How to Create a Custom WordPress Admin Dashboard

Are you looking for a way to create a custom admin dashboard on your WordPress website?

A custom admin dashboard gives your clients or third-party users such as bloggers or freelancers a more personalized experience.

Since it is the first screen you or any other user sees after logging in, it needs to hold vital information about the website rather than plugin updates information or upcoming WordPress events.

Also, not just the welcome panel and widgets below it, an ideal custom-built WordPress admin dashboard has custom-tailored Admin menus, Admin bars, and even custom styling.

Whether your goal with customizing the dashboard is to change the colors or adding/removing widgets for easier workflow, you’ll learn how to customize all areas of the default WordPress installation in this article.

Before we jump into the customization, let’s look at the plugin we’ll be using to customize the WordPress dashboard.

Ultimate Dashboard Pro: A One-Stop-Shop Solution to Customize WordPress Admin Dashboard

Ultimate Dashboard Pro is just the plugin you’d need to install on your website to give it a custom-tailored look. It’s built to help you completely take over your WordPress installation’s look, design, and functionality. Here are some of the most notable features:

  • Customize the welcome panel.
  • Add or remove widgets from the dashboard page.
  • Add or remove menu items in the left-hand admin menu.
  • Customize the admin top bar.
  • Entirely white label your WordPress website.
  • Create a custom WordPress login page.
  • Set up easy login redirects and login URLs, a more…

While we won’t be covering white labeling and a few other features in this blog post, we’d look at all aspects of customizing the WordPress admin dashboard in this article.

So, before you begin, make sure you have the latest version of Ultimate Dashboard and Ultimate Dashboard Pro installed and activated on your website.

Let’s begin!

Customizing the WordPress Welcome Panel

To customize the welcome panel, go to Ultimate Dash… > Settings. Then, in the Dashboard widgets tab, scroll down and look for the Welcome panel. You will find the welcome panel loaded in WordPress classic editor.

welcome panel Ultimate Dashboard

You can change the links, design, text, etc., within the classic editor, or if you’d prefer working with HTML, switch over to the text version.

Once you are done, click on the Save button to make the changes live. This is what my design looks like:

new welcome panel WordPress

Now let’s customize the widgets below the welcome panel.

Customizing the Dashboard Widgets

The default dashboard has different widgets which you can drag, drop and remove based on what you use the most. I have a few plugins installed on my website such as elementor and Ultimate Dashboard; this is what my dashboard widgets section looks like:

dashboard widgets customization

Let’s see how you can customize the widgets area.

How to Remove Admin Dashboard Widgets

To remove unwanted widgets, you can go to Ultimate Dash… > Settings > Dashboard Widgets and remove the ones you want by clicking on the checkboxes. Once done, click on the Save button at the bottom.

After getting rid of the unwanted widgets, let’s see how you can add new custom widgets to the dashboard.

widgets remove Ultimate Dashboard WordPress

How to Add New Custom Widgets to Admin Dashboard

Creating new widgets is almost as easy as removing widgets. You get five different pre-designed widgets that you can tweak and add to your dashboard. Let’s see how.

Go to Ultimate Dash… > Add New. This will start the process of adding a new widget.

Firstly, you need to select the Widget type. Then, you can add an Icon widget, Text widget, Video widget, HTML widget, and a Contact Form widget.

For this tutorial, I’ll set up the contact form widget. Here’s how:

  1. Select the widget type as Contact Form widget.
  2. Add a text description that will show up before the form.
  3. Customize the input fields (if needed).
  4. Customize the success message (if needed).
  5. If you want a confirmation autoresponder email being sent, you can enable it too. Just make sure you add the autoresponder text.
  6. Set up the email that will receive the contact form submission. You can go with the default email or select a different email.
  7. Position: Select whether you want the form to show on the first column or the second column. You can’t place any widgets on the third or fourth column.
  8. Priority: define where the widget appears within the column.
  9. User Role Access: You can select the user roles where the widget will be displayed: Admin, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber.
  10. User Access: Use can display the widget only to specific users by selecting them from the list.
Contact form widget setup Ultimate Dashboard

Once you’ve made all the changes, click on the publish button.

This is what the dashboard looks like after I’ve added a couple of custom widgets:

Customer support widget dashboard

You can add as many widgets as you want on the dashboard by repeating the same process. Just make sure only essential widgets are added, and you’re not overstuffing the dashboard.

How to Customize the Admin Menu

Admin Dashboard Menu is the left-hand menu that lets you navigate the dashboard interface easily. While the menu items depend on the user logged in, such as admin or editor, you can further customize it to limit or add more options to the list.

To customize the Admin menu, go to Ultimate Dash… > Admin menu editor. Here you can add, remove, or customize existing menu items for individual user roles and users.

Admin menu editor Ultimate Dashboard

For example, if I want to add a Contact Agency support button at the bottom of the menu for editors only, here’s how I’d do it.

Click on the Editor tab and scroll down to the bottom.

Ultimate Dashboard Admin Menu Editor

Click on the Add Item Menu option. This will add a custom menu. Now give the menu item a proper name, URL, and icon. 

Ultimate Dashboard New menu Item

Once you’re done, click on the Save Changes button.

Here’s how that menu item looks like:

new menu item display Ultimate Dashboard

How to Customize the Admin Bar

Just like the Admin Dashboard Menu, you can customize the Admin menu as well. For this, go to Ultimate Dash… > Admin Bar Editor. Now make changes to the items that you want to customize.

You can even make changes to the items that show up on the website’s front-end admin bar. In addition, you can identify those menu items as they will have a “Front-end” tag.

You can change the menu title, URL, add/remove the submenu from the settings.

Admin bar editor Ultimate Dashboard

Changing the Default Admin Dashboard Colors

Another aspect of customizing the admin dashboard is to change the default colors [WordPress blue (#0073AA) and Ultra dark grey (#191E23)] to your agency’s brand colors.

You can do this by going to Ultimate Dash… > White Label and enabling the WordPress Admin Branding checkbox.

With Ultimate Dashboard, you also get a modern design admin dashboard layout. You can apply this layout by selecting the option from the dropdown list.

To change the WordPress branding colors, you need to choose the new color for the accent color, menu item color, admin bar background color, and submenu background color. Then, simply click on the Select Color button and select the new color from the palette.

white labeling Ultimate Dashboard

Once you’re done, click on the Save Changes button.

Here’s what the Admin dashboard looks like after making all those changes.

Final custom dashboard

Create a Custom WordPress Admin Dashboard Now!

Now you can go ahead and start customizing your WordPress admin dashboard with the Ultimate Dashboard Pro.

Btw, you can even customize the WordPress login page too to give your users a complete personalized experience. Check out this blog post to see how you can do that:

Let me know your thoughts on Ultimate Dashboard and its design capabilities. What feature should we add in the next update? Sounds off in the comment section!

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