Just move about within your WordPress screen and explore all menu items and icons one at a time. You’ll probably find much more that we missed out.
WordPress makes it possible for regular folks like you and me to set up and manage our own blogs and websites. We’re so excited when we see our own WordPress Dashboard for the first time. And we hurry to put out our first post to replace the standard Hello World first post from WordPress.
But wait, there are many built-in WordPress features that you should get familiar with. They can make your blogging life easy and delightful. Take time to browse through the many options in the menu on the left, the screen options at the top, the options within the Editor and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you’ve overlooked. So let’s devote this post to discovering the many not-so-apparent options that we can begin to use in our daily WordPress lives.
Managing Posts Within WordPress
The right corner of the Post Editor is a blessing for bloggers. It helps you manage your posts better in many ways. These options typically include publishing settings, post formats, taxonomies and featured images.
To schedule posts to appear on selected dates, explore the Publish option. This allows you to choose the exact date and time for publishing your post.
You can also mark the post for review by clicking Pending Review, particularly convenient for a multi-author blog.
The Visibility option controls the viewing of content by others. The default setting for this option is Public, which means the whole world can view the post, but you can restrict viewing to a selected few by making it password protected or enabling the private option.
As a blogger, you’ll know how many revisions a post goes through before it appears for public viewing. It may start as a small scrap or note, and grow over time into a fully fledged article, running through many versions in between. If you want to access any of the versions, for whatever reason, just look under Revisions in the Post editor.
After the publishing settings, you should see a section for Format. Depending on the WordPress theme you’re using you may have a couple or many post formatting options. This formats will style your post differently.
- Standard is a plain text post format
- Aside aligns
- Image, Video, Gallery and Audio formats will feature the respective media at the top of your post
- Quote will style your post as a direct quote
- Link posts will include an option for you to specify an outgoing link to direct a post to (ex: if you write a blurb that XYZ is on sale then link your post to it to take readers directly to the sale)
- Status posts are formatted as status update similar to social media
- Chats appear as conversations
When you create a post you’ll often have the option for a featured image (even with all the various post formats). This image is typically used on your main blog page, as the thumbnail image when your post is displayed as a related post on another article, or as the thumbnail image for any blog modules in your page builder.
To get started click the link to “Set featured image.”
Next, either upload a new image (select it from your computer or drag and drop in the image) or select an image that’s already in your media library. Click the blue button to “Set featured image” and then save your post.
Categories and Tags
Categories and tags (sometimes collectively referred to as “taxonomies”) are used for grouping content. These are used to help readers (and search engines) navigate your website and find related content. Here’s a quick overview to help:
- Categories are the main groupings for your blog posts (or other post types like staff, portfolio, etc). This should be general definitions of the content. If you were a car review blog these could be the various car brands (Jeep, Toyota, Ford, etc).
- Tags are more specific details that build on the core category. For a car blog, this could be technical details like horsepower, airbags, colours, year, etc.
Markdown Syntax For Faster Formatting
To use HTML while writing posts, you have to switch to the Text Editor. However, we often prefer to work within the Visual Editor while creating posts. The Markdown syntax helps us to do some HTML formatting without moving out from the Visual Editor.
Markdown is simple markup language that converts plain text to HTML code. Special characters like an asterisk, underscores and dashes are used, and this is automatically converted into HTML. Earlier versions of WordPress allowed the option of enabling Markdown Syntax under Settings > Writing. However with WordPress 4.3, similar functions are included in the Visual Editor. The syntax functionality is limited in WordPress, and for full Markdown support, you’ll need a plugin such as Jetpack or WP-Markdown.
The flow of writing is often disrupted when we have to pause and link some text. Earlier, we had to highlight the text to be linked, open a popup by clicking on the Link icon and paste the URL. The newer versions of WordPress support inline linking. There are lots of ways to create links to increase engagement on your blog, but here are some quick tips to get you started.
After highlighting the text to be linked, click on the Link icon, and paste the URL in the small box that opens. The highlighted text is linked automatically, and you have to move out of Visual Editor only to copy the URL of the required link.
We also suggest clicking on the Gear icon when adding links and checking the box to “Open link in a new tab.” This way readers aren’t leaving your page as soon as they click a link.
You can also directly paste URLs to embed videos and tweets without needing to copy embed codes. WordPress recognizes a number of websites from where content can be sourced.
Internal links encourage a visitor to stay longer on your site, and reduce bounce rate. Searching within your site for content is easier with the Edit Link button.
To make quick edits to a draft, open the Quick Edit option that appears under each post on the All Posts page of your website. From here you can make changes to title, slug, category, author. You can also restrict viewing, password protect or make it sticky from here.
Close Comments – the flip side of being a popular blog is that your Comments section can get overburdened. If you want to close comments on a per post basis, you can do so with Quick Edit. Alternatively, you can close comments by going to Settings > Discussions.
And That’s It
That’s our list of options to make it immensely easier to work around inside WordPress.