Build a Marketing Dashboard in WordPress with Ultimate Branding

Tomorrow, you’re going to hear all about the updates for Ultimate Branding, which are pretty incredible. Today, I want to share one of my favorite features which anyone in any industry can use, and it allows you to create a custom dashboard in WordPress.

Update 7/3/18: Ultimate Branding 2.0 is here and comes stacked with an all new Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode builder, new modules for customizing WordPress system emails, social links for Author Boxes and a bunch of other upgrades. Check it out!

No matter whether you’re a developer, a marketer, a content writer, or you work on the business side, if you log into WordPress, the first thing you see is the dashboard. By default, that’s something like this…

Standard WordPress Dashboard View
Standard WordPress Dashboard View comes with At a Glance, Quick Draft, Activity, and WordPress Events & News, and Welcome

Now, I get what they’re going for here, and it’s nice to have this information available. Knowing how many pages, posts, and comments you have is great. Seeing your recently published articles, and comments is useful. Upcoming WordPress events and News is a great way to build your network in WordPress, and there’s a ton of great opportunity if you actually use that.

If I’m being totally honest though, I’ve almost ignored all the content on this page every single time I’ve ever logged into a WordPress site. This is not where I get my news about WordCamps. This is not where I go to check for new drafts, or to review recent comments.

And I’ve been looking for a way to really get focused from the moment I log into WordPress for a while. In fact, I tried developing an app once, and then I realized I didn’t have the mind to code. But, with Ultimate Branding, I no longer have to.

The information in this article is going to be specific to authors, but I can guarantee you if you’re a marketing person, and you see what I’m doing, you can find ways to apply this information no matter what industry you’re working in whether you’re a developer or a marketing professional.

The Marketing Dashboard for Author Sites

ultimate branding allows marketers to utilize the WordPress dashboard
Identify potential customers, reviewers, and press opportunities with Ultimate Branding

Alright, you probably can’t read all that. Just notice there’s a lot of custom blocks for now. I’ll showcase the individual sections below. The idea is simple: your WordPress dashboard can be your agency’s chance to showcase your overall marketing strategy so developers, marketers, content creators, and anyone else with WordPress access knows immediately upon logging in who you’re creating content for, where they might be hiding, who’s talking about stuff relevant to your business, and what earned media you’ve gotten as a result of your work.

Again, this is JUST ONE feature of Ultimate Branding, but I’d argue it’s worth downloading for this feature alone since it can help anyone with access to your WordPress site understand the overall strategy of your business, or if you’re a solopreneur, it’s just good to keep this info top of mind from the second you login.

Step One: Install Ultimate Branding Now

This isn’t one of our free plugins, but you can get setup with a free trial and download it. Just click the WPMU DEV dashboard tab on the sidebar of your WordPress site and Click the blue plus sign next to “Ultimate Branding.” Next, click “install,” then “activate.”

WPMU DEV dashboard with links to the Hub, support, and all of our WordPress plugins
The WPMU DEV dashboard in WordPress allows you to download all of our plugins

While you’re at it, you can come back and download all the other plugins to explore WPMU DEV for your free trial. We’ll even let you keep them if you cancel.

Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, you can find it on the left sidebar, probably near the bottom under a tab called “Branding.”

Click into it, and you’ll see a dashboard that has a lot of checkboxes and looks like this…

Ultimate Branding dashboard features list
Ultimate Branding’s full suite of features allows any agency, freelancer, or any WordPress site to create an incredibly unique WordPress experience with over 30 available customizations

Customizing the WordPress dashboard area

Again, this article only concerns four features of this plugin, but it was such a unique set of features, I wanted to share it ASAP. The full feature breakdown will be available tomorrow.

Ultimate Branding WordPress Dashboard Customization Features
Customize the WordPress dashboard by activating Dashboard Feeds, Footer Content, Text Widgets, and Welcome

Once you do that, you’ll see four tabs appear at the top where you can start creating content. For what I’ve done in my example, I’ve literally only used two of these features.

Ultimate Branding Edit WordPress Dashboard Feeds View
Adding RSS feeds to your WordPress dashboard allows content creators and marketers alike to use WordPress as a dashboard for staying up to date

Dashboard Feeds: this allows me to import RSS feeds from any site with an RSS link, including Amazon’s best seller list, which should be available for ANY kind of product, and then a blog I follow called China Daily, because my novel is about China, and I like to keep apprised of all things China.

Edit WordPress Dashboard Text Widget visual editor
Adding custom text to the WordPress Dashboard is just like adding a post or page

Dashboard Text Widgets: this allows me to create any kind of text or images, so I’ve opted to create lists like “Earned Media,” “Reviewers to Contact,” Media and Blogs to Pitch,” and “Communities You Can Target.”

The Ultimate WordPress Marketing Dashboard with Ultimate Branding

The final product is nothing short of context, but it means the second I login to my WordPress site I know what I’m going after as far as individual communities, competitors I can advertise against if I have a budget for Amazon marketing services, and feeds from blogs that are relevant to the content I’m writing in WordPress.

Ultimate Branding dashboard results
Add reviewers, media hits, and follow best sellers you can advertise against to your WordPress dashboard
Ultimate Branding Custom WordPress dashboard screenshot
Totally customize your WordPress dashboard to unify marketing and content creation with Ultimate Branding

For me, this means the second I’m logging into WordPress I have context for my website, and what I’m trying to accomplish. No clicking through to a blog post, and I’m encouraging myself to keep track of who I’ve reached out to for coverage, reviews, and I’m also paying attention to what my competition is selling directly on Amazon.

If I’m part of an organization, or I’m freelancing, this gives me the ability to make sure every single person involved in a WordPress project, no matter the vertical, is efficiently communicating and that goals are clear across all departments.

I don’t know about you but, that’s a big deal for me. And keep in mind, WPMU DEV members get to use Ultimate Branding, and all other plugins on an unlimited number of sites, so whether you have one site and you’re looking to boost performance, setup reports, automate plugin updates, or take advantage of our 24/7 support team, you get all of that.

Try us free for a month, or check out our free plugins for functionality you can use on any site to get your feet wet. And be sure to check out the full suite of features Ultimate Branding offers tomorrow.

Will Ruff
Do you use the WordPress Dashboard? What kind of customizations would you add to ensure your marketing efforts are given a high priority and are clear for all users?