How to Blog Like a Pro + Save Time with these WordPress Hacks
Want to learn how to blog like a pro? Me too!
A blog post goes through so many different stages before it gets published yet, the Pro’s still manage to whack out utterly epic content week in and week out without ever breaking a sweat!
So how do they do it?
There are so many ways to blog like a pro. Most involve outsourcing different stages of creation for example:
- Researching topics
- Copy editing
Some will even outsource the whole shebang! While others will source contributors to write guest posts for them. But that’s not really what this article is about.
This is for the Solopreneur who doesn’t yet have the resources to outsource but wants to learn how to become a more efficient blogger.
And while this article won’t teach you to be a better writer, you will learn how to significantly cut down the time you spend getting that blog post polished, ready for publishing with some quick + easy WordPress tips and tricks. Some of them might even be life changing!
Blog like a Pro with these tips that just keep on giving.
Pro bloggers set themselves to up to win by creating an effective + efficient workflow and wherever possible, automating repetitive tasks. Here are 3, five minute tasks that’ll save you time, every time you open a new post. So when you come to writing + formatting your post, that’s all you’ll need to focus on. That’s why I call them, the tips that keep on giving!
Set default category
One thing that fires me up in all the wrong ways is seeing blog posts listed as “uncategorized”. It shows that you haven’t put much thought into your websites content structure.
The purpose of categories is to make it easier for your visitors to find what they need based on topic rather than the default sorting method which shows posts in the order they were published. So you might think “uncategorized” is a pretty good “catch all” category but really, it’s about as useful as a car with no gas.
My job is to simplify the internet by making websites more useful so “uncategorized” needs to go! And there are 2 ways to go about it. Choose your method below:
Method 1 is perfect if you don’t have any categories set up right now.
WordPress attaches a category to each post you publish so if you don’t set a category, your post will be listed in the dreaded “uncategorized” category. Now, all would be peachy if you could delete that category but since you can’t, we’re simply going to change the name.
Method 2 is ideal if you’ve already got categories set up – kudos to you!
From the left menu of your WordPress dashboard navigate to Settings > Writing
Then change the Default Post Category from “uncategorized” to the category you use most.
Did you see that? The internet just got a lot more useful thanks to you!
Set perfect image sizes for your blog
Spending time resizing images for your blog posts isn’t the best use of your time. Did you know, you can set the ideal size for your images within the WordPress dashboard? Spend less than 5 minutes now and you’ll never have to fiddle around, trying to make your images fit perfectly again!
Simply navigate to Settings > Media from the left hand menu of your WordPress dashboard and set the dimensions for Thumbnail, Medium + Large image sizes.
Not sure how this will save you time? Read tip: Adding image to blog post.
Optimize your post editing screen
Take a look at your post editing screen (Posts > Add new) and be honest, how much of those options are relevant to you? I can almost guarantee there’s a few you’ve never used!
How would you like to clear this screen of all the junk to create a useful + efficient work space? Oh, I like the way you think!
Navigate to Posts > Add new Post and click “Screen Options”
I bet you’ve glazed over this tab a million times before huh!?
Then simply check or uncheck any of the options you’d like to be displayed on your post editing screen. Vital options for this page are:
- Featured Image
- If you don’t have an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO then you’ll want to make sure that Excerpt is checked too.
Blog like a Pro with these time saving formatting tips.
Now that you’ve added some zen to your work space and tweaked a few settings, it’s time to look at ways that will cut your formatting time in half! I can almost guarantee you’re not maximizing your use of these WordPress features.
Distraction free writing space
As you’ve seen, there’s lot’s going on in the post editor screen and sometimes all that noise is not conducive to writing epic content. Now, you might have noticed in the screen options (previous tip) the “Enable full-height editor and distraction-free functionality” option?
If you keep this checked everything except your editor will magically vanish as you begin writing to create a space that let’s you focus on what’s important, content.
