I am obsessed with productivity and efficiency.
If I can save a few seconds on a task that I carry out repeatedly, I know that I will save a lot of time in the long run.
Rarely is that more the case than with tasks in WordPress. If you’re anything like me then you spend a lot of time in WordPress, which means that there is a lot of scope for boosting your productivity if you know what to do to make the most of the world’s favorite content management system.
With that in mind, I decided to reach out to a bunch of WordPress experts and find out their tips and tricks for working efficiently with WordPress. Here’s what they had to say!
Siobhan McKeown (Audrey Capital)
I use bulk edit on the post/page editing screen to quickly add tags and categories, and make a few post meta edits to multiple posts.
I also use all of the keyboard shortcuts for formatting.
Tom McFarlin (Tom McFarlin)
I’m a huge fan of a Markdown but really only use a subset of the language when it comes to writing blog posts.
To scratch that itch, I have a plugin (at the risk of going all self-promotiony) that I started that is also on GitHub and is being helped to be improved by others that is specifically designed for adding support for a subset of markdown into WordPress for drafting posts.
Slobodan Manic and Dragan Nikolic (ThematoSoup)
Regenerate Thumbnails and Auto Post Thumbnail is a combo I have used countless times when switching to a theme that uses post thumbnails from one that doesn’t. Auto Post Thumbnail will automatically set the first image in each post as the post thumbnail and Regenerate Thumbnails will create image sizes needed by your new theme.
Search and Replace plugin has saved me hours of work many, many times. If you have lots of links to a website that has changed its URL but kept the same URL structure, one search is all you need to get rid of all those dead links. Also very helpful and necessary if you decide to change the location of your attachments. But make sure you backup your database first!
WordPress for Android is great because you can access your WordPress websites when you’re on the go and it gives you almost all the functionality you get when accessing WordPress dashboard via a browser.
Syed Balkhi (WPBeginner)
I love the post schedule feature in WordPress. It allows me to plan in advance and schedule things to get published automatically.
I also love the Edit Flow plugin because it allows me to stay organized. I can keep my article pitches, work in progress, and ready to publish articles all in separate areas. This way I don’t have to spend time looking for them.
Since I manage a lot of larger blogs with multiple authors, this is the best plugin to have. I even use it on my personal blog because I love the organization of it. I also love the ability that Edit Flow gives me to communicate with my team and see a post calendar. All in all, this is one of my must have plugins.
Lester Chan (Lester Chan)
I wrote custom QuickTags to embed HTML code from YouTube/Flickr slideshow
easily. For example for Flickr slideshow, I just have to copy the set ID (not the full URL) and it will generate the HTML code for me with the appropriate size for my site.
Alex King (Crowd Favorite)
I think my favorite is my Drafts Dropdown plugin — easy access to my drafts from anywhere on my site.
Mika Epstein (Half-Elf)
Did you know I don’t have any plugins that edit my ‘post editing’ screen? I use WordPress pure.
The majority of what I do with WordPress isn’t coding, it’s writing. So the very first thing I do with WordPress is hide every single option on the post-edit page that I don’t use. Whenever I have a post, fully formed, in my head, then I sit down and I go to write. I use the Distraction Free Writing mode, max out my screen, and turn off the sound alerts.
Brian Gardner (Copyblogger)
Jeff Starr (The Tao of WordPress)
Taking care of database backups via Cron makes it all effortless and automatic, which saves time because I don’t have to install, configure, and maintain a plugin to ensure current, working backups — they’re sent every night via email and work great. With many sites this can be a huge time-saver.
404 Alerts via email is good. Part of working online is cleaning up 404 errors for good SEO. Instead of taking the time to hunt them down manually or installing and maintaining another plugin, I add a small script to my theme’s 404.php file, so that I’m notified whenever 404 errors occur. This enables me to react swiftly to dead links, errors, and threats. Again, super-useful when working with many sites.
Rob La Gatta (Modern Tribe)
Use (S)FTP, not the WordPress theme editor. Barry Hughes, one of our head support guys on the forums, notes; “If I do make a change to a ‘live’ site, such as to it’s stylesheet or functions.php file, I always, always do so by (S)FTP as opposed to the theme editor built in to WordPress. Since human error can introduce a breaking change and you then need to fix it by FTP or other means, whereas doing it by FTP right off the bat means a fix can be delivered near instantly.”
Use WPRoller or something like it. Pretty much everyone on our team finds ourselves creating test sites frequently. When we do create a new install from scratch, we’ve got our predefined list of plugins that we include as standard to save time going forward (which usually consists of our own products, since that is what we’re testing). Most of the team still does this manually, but I’ve started whenever possible using WPRoller.
An ever-present TextEdit window. Probably the most low-tech thing you’re going to find on this list. All of us have experimented with different To-Do list apps and software. But all of those have their shortcomings, and the one solution we find ourselves reverting back to is the most simple: a small, square TextEdit window open in a dedicated corner of your screen, for tracking quick notes or action items as they emerge during the day. Despite looking deceptively simple, I cannot stress the value in using this and using it diligently.
Use some sort of text snippet solution. These are huge for everyone, since they allow us to reuse common support replies without having to retype them manually. There are a lot of options out here — since we’re all on Macs, many of the team uses TextExpander.
Paul Underwood (Paulund)
If it’s time saving in regards to development then I have a few snippets in sublime that saves me time when creating new plugins and widgets.
If it’s using WordPress then I have a plugin that I use which allows you to use the WordPress menu functionality to quickly add links to the admin toolbar.
Mark Forrester (WooThemes)
When tweeting about our blog posts we use Buffer. Not only does it allow us to schedule tweets for when the majority of our audience is online, but it also creates custom URLs, without the hassle of Google URL builder, for the tweets allowing us to track how effective our post was in terms of site traffic, and how many conversions it resulted in using our Google Analytics custom reporting.
TextExpander is a very useful tool we use when blogging, emailing or answering support tickets when we need to place a snippet of text or an image. Often in a blog post we’ll use a shortcode to display a promotional box, or particular copy we often include. With a snippet we can quickly insert it into a post with a custom keyboard shortcut. A great timesaver!
Devesh Sharma (WPKube)
For me, it is WordPress in-built schedule feature that gives me the ability to schedule blog posts, this way I can schedule a week’s worth of posts in advance. This may not be useful for you if your posting schedule is irregular. One thing I’ve learned over the last 2-3 years of running blogs is that unexpected things will come up (be it a sickness or family related work) and will take away your time from your usual routine.
If you are planning to follow this, make sure to use the Missed Schedule plugin, in case WordPress “missed schedule” error comes up.
Another time saving trick is use a high performance managed WordPress hosting, so you won’t have to worry about security, hosting errors or anything whatsoever. That being said, not everyone has the premium budget to pay for these types of services.
Pippin Williamson (Pippin’s Plugins)
I have two favorites: The User Switching plugin for testing out multi-user sites. Particularly useful on membership sites that have profiles and other front-end facing stuff, and The Duplicate Post plugin. It saves me so much time when publishing new extensions and plugins for Easy Digital Downloads.
Over To You
There you have it folks — a swathe of time saving WordPress tips from someone of the most experienced and knowledgeable WordPress users out there.
But what about you? I’m sure you’ve got your own suggestions for saving time in WordPress (not least ManageWP of course ;-)). Please add your suggestions via the comments section below!
Photo Credit: gadl