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Customizing Your Screen Options in WordPress Admin for Maximum Efficiency and Effectiveness

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series.]

Powerful little button!

The next few posts in this series will cover how to optimize your settings within WordPress to maximize your use of it for efficiency and effectiveness as well as share a few settings that I personally use across the blogs that I run.

Some of these are significant changes and options while others can be more aesthetic (but still related to efficiency from my perspective).

The point here is two-fold:

  • Optimize your options so you have the best experience using your blog as well as your end users.
  • Become as intimate as possible with your WordPress blog so that you can operate it fully!

The first thing I do after I install a new WordPress-powered blog is customize the Screen Options in every area possible:

Admin and Dashboard:

It still surprises me how many people have no clue about this little neat feature in WordPress called Screen Options which essentially give you the ability to customize both the layout of the dashboard as well as the features available.

The button is located on the top right of the screen (as seen above). Please note that not all areas in the WordPress admin have Screen Options available!

When you click it a drop-down menu shows up with all of the viewing options available as well as the ability to choose the layout. With this you can customize your own experience of each section:

For the WordPress Admin panel I typically only have 3 options showing:

  • Right Now
  • Incoming Links
  • Stats

Here’s what a typical dashboard looks like in all my blogs:

Essentially I choose these three because I want to know instantly when I first login how many “Pending” and “Spam” comments I have, what the traffic looks like currently (via the Stats) as well as any new “Incoming Links” from other sites and blogs of note.

I really don’t need anything else here.

Posts:

For the “Posts” area I’ll only have the following settings:

  • Categories
  • Comments
  • Date
  • 30 Posts

I choose these for single-author blogs as there’s no need to show any other author fields because there’s only 1 author! But, for multi-author blogs you’d obviously want those.

Also, I choose 30 posts because my goal on any single-author blog (especially new blogs) is to have at least 1 post a day so what I’m showing is essentially the last month’s worth of posts as an overview:

Wonder why I don’t have “tags” checked? Read here!

Posts – Add New:

For this section I choose the following:

  • Categories
  • Featured Image

Unless your blog needs the other screens available then you can, of course, show those, but I typically don’t need any of them (and ask yourself when the last time you used any of those options!):

Posts – Categories:

I typically don’t change any settings here:

Posts – Post Tags:

I typically don’t change any settings here:

Make note that I pretty much despise tags in general. Read more here!

Media – Library:

I typically don’t change anything here:

Links – Links, Add New, Link Categories:

I don’t change anything here because I have almost never used “Links”:

Pages – Pages, Add New:

In these two sections I change a little up by removing “Author” on the Pages view and then keeping “Page Attributes” and “Discussion” on “Add New”:

Comments:

The only thing I do here is change the number of comments at one time to 200. I do this because many of my blogs get a lot of spam and I want to view a lot of them at a time – clicking through 200-300 per day per blog can get tedious!

Widgets:

You probably didn’t even know about “Accessibility Mode” which gives you even more options with your widgets! You can toggle this on and off when you need to use it:

And… when it’s turned you can dive into each widget deeper:

Appearance – Menus:

If I am using any Menus in WordPress I typically have all of the options active:

Plugins:

I don’t change anything here:

Users:

I typically don’t touch anything here as well:

And that’s about it!

Above I’ve listed out every area of your WordPress blog that has the ability to customize any of the Screen Options but if I were to help you pinpoint the areas that are the most important it would be the following:

  • WordPress Admin Dashboard
  • Add Posts
  • Comments

Hopefully that helps! Again, the point in spending just a few minutes of customizing these areas is so that you can more quickly and more effectively use your WordPress software!

The better you use your blog software the better your blog will be!

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series. Check out the rest here!]