Another way to get to this by clicking the “Distraction-free writing mode” button as shown in the image.
Add new image to blog post
I bet you’re wasting time adding images to your post by using the “Add media” button huh?
Blog like a pro + save yourself a few clicks by placing your cursor wherever you want your new image to go.
Then find the image you want to add in your computer files and drag it directly into the post.
This action will start uploading the new image and open up the media options where you can add the all important title and alt tag.
Next you can choose which size you want the image to be (you optimized this in the second tip of this post.) Choose from the options, thumbnail, medium, large or full size then click “Insert into post” and your image will magically appear wherever your cursor was.
Creating headings using the WordPress Editor drop down menu is so inefficient especially when you can bypass the editor tools completely! Format headings like a boss in one of 2 ways:
- Use the “#” sign – ##This is Heading 2 or ###This is Heading 3. You get the picture. Click enter and it will transform into the heading of your choosing. Go ahead and try it!
- Or, simply place your cursor anywhere on the line you want to change to a heading then: CTRL + ALT + the corresponding heading number. Ie; CTRL + ALT + 2 becomes Heading 2
Ain’t it magic!
Again, bypassing the editor tools is the surest way to save time formatting your blog posts because setting bullet points is stupidly simple.
- Unordered list – Enter symbol “-” or “*” then hit the space bar.
- Ordered list – Enter number “1.” or “1)” then hit the space bar.
Who would’ve thought huh?!
Adding text links
All my posts include relevant links so I save a lot of time with this trick!
- Highlight the piece of text you want to link to.
- For Mac Users: CMD + k
- For Windows/Linux Users: CTRL + k
Then you can either paste in the URL if you have it or if you’re linking to your own content, start typing keywords to find the relevant post. How smart is that!
Open link in new tab
Make sure to check “Open link in new tab” so your website stays open when you’re linking to other websites.
Maybe you’re beginning to see a pattern here and you’d be right for thinking that it has something to do with shortcut keys. Would you believe me if I told you, you could format an entire post without using the any of the editor tools?
WordPress has a bunch of keyboard shortcuts tucked away in the editor dashboard and learning just a few will see you formatting posts faster than ever.
I know it’s impossible to learn them all at once but if you really want to blog like a pro, just find the ones you’ll use most and make a point to use them to edit your next blog post.
Paste as text
I draft all my blog posts in Google Docs so I can work on them anywhere.
However, pasting content directly into WordPress from other processors adds in funky code that can wreck havoc which + double the time spent formatting.
To avoid this use the “Paste as text” option to strip out all that nasty code.
Copy content from Google Docs > Click “Paste as text” > Paste your content directly into the editor > then click “Paste as text” again.
Bye bye nasty code!
Embed different forms of media from other sites
Have you been using shortcodes, iframes + other code to embed media from around the web? Well you’re going to love this!
You actually don’t need any code to add videos from YouTube to your site! And not just YouTube, but tons of other places around the web! Check out this list of supported sites.
WordPress makes it super easy to embed media by grabbing the media link and pasting it onto a new line directly in your WordPress Editor. This will embed the content directly into your site!
Even if your site doesn’t use featured images in it’s layout, you should still make sure to include an image for every post + page. Here’s why:
The featured image is actually the image some of the major social platforms (think: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus) pull in whenever a link from your site is shared on their platforms.
If it hasn’t happened already, there will come a time where you’ll be ahead of your game with multiple posts ready to go all at once. And when this happens my friend (*high five*), you’ll feel super accomplished using WordPress’ built-in scheduler.
Simply click “Edit” (found next to “Publish immediately”)
Related Post: 120 ways to promote your blog post
You see, becoming a pro blogger is within reach for everyone because it really comes down to being efficient + getting the most out of the tools you have. And with these tips + tricks under your belt, you’re halfway there!
Do you have any blogging tips that make you more efficient? I’d love to hear about them! Share them with us in the comments below.
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