Using WordPress instead of creating, or updating, then manually uploading HTML pages whenever you want to change or add new pages, is already a huge time saver. But you don’t have to stop there. There are many tricks and plugins you can use to make managing/creating content an even faster, smoother experience. In this post we will explore some easily available tools, to help you achieve just that.
Learn Some Easy But Incredibly Useful Keyboard Shortcuts
While it might seem quick and easy to make a link by selecting text, and then clicking a button, little things like that really add up over years of writing. If you take a few minutes to learn some easy keyboard shortcuts for WordPress, you’ll spend less time formatting and more time actually writing.
- Ctrl + b = bold
- Ctrl + i = italic
- Ctrl + 1-6 = Heading 1-6
- Alt + Shift + u = unordered list
- Alt + Shift + o = ordered list
- Alt + Shift + a = insert link
- Alt + Shift + t = insert more tag
- Alt + Shift + x = add/remove code tag
- Alt + Shift + q = quote
- Alt + Shift + m = insert image
- Alt + Shift + w = distraction free writing mode
Use Markdown for Hassle-free Formatting While Writing
Markdown is a helpful tool that helps you to do all your formatting quickly and painlessly, while you’re writing your blog post, tutorial or article. Making something a Header class 2 is as easy as adding 2#s before writing the headline as pictured above.
One key thing when it comes to markup is that there are several standards that use different shortcodes, so make sure you’re learning and exporting the right one. If you’re wondering what “exporting” means, that’s basically using a script/program to translate the markdown text into HTML.
Personally I use WriteMonkey (a simplistic, completely full screen text editor) for most of my writing, including all material for WordPress. The version of WriteMonkey I’m using offers exports for Mardown extra, Textile, and Wikicreole. If you have a WordPress.com site, you can activate Markdown from within the dashboard, but for us WordPress.org users, we have to install a plugin, for example the JP Markdown plugin.
Write In Distraction Free Mode or Use a Simplistic Text Editor
The less unrelated stuff you can see on the screen outside of your own text when you’re writing, the better. The people at WordPress are aware of this, and that’s why there’s a built in distraction free mode, where all the buttons and the like are removed for a clean writing experience.
Distraction free mode inside WordPress is a great, distraction free(not surprisingly) text editor in it’s own right. The only reason I don’t use it as my main one, is that it’s located in a browser window, meaning the distance between me and the internet is a few clicks shorter than if you use an outside one. This is great when you’re fact checking, but not so great when you’re trying to avoid caving and watching a favorite show on Netflix, or checking Facebook.
If you love the distraction free mode, but your willpower against the temptations of the internet is similarly lacking, you might want to consider using another simplistic text editor. Personally I use and love WriteMonkey. (It’s free.)
Use Plugins to Automatically Crop Images to Preferred Size
The thought here is quite simple. If you only upload pictures that are larger than your preferred size, then you can set your image optimization plugin to crop all images to your preferred size on upload, and voila, you don’t have to bother with resizing in Photoshop or Gimp before uploading.
You can use Imsanity to avoid ever having to resize pictures again (And/or easily avoid having outside contributors post over sized images to your website). There are also plugins that will optimize the files for size on upload as well, getting that out of the way at the same time. For example EWWW image optimizer. And yes, they do both work if enabled at the same time.
Backup/Clone Your Website
This is the point with the biggest theoretical time saving power. If worst comes to worst, when you’re updating your version of WordPress, or when you’re switching to a new theme, having a backup can save your many hours and lots of energy. (Cloning is more of a preventative measure as you use it to test if something will break your site before implementing it on the actual live website.)
It can also save you significant amounts money in the event of a complete disaster where your webhost might demand payment for access to the backups, or if part of your income is reliant on your WordPress site being fully functional.
Basically this is about taking precautions that make a worst-case scenario a lot less time consuming than it could have been. Here at WPExplorer we recommend the Backup Buddy plugin or VaultPress (which we currently use), but any trustworthy plugin or outside solution is infinitely better than having nothing.
If You Don’t Already, Use Akismet or Other Anti-Spam Plugins
Your time is far too valuable to spend manually weeding out spambot comments from real ones. Let a nice bot undo the work of the evil spambots instead. You can simply activate Akismet that comes with WordPress, or try other anti-spam plugins.
Spot Any Broken Links Instantly With Broken Link Checker
If you’ve been blogging for a while, broken links are bound to show up from time to time. With Broken Link Checker you can avoid having to manually find and update each post. Instead you just install and activate the plugin, and it automatically finds the broken links for you.
Schedule Posts Ahead of Time
Make use of WordPress’s innate scheduling power (make sure you’ve set your WordPress site to the right timezone under Settings > General in the WordPress dashboard). Not only does this mean you can set it all up ahead of time when you’re not sure you’ll have the time or reliable internet access.
For example if you’d like your post to go live on a day where you’re out of town or in a meeting. It also means that you don’t need to make the return trip to hit publish. (Simply edit the “Publish immediately” option that is located right above the publish button inside the post editor. For more tips, checkout our guide to WordPress post scheduling that Tom wrote a while back.
Stop Obsessively Checking Your Visitor Stats (Unless It Is Your Job)
If you’re anything like me, you might be spending a little bit too much time obsessing over your stats. I remember when I created my first blog. For the first three months or, I probably spent more time checking and refreshing my blog’s visitor statistics than I spent on actually writing new content. While that is a slight exaggeration, if you’re not a point where keeping up to speed with visitor and customer metrics is a key to your livelihood, maybe you should keep it to a little peek once or twice per week. If anything, in the beginning the stats can often be more demotivating than uplifting.
We’ve all got so many things that we’re supposed to do these days. We put more and more things on our to-do-lists, (especially around this time of year) but of course, we still only have the same old twenty four hours in a day. Some of us are content to classify ourselves as busy, where others opt to increase efficiency wherever. Some of us to get even more work done, others to get some more time to relax. For me it’s a little bit of both.
Hopefully using these tools and tricks, you will end up with some surplus time as well. If you have any more tips, tools or tricks to add share it in the comments below!