the last option which has nothing there, then typing this in (or just copy it from this post): /%postname%/. What this does is puts your title in the link all by itself, with each word separated by a dash. Take a look at my link and you’ll see it there. Now, this won’t go back and fix any of your previous posts, but if you want to do that I suggest a plugin called Permalinks Migration Plugin. It works great, but then you’ll have to remember to go back through all your posts and in any of them where you linked internally you’ll have to manually change those links, otherwise they won’t work for your visitors.

3. Widgets. Almost anything you see in your sidebar that you didn’t actually go in and create is probably a widget. You have the ability to add, remove, or move these widgets around so that you can customize the look of your blog.

To get there, first click on Appearance, then click on Widgets. Once there, look to the far right. You’ll either have one sidebar option or more than one, depending on how many columns your blog has and how old it is. Click on the arrow next to the sidebar and you’ll see a list, if you have any widgets, of what’s in there. To the left you’ll see a bunch of other widgets that you can add to your sidebar. At the bottom you may or may not see some widgets. Anything not already in play can be pulled back in; all you have to do is click on the top bar, hold it with your mouse, and move it wherever you want it to go.

The Text widgets all need some kind of customization, because they’re empty. This is where you’d pop in code for things you might want to see, such as affiliate banners or books like I have or other such fun things like images. For all the other widgets, there might be some minor customization you can do before saving the widget. For instance, if you add the Archives widget, you’re given 2 options and a chance to rename it.

4. Categories. If you’re writing on a general topic but there are different issues involved, you wouldn’t hurt yourself to add categories to your posts. Oftentimes your blog will start ranking well on search engines because you end up having a lot of posts in certain specific categories that you’ve defined up front, and it gives you something easy to do internal links to from time to time. You can do it one of two ways. You can add a different category every time you create a new post, or you can go to Categories and put some in there ahead of time. This is also where you can delete categories if you’d like.

To get to Categories, click on Posts, then Categories. You’ll see on the left is where you create a category, and on the right is a list of categories. If you’ve never created any thing all you’ll have is probably Uncategorized; that’s terrible for your SEO, so I hope no one has kept that. Put in your category name in the first spot. Where it says “slug”, just ignore that. I have no idea how that could help anyone unless you have a very long category and want to shorten it, but that wouldn’t help your SEO all that much most of the time so just leave it be. The next thing is Parent, and I leave that alone, but you don’t have to. For instance, if you were writing about Roses you might decide to then add categories such as red roses, pink roses, blue roses, planting roses, growing roses, etc. Or you could just always select the general category of roses, which is what I do. That is, on something else, not roses. lol Hit Add Category and it will show up on the right.

5. Media. I’m not sure why they didn’t just call it Images, since all you’ll see in there are images. Media is every image you’ve ever put into a blog post. The only thing you might ever really want to use this for is if you want to change the written information about the image, or delete an image without having to go back to the post. If you click on Edit you’ll see the choices of information you can modify, including the title of the image. All of these choices are the same as if you were adding images by using the little box above the area where you write your content.

And there you go. If these 10 things don’t help make you more knowledgeable about your admin area, I don’t know what will. Happy reading!

Everything for the Fan

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DeAnna Troupe:

Those are some great tips you have shared! I didn’t even think about the permalink thing being bad for SEO. Drat, now I’m gonna have to change that.

October 18th, 2010 | 8:45 PM

Most people wouldn’t, DeAnna, so I’m glad to share the information.

October 18th, 2010 | 9:09 PM

I’ve found many people have never noticed the screen options.

Thanks you for suggesting the permalink hint to me several months back. Looks much better than the date or page number.

October 18th, 2010 | 9:02 PM

No problem, Carolee. And I’m glad it’s working out for you.

October 18th, 2010 | 9:09 PM

I learned the hard way about changing permalinks. I started using the custom permalinks and didn’t realize all the shorteners I had previously tweeted were no longer valid also it meant I had to change the way I listed my feed url. But I got it all squared away. I’m curious Mitch, do you use All In One SEO and if so, do you fill out everything down below your post before posting it? I use it and I fill out Title, keywords and pretty much leave the rest blank. Just wanted to know if you do the whole shebang?

October 18th, 2010 | 9:57 PM

I do use it, Karen, but I don’t always use it. And when I do, I will write a description because I know when the article is indexed Google will pick that up. But I never add a title, and I don’t always add keywords since I add them as tags.

