Tag Archives: WordPress

Content Creation With WordPress: 4 Essential Plugins

Content Creation With WordPress: 4 Essential Plugins

Is content creation wearing you down? Blogs are voracious. You need to feed the beast constantly. Luckily there are tools which can help, especially if you’re a WordPress blogger. Here are my four essential “content” plugins.

A word to the wise: add plugins one at a time, and don’t add too many. Delete any plugins you’re not using.

1. (free) Editorial Calendar: Know What You’re Publishing and When.

Editorial Calendar
It’s Friday afternoon. You’re finishing up the week’s work. Suddenly you realize… you haven’t blogged this week. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve got to post something to your blog within the next hour.

WordPress Editorial Calendar saves your sanity. You’ll know exactly what you’re publishing, and when – no more last-minute panics. I love that I can see my draft posts all in one place.

2. (free) WordPress SEO by Yoast: It’s a Built-in Content Checklist.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

The basics of search engine optimization (SEO) are easy enough. However, keeping them in mind when you’re fiddling around with headlines, graphics and fact checking is hard. WordPress SEO by Yoast ensures that you don’t forget optimization.

It functions as an easy checklist. You can see what a post is missing at a glance. You can even choose to hide posts and pages from the search engines, if you wish.

3. (free) Related Posts by Zemanta: the Easy Way to Add Related Posts and Images.

Related Posts
Call me shallow, but I like Related Posts by Zemanta because it makes your “related posts” look pretty. I’ve tried lots of related post plugins; Zemanta’s gets the most clickthroughs. You can see it on my Just Write a Book Blog, in the image above.

4. (free) Edit Flow: Easier Collaboration With WordPress.

Edit Flow

If you’re working on a blog with others, corralling content is frustrating, to say the least. Edit Flow makes it easy. Not only do you get a content calendar, you also get custom statuses. As content moves through the editorial process, you can change statuses with just a couple of clicks. Users can not only pitch content, but can also see which posts are in progress, and which are ready for editorial review.

So there you have it. My essential WordPress content creation plugins. If you need WordPress to do something for you, chances are that someone, somewhere has created a plugin to do it. Have fun with WordPress. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

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3 Great Writing Apps for Distraction-Free Writing

Byword app
Byword

Writing can be hard if you’re not in the mood. Great writing apps can make it easier, especially those which allow you to create a distraction-free writing environment. I’ve explored many of these apps over the years; these three are currently my favorites.

I’ve scored the apps out of a possible 5; my opinion, based on how I write, your mileage will vary.

1. Byword (Mac, iOS)

Distraction-free score – 5.

Byword is an excellent all-in-one distraction-free writing environment with an added benefit: one-click publishing to Evernote, as well as to WordPress, Tumblr and Scriptogram blogs.

Please be aware that blog publishing requires the Premium version; it’s an in-app purchase which enables Premium on all your devices.

That said, I rarely use the blog publishing option to publish directly to a blog. Byword gives you a choice of RTF and Markdown formats. I write in Markdown, then “publish” to Evernote.

If I’m writing a blog post, I copy the HTML to the clipboard so that I can paste it into WordPress. Once the text is in the WordPress editor, I SEO the post via the Yoast plugin. I’ve found that if I don’t add the meta data immediately, I procrastinate on doing it later.

2. Write.app (Web, free)

Write app

 

Write.app

Distraction-free score – 4.

I like Write.app. It’s available anywhere, on any browser, and has mobile apps for iOS and Android. You can write anything you like with Write.app, from simple notes, which are stored in note books for you on the Web, to full-length novels. Everything’s encrypted, so your notes stay private. You can make any note public, and can download your writing as a text file at any time.

If you click the full-screen icon, you’ll just see your text in a browser window, distraction-free.

Why the 4/5 score? I like to see a word count as I write, and this isn’t available in Write.app.

3. ZenPen (Web, free)

ZenPen

 

ZenPen

Distraction-free score – 5.

ZenPen is fun to use. It’s just a browser window. Delete the placeholder text – it’s a Help file – and write away. You can export to Markdown, HTML, and plain text. If you want to format, or add Markdown syntax, just highlight some text, and select from the options which pop up.

