How to customize the WordPress admin area

How to customize the WordPress admin area

Getting bored with the unsexy looks of your WordPress admin area? Finding it hard to, um, find what you’re looking for upon logging in?

This article will teach you a few quick and easy tricks to customize the WordPress admin area without plugins or code, no matter what your skill level, so you can find what you need in the back end immediately.

Color scheme

The first thing I do when setting up a new WordPress site is change the color scheme to make it more attractive, because we both know that looks totally matter.

Head over to Users > Your Profile to find a selection of color schemes to choose from and test out with a single click. Done!


Customizing your dashboard Home screen

All right, this one’s going to save you time. Normally, when you first log into your site, you may see a big Welcome message (kthanksbyenow), news from WordPress (cool, but let’s be real: Most of us don’t care), your comments (which you get notifications for on the top bar anyway), the Quick Draft box to quickly draft a new blog post, and maybe other (generally) useless items, too.

When really, what you might care about is your traffic stats, if anyone’s trying to hack in, or how many edits you’ve made to your site since your last backup. So let’s streamline this puppy.

To start with, decide what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of by opening the Screen Options tab at the top. Within this box, you can check/uncheck boxes to make items appear/disappear, so don’t be afraid to play — you can always change it back!


Now, let’s redecorate. All you have to do to make the Home screen more intuitive for you is hover over the top of each of the boxes that you see (you’ll notice the cursor change shape), at which point you’ll be able to click to easily drag each box elsewhere on the screen, and then let go (unclick) to drop it at that position. You’ll notice a box with a dashed border will appear where WordPress thinks you’re trying to move the box in question.


Customizing your Pages and Posts areas

It’s very similar to customizing your Home screen: You’re going to use the Screen Options tab at the top. What’s really neat, especially in the Posts section, is that you can have columns show for your categories, tags, number of comments, and other cool things.


If you’re using an SEO plugin like the fantastic Yoast SEO, you’ll see options to have columns for your SEO title, meta description, and focus keyword, too. All these can be useful to gauge within a few seconds which blog posts — based on which categories/tags/focus keywords — are getting the most comments, for example.

Of course, a tool like Google Analytics is where you want to go for comprehensive insights into your traffic and how people behave on your site, but this setup gives a decent cursory overview in terms of which blog posts are getting the most engagement on your website itself. If if you click on the Comments column, you can reorder your posts based on which ones have gotten the most or fewest comments over time.

Customizing the Add New Page/Post areas

WordPress gives you a massive amount of control here, and even some seasoned WordPress users never bother to dig into the possibilities. Check this out: You can not only drag and drop the boxes on the right sidebar up or down (Categories, Tags, Featured Image, etc.) but you can also — just like on the Home screen — pick and choose which ones you want and don’t want to have show up to begin with.

Our trusty friend, the Screen Options tab, lets you control which items appear/disappear as well as whether you want to have them all in one or two columns (I’m partial to two, myself, as it can mean less scrolling).


Customizing the Comments area

Finally, if you get a lot of comments (if you do, woohoo!) you may want to increase the number of comments you can see per page from 20 to 50, for example, to save a little time when moderating and replying to them. Once more, we’re going to hit up our good friend, the Screen Options tab, to change the number of items (comments) showing up per page in this section.


Boom. Now you know how to customize the WordPress admin area and have got exactly what you need exactly where you need it. Share your questions below!

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