WordPress is Like a Chest of Drawers: Learn Where Everything Goes

wordpress like a chest of drawers, tastingroomconfidential.comWordPress is like a chest of drawers: you just have to learn where everything goes.

This is one of the first things I tell bloggers in my WordPress Workshop. I say, you will save countless hours and gray hairs by memorizing all the nooks and crannies of the WordPress Dashboard from the get go. WordPress may be user friendly, but it is also a labyrinth, so brain map it.

Think of the Dashboard Navigation as a giant chests of drawers, with more drawers nested inside of each drawer. Users simply have to remember which drawer to open to find the page where the data belongs, to put everything in its proper field.

Dashboard Navigation

Out of the box, the navigation is fairly intuitive. Dashboard sits on top where an overview belongs. Posts come next as they are the heart of a blog site. Media and Links separate the Posts from the Pages, I guess so you won’t confuse them. The Comments come next because providing comment are what makes blogs social and WordPress what it is.

If you have a grip on just those controls, you could start blogging in a minute, yet the blog may not look too hot. To spruce up the look, you need to dive into the next chest of drawers where all kinds of style settings are stored.

Appearance Navigation

Appearance holds the drawers most bloggers spend most of their time rifling through: Themes, Widgets, Menus, Editor, and maybe Theme Options. They control most of your styles.Plugins is where you upload and store all the nifty apps that make your site function. Users holds the database of your subscribers. Tools is a quiet little drawer, used mostly when you import and export.

Finally, Settings is where all your General information and preferences for all the above options are stored. Backtracking on my earlier statement that by using the first chest of drawers you can start blogging immediately, you actually need to fill in your General Settings first. Otherwise you won’t have a Site Title.

plugin settings, WordPress like chest of drawers, tastingroomconfidential.comPlugin Navigation

One of the most frustrating parts of uploading a new plugin is losing its settings page(s). Once uploaded, a plugin’s settings can go to live in a number of places. Where it goes may seem arbitrary and counterintuitive, but there are some consistencies.

Sometimes, plugin settings move into the same drawer in which the site’s Settings live. Everything you see below Permalinks are plugins.

Other times, if a plugin’s setting are is so extensive it encompasses encompass multiple pages, it will move into the chest of drawer directly beneath the site’s Settings cabinet.

Yet other times, if a plugin is related to an existing function, its settings will set up shop near that function. For instance, if you upload a photo portfolio plugin it might locate itself near the Media drawer. That is, if it didn’t go below Settings.

Now, why I find Add Link to Facebook in the Tools drawer is beyond me. I just have to remember that it belongs there.


There are only a few more days until WordCamp Vancouver October 13 at BCIT in Burnaby, BC. I will be speaking about The Top Things to Know About Using WordPress. There are lots of great sessions scheduled. Get your tickets and look for me at 10 am, this Saturday

Until then, please Like, Share, Tweet, and Pin this page and check me out on the new social media aggregator, Rebel Mouse. It’s like a personal Pinterest page.

Finally, I’m using the Zemanta Social Blogging plugin that analyzes my content and suggests related articles to click on to add them to the footer of this post. Please tell me what you think: a keeper?

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