October 19th, 2010 | 1:33 AM

Mitch, I’m the same way. Stella has been getting on me to pay more attention to SEO.

I do the description when I really want the search engine to get it right. You know how I tend to babble at the beginning of my posts. 🙂



September 26th, 2011 | 8:31 AM

Heck Mitch, I babble at the beginning of a lot of my posts as well. Everyone says that you should make sure to have the words you’re hoping will be found on the search engines in the first line; just can’t do it unless it works into the story.

September 26th, 2011 | 10:16 AM

For sure. I only do the keyword thing when I’m doing a tutorial or other SEO-type post.

Needless to say, I don’t have many of those.



September 26th, 2011 | 10:40 AM

I have some but not many as you know. At least not on this blog, but on my new one…

September 26th, 2011 | 11:24 AM

You sir are right about the permalinks. Some people, even though they are a bit savy in terms of blogging tends to forget to edit or configure their permalinks. And sometimes, after few posts, they tend to change it immediately without even thinking the good incoming links and authority they may lost because of changing their permalinks.

October 19th, 2010 | 2:44 AM

Ron, if no one tells us this stuff, we all make that mistake. Strangely enough, I was running Broken Link Checker at the time and immediately had tons of broken links that made me to back to fix, almost all internal links at the time.

October 19th, 2010 | 10:32 AM

Although I am already acquainted with WordPress and Joomla elements, I really appreciate this post, Mitch. I am very glad that you are trying to help out those who are using WordPress and are new to blogging. Thanks and have a good one.

– Wes –

October 19th, 2010 | 3:27 AM

Thanks Wes. Actually, I find some people who aren’t all that new to blogging have never paid attention to these things either, so I hope I’m illuminating some things for them as well.

October 19th, 2010 | 10:33 AM

Very useful post Mitch. Permalinks are the most technical thing of them all that supposedly play a major role in SEO and rankings. Also something to remember about widgets, especially for newbies is that, the widgets code can get lost with theme switches/upgrades, hence always have widget content script backups

And I guess the media library is called so because WP allows to add audio/video clips – just like images – to the posts. If at all I am adding any video, it’s from Youtube or third party sales pages and hence didn’t use this feature much.

October 19th, 2010 | 5:54 AM

Same here Ajith, when I add video I just add the embed codes and go on with life. I knew the thing about widgets, and I’m glad you mentioned it here, as I’ve written about it in the past.

October 19th, 2010 | 10:33 AM

Excellent guide Mitch, I am using WordPress for a couple of years, but honestly I didn’t know anything about the screen options. I like WordPress as it is very easy to work with, however for more complicated projects, I prefer Joomla.

October 19th, 2010 | 9:20 AM

You’re probably the only person I know who’s ever said they like Joomla Carl. lol

October 19th, 2010 | 10:34 AM

Great tips thanks.

Hope all is well


October 19th, 2010 | 9:43 AM

Hi Mitch
Thanks for doing this post. I am bookmarking and will check everything is done as suggested in this really helpful post you have so generously done for newbies like me 🙂
When I have read some of the comments and they sound a bit techie I feel the panic button going lol That’s why it’s good for me to get in early with my comments eh??!! I wonder if I will ever understand all the techie stuff. Give me article writing any day. Thanks so much Mitch, much appreciated.
Patricia Perth Australia

October 19th, 2010 | 12:25 PM

No problem Pat. You’re right, comments can suddenly make you feel a little inferior because you don’t always know what someone else is talking about, but I find that if I read the actual post and can learn some things from it that I can always learn something from the comments as well. And I never hesitate to ask a commenter to explain what they’re talking about if I don’t get it.

October 19th, 2010 | 1:36 PM

Hey Mitch,

Thanks for those useful lists.

When i was still new to wp, the add theme and add plugin section that interest me more lol..

But in fact, there are alot more we can customize and look into in our dashboard,

Thanks for this.

October 19th, 2010 | 5:39 PM

No problem Kimi; glad to help folks out any way I can.

October 19th, 2010 | 9:48 PM

Okay, I know I’m your least savvy reader, but I can’t find where I can edit the date from my permalink.
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February 26th, 2012 | 6:41 PM

It’s under Settings then about 6 lines down, under Privacy.

February 26th, 2012 | 6:49 PM

Thanks…don’t see it but I’ll keep investigating.
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February 27th, 2012 | 12:21 AM