By Norman Arvidsson
WordPress can take up a lot of time. Since that’s something few of us have in huge supply, we need to find clever hacks to cut it down as much as possible. Here is how.
So, like so many of us, you severely underestimated how long it takes write those blog posts. And that sucks because having to invest so much time means it’ll be hard to keep them up for much longer.
I hear you. I used to be in the same boat. Blog posts took up half of my day (I’m a perfectionist). At three posts a week, that was basically my whole weekend gone. It wasn’t working for me. I had two choices. I could give up, or find a better way to create the posts so that they wouldn’t take as much time.
I decided to try the latter first. I’m glad I did, because it turns out I didn’t need to invest quite as much time as I thought. Here is what I learned.
Use a checklist
It sounds so mundane. And yet, checklists are vitally important. For example, in hospitals, they’re used all the time by doctors to avoid mistakes. You can use them in much the same way. Simply write down all the steps involved in making a blog. Once you have a checklist, you can start playing with it to see what order of moves means the least screen switches and allows you to get the clicks, drags and toggles with the least waiting time.
Use a Markdown editor
Markdown editors are computer programs that allow you to write text and then easily convert it to HTML. Personally, I use markdown pad 2, but there are plenty out there.
The Markdown editor has quick and easy commands to do things like bold, italicize and put-in links, as well as buttons and keyboard shortcuts that you can use to achieve the same thing. On the left, you’ll see the markdown language, and on the right you’ll see what it will look like. This is entirely customizable, so that you can make it look exactly as it would on your blog.
It’s much safer writing your text there than online, as internet crashes won’t affect you. You don’t even have to be online to use it! Also, it means you’ll have local versions of your blog posts that you can use if your site ever goes down.
The Yoast plugin will do two things for you.
First of all, it will help you optimize your post for SEO purposes. This is great, as it makes it far more likely that your posts will actually rank somewhere on Google somewhere in the future, which is the way to attract readers if you don’t constantly want to be pushing content through social media.
It will also help you with readability, by pointing out where you’re writing things in a way that your readers will find difficult to understand and offering you suggested edits, which you’ll probably start to internalize pretty quickly.
Grammarly is a program that’s better than Word at spotting grammar and spelling errors- and you can load it right into your browser, so any text you write in your actual WordPress site will automatically be checked.
Of course, it’s not quite up to challenging the list of the top writing services, but it’s cheaper!
Bulk tagging and categorizing
If you’ve been working on your blog for a while, then you’ve probably started to realize that some of your categories are far too broad, while others are far too narrow. But as you’ve got dozens of posts by now, you really don’t want to spend the two to three hours re-categorizing them.
Fortunately, you don’t have to.
Just go to your ‘all posts’ page, select the posts that you want to change the categorizing of, go to the ‘bulk’ option at the top and hit ‘edit’. A sub-menu will pop up where you can re-categorize your posts, add new tags and in other ways make your posts far easier to navigate.
This really can save you a great deal of time and make your users happier to boot!
You can lose a lot of time putting in your images. Here are a couple of hacks that will make that just that bit faster.
First of all, you don’t actually have to go to the ‘add media’ button to add media- you can drag and drop them straight into the window, which is useful if you still insist on working straight in the WordPress window.
Alternatively, if you do use markdown, then just collect all the pictures you want to use in a folder. Then, go straight to the ‘add media’ tag on your menu, open it into a new tab, select all the pictures in the folder (CTRL + A) and drag them into WordPress.
After that, switch back to your original WordPress, grab your content from markdown and throw it into a new draft. Work your way through whatever edits Grammarly suggest and save the draft. By now, all your pictures will be uploaded and can be added from the ‘add media’ button without any loading time at all.
If you have a specific width that you like your pictures to be at, then go to Settings > Media. There adjust the max width and max height of your images.
Want to set your images to the width of your blog posts? You can find out how wide your posts are by using the ‘inspect element’ on your blog posts themselves. There, go to the ‘computed’ and a little window will pop up that will define the width and the height of your blog post.
Accidentally hitting some button or function that drastically changes your blog’s layout or deletes something vital is immensely frustrating and time consuming. Of course, you always backup everything but still, it takes time to find the backup, restore it and make the latest edits.
For that reason, assign yourself two accounts. In the first account, you have full administrator rights. In the second one, you have just enough rights to do the things that you need to post a blog post.
Log in with the limited account normally and only use the administrator rights if you need access to deeper functions.
This can save you oceans of trouble.
Even better, once you know how to do these things for yourself, you can also set them for other people when they join your blog. In that way, your money-saving action of getting another writer involved won’t be sabotaged by them cluelessly blowing up part of your blog.
You can set users in the user> roles function on your WordPress site.
There are five levels:
- Administrator – God.
- Editor – can publish and manage all posts.
- Author – can publish and manage only their posts.
- Contributor – can write and manage their posts. Can’t publish.
- Subscriber – can only manage their profile.
So there you have it! A whole host of hacks that will make your blogging faster and more effective, so it doesn’t end up eating away at your life. Yes, they’ll take a little time to get used to, but they work and it’s worth persevering with them.
My advice is to try out the ones that you like best first, then slowly embrace more of them as you’ve internalized those tricks that you picked up first.
Whatever you choose, definitely choose the checklist. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but it will really help you. Write it up, print it out and hang it beside your computer. From there you can edit, note and change it all around until it works for you perfectly.
Sometimes the simplest things can have the biggest impact.
Norman Arvidsson is a freelance blogger and web developer from Atlanta. He is passionate about social media marketing, web design, entrepreneurship, and e-learning. Follow Norman on Twitter.