wordpress-logo-squarish-rgbWordPress gets better all the time, so even experienced users don’t notice all the improvements to the interface. Here are six WordPress tips to remember: three for all users, then three more for site admins.

1- Set your screen options

Screen Options buttonYou have screen options for every page of your admin area! Use them to un-clutter your WordPress experience, and to help you remember what fields to use for posts and pages.

For example, if your theme uses featured images, be sure to turn that option on for your Edit Posts page.

Turn off any options you aren’t using — I’m surprised how often people leave their screen cluttered up with all the options, then leave categories blank because they forgot that every post needs a category.

2- Use more of the Rich-text editor

Turn on the second row of buttons using the Kitchen Sink button on the first row. Then you’ll see:

Rich Text Editor Second Row

Use these two buttons more:

Paste as Plain Text Wondering why your posts look like a ransom letter sometimes? Because you have inadvertently pasted formatting code from another program (for example, Microsoft Word) into your post. Stop pasting things directly from Word documents and use Paste as Plain-Text instead.

Formatting — by default, most of your text will be “Paragraph” (like in the picture above) but if you use Heading 2 and Heading 3 tags, (use the drop down menu for that button) you can maintain visual consistency in your website, and help search engines index your content.

Please don’t use these two:

Underline: this generally makes text appear to be a hyperlink, which can confuse your visitors. If you want to emphasize something, use Bold, not underlining.

Different text colors: although you have the option of changing colors, your colors should just be set by your theme and that’s it. No random text colors! It adds to the “ransom letter” look.

3- Use the full range of Publish options (on the right)

You can use the Schedule button to publish items first thing in the morning or later in the day: publish content when it’s easiest to promote to your readers. Sometimes that will be right when you finish it, but sometimes not. (I prefer to write later in the day, then set posts to publish the next morning.)

You can use Private posts to save instructions and notes about your blog that you don’t want visitors to see. Keep in mind that only Editors and Administrators can see private content.

Want to make some posts more prominent? The Sticky field can work great for that if your site admin has set up your theme to allow for promotion of Sticky posts.

That’s three tips for users. Now here come three WordPress tips for people with Admin responsibilities.

4- Oooh… Quick Edit

The Quick Edit option is visible on any place you see a list of content (so, your posts list, pages list, or category list). It allows you to make changes to a single item on the list without having to navigate off the list page. There are so many great ways to use “quick edit” for site admins:

  • Wrong user on a blog post? Quick edit on posts allows you to correct the author, categories, or tags.
  • Want to clean up your tags or categories? You can fix slugs, or change the category name.

5- Use your RSS feeds to power subscriptions

If you don’t have time to craft regular outgoing email to promote your content, but you know people want to subscribe, you can always setup automated emails using your sitewide RSS feed, or a specific category feed:

But don’t just use an RSS button — collect emails and offer a subscription option.

6- Set up automatic social promotion

Jetpack has some great auto-promote options, as does Social. Either plugin, once configured, will tweet out user posts or share them on Facebook right as they are published. You can always manually share it again later (and probably should), but setup social promotion so you can be sure that everything appears at least once on social media platforms.

These tips will make your WordPress life easier — enjoy or let me know if you have other WordPress tips!