The WordPress dashboard. So much space which gets so little use. Wouldn’t you like to make your dashboard more functional? Here are a few of my favorite things:
Add Notes to your WordPress Dashboard
I use WP Dashboard Notes to write reminders and my editorial schedule. It is very basic with a basic text box or a checklist with checkable boxes. Other than changing the color of the box there are no formatting options. However to add/edit a note you just have to click on it – no leaving the Dashboard.
Dashboard Sticky Notes has not been updated in awhile, but it does work with WordPress 4.1.1. It uses an edit page similar to your post/page editor, so you can add videos, images and formatting to your notes. I actually like this better than WP Dashboard Notes, but I hate switching out of the Dashboard when I just need to jot a quick note. Note that if you use shortcodes to format your posts, they will not work on the sticky note.
Add RSS Blog Feeds to your WordPress Dashboard
I suggest a security feed like Sucuri so you can make sure you are always up to date and safe. In the past I’ve added my own blog feed to my client’s WordPress dashboards, but I think that the feed is too general for clients. In the future I am going to just link client’s dashboard feeds to my security posts. That way only security issues will appear and hopefully it will be more likely to catch the client’s eye.
While there is at least one WordPress plugin that helps you put an RSS feed on your WordPress dashboard, I usually add a custom plugin similar to this tutorial. With a custom plugin I can control the formatting and add special formatting for certain tags – for example if I’m adding it to a client’s ecommerce site I can have posts with the ecommerce tag show up with a green background. For security issues I could add a red box and a bold, red title.
View Google Analytics Data on your WordPress Dashboard
Get a quick overview of your visitors with the Google Analytics Dashboard. It doesn’t have all of the functionality of Google Analytics, but is enough for 90% of all users.
Manage Your WordPress Dashboard Widgets
Click on the “Screen Options” button at the top of the Dashboard to view a pull-down menu with checkboxes for each widget appearing on your Dashboard. I always turn off At a Glance, Quick Draft, WordPress News and Welcome. I like the Activity widget because I usually blog ahead and I can see which post will publish next and what was recently published. This widget also shows your comments, which is somewhat of a timesaver.
Depending on the plugins you use you may have additional widgets. I use Gravity Forms and have a widget that shows form submissions. If you have an ecommerce plugin you will want to make sure you are seeing the dashboard widget that displays your orders and their status.
What I’d Like to See in a Dashboard Widget
I’d like a limited version of the WordPress Editorial Calendar that would show the upcoming week at a glance; what is scheduled, what is a draft, days with no posts scheduled. What about you? What would make the WordPress dashboard easier for you to use?