Is your WordPress dashboard always open? If you’re someone who’s always working on your blog and there are several blogs that like to follow, then you’ll love DashPress. It turns your WordPress dashboard into a mini RSS feed reader by letting you create 5 custom widgets, with up to 10 RSS feeds in each one. This means that you can keep up with up to 50 RSS feeds right from your blog dashboard.
Since each widget can have up to 10 RSS feeds, each widget can represent a different category like Tech, Social, Humor, etc. Getting the plugin installed and activated is easy, but setting it up can take a little extra work. Let’s take a look.
Select An Amount of Widgets
After activating the plugin, you may be wondering where you’re supposed to go to customize it. There won’t be any new sub-menus added to the Settings menu, you’ll have to go to the dashboard and find the new “Dashboard Options” tab right below the header menu – next to “Screen Options”.
Once you open the tab, you’ll see that there is an option to choose the amount of DashPress widgets that you want to use; you can have up to 5 DashPress widgets.
I noticed that this part is a little tricky and hopefully I can make it easy to understand. You’ll see that by default, only 1 DashPress widget is selected. If you want 5 widgets you have to select 5 and then refresh the page. You’ll then see 5 widgets instead of just 1: Last News – 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
I tried just selecting 5 DashPress widgets and then going to “Screen Options” to find the other 4 widgets to select, but they weren’t there. After refreshing the page, I saw that the other 4 widgets were displayed under “Screen Options” for me to select.
This is important because you have to select the actual widgets (Latest News – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) so that they’ll be displayed on your dashboard for you to customize. This all is also dependent on how many DashPress widgets you actually want displayed. I’m only using 5 in this example.
Configure Your Widgets
So now that we have our dashboard widgets displayed, lets configure them. This is done by clicking on “configure” in the top right corner of each widget. You won’t see see the link until you hover your move over that area of the widget.
For each widget, you can customize the title, height, number of posts to display (max 99), number of feeds to input (max 10), and caching time (max 1 day). Again, I noticed that when I changed the default RSS feed input from 3 to 10, I had to save my configuration (click on submit) and then refresh the page.
After refreshing the page, I had 10 spots for RSS feeds instead of 3. As you can see, this plugin requires a lot of page refreshing, which may frustrate some people (including myself).
Once you finally get everything set up, your final result is a simple dashboard widget displaying clickable titles for the latest items in your chosen RSS feeds. Links open in a new tab for your convenience, so you won’t have to worry about navigating away from your blog dashboard.
Honestly, DashPress is a real pain to set up, but once your widgets are setup it’s really nice to be able to keep up with your favorite RSS feeds right from your WordPress dashboard. So in the end, I guess you can say it’s worth it.