WordPress developers and implementers are a pretty lucky bunch when you think about it. You get to work on a platform that’s inherently intuitive, secure, and chock-full of features. How many people get to say that about their digital platforms?
Sometimes, though, all that “stuff” clogging up the WordPress admin can get in the way of you achieving your full potential building websites.
Let’s face it. What works for you in terms of menu options, widgets, and layout probably doesn’t work for the other guy or gal. So, while WordPress does attempt to cover the basic requirements we need for managing a website within the admin, it’s not the ideal setup for many people.
Decluttering is something I always urge in web design and development. It improves communication, enhances focus, and gives you more control over directing visitors around your site. We already know that minimalism works, so why not use some decluttering techniques to improve your own communication, focus, and direction while working within WordPress?
A minimal WordPress admin may be the exact type of spring cleaning effort you need right now to create a more streamlined workflow in 2017.
The Benefits of Minimal Workspaces
Interestingly enough, 65% of Americans believe that cluttered workspaces negatively affect their ability to think and focus. I think it’s fair enough to say the “clutter effect” can apply both to our physical and digital workspaces.
Now, whether it’s in the physical world or the digital one, minimalism is a powerful tool. When you’re trying to run a business based (mostly) out of a single platform like WordPress, giving your workspace a good cleaning can do wonders for streamlining your workflow.
Here are some of reasons why you should give your digital WordPress admin a minimal makeover:
- Direct your focus and remove distractions through a neater, cleaner interface.
- Save time and increase efficiency by hiding menu items you don’t use and give yourself fewer options to sort through.
- Rearrange pages and sub-pages so that the ones that get the most foot traffic move closer to the top-left part of your WordPress admin.
- Create a consistent, professional interface to increase your comfort each time you step into a new WordPress admin.
- Help acquaint freelance developers and other WordPress assistants to your workflow by providing them with a consistent layout.
- Add tabs or pages that include helpful information for you as well as reminders to complete essential–yet easily forgettable–next steps.
- Add custom widgets or project quick links to the admin for easy access to the items that add value to your workflow.
- Disable any widgets that take up undue space.
- There are also client-related reasons why you should simplify the WordPress backend.
Unsurprisingly, there is a plethora of information online about how to create a minimal physical workspace since this applies to a larger segment of the population. But what about when it comes to WordPress? Do those same tips for decluttering physical workspaces (declutter, simplify, and open up your space) also apply to WordPress?
Let’s explore your options.
How to Create a Minimal WordPress Admin
WordPress is an intuitive platform, but sometimes there’s just too much to sift through. Do you really need to see all those widgets on the admin or tabs on the sidebar? Sure, they’re not hurting anyone, but they are distracting and often unnecessary.
When optimizing any workspace, you should aim to make it fit into your personal workflow and not the other way around. If you want to work more efficiently, create a space that works for you and not against you.
Here are some tools that will enable you to minimize your admin and better streamline your workflow within WordPress:
The very first place to start is with the Screen Options tab sitting at the top-right part of your WordPress admin. The options here will change as you enable more plugins on your site. Regardless of what widgets end up under Screen Options, you have full control over what is or is not shown on your home dashboard.
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Simply check the widgets you want and then maximize/minimize each one when you want access to the information.
WordPress offers a fantastic drag-and-drop Menu editing tool for the navigation bar that appears on site, but there’s nothing like that for our backend admin editor. If you’re a fan of the Menu editor in WordPress, then you’ll like the Admin Menu Editor plugin. It basically gives you the same control over editing tab names, access, and sort order for the admin menu.
Want full control over the admin and dashboard of your WordPress, for yourself as well as for all users? With the Adminimize plugin, you can control everything on the front and backend of WordPress, including: admin color schemes, visibility of various sidebar tabs, plugin and theme management capabilities, admin bar minimization, and more.
WPMU DEV’s Ultimate Branding plugin isn’t just for white labeling or branding the WordPress backend. It also comes with a number of admin minimizing and customization options. With this plugin, you can update your dashboard widgets, rename and reorder menu tabs, and even update the top admin toolbar with links you need quick access to.
A minimized workspace can do good things for your overall frame of mind and ability to streamline and tackle each day’s work. Be careful not to go overboard though. Simplifying WordPress is one thing. Creating a too-sparse and uncomfortable digital workspace is another. Keep it minimal and smart, and you’ll be alright.