White Label Your WordPress Site Effortlessly with Branda
Chefs work round the clock to delight their guests, but they don’t forget to take care of their kitchens while doing so. Your website’s back-end is your kitchen. It’s where you cook up delicious content and features for your users.
But usually, the WordPress dashboard lives in the stone age, confined to its default styles, colours, and features. Imagine having no tool in your kitchen except for a barely sharp stone. Dreadful!
As web developers, we spend so much time focusing on the front-end, we overlook that we, and our clients, interact with WordPress mostly through its back-end. So, why not make it a delightful experience?
That’s exactly what Branda does. It helps you bring your WordPress dashboard into the modern world, and beyond!
In this post, I’ll show you how to completely customize your WordPress admin dashboard using Branda, the smoothest WordPress white labeling plugin. And oh…you don’t need any coding knowledge whatsoever!
Let’s get started.
First, let’s install and activate Branda.
Head on to WPMU DEV Dashboard > Plugins. Scroll down to find Branda, click the Install button, wait for the popup after installation, and then press the Activate button.
You’ll now notice a new admin menu item called Branda. This is where you’ll make all the customizations.
Not a WPMU DEV member yet? No problemo! It’s free to try for 30 days. And if you don’t want to continue with the membership after 30 days, you can still keep using Branda and retain all her goodness.
Activating the Required Modules under Branda
Branda is a powerhouse of a plugin. She comes loaded with a lot of features out of the box. However, she lets you activate her every module individually, so as to not overload the website with features you’ll never use.
First, head on to your Branda dashboard. Click the edit icon beside the module you want to activate, and then click the blue Activate button.
You can also click the gray Manage All Modules button on the top right to activate/deactivate modules in bulk instead of doing it individually.
I’ll enable the following modules under Admin Area and Widgets categories as they offer easy ways to customize the WordPress dashboard.
- Admin Bar
- Admin Footer
- Admin Menu
- Admin Message
- Color Schemes
- Help Content
- Dashboard Feeds
- Dashboard Widgets
Customizing the WordPress Admin Bar
The admin bar is the black floating bar you see at the top of the page when you’ve logged into WordPress. By default, it contains the useful links such as viewing pending comments, adding new posts/pages, editing your profile, visiting the site homepage/dashboard, etc. It also houses the WordPress logo.
The Admin Bar module in Branda lets you change the admin bar logo, control which menu items are visible on the top, add new menu items, set admin bar visibility on site’s frontend as per user roles, and rearrange the menu items as per your liking.
Let’s change the default WordPress logo first. Click the Upload Image button in the Logo section and select the image you want from your Media Library.
I’d like to keep the toolbar visibility on the front-end as is, so I won’t be changing the settings for that.
In the Menu Items section, you can set the visibility of each menu item as per user roles. To do that, enable the Hide Specific Items setting first, select the menu items you want to hide, and below that choose the user roles you want to hide the chosen menu items from.
To add a new menu item, click the purple Add Custom Item button in the Menu Items section.
You’ll be presented with a popup where you can set the menu’s title, icon, and what it links to. Here, you can also create submenu items and set the custom menu’s visibility as per user roles.
Once you’ve added the new menu item, click the blue Save Changes button on the top right.
You should now see your custom logo and new menu item in the admin bar.
I’d like to change the order of the newly created menu item and place it at the end. It’s as easy as pie with Branda.
Press the gray Reorder Menus button, then drag and drop the menu items to where you want them to be. Once done, click the blue Save Changes button.
Now the admin bar’s structure looks just the way I want. We can move on to the next section.
Customizing the Admin Footer Area
Branda lets you display a custom text in the footer of every admin page.
To do that, go to the Admin Footer module under Admin Area section in Branda.
Type the message you want to display in the footer. You can also add media and scripts here if you want.
Once done, click the blue Save Changes button to make the changes take effect. Your custom footer text should now be visible on all admin pages.
Setting Up the Admin Menu
Branda also allows you to customize the WordPress admin menu on the left.
In the Admin Menu module, you can enable the WordPress Link Manager, enable the Admin Tips custom post type, and disable the Permalinks menu item from showing in the admin menu.
The Tips custom post type allows you to add important messages to the top of admin pages.
You can set the tips to appear on all or specific admin pages. The user can Hide or Dismiss these tips.
Disabling the Permalink menu item is a good practice, as you don’t wanna risk someone changing it and breaking all the links on the site.
Note: In the next update of Branda, you’ll be able to fully customize the admin menu, just like you can do now with the menu items in the admin bar.
Putting Up an Admin Message
If you want to show notifications or important announcements on top of every admin page, the Admin Message module will come in handy.
Just set the message you want to appear and hit the Save Changes button.
The message should now be visible on all admin pages.
Note: The users cannot hide or dismiss the admin message. Hence, use it sparingly for showing only the most important updates.
Personalizing the Dashboard with a Custom Color Scheme
Branda isn’t really brand-a if she doesn’t have the superpowers to change the color scheme of your WordPress dashboard.
In the Color Schemes module, you can set which color schemes are available to users in their user profile settings, set the default color scheme for new users, and even force a color scheme for all users.
You can also customize the default Branda color scheme by clicking the edit icon beside it.
I’d like to force the Branda color scheme on all users, hence I’ll select that option and hit the Save Changes button.
Wow, what a breath of fresh air, isn’t it? Your WordPress dashboard now looks and feels completely different. Less WordPress, more you!
Branda also supports adding custom CSS styles to your WordPress back-end. I like how my dashboard looks now, so I won’t be adding any custom styles. But if you ever want to make any changes, hey, you have the power!
Adding Contextual Help Content
Every WordPress admin page includes its own contextual help section. This section provides the user with helpful information on how to navigate the settings displayed within that particular admin page.
With the Help Content module, you can make changes to the existing help content, add new help items and/or a help sidebar.
To add a help item, go to the Help Content module, and then click on the purple Add Help Item button.
Fill in the help item title and content, and then click the Add button.
You can add as many custom help items as you like, and you can also rearrange their order via drag and drop.
If you want, you can also add a sidebar within the help content area.
By default, Branda keeps the default help items and merges the new help items with them. However, you can disable this setting to delete the default help items.
Once you’ve finished making all the changes, press the Save Changes button. You may have to logout and login again to see the changes take effect.
Adding Custom Widgets to WordPress Dashboard
While removing widgets from the WordPress dashboard is fairly simple, adding a new one isn’t as simple. You need to know how to add code to your WordPress’ core files.
However, with Branda on your side, it’s a walk in the park to add a new widget.
Let’s add a new feed widget to show the latest posts from WPMU DEV blog on the WordPress dashboard.
To do that, head on to the Widgets > Dashboard Feeds module and click on the blue Add Feed button.
Now, enter the widget’s Site URL, Feed title, and Feed URL to fetch the latest posts from. You can also set the display and visibility settings for the feed here.
Once you’ve finished making all the changes, click the Add button.
This new feed widget should now be visible on your dashboard.
And that’s not all. You can also add custom widgets to your dashboard.
To do that, head on to Widgets > Dashboard Widgets module. Scroll down to find the Text Widgets section and then click the purple Add Text Widget button.
Click the Add button once you’ve filled in all the details. This custom text widget should now be visible on your WordPress dashboard.
And that’s pretty much it. Give yourself a pat on your back. Your WordPress dashboard should now look leaner and lighter, not to mention prettier too.
There’s More to Come
Branda’s getting an upgrade to her superpowers soon. The highlight of her next upgrade will be setting subsite-specific module activation and user permissions. It’ll allow Branda to work seamlessly across WordPress’ parallel universes, aka Subsites on a WordPress Multi-site Network.
Furthermore, all subsites get a Branda dashboard of their own. They’ll only see what the network admin gives them access to. However, every subsite can override network admin settings on a per-module-basis.
With the all new user permission settings, Branda can also share her superpowers with only those she trusts to handle them carefully. No more fire hands!
The network admin can set the user permissions, along with which modules can be used and configured on subsites. But the subsites can still override these settings, but only on the modules they have access to, and by only the users who have the permissions for it.
Making Your Dashboard Truly Your Own
Think of your WordPress dashboard as a skeleton to build the perfect body. Once you have your foundation ready, dress it up in your style. Add your brand’s fonts, colors, logo, any useful content, and other cool features to make it come alive!
Branda makes it easy for you to achieve all this, and more, with no coding necessary.
Get started with white labeling your WordPress today!