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Top plugins for branding the WordPress admin

Lee Matthew Jackson
Lee Matthew Jackson

A clean, responsive website is essential. Often overlooked is the WordPress admin area. This monochrome admin interface can suffer from being cluttered with meta-boxes, fields, options and menu items galore. The colour scheme itself can be a jarring experience from the client’s own brand on the core site, and for those of your clients using WordPress on a daily basis, I’m willing to bet their enjoyment of using the WordPress admin, would be significantly increased with a cleaner, on brand and simplified admin area.

You can control how the WordPress admin looks for your client, including all menu items, wording, colour scheme and more using some excellent tools. All of the below are compatible with WordPress and WordPress multi-site installs.

We will leave the decision up to you as to what brand colours you use: Yours or your clients.

The Plugins

User Role Editor

Within a business, different people have different responsibilities. You can reflect these using the User Role Editor. This is a free plugin that allows you to create further roles beyond the default WordPress roles, that reflect exactly what each user type is allowed to do. This will also affect the left hand menu ensuring sections not relevant will simply not show. (You will likely need the next plugin to remove a few default items however or tidy things up).

Get it here:

Admin Menu Editor Pro

Once you have your roles setup, you can use the Admin Menu Editor Pro to manage all of the menu items. It splits everything down into a role by role bases and uses a clean drag and drop interface to allow you to quickly and easily control menu order and visibility.

You can also break submenu items out and make them main menu items to help simplify user experience. For example Add New from posts can be moved and renamed to “Add Blog Post”. You can also control icons and change all the icons.

There is a handing “ALL” section that allows you to control the general order of all items so you do not have to go through each role changing things all the time. It is pretty epic and well worth the low dollar amount to purchase. We also love that it is Multi-site compatible. Boom!

Get it here:

Ultimate Branding

From WPMU you can grab this either via the membership, or a direct purchase for the plugin itself. I’d recommend you check out WPMU as it is full of amazing plugins that allow us to add value to our clients.

The Ultimate Branding plugin is packed with branding features such as:

  • Colour schemes (Color to you awesome USA folk)
  • CSS overrides
  • Default text change (Lets face it, some items are a bit wordy or complicated)
  • Brand the login screen
  • And loads more

We love that you can turn on only the features you need so that the plugin is not loading a heap of unused features every time you access the admin area.

The CSS section is where you can really give the WordPress admin a full make over and you’ll need your CSS guru and design team to go to town making it look epic. You can then simply re-use the CSS per site you develop with minor changes for colours etc.

Other features include editing and adding to the admin bar (awesome), adding your own notifications (yey) and controlling what appears in the foot of the site (nice!).

Get it here:

Wrapping Up

There are many other plugins that boast amazing features to manage the admin user experience, however these are the ones we have found the most reliable, and that have the lowest possible impact on site performance. It should be noted that we never recommend loading your site with heaps of plugins, so if you have the skill-set in-house to control CSS from within your own function, we’d recommend that course above adding in plugins. You can also create new roles and manage menu visibility using functions. These plugins are to help those who either do not have the in-house resource, or wish to save time on code.

If you would like help branding your WordPress admin, or a full set of stylesheets creating to match your agency brand that you can roll out on all customers sites, then get in touch with us today. We rock at it. Just sayin!



Lee Matthew Jackson

Content creator, speaker & event organiser. #MyLifesAMusical #EventProfs