How To Build A WordPress Client Dashboard – WPQuickies

In this lunchtime #WPQuickies, I take a quick look at how to build a dashboard for your WordPress clients or members to log into.

How To Build A WordPress Client Dashboard #WPQuickies webinar

In this webinar I cover the following topics.

Why Would You Want A Client Dashboard?

If you are planning on selling a service, a product or even information like a membership site, you will need to give users access to some type of dashboard so they can get at their stuff.

Also, having customers logging into a dashboard can allow you to subtly upsell, upgrade or cross-sell additional products and services.

Allowing them to log in to a dashboard where they can see their purchases, get their downloads and update their account information is a basic requirement.

Dashboards typically fall into two categories: Operational and Analytical.

Choosing the type of dashboard is going to be dependant on your users and what you are selling.

Designing And Building Your Client Dashboard

You want a dashboard to be relevant and useful for a user so have a thin about the design before you commit to the build.

Design

Define Your Target Audience

The first step in your design process should be to define your target audience. 

Hopefully you have already done this before you started selling stuff!

Outline the journeys users will need to take to access the stuff you are offering and have a look at your metrics to see how they are accessing your site – screen resolutions, devices, web browsers etc. 

Identify The Key Metrics

What client problem are you trying to solve and what KPI’s are you trying to achieve.

The solution should be prominent on their dashboard and it should be driven by those KPI’s that you need to hit.

If you are selling professional dog training courses, nobody will want to see a list of your latest blog posts at the top of their client dashboard – they will want access to the courses and metrics on their progress.

User Context

You have already identified your audience, now think about the context in which the dashboard will be used by them.

This will drive the visuals that are meaningful to them.

For example, a CEO will want a compact dashboard with clean simple visualisations and high-level summaries while a business analyst will want to dive deeper into the data using more complex visualisations.

Build

Page builders are going to be your friend here when it comes to building, allowing you to create the dashboard structure for desktop and mobile.

Depending on which plugins you are using for your shop, membership or service site, you should be able to drop the native core elements onto your dashboard using the page builder, using shortcodes or HTML as a backup.

The Default WordPress User Login Process

When you open your WordPress site to user registrations, by default when a user logs in, they are taken to the WordPress dashboard.

This is great if your users are actively updating the content on your website but not very ideal if they are a customer.  The last thing you want is for them to be playing around in the backend of your website.

The ideal solution is to log them into their very own dashboard.  Here they can get at only the content they need.

How To Redirect Users After login To A Dashboard

One of my favourite plugins is Peter’s Login Redirect.

At it’s basic level, the plugin allows all user registrations to redirect to a WordPress page.

This can be overridden on a per-user basis on the user profile.

Then there’s the complexity of user roles and capabilities.  And to top it all off there are hooks and filters available to perform your own custom redirects based on whatever conditions you need.

It is an excellent plugin.

Essential Components Of A User Dashboard

So what things should you put on your customer dashboard?

That is going to depend on the type of website that you run, whether it’s a shop, a membership site or something in between.

However, there are a few essentials that I think you need to have on a user dashboard and here they are:

Registration Form Extensions

Ok, so the registration form isn’t part of the customer dashboard but it does play an important role in the whole process so I’m going to quickly include it here.

The default WordPress user registration process just asks for a username/email and a password which is kind of sucky if you want to get more information for marketing.

If you don’t want to splash out the cost for something like Gravity Forms which has a built-in user registration feature, you can use the free plugin User Registration

It’s a drag-and-drop interface that will allow you to add extra fields onto your user registration form and WordPress user profile if that’s something you need.

Remember not to ask for the user life story upon registration as that will deter signups.

This plugin also allows you to redirect the users to pages on login, logout etc similar to the Peter’s Login Redirect plugin.

Login and logout navigation elements

There is a great little plugin called Nav Menu Roles
https://wordpress.org/plugins/nav-menu-roles/

I allows you to show menu items conditionally on users roles, and in our case whether a user is logged in or logged out.

I use this plugin on all my client websites giving them a simple login and logout capability.

Update User Profile & Change Password

This is a must item for a client dashboard as people do change their emails, passwords and addresses often so you will need a link to direct them to the WordPress user profile where they can make changes.

If you use the previously mentioned User Registration plugin, it allows you to extend the user profile with additional fields.

Help/Support/FAQs Feature

You don’t need a full-fledged ticketing system, a support email will be sufficient, but most users will expect to be able to contact you in some way through a client dashboard.

Adding your help WIKI or FAQs about your service or products will vastly reduce the number of support emails you will get.

This could include your policies regarding returns and refunds.

Payment History and Invoices

I am the worst for reconciling account and it’s always a mad dash at the end of the financial year to find invoices and that usually means logging into my services to see my payment history and to download invoices.

If you have paying customers, I think this is an essential component to include on your client dashboards.

Metrics and Features

The rest of your client dashboard should be dedicated to the product or service that you offer with relevant metrics and features.

So for products, this could be downloads, updates, update history, license keys, help documentation etc.

Watch More #WPQuickies

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The playlist is also embedded below, click the hamburger menu in the top right of the video to see the others in the series.

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Wil

Wil is a dad, consultant, developer, conference organiser, speaker and business mentor. He co-organizes the WordPress Sydney meetup group and has been on the organising committee for WordCamp Sydney since 2014. He speaks at many special events and contributes to the WordPress open source project. His likes are chillies, craft beer and electrogravitics.