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Thread: My Favorite WordPress hack for service providers

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    Default My Favorite WordPress hack for service providers

    Of course there are a ton of cool things that you can do with WordPress. I still learn something new almost everyday and I've been building with and hacking WordPress for over 5 years.
    One of my favorites is adding your contact info and blog's rss feed to a client's dashboard. In all my years, I have never seen a client change thier dashboard from the way I set it up for them when I built the site.

    You just need to create a custom widget by adding a little code to the theme's functions.php file. This is actually for BOTH widgets.

    Code:
    add_action('wp_dashboard_setup', 'my_custom_dashboard_widgets');
     
        function my_custom_dashboard_widgets() {
        global $wp_meta_boxes;
     
        wp_add_dashboard_widget('custom_help_widget', 'For Help and Support', 'custom_dashboard_help');
        }
     
        function custom_dashboard_help() {
        echo '
     
    <h4>For Wordpress Website Service and Consulting, <br>
    <a href="mailto:harold@1stinternetmedia.com">Contact Harold</a> at <a href="https://haroldmansfield.com/support"target="new">1st Internet Media Support</a> | 707-706-3342</h4><br>
    <h4>For Branding, Web Marketing and Social Media Strategies<br>
    <a href="mailto:ann@annmanion.com"> Contact Ann Manion</a> | <a href="http://annmanion.com"target="new">AnnManion.com</a> | 617-531-1672</h4>
     ';
        }
    // Hook into wp_dashboard_setup and add our widget
    add_action('wp_dashboard_setup', 'shaken_rss_widget');
      
    // Create the function that adds the widget
    function shaken_rss_widget(){
      // Add our RSS widget
      wp_add_dashboard_widget( 'shaken-rss', 'WordPress and Web Tips', 'shaken_rss_output');
    }
    function shaken_rss_output(){
        echo '<div class="rss-widget">';
         
           wp_widget_rss_output(array(
                'url' => 'https://1stinternetmedia.com/feed',  //put your feed URL here
                'title' => 'Latest News from 1st Internet Media', // Your feed title
                'items' => 4, //how many posts to show
                'show_summary' => 1, // 0 = false and 1 = true 
                'show_author' => 0,
                'show_date' => 1
           ));
           
           echo "</div>";
    }
    That's it! I've highlighted the variables where you input your widget title, information, and set how many posts to display. Obviously you will replace your information where mine is.
    Here's a screenshot from a client's dashboard:
    screenshot.jpg


    Here's an article that explains it in detail:
    How to Add Custom Dashboard Widgets in WordPress

    And the WordPress codex on it:
    Function Reference/wp add dashboard widget WordPress Codex
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 03-09-2012 at 08:22 PM.

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    That's pretty cool. Something I hadn't thought about before. I'm not sure how appropriate it would be to add to the customer's feed, unless the feed stuff means only in the customer's dashboard.

    Where are you thinking of using this? For which customers? I can see where it could become annoying to some and I kind of recalling read somewhere about people complaining about extra stuff showing up in the dashboard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    Where are you thinking of using this? For which customers? I can see where it could become annoying to some and I kind of recalling read somewhere about people complaining about extra stuff showing up in the dashboard.
    I do this with every new website build.
    On training day, I tell them that it's there so that they will always be able to get in touch with me. One link is email, and the other goes to their client tools, a support script that I have for clients to track projects, hours, billing and submit support tickets.

    I also tell them that I don't blog everyday, but when I do it's usually some kind of website or social media tip.

    They think it's great. The words, "Oh wow! That's really cool! Thank you. That certainly makes things easier." have been said on more than one occasion.

    The other thing I put in their dashboard (for real noobs) is training videos. The basics of using WordPress...making a post, page, categories, adding media and so on. And if they have an industry blog or something that they are interested in I'll put that RSS feed in there too.

    Seriously. People (especially business owners) love it.

    Things start showing up in the dashboard from plug ins. It seems almost every plug in now adds their blog's RSS feed widget to the dashboard.
    I always explain that to people and show them how to disable things that they don't want to see.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 03-11-2012 at 12:58 AM.

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    I can see how your clients would like that. I didn't mean to imply it wasn't something worth doing. It definitely makes sense to include some contact info, though I suspect it's more important for plugin and theme developers than if you're doing custom work. I would hope clients hang on to your contact info, but I realize some will lose it and having it in the WP dashboard is a good way to ensure they always have it.

    It seems almost every plug in now adds their blog's RSS feed widget to the dashboard.
    That's where I think the problem is. It adds to your info getting lost and to people learning to ignore the dashboard widgets entirely. You might be putting useful info there, but most people probably aren't

    By the way the post I had read was more to do with traffic and conversions than specific complaints. Here it is On WordPress Dashboard Widgets
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    That's funny. Yoast is one of the main offenders of adding widgets with his plug ins.

    But I see what you are saying. He's talking about as a method of traffic generation and promotion.
    I'm not a big fan of using it that way and think that is a bit intrusive. I want to put things in their dashboard that will help them, not annoy them. Most people don't have a use for technical information and news about WordPress or plug ins.
    They just need to know how to use it, and maybe an occasional tip to make their lives easier when publishing new content. They aren't "webmasters". They just happen to run their own sites.

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    He was one of the first to add a widget to the dashboard, but he recently removed them and changed his stance as you can see in the post. He's trying to encourage others to do the same, even though he's aware he convinced many to use the widgets in the first place.

    I think what you're doing makes more sense. Giving clients a bit of extra information and a contact reminder is a good idea. Have you checked into adding help information? Recent versions of WP have made it much easier to add extra help throughout plugins and themes.
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    Yep. I give them all of the tools available to help them do at least the basic ,day to day functions themselves.
    Within a week (if they log in at least once a day), they should be self sufficient on the basics.

    Some people don't need it. Like I said, mainly new website builds with new WordPress users.
    And only people who, the idea of being able to do things on thier own is why the wanted a WordPress site.

    But everyone gets the contact widget. To me that's my refregerator magnet.

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    if they log in at least once a day
    If only I could get all my clients to log in ever. Some never do. They continue to contact me when something needs updating. I can't complain since they pay me to make the changes, but I do try to get them to understand they could do some things without my help and without having to pay.
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    Yep. I have one or two like that. Haven't logged in since the day I showed them around the dashboard and gave them the keys.
    And then I have others that are the complete opposite, learn a few things, and you go back in 6 months to help them with a problem and they have installed AND activated 45 plug ins (half of them I've never seen before in my life), and are complaining that that the site is mysteriously running slow.

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    Funny about the plugins. I've had clients like that too. Plugins can be great. They can also be added without much thought to what they do or how they'll affect the site. Some people go a little crazy with them.
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