I was tempted to drop ZenPen’s score to 4 because of the lack of a word count. There’s a target word count, which you can enter, but which does nothing to let you know you’ve reached your word count goal. Maybe I missed something?

ZenPen’s gorgeous, uses Markdown, and you can use it in any browser; it gets 5 from me. :-)

Give these three writing apps a try if you’re feeling uninspired and need to write anyway. One of them may become your favorite.

, and on Twitter: @angee

WordPress 3.8 “Parker” Is Here, And It’s Gorgeous

WordPress 3.8 “Parker” Is Here, And It’s Gorgeous

If you’re a WordPress blogger, you’ve been waiting for 3.8 codenamed “Parker” with impatience. It’s finally here, right on time, and it’s gorgeous. Get the details of the changes here.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the new dashboard is sleeker. You can set the color scheme, choosing from eight styles when you first update to 3.8. If you want to change the admin color scheme after that, as I did, go to your profile page to change it.

Widgets under control: yippee!

With older versions of WordPress, widgets were a pain to manage and install. So much so, that whenever I thought of making changes, I avoided it, unless the change I wanted to make was absolutely essential. Dragging widgets to where you wanted them, even with a large monitor, was frustrating.

Now you can click on a widget, and a menu pops up, so you can add it to the widget area you want. Much more relaxing.

New theme: Twenty Fourteen, a magazine theme

I’ve been eager to try out the new default WordPress theme, Twenty Fourteen. I love Twenty Thirteen, which I use on this blog, and on my freelance writing blog.

The big benefit of using default WordPress themes? Fewer headaches. Over the years, I’ve used many commercial themes, and while some were wonderful, there were always headaches.

The holidays will be perfect for testing Twenty Fourteen for those of my blogging clients who want a good magazine theme.

So, what are you waiting for? WordPress 3.8 is here. Head for your blog’s dashboard, and install it. You’ll be enthralled. I can’t wait to explore and discover more of the changes to our beloved WordPress.

If you’re not yet a blogger,  and are wondering how to get started, here you go: Blogging Maestro helps you to become a top blogger.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Savvy WordPress Blogger? Get Ready To Fall In Love With The Barley For WordPress Plugin

Savvy WordPress Blogger? Get Ready To Fall In Love With The Barley For WordPress Plugin

I love WordPress blogging, but like most bloggers, I wish it were easier. That’s not to say that WordPress is hard once you’re used to it, but I have many blogs. The minutes you spend dithering around with the post editor mount up.

I’ve long wished I could just create a post and have it instantly appear on a blog. Another fervent wish: to be able to edit an older post, in place… right on the webpage, so I could do more with my archives.

Here’s what inspired those two wishes: my intense jealousy of Barley. Barley’s an impressive Web editor because you can create and make changes to pages, right on the page. No saving or fiddling necessary.

The green-eyed monster’s gone. The Barley people have created the Barley for WordPress plugin.

Let’s see how it works.

1. Add a new blog post in your chosen format.

I’m using Barley for WordPress on my Just Write a Book Blog. The plugin installs in the usual way. Once you’ve activated it, you’ll need to add your license key, and then you’re good to go.

Here’s where it gets fun. Forget about the dashboard. Just click the New button on the toolbar, and choose the format you want. I’m using the default WordPress Twenty Thirteen theme on this blog; it has a great range of post formats.

Add a new post

Choose your post format from the toolbar

2. Start typing: delete the placeholder text, and go.

Your new post is loaded with placeholder text. Highlight and delete the post title’s placeholder text, and type your post’s title.

Just start typing

Just start typing

Notice the little tag icon? Click it to choose a category, add tags, and a featured image.

(SEO maven? Publish your post, and then edit the post later to add a page title, description and keywords.)

3. To add headings or a link, select some text.

Adding headings or a link is easy, just select some text.

Select text to add a link

Choose an icon from the formatting box

The star icon lets you add headings, quotes, and code. If you want basic formatting, click the edit icon. The link icon lets you add a link.

