Administrator Menus

Because this class deals with features that are typically only open to site administrators, you have each been given your own small site within the WordPress Training site. This way, you can administer your own practice, training site, and play along with the rest of the class, without competing to see whose changes get displayed on the main WordPress Training site first.

Like the WordPress for Beginners class, we will all be logging into the main WordPress Training site. (For a refresher, check out Logging In from the WordPress for Beginners section of this site.)

Getting to your own training site

screenshot of the My Sites drop down menuHowever, this time, point your mouse at the drop-down menu at the top left, in the black bar that appears after you login, to the menu labeled My Sites. There you’ll find your own separate site, of which you are the administrator. There are a few differences between the way this site will work and a normal “single site” installation of WordPress: you won’t be able to add plugins or themes, but you can use both, and also have the ability to manipulate widgets on your pages.

Once you have logged in and found your site in the My Sites menu, you should see a lot more menu items in the Admin Panel than in the WordPress for Beginners class. In addition to Posts, Pages, Links, News Items (if you’re using the WF College One Pro theme), you’ll see a whole new set of menu items, below a small divider directly below Comments. These items are essentially the Admin Menus. (These are typically only available to Site Administrators, though there are some interesting ways to tweak permissions in WordPress to make it more of a full-fledged Content Management System or CMS.)

The menu items in the lower half of the Admin Panel, open to Administrators
Admin Menu items

These new menu items let you access some of the design and layout features of your WordPress theme. (In a normal, single installation of WordPress, you’d also install new Themes and Plugins from these menus. In the type of site we’re using for this training class, you won’t be able to install new themes and plugins, but can modify the ones that are there.)

Briefly, these new menu items contain the following:

  1. Appearance – This menu contains most of the options for adjusting the look of a theme, including Themes, Widgets, Menu, Header, and Background. (Note: not all themes will support all of these features the same.)
  2. Plugins – Install, update and turn on and off various extensions to the basic functionality of WordPress.
  3. Users – Add new people to the site, or change Profile information about a current member, including their password and Role in the site.
  4. Tools – This menu isn’t as commonly used as others. By default, the only tools available are for importing or exporting content to or from anotehr blog.
  5. Settings – All the settings for the site, including basic stuff such as whether the front page of a site shows the blog posts or a static web page. Most plugins will also add a submenu here when they are activated, to keep all the settings for that plugin.
  6. BackupBuddy?? – This menu is an example of a menu that is added to the main level by a plugin. BackupBuddy is the plugin that the College uses to make backup copies of WordPress sites.

Now, let’s dig more deeply into probably the most interesting of these, the Appearance menu.