How to Make Your WordPress Dashboard More Useful

  • By Darrel Wilson
  • Last Updated: November 20, 2019
WordPress Dashboard

WordPress is, hands down, the best platform for your website, whether you want to create an online store, an online community or a personal website. However, it is not without its shortcomings. One such shortcoming is the admin dashboard.

If you’ve used WordPress for a while, you probably know the dashboard like the back of your hand but let’s face it: most of those widgets aren’t especially useful.

In this post, I’ll share tips that will help you improve your WordPress dashboard and share the best WordPress dashboard plugins.

Five Tips to Make WordPress Dashboard More Useful

Below, you’ll find five tips that will help you improve your WordPress dashboard so it contains information relevant to your website and business.

1. Decide What Information You Want to Have Available

The first step in creating a useful WordPress dashboard is to decide what information would be most beneficial to you as the website owner. Do you want to see your stats at a glance immediately when you login? Perhaps you need to track your sales? Or maybe you want to see your editorial calendar and know what posts you need to write next?

Keep in mind there is no right or wrong answer here as the answer largely depends on the type of website you run and what your specific needs and preferences are.

Whatever the case may be, you need to decide on what you want your dashboard to display and then proceed with the next two steps.

2. Customize What’s Visible

Once you know what you want to achieve and what information would be most beneficial to you, it’s time to customize what is visible. Start by logging in and clicking on Screen Options.

Here, you can disable the default widgets by unchecking the boxes next to the widgets you don’t want to see. You can also drag and drop those widgets to arrange them to your liking.

3. Consider Plugin Widgets

Some plugins, like Jetpack, WooCommerce, and others are notorious for adding widgets to your WordPress dashboard. Some of these widgets can be useful, while others do nothing more but add more clutter to the dashboard.

Decide which widgets you want to keep and remove the rest. For example, if you run an online store, leaving the WooCommerce Sales widget can be useful. In most cases, you should be able to disable them by unchecking the box in the Screen Options.

4. Create a Custom Widget

If you’re not afraid of code or can’t find an adequate plugin to display the information you need, consider creating your own dashboard widget. This is especially useful if you’re working on client websites and want them to have an easy way of contacting you or if you want to remember important information related to your website.

To create your own custom widget, add the following line of code to your functions.php file:

add_action('wp_dashboard_setup', 'custom_dashboard_widgets');

 

function custom_dashboard_widgets() {

global $wp_meta_boxes;

wp_add_dashboard_widget('my_contact_widget', 'Contact me', 'my_dashboard_contact');

}

function my_dashboard_contact() {

// Widget Content Here

echo '<p>Welcome to your site! Need help? Contact me <a href="mailto:[email protected]">here</a>. </p>';

}

5. Customize the Looks

Lastly, you can customize how your WordPress dashboard looks by changing the color scheme in your Profile or by installing a custom WordPress dashboard theme. Themes like Aquila or Slate will not only allow you to change how your dashboard looks but also add extra functionality like the ability to upload your own logo, add plugin support links to the dashboard, and more.

Six Best WordPress Dashboard Plugins

Now that you know how to make your WordPress dashboard more useful, let’s take a look at the best dashboard plugins. The plugins on this list range from free to premium.

Adminimize

The first plugin on the list, Adminimize, allows you to clear up the clutter in your WordPress dashboard. You can remove the default widgets as well as any extra plugin widgets. The plugin also allows you to remove menu items that are located in the left-hand sidebar.

What’s more, the plugin allows you to remove menu items and dashboard widgets based on user roles so if you have multiple WordPress users, you can customize what they see and which parts of your site they can access.

The plugin can be downloaded for free from the official repository.

Client Dash

The Client Dash plugin was developed with web designers and developers in mind, to allow them to easily create custom dashboards for their clients. However, you can easily use the plugin even if you’re a WordPress developer or a designer.

This plugin allows you to reorder or remove menu items. You can add new menu items and with this plugin, adding, removing, rearranging, and customizing the default dashboard widgets is also easy.

The Client Dash plugin can be downloaded for free from the official repository.

Ultimate Dashboard

Similarly to the plugins, above, the Ultimate Dashboard allows you to customize what information is visible on your dashboard. The plugin allows you to remove the default widgets and replace them with custom widgets that link to most important parts of your website.

The core plugin is free but it offers somewhat limited functionality. For example, the free version doesn’t allow you to remove third-party dashboard widgets. You’ll need to upgrade to the premium version to enable that functionality and gain access to other features such as adding tooltips to your widgets, add custom CSS to your dashboard, and more.

The pricing for the PRO version of Ultimate Dashboard starts at $48 for one site and one year of support and updates.

Google Analytics Dashboard Widget

The Google Analytics Dashboard Widget WordPress does exactly what it sounds like: it allows you to easily display your Google Analytics data right in your WordPress dashboard. This is useful if you’re not relying on plugins that show you website visitor statistics and you don’t want to switch between two tabs to log into your Google Analytics account.

The plugin is completely free to download and you can get an easy overview of visitor stats from Country, Referrers, Social media, General stats, Top pages and Top keywords.

WP Dashboard Notes

The WP Dashboard Notes is a simple and straightforward plugin that allows you to create sticky notes in your dashboard. This plugin is useful if you multiple users or contributors and need to leave notes for other users.

You can choose from several colors for you notes, create lists and regular notes, and control the visibility of the notes.

The plugin can be downloaded for free from the official repository.

Dashboard Feed Widget

The Dashboard Feed Widget will add a widget to your dashboard that will display feed links from a website that you specify in widget settings. You can use this plugin to stay on top of industry news or to keep track of what your competitors are writing about.

If you’re working with clients, you can use this plugin to link to your website’s blog with useful tips and tricks that will help them manage their website.

The plugin is free to download and use from the official repository.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a few ways to turn your WordPress dashboard into a useful hub that’s tailored to your website needs. With the tips in this article and your dashboard plugin of choice, you can customize WordPress dashboard for yourself or for your clients.

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2 thoughts on “How to Make Your WordPress Dashboard More Useful

  1. Darrel
    Your guide for Dashboard for WordPress is very useful for people building websites using WordPress,
    Thanks for the guide.
    I am trying to build my website with Wix.com which is also having lots of features to try.
    I was also experimenting with WordPress and will follow your guide for building Dashboard.
    Bhasker Raj
    Bangalore

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