4. Want to add HTML or an image? Easy

It’s simple to add items such as images, video and code. Just click the “+” button.

Adding images is easy

Click the plus button to insert items

5. Click Publish on the toolbar when you’re done.

Is your post ready? Click the Publish button on the toolbar.

Want to update an older post? Freaky…

If you want to update an older post, you’ll freak the first time you do it. (I did.)

Just start making changes, right on the webpage: delete paragraphs, or add them. Add images, and links.

Update an older post

Updating an older post? Just make any changes you want

The changes stick. There’s no “update this post” or “save” button. The first time I updated a post, I couldn’t believe that the changes were saved. (They were.)

This is a huge timesaver. If you’re been putting off going through your archives because it’s such a pain, you’ll love the Barley for WordPress plugin.

Because I have a lot of blogs – my own, as well as clients’ blogs – I’m always looking for better workflows. Anything which saves time and energy gets a huge thumbs-up from me. After using the Barley for WordPress plugin for a few hours, I’ll be adding it to all my blogs, and client blogs as well.

At the introductory price of $12 for 12 months of use, it’s a bargain. By the way, a disclaimer; I have no connection to the Barley people (kudos to them!) I simply like this plugin. You may too.

 Want to kick your blogging up a notch?

Love the idea of a four-hour workweek? You can make it so. Become a part-time, or full-time blogger. It’s fun, and once you have a method, it doesn’t take much time.

, and on Twitter: @angee

WordPress Blogging: Here Comes Twenty Fourteen (ooh, the Excitement)

WordPress Twenty Fourteen

WordPress Twenty Fourteen

If you’re a keen WordPress blogger, as I am, you’re looking forward to the next release of WordPress, version 3.8. This version is due on December 12.

I’m excited about the new default theme, Twenty Fourteen, which you can see in the image above:

Twenty Fourteen is intended to be a magazine style default theme, so having an easy way to promote featured content is important. The theme was originally intended to work hand-in-hand with the “Featured Content” plugin that is being developed for 3.8. As it is yet unclear if that plugin will be ready, the team opted to implement a “featured content” tag instead, which can now be found in the Customizer.

Some of my clients want magazine-style themes, so this will be perfect for them.

I’m looking forward to creating a new blog for self-publishers, and Twenty Fourteen will be excellent for that, too.

Unfortunately, Twenty Fourteen might not make it in 3.8; we might need to wait a bit longer. As Sarah says: “The theme’s inclusion in 3.8 is dependent upon how many things can be accomplished during the crunch time before the merge window closes tomorrow.”

Whenever it arrives, it’s a brilliant inclusion into WordPress.

BTW, I’m now doing blogging consults. They’re at an introductory price for a short time. So do get in touch if you’d like some help with your blogging.

Blogging Consult: Fast and Easy, with Powerful Results

If you’re thinking “my blog’s driving me crazy!” Here’s the solution, a blogging consult. Tell me what the challenge is, and we’ll fix it. You may have challenges with: creating your first blog, developing content, using social media, getting traffic… it doesn’t matter. This is your one-stop solution for RESULTS.

Consults via emails, phone and Skype: guaranteed solutions. (Introductory offer for a limited time.)


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, and on Twitter: @angee

Google+ Fan? Get Better Integration With Your WordPress Blog

Jetpack

Jetpack WordPress plugin: the Swiss army knife of plugins

Jetpack just announced version 2.5 of its WordPress plugin. Features include Google+ integration, VideoPress (you need a WordPress.com Premium account) and Facebook Embeds.

By the way, if you’re not using Jetpack, why not? It’s free and brought you you by the wonderful people who created WordPress, so what’s not to love?

Jetpack has a MILE of options. We’ve mentioned Post by Email, one of my favorites, but there are many more. You don’t need to use all the options of course, just use the ones which make the most sense for your blog.

I’m thrilled with Google+ integration via Jetpack; I’ve been waiting for it for a while, and now it’s here.

How to integrate your blog with Google+ via Jetpack

In your WordPress Dashboard, go to Jetpack/ Publicize/ Configure.

