There is no doubt that WordPress is a simple and easy to use system, and it is fairly straightforward to log into your account and manage your site from the main dashboard.
Once you start to have to manage more than a couple of WordPress sites however, then the whole process of logging into each WordPress dashboard and manually updating plugins and WordPress updates can become quite cumbersome.
So is there an easier way to manage all your sites and make your site management smarter and easier to handle? Well there is one tool that I use called CMS Commander, which is a multiple site management tool.
CMS Commander Plugin and Website
CMS Commander is a dashboard where you can connect together all your WordPress sites and manage all the main operations of each site, from this one centralised location.
There are other versions of multiple site management plugins but what attracted me to this one, having read a number of reviews, was that it was aimed at affiliate marketing sites.
The premium version of the account allows you to manage up to 400 different websites which also suits website managers with client websites. So there is a lot of potential to grow your business with this one tool.
So how does it work?
Each WordPress site that you manage needs to have the CMS Commander plugin installed (available through the WordPress plugin section), which then communicates to the central hub on the main CMS commander website.
This allows the central dashboard to have full access to your site plugins and update information as well as published and draft versions of posts although it doesn’t seem to have access to the media library.
The main dashboard provides a summary of all your information for each site registered with all their basic data, but at the same time it is not too complicated or over filled with data.
The dashboard provides access to WordPress updates, plugin and theme updates in the column (updates). It also shows your draft posts which you can access directly from here and in the metrics column it shows you site speed, number of visitors to your site and the number of backlinks as recorded by SEMrush.
Updating Your Site (s)
The biggest advantage of this tool is that you only need to log into the hub once and you can access all the information for each of your sites from this one place.
For example the plugin updates can be done simply by hovering over the plugin tool on the dashboard for a particular site.
Then simply decide whether to ignore or update the plugin and click on the icon.
This instantly makes updating plugins and wordpress updates easier, because they can now all be done with a quick click of the mouse instead of having to log into each site separately.
You can also manage the plugins in a separate section within the tool.
Here you will also be given the option to select specific plugins and upgrade all of them across all your sites at one time.
You can also use the ‘View All’ tab in this section to display all your plugins, and show how many sites they are active on.
This also enables you to deactivate them on individual websites simply by clicking on the View Sites action.
SEO and Backlinks
In addition to the plugins and updates the CMS Commander provides a simple back link tracker, as you can see from the image. This is available at a glance in the main dashboard making it easy to read and see.
In the metrics column the figure (out of a 100) is given for site speed.
This is an important factor in SEO since slow load speeds can negatively affecting ranking and cause a higher bounce rate.
The traffic figure is taken from Google analytics and so the site needs to be connected to you GA account.
Connecting to Google Analytics
As well as managing your updates CMS Commander has a number of other tools, all of which are available on the free account version (up to 5 WordPress sites).
One of these is the link to Google Analytics, which means that you can see all your website performances, or review one site at a time.
From the screenshot here you can see clearly that different sites can be compared to each other, or reviewed separately.
The box at the bottom allows you to see the figures more easily, which is also useful to have when you have websites of vastly different numbers of visitors, which can make the scaling quite small to read on the graph version.
WebSite Back Ups
It is always useful to run your own backups even if the hosting platform and server you use offers this as part of their service.
In CMS Commander you can set up your own backup tasks. There are also options to clone sites using the backup tool and to create new sites using some of your existing settings from your own websites, already registered with CMS Commander.
As part of the CMS dashboard you can access your settings for each site and all the content posts. So any quick changes that you want to make across any of your registered sites, can all be done from inside the CMS command centre.
There are other multi site management programs available but this seems to be a good option for people managing client websites or setting up affiliate marketing blogs.
Obviously the tool is designed to make your life easier and if it fails to do that then do look either elsewhere or consider another approach. Personally even if all I used it for was to manage the plugin and theme updates it would still be worth the time and hassle that I save.
You can try it for free for 7 days with all the premium features, and then if need be you can revert to the free option if you have less than 5 websites.
if you want to try it out then simply follow the link CMS Commander and set up a free account.
You will also need to load the CMS Commander plugin onto each website that you choose to link to it.
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