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Take control of your wordpress site

Take control of your WordPress site (Image Aidan via Flickr)

Just like modern cars that have hundreds of gadgets, sensors and controls that many owners never discover, so too does WordPress.

I heard a story yesterday, about a man in Darwin who frustrates friends and family when he chauffeurs them in his new, huge four wheel drive because he’s not discovered how to turn off automatic child locks on his doors.

His passengers are forced to wait while he reaches for a release switch to let them out of his vehicle.

According to my source, he knows there must be instructions in the manual but he cannot be bothered looking them up.

Happily, detailed instructions for your WordPress site are built into your website itself.

Next time you are working in your website, take a look into the top, right, corner of your editing screen.

There you will find two small tabs, Screen Options and Help.

The best way to get value from these buttons is to simply play with them, but I will share a couple of points you might find most helpful.

Help – WordPress to the rescue

While the help button is active whenever you are in writing or editing mode for Pages or Posts, remember to take a peek next time you are experimenting with a plugin.

Many plugin developers use the Help tab to store helpful reminders.

For example, the Backup plugin by Sorin Iclanzan, has very helpful steps in the Help area, including a link that will take you to your Google API page so you can configure and install your automated backups to Google Drive.

Take control with Screen Options

Probably the most noticeable benefit of clicking Screen Options is in pruning your Dashboard.

The Dashboard is the first screen you come to when you log in to the WordPress administration area.

It often contains six or seven widgets showing your update statues, latest posts or comments, Google Analaytics (if you have a plugin installed), etc.

However, many of these can be turned off to lighten the page and relieve your WordPress site from having to load unnecessary information every time you log in.

Here are my common settings in the Dashboard area, after you click Screen Options. Untick:

  • Incoming Links
  • Plugins
  • QuickPress
  • Recent Drafts
  • WordPress Blog
  • Other WordPress News
  • Welcome

All you really need to leave switched on are:

  • Right Now
  • Recent Comments
  • Google Analytics Summary

Plus any ecommerce boxes, if you have a shopping cart on your site.

I hope this clears some clutter for you.

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