WordPress Features You Probably Didn’t Know Existed
To paraphrase the rappers Young Gunz, WordPress can’t stop and won’t stop…updating its platform, a dedication to excellence which might explain why WP basically powers every website known to man. But each time the team at Automattic unleashes an update, existing features get improved and new features get added. Since the start of 2021, WP has released 27 updates of various dimensions, an average of over two per month.
That’s a whole lot of improvement to stay on top of. New tools to work with, new functionalities to master, new formatting to digest. Gutenberg, WP’s block editing feature, in particular, has a maze of shortcuts, workarounds, and hacks, and often they’re nested inside menus you probably have never looked twice at.
The time has come to take a second look at WordPress’s most overlooked features. Many can save you time and decrease your stress levels…so let’s see what’s cooking in these updates.
No More Clutter
Getting rid of clutter is one way to free up space in our overburdened minds. Distractions abound everywhere our eyes roam, but WP has some neat tricks to get its users into zen-like tranquility.
One way to cleanse clutter on WP is through “distraction-free writing,” or a mode that lets you write in WP without an omnipresent toolbar or a sidebar that eats up 20% of your screen. Writing is best done in a headspace free from mental invasion. All you need to do is turn on the fullscreen mode and disable the sidebar. It’ll feel like you’re in a shack by Walden Pond.
But you shouldn’t stop there. Other features let you clean up your WP page through customization. One of the best things about WordPress is how easy it is to shape into your own vision, but customization comes with a plethora of choices you have to make. You don’t want UI to become a maze that users have to wander through. The Screen Options dropdown menu lets you stay lean and mean, on the frontend and the backend. Disable the features you don’t want or need.
In the same vein, if you’re a Gutenberg user, you can hide blocks that you’ll never use, ones that are designed for niche situations. The Block Manager menu will let you get rid of Gutenberg block clutter.
Don’t Let Your Blog Get Bleak
Your WP blog can be an important conduit to an increase of customers. Because of Google’s ranking system, your web page needs a stream of fresh content. But sometimes that means a blog post you think is vital can get pushed down the chronological list as you add new posts.
But now you can make certain posts sticky by pinning it to the top position of your list. The post you want everyone to see will stay in that prime real estate.
Speaking of posts, you can now limit post revisions. Each time somebody makes even a minor tweak, that version gets saved to your database and very quickly you can run out of space. You can set a limit to any number of revisions that get saved…or you can turn off revisions. Then no one can mess with your masterpiece.
Speaking of turning things off, old blog posts can become fertile ground for spammers, hackers, and crackpots. Turning off comments for posts is a feature that is built directly into WP. You can set a certain number of days for comments to be disabled, and that way you don’t have to remember to do it manually. Your brain can only keep so many things straight. Don’t let your blog become a haven for has-beens with an ax to grind.
Image Is Everything
WP resizes all uploaded images into three different sizes: thumbnail, medium, and large. Sometimes you might find this useful, but there could be moments when it might be annoying, especially if the resized images are taking up too much space on your site.
You can turn off this feature in Media Settings.
Since image is everything, there’s a new feature in WP that lets you drag-and-drop the image you want without having to go through the Upload process. Again, saving steps is saving time. For example, if you’re writing in the WordPress Editor, you can drag-and-drop the image you want where you want it.
Finally, WP has added Responsive Page Previews so that you can see how your page would look on a computer monitor, a tablet, and a phone. Getting your web page to fit properly into these three different landscapes is vitally important, because you can’t afford to launch your WP website and have it look wonky on an iPhone.
Every Second Counts
The theme that connects many of these new WP features is every second counts. Many of the features shave off seconds, but seconds add up to minutes which add up to your life. Thus, there are a slew of keyboard shortcuts and slash commands. The keyboard shortcuts might take some habitual use to completely memorize, but you can Alt + Shift your way to making Editor a breeze.
By the same token, embedding content from an external source is now very simple and time-saving. You add an Embed block and then paste the link you want to embed into it. No more taking screenshots and inserting images.
Hyperlinking text has also been modified so that the process is a short and sweet one. You copy a link, highlight the text you want to be linked, and then paste the URL. The highlighted words magically become your anchor text. Again, this is going to save you a few seconds and make your life easier.