While there are a lot of plugins to extend the functionality of the site for visitors, I found limited options for customizing the WordPress admin backend. I either had to write custom functions or install a plugin to handle just one function. The Piklist framework plugin and the WordPress Helpers Piklist plugin were able to accomplish a lot of what I needed. To change settings for the WordPress Helpers plugin, go to TOOLS > HELPERS rather than the SETTINGS section.
Most of what I like to do with Piklist Helpers is simplify and remove features to reduce confusion, brand the admin, and disable some native WordPress features such as the RSS feed, but there are about a hundred options to allow you to customize the admin further.
Making the site private with Piklist Helpers
Only do this if you have a separate WordPress install or visitors will not be able to see your site. In the USERS tab, in the VISITORS section, select ONLY LOGGED IN USERS CAN SEE WEBSITE checkbox
Hide Admin Bar WordPress logo with Piklist Helpers
This hides the WordPress W logo in the top left corner of the admin. Go to TOOLS > HELPERS > GENERAL tab > ADMIN BAR section and check the LOGO checkbox in the REMOVE ADMIN BAR COMPONENTS option to hide it
Hide Screen Options Tab with Piklist Helpers
This hides the screen options drop down in the top right corner under the admin bar that enables a user to hide or display meta boxes. Go to TOOLS > HELPERS > GENERAL tab > GENERAL section and click the REMOVE checkbox next to SCREEN OPTIONS TAB to hide it
Hide or Change Howdy, Username greeting with Piklist Helpers
This modifies the Howdy, Username greeting that appears in the top right corner of the admin bar. To hide the greeting go to TOOLS > HELPERS > GENERAL tab > ADMIN BAR section and click on the GREETING checkbox in the REMOVE ADMIN BAR COMPONENTS option to hide the greeting entirely. To modify “Howdy” you’ll see a text field right below called ADMIN BAR GREETING where you enter an alternate greeting.
Hide Admin Bar Updates with Piklist Helpers
This hides the update section in the top left section of the admin bar. To hide updates go to TOOLS > HELPERS > GENERAL tab > ADMIN BAR section and click on the UPDATES checkbox in the REMOVE ADMIN BAR COMPONENTS option to hide it.
Change Logo and background color for WordPress login with Piklist Helpers
When you log in to WP-ADMIN you can modify the login screen. Go to TOOLS > HELPERS > GENERAL tab > LOGIN SCREEN section to add a logo image and select a BACKGROUND COLOR from the color picker.
Place Website in Maintenance Mode with Piklist Helpers
You can put your site in maintenance mode when you want to keep your users and visitors from being able to access it. Go to TOOLS > HELPERS > USERS tab > VISITORS section and change the MAINTENANCE MODE dropdown from DISABLED to ENABLED. Once you do, a text field will appear where you can enter a message.
Disable all feeds with Piklist Helpers
This disables the RSS feed for your site. Go to TOOLS > HELPERS > READING tab > FEEDS section and change the ALL FEEDS dropdown option
Remove Private and/or Protected prefix with Piklist Helpers
When a post is in PRIVATE or PROTECTED mode, a prefix will appear before the title. To remove this, go to TOOLS > HELPERS > READING tab > Reading Section. To remove the PRIVATE prefix, click on the REMOVE THE PRIVATE: TITLE PREFIX FROM PRIVATE POSTS checkbox. To remove the PROTECTED prefix, click on the REMOVE THE PROTECTEDE: TITLE PREFIX FROM PROTECTED POSTS checkbox.