You’ll see that you can promote your blog posts via several sites, including Facebook and Twitter. At the bottom of the list, you’ll see your Google+ Profile, as in the image below.

Google+1

Just click, and WordPress will link your blog to your Google+ account. (If you haven’t signed up to Google+ do that first.)

Then you’ll see that your Google+ account is now connected, as in the image below.

2013-09-20_05-55-25

From then on, you’ll see a link to your Google+ profile at the bottom of your posts, with a Follow button, as in the image below.

sharing

Very nifty. :-)

Stop the Excuses, and BLOG! (Even if you think you have no time)

blogwords500

You’re not blogging? Why not?

That’s your excuse, you don’t have time? Consider making time. Blogging may just be the most important thing you can do for your business, going forward. There are endless reasons you need a blog.

Consider these stats, from The Next Web:

  • 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly which, by itself, is still an impressive result (HubSpot)

  • 59% of B2B marketers rate blogs as the most effective content marketing tactic (CMI)

  • Blogging champions as the #1 method for increasing traffic, with SEO in second place (HubSpot)

  • B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not (Inside View)

  • Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links (Hubspot)

No matter what kind of business you have, blogging is worth the time it takes. Moreover, you don’t need much time to blog. You can blog on the go.

How to blog on the go

I do much of my blogging away from my computer. I’m more creative out of the office than in it. If you get frazzled and distracted, consider that you can blog anywhere.

Use Evernote to blog in your car, at the supermarket, while waiting for your kids…

Evernote lets you blog anywhere. You can set up templates for various kinds of blog posts, or just create notes as you think of them. You can create image and audio notes: I get some of my best ideas while I’m walking Honey, my Jack Russell.

Got a WordPress blog? Use WordPress for iOS

ioswordpress

WordPress has its own app:

WordPress has never been quite so mobile before. Designed for both iPhone/iPod Touch and the iPad, WordPress for iOS makes it easy to share photos, write posts, and edit your content while on the go. Download it from the App Store today.

The app is fun to use, and best of all, you can edit and moderate comments, from your phone or iPad.

Other ways to blog on the go

There are endless apps which help you to blog on the go.

These are my favorites, and they’re free.

Google+ app

Use your Google+ stream just as you do in your browser, and add the photos you take directly to events.

* Pinterest app

Clever, because you can pin images you find on the Web, and from your camera too.

* Hootsuite for iOS and Android

All the social media tools you love, on the go.

Blogging needn’t be a chore, and it certainly doesn’t take a lot of time. It can be the best thing you’ll ever do for you business. So stop the excuse — try some of these easy ways to blog anywhere, and everywhere. Have fun. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee

WordPress Blogger? New Media Explorer Coming Up

Add media

Add media

Happy days if you’re blogging on WordPress.com, lucky you! You can now  search for and embed tweets and YouTube videos at a click.

The WordPress blog says:

Using the Media Explorer, you can now insert tweets and YouTube videos without ever leaving WordPress.

This tool lets you search Twitter and YouTube from inside the “Insert Media” window in your WordPress.com Dashboard, which makes it easy to find and embed relevant Tweets and videos in your posts and pages.

I tried it out on my WordPress.com blog.

It’s easy. Just click the Add Media button when you’re creating a new post (as in the image above).

Insert a tweet

 

On the Insert Media page, just click Insert Tweet, or Insert YouTube. In the above image, I clicked on Insert Tweet/ By User.

3byuser

As you can see above, recent tweets by user @angee (me) appear.

Click on the tweet you want to insert, then click the Insert Into Post button.

You’ll just see a link, until the post is previewed or published.

Here’s the preview of the tweet in the post:

4preview

 

As you can see, the tweet is embedded in the post.

Sadly, Media Explorer is not yet available on self-hosted WordPress blogs

Techcrunch reports:

The tool is immediately available for WordPress.com and WordPress.com VIP users, and is coming soon to self-hosted WordPress blogs through Jetpack.

I love this new way of inserting other media into WordPress. It works brilliantly; you can search for what you want within your blog.

Fingers crossed it comes to self-hosted blogs soon. Love WordPress… :-)