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Why Your Umbraco Backend Isn't Sexy

Umbraco is an amazing tool that can empower your content editors to make adjustments to the site quickly and efficiently. However, in a lot of cases Umbraco isn’t being utilized to its fullest extent and not streamlining your content process as it could be. Umbraco is completely customizable and scalable to meet your needs, but you’re likely missing out if you’re not embracing all of the features it has to offer.

Why the Backend Isn't Fulfilling

If your Umbraco website isn’t floating your boat, there are likely some systemic causes. It’s important to understand that Umbraco out of the box offers a simple content editing experience, but it’s not customized specifically to your needs and your workflow yet. If you’re having to jump through hoops to make simple content changes, it’s likely not setup specifically for your needs (or any other editors for that matter.)

This can cause frustration and disappointment, all for no reason! Umbraco can and does give you the tools needed for a seamless experience; you just have to know where to start.

What Can You Do

Set User Types

Umbraco can be customized by user type to ensure that editing experiences are personalized based on needs. Umbraco comes with standard user types, each associated with a level of security and permissions. User permission can also be setup on a granular level to only provide access to certain areas of the site to certain editors. The user types are setup in a such a way to allow varying permissions. These include:

  • Administrator - has all permissions
  • Writer - permissions for Browse Node, Create, Update, and Send to Publish
  • Editor - permissions to Copy, Delete, Move, Rollback, Publish, Create, Sort, and Update, as well as Browse Node, Public Access, and Send to Translation
  • Translator - permissions to Browse Node and Update

Each of these user types allow you to get granular with your permissions, increasing the security of your site and ensuring the protection of your web assets. Identifying the right user type for the right user can help streamline your processes and create efficiencies with your team.

Know What Users Need to See

You now know that Umbraco lets you determine permissions by user type. In addition to the standard user types, you can also select permissions specific to each user in your system. For example, if you have several Editors but only one who needs access to post to the blog, you can set node-specific permissions to only allow them access to the blog.

This is highly beneficial when securing your site data among multiple editors. If you are utilizing social media managers, freelance writers, content editors, and web designers all in the Umbraco back-end, they will have very different goals and very different needs. They likely do not need access to edit all of your site information.

More importantly, you also want to limit how your editors are making changes to the content. Below are a handful of additional features Umbraco provides to give you more control over your content.

  • Culture and Hostnames—change languages for content based on the user type, which is great for working in this globalized economy
  • Rollback—revert a site to a previous state before it was changed in case of a mistake or rogue user (it happens!)
  • Translate—provide an editor’s log of the information pertaining to who accessed/created/edited notes
  • Public Access—requires password authentication for site pages so only certain public users can view them, which is beneficial when editing and reviewing a site before it goes live

While these are some of the most used, they are only a handful of the Umbraco user permissions. Refresh yourself on this extensive list of permissions to improve the user experience you get from your Umbraco website.

Setting Up User Permissions

Setting up a new user in Umbraco is easy. As you go through the process, you’ll have the ability to assign permissions and setup the user for success. As noted, user permissions can be created or edited on specific user types as well to give you more control.

Create Custom Dashboarding

When editors first login to the back end, you can setup custom dashboards to provide personalized messages to individual account users. You can also set up individual tabs for dividing up information to share with users. Here you have access to branding elements and buttons to add for users to see things more effectively. Catch their eye to make sure they see the message!

The idea is to simplify your efforts with fewer clicks—all by automating part of the back-office processes. Spend less time in the Umbraco back-end and more time working on what’s important to you and your business.

Add Umbraco Packages

You can also improve the performance of your Umbraco website by downloading prebuilt Umbraco packages (you might also know these as “plug-ins”.) Many of these packages were built based on feedback from Editors to increase efficiency and improve the performance of your website. Here are a handful of the most popular packages currently in Umbraco:

  • SEO Starter Kit
  • Cultiv Tabify Umbraco 8
  • Umbraco Background Image and Logo Changer
  • Pronto
  • Fa Icon Picker
  • Preflight
  • SEO Tag and Media Share Buttons
  • U8 Collapse
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
  • U8 Font Awesome Links
  • SEO Checker

Choosing the right packages for your needs will help you improve the functionality of your Umbraco back-end.


Umbraco is a scalable, powerful CMS that should be working for your team. If you are having issues and not sure where to start, we’d be happy to help.

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About the author

Alex Vilmur

Alex Vilmur is a wizard at development and also trumpet. He once auditioned for The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but found his passion for website development and Umbraco made it too hard to leave.