WordPress is an amazing content management system. It is attractive and user friendly, and makes it possible for people of all skill levels to create and edit content. But, if you’re using WordPress on a daily basis, it’s important to make the interface and the editor as easy to use as possible. Here are 12 WordPress tricks you might not know that will definitely make your blogging life easier. I use this every day while blogging, and every time I discover another trick I kick myself for not looking it up sooner.
1. Edit your post admin page. On the page that lists your posts you can edit what elements of each post you see. Just click ‘Screen Options’ at the top of the page and check the items you want to see. This used to really bother me when there were too many elements showing because every element was very long and narrow and so unattractive, then I discovered this and was so much happier with the way my page looks. I guess it’s a designer problem that all ugly things bother me.
2. Edit your post editor page. In the same way that you can edit your post admit page, by clicking ‘Screen Options’ at the top of the page, you can edit what modules you see on each individual post editor page. You can edit which modules you see on the page, like ‘Format’s and ‘Categories’. Clean up your page by getting rid of the elements that you never change, you can always go back and toggle them on if you need them for a specific post. You can also change the page from two columns to one, so the area where you type will extend across the whole page. I like this because it’s A LOT easier to see what you’re writing. If you want the page to be even simpler you can click the full screen button in the top right corner of the editor window.
3. Post Format. Some themes offer an option to change the format of your posts. Options like ‘Standard’, ‘Aside’, and ‘Link’, display your content in different ways. This is a great way to change up the look of your posts depending of what kind of content it is you’re sharing. I don’t change post format’s often but I have worked on sites where we styled different formats differently to give each kind of page a different look.
4. Control excerpt length. If you want to change how much of a post will display on your homepage rather than just sticking to the default setting, there is a button that does this easily. It inserts a ‘Read more’ tag and then pushes the text after that to the next link, so readers will only see the text before the tag. This is useful if you have a catchy first sentence and you want to limit the execrate readers see to just that sentence.
5. Using post shortcuts. Most people are familiar with the shortcuts that you can use in places like Microsoft word, like Command+Z for undo, Command+Y for redo, and so on. But, did you know that some of these shortcuts also work in WordPress when you are writing a post. Some of these shortcuts only work when you are using the Visual editor, and some work in both Visual and Text(HTML). Here is a list of all the shortcuts you can use. Or you can just look in your editor window in the Visual Editor and click on the question mark for a full link of shortcuts. I find that these save so much time in the long run.
6. Link to existing content. If you want to link to existing content on your site, you don’t need to copy the URL like you would with an external link. Just highlight the text you want to link, press ‘link’ and then click ‘link to existing content’. This presents you with a list of all the posts and pages that are published on your site and you can choose to link to any of them. This is especially helpful because you don’t have to leave your page to open a new one and find the URL to the page you want.
7. Save unused widgets. If you have a widget you want to take out of your sidebar, but might want it later and don’t want to have to format it all over again, you can save it. At the bottom of the widgets list is a box titled ‘Inactive Widgets’ and you just have to drag a widget there to save it without displaying it on your site. And, just toggle ‘Available Widgets’ closed so you don’t have to scroll all the way down to get to it. This is super helpful if you have content that you want to temporarily take away without losing the settings.
8. Edit your default category. Having a post listed as ‘uncategorised’ is a bad idea, because readers don’t know what they’re reading or where it fits in your site. But, sometimes it’s easy to forget to choose a category. If you go to Settings >Writing, you can change your default category to something else, so even if you forget your post will be in a category. This is helpful for me because I have a category called ‘Archives’ that simply lists all of my past posts, so I made this my default category to save me from having to choose it every time.
9. Avoid formatting errors. If you are pasting text into the WordPress editor from somewhere like Microsoft Word, where the text has already been formatted, you might noticed that the text keeps some of those formats like line breaks and spacing. This can be annoying, especially if you need to go through and delete it all. Instead you can just click the ‘Paste as Text’ button which looks like a clipboard with a T on it. This pastes the text into the window on its own with no formatting at all.
10. Add media easily. Did you know that with the new version of WordPress you can add images without even clicking on the Add Media button. Instead, you can just drag and drop them directly into the editor window and they will appear there. I find this super helpful when I just need to add one image to specific point in the text.
11. Make your post sticky If you’re part of any Facebook groups, you’ll likely notice that most of them have a pinned post with rules or an introduction that is always at the top of the page. This is because the admin has pinned the post to make sure it is always at the top. You can do the same thing with your posts on your blog if you need to keep an important post at the top of your blog. All you have to do is click Edit Visibility in the Publish window on the right of your screen, and checkmark ‘Stick this post to the front page’. I love this option if you have a blog announcement or important post that you want to make sure all your readers see.
12. Embed media in your posts. Sites like Youtube have made it very easy for you to embed their content in places like WordPress, by just copying the embed code they have under each video. However, now it’s even easier. All you have to do is paste the link to the content into the editor window on its own line, and WordPress will automatically embed the video or image into your post. There are 28 sites in total that this Auto Embed features works with, including YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Vimeo. You can look here for a full list of sites that this works with.
Using these tricks and tips will definitely speed up your workflow and take away some of the small frustrations of the WordPress system.