There are numerous essential features provided by WordPress, and mastering them will greatly increase your workflow and overall output of your online content management.
Content management systems, such as WordPress, have become essential to easily create and manage content for websites. Although WordPress has helped users easily manage website content, many are still unaware of how to fully take advantage of the available WordPress Features.
In this article we will be looking into 15 handy WordPress features you should know and use often in order to take your WordPress experience to the next level.
- WordPress is one of the most commonly used content management systems on the market.
- With the right knowledge, WordPress can be a huge gamechanger for creating and managing your websites.
- There are hundreds of WordPress features; these features are either in-built or available as plugins.
- WordPress features are easy to understand and implement.
- The more WordPress features you learn, the smoother your workflow becomes.
Background On WordPress and The Market Share
WordPress is an online open-source content management system (CMS) that allows you to manage and build websites. Initially created in 2003 as a blog-publishing system in its entirety, WordPress has now evolved to contain plugin architecture and a template system, thus allowing you to customize any website to fit your business, mailing lists, blog, portfolio, or online store.
Ever since its inception, WordPress has grown to be one of the more popular content management softwares available with over a 64% share in the global CMS market and with over 1000 WordPress sites built each day.
Graph showing the dominance of WordPress in the Content Management System Market against all other competitors.
WordPress Features You Should Use More Often
1. Widget Accessibility Mode
WordPress comes with an accessibility mode for widgets, making it easier to add multiple widgets to the sidebar without dragging and dropping them.
WordPress offers users a lot of widgets to select from, each having their specific functionality. Ideally, preferred widgets can just be dragged and dropped into the sidebar using the mouse or trackpad. This is an easy stress-free process if you are looking to just add one or two widgets to the sidebar.
But if you need to add multiple widgets, then Widget accessibility mode is best.
2. Distraction-free Writing Mode
With numerous WordPress features present on-screen at a particular time, your workspace can begin to look cluttered and messy. These distractions can become a massive disadvantage to a writer that is looking to get work done quickly. WordPress provides a distraction-free writing mode available on its native editor that allows you to hide all other options present on-screen except the content editor.
To enable this feature - Go to any post or edit page and simply click the icon located in the top-right hand corner of the editor (directly under the ‘visual’ and ‘text’ tabs).
Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut feature (which we will talk more about later)
- “Shift+Alt+W” on Windows OS and “Shift+Option+W” on macOS ,while on the content editor.
If you need the options back, move your cursor over to the far right or far left, and all the options will reappear.
3. Keyboard Shortcuts:
Writing and editing articles can prove to be very tedious at times. To combat this, WordPress provides a multitude of keyboard shortcuts that allow users to work faster and more efficiently in the editor.
The sheer amount of keyboard shortcuts might be intimidating, but the more you use them, the more they become part of your everyday tools, ultimately leading to a faster output.
WordPress supports all standard Ctrl/Cmd commands which should work across your browser and operating system (such as Ctrl/Cmd+V to paste a copied text).
Classic editor users can also try the following commands:
Alt+Shift+C – Align center
Alt+Shift+M – Insert image
Alt+Shift+O – Order list
Alt+Shift+U – Unorder list
Alt+Shift+W – Distraction-free writing mode
4. Screen Options
Having so many available features is one of the best things about using WordPress. However, the overabundance of WordPress features can prove to be distracting and overwhelming.
By using the “screen options” tool located at the top of some of your pages in the admin area, you can easily disable and hide items cluttering up the admin screen you are currently viewing.
To access these features, click on Screen Options to bring up a drop-down menu, allowing you to simplify your admin screen to fit your tastes.
5. Drag and Drop Photo Uploads
Another handy WordPress feature that can help shave off a ton of work hours is the drag-and-drop feature of adding photos. Usually, when you want to upload an image into your WordPress you would click “Upload” and then painstakingly begin to browse through the files on your computer until you find the right one.
With this feature you can cut through all the hassle:
- Go to the “Media Library” where your images are stored,
- Drag the image from your computer and drop the image into your browser.
- You can also decide to drag the images one at a time or as a group.
The images will then be automatically uploaded, even without clicking the “Upload Files” tab. After uploading the image, WordPress offers additional features to help you edit the image.
6. Image Editor
Other than easily uploading images into your WordPress workspace, you can also easily edit images. Although the editor is not as versatile as other image editors on the market, it still allows you to complete simple editing techniques, such as: Crop, Rotate, Scale and Flip.
- To edit an image, simply go to Media > Library.
- Click on the image you want to edit. And then, click on the “Edit Image” button located directly below the image.
Make sure to click “Save” after you are finished editing.
7. Embed Different Types of Content
Since the introduction of WordPress 5.0, adding content into your WordPress site, by embedding, has been made easier using the WordPress block editor.
Due to security reasons, WordPress can only embed content from certain sites. WordPress will automatically embed the content for you when you simply paste a URL from one of the supported sites.
This feature allows you to easily add content from other social media platforms, as opposed to manually adding video players to play particular videos or adding screenshots of tweets.
In addition, WordPress now allows you to paste a URL from another WordPress site into your post and WordPress will automatically embed the post for you.
8. Easy Pagination Features
If your blog post or article is presented in a huge block of text, you might be discouraging readers from your posts and you may not even know it. When your articles are getting too long, it is a good idea to break the post into bite-sized chunks by splitting them up into numerous pages.
WordPress offers a handful of pagination features that allows you to easily create new pages.
- Navigate to the “Code Editor” and select it.
- Now, simply add <!–nextpage–> tag in your post and WordPress will split it into two pages.
- If you wish to split the pages further, just add the tag again.
9. Sticky Post Feature
Most users tend to sort their blogs chronologically. Whenever a new post is made, the last post gets pushed further down. As such only recent posts are present on the front page.
This can be annoying especially if you have a particular post you want people to always see when they come to your page. Thanks to the “Sticky Post” tool, this can easily be fixed.
Say for instance you have a post you would like new visitors to see (for example a post that went viral or one that showcases your writing skills perfectly), you can easily make it a sticky post.
- Open the post that you want to make sticky
- Go to the Publish box
- Click on “Edit” (next to the “Visibility” icon)
- You will get a drop-down list with an option that says “Stick this post to the front page” when you select visibility to Public.
- Check the option, and click OK. After this, the post will be in the pole position.
10. Quickly Paste URLs To Add Links
Inserting hyperlinks is a very simple task. WordPress has devised a way to make this task far easier than it already is.
Instead of using a popup to paste a link, they can just select the text and press CTRL+V (Command+V on mac) to paste the URL. The visual editor automatically converts it into a link.
Try it yourself: Simply copy a link into your clipboard, highlight the text you want to link from, then simply paste in the URL directly without creating a pop-up.
11. Plain Text Pