How to make your WordPress admin less mental

As you add plugins to a WordPress site, the admin screens can start to become crazy as more and more items are added to the menus.

Here’s some ways to bring some order back and banish the overwhelm.

One big complaint I hear about WordPress is that it’s disorganized and hard to manage. In fairness, WordPress is perfectly well organized when you first install it.

The problem starts once we get our hands on it. We all want something a bit different and so we adapt our different sites with different plugins.

Many of those plugin’s creators need to add new menu items to allow users to use the new features.

If I recall correctly, WordPress has guidance for developers about menu items. Only add items that are necessary and only add new top level items if there isn’t an existing item that your that is suitable.

In the real world, however, developers have a habit of seeing how important their plugin is and adding a new top level menu item regardless. In many cases it’s perfectly appropriate, but there are also many cases where it doesn’t make sense.

That’s when the admin menu crazy soup takes over and we end up with a menu so long that we have to scroll to find anything. It’s made worse because there rarely seems to be any kind of sense to where everything is.

Fortunately there are plugins that can help.

Edit the admin menu

There are two ways to approach the issue of crazy big admin menus.

One way is to create a new menu that is carefully organized to put everything where you think it should be. The Admin Menu Editor is one of the most popular plugins to let you do this.

Another way is to create multiple different menus that just contain the items needed to carry out specific jobs on the site. You can then switch between the menus as you carry out different tasks. You can do this using Uncle Chuckles Underwhelm plugin.

Which approach is right is a personal choice. Creating a single menu will take a bit more time and thought, but it does mean you don’t need to switch between menus and everything is always accessible when needed.

If you don’t want to spend time planning out the best way to structure a single menu, then quickly creating multiple menus that you can switch with a click may get you moving quicker.

Add new Custom Post Types

Considering we’ve just looked at a couple of ways to simplify your menus, it may seem odd to look at how to add more stuff.

Sometimes, though, the content of a site doesn’t break down cleanly into just blog posts and pages. You may want more types of content to help you group things together.

WordPress includes a feature called Custom Post Types. These allow developers to add more content types to sites. One example if Uncle Chuckles Landing Pages plugin which lets you group all your marketing pages in one place, separate from the rest of your content.

Uncle Chuckles Underwhelm plugin also includes a basic feature to add Custom Post Types. If you want a quick and easy way to add new types of content, this may be a good option.

If you want more advanced features though, such as adding categories or tags to a new content type, you should look for a more powerful plugin.

One option is the Custom Post Types and Custom Fields Creator plugin which also has a premium version if you need even more power.

The free version of that plugin will probably cover the needs of most users, but if you do want more, then check out Pods – Custom Content Types and Fields. This is a bit more powerful and also a bit more complex, so I suggest only trying this if there is specific functionality you need that the other plugin can’t handle for you.

More customization options

Underwhelm includes another little bonus feature to help bring some zen calm to your Media Library. It adds some quick links under the Media menu item to let you filter all your uploads by type, such as images, PDFs, video, audio and ZIPs.

That’s a helpful feature, but if you’re growing a huge library of uploads, you may want to go further. There are quite a few free and premium plugins that add new features to the Media Library, but I think FileBird – WordPress Media Library Folders & File Manager is as good a place as any to start.

If you want to go even further with customizing your WordPress admin, a quick search for “customize WordPress admin” will probably find you all sorts of fun freebies and paid for plugins to try out.

However, if you’re new to WordPress try and avoid the urge to do that search right now.

Get used to using WordPress and find where the issues are that you think could be better and then look for solutions for those specific problems. Otherwise you may just end up making your admin even more mental with features you don’t need.