Making Your Blogs Custom With White Label CMS
It is time again for a plugin of the week. This week I am going to move off of security related plugins once again and take a look at something a little more about design and branding, using White Label CMS.
Recently I was doing some edits to several of our sites which maintain the same themes. These sites, such as ShadowDragonUnlimted.com and here at ShadowoodPress.com are being designed to have the same look and feel in order to maintain consistent branding. While I was making the edits and doing research I came across this article:
This article was discussing the reasons why to rebrand your WordPress blog. For those not familiar with re-branding, it simply means to make the site look more uniquely your own and not “look so much like WordPress”. This most often refers to the back-end administration areas and login access panels.
As I read through the article I noticed that the article was likely written back in 2010. In the article the author was nice enough to give each and every technical method to rebrand your website. This may be a difficult option depending on your technical skills or how comfortable you feel editing your theme files.
Since WordPress has been constantly changing over the years I figured I would look at this option for this weeks Plugin of the Week.
Re-Branding With White Label CMS
If you have been on the Internet for a while, especially is you have experience with WordPress blogs, then it is relatively easy to spot sites that are run on WordPress. This is mainly because people leave lots of the default WordPress branding on their websites.
In the early days of WordPress pretty much all blogs looked the same. There were very limited templates and a lot of marketers and site designers were creating sites that all looked alike. These are often called Cookie cutter sites. This was generally done for ease of construction, much like a contractor might build 10 houses all the same but change colors and furnishings. It simply is easier to build sites out if they are all the same.
However, as WordPress advanced and became more popular then ever, the need to have it look different came into play. People wanted individuality. But even then, there was always that lingering feel of WordPress. Even though you could quite easily change the look and feel of the front-end of the site (what the users sees), changing the back-end was something most designers never touched.
The White Label CMS plugins allows you to alter the default branding of the WordPress sites you are creating.
From The Author:
The White Label CMS plugin is for developers who want to give their clients a more personalized and less confusing content management system. Allows complete customization of dashboard panels and logos, removal of menus, giving editors access to widgets and menus plus lots more.
Author: Video User Manuals
Last Updated: 08/15/2016
Requires: 3.3+ or higher
Compatible up to: 4.6.1
Average 5-Star Rating: 4.8
This is a well established plugin having well over 100k active installations. The authors have been quite up to date with the support for this plugin with the most recent updates being back in August of 2016 and consistently high user rating.
A quick look at the White Label CMS plugin main settings page shows that there are four main sections within this plugin. Each section has several options that can be modify to help tweak the overall look and feel of the WordPress site branding.
The First three panels are to replace your logos and headings:
Optionally remove WP logos:
Add Your own Admin bar logo (note the size):
Custom footer logo:
Developer Website Info:
The other sections include options to do much of the following features:
- Hide ‘At a Glance’
- Hide ‘Activity’
- Hide ‘Recent Comments’
- Hide Other Dashboard Panels
- Show Dashboard To Admin
- Remove Empty Dashed Panel
- Add your own Welcome Panel?
- Add an RSS Dashboard panel?
- Hide Nag Updates?
- Hide Post Meta Boxes?
While some of these options may be addressed in newer themes that support customization options, especially premium themes, not all of them will present these options. Even many high end themes place little or no effort into managing the back-end look and feel.
Below is a sample login success panel where the logo has been changed:
As you can see the login logo has been changed. This was just a quick example of one aspect of what this plugin can do.
There are a ton of options that can be altered and tweaked to make each WordPress installation as completely unique as you want it to be or to match them completely alike.
The choice will be up to you.
If you add this plugin in conjunction with addition plugins like various Admin themes such as:
Then you can easily customize just about every last little section of administrator back-end to match the front end of your site seamlessly.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you enable this plugin AFTER you have installed security plugins that alter your login access panel be prepard to be locked out. This plugin does have an option to “Enable Login URL Redirect” which defaults to no.
This means you may have to re-login with an the old default locations for your WordPress login. If you plan on using this I would double check this issue before closing all of your open access windows. (have more then one login open so that if you logout you still have a login box handy.)
Final Thoughts On White Label CMS
It is definitely a good idea or considered best business practices to brand sites that you are providing to clients or for sale to make the look and feel as consistent as possible. The concept of white labeling has be around for some time. If the site it your own and you have no intention of branding your back-end, such as no membership panels, then these options might be purely cosmetic.
It generally wont hurt you or your site to take steps to brand it better. You may still have to watch out for any potential conflicts between any other active plugins that you have in place but that is always a potential when adding any plugins to WordPress. Perhaps I will drop the author a note in the tech forums to suggest several future tweaks. Overall I found the White Label CMS plugin to be easy to use, full of features and quite nicely put together and would recommend that you at least consider giving it a try for your WordPress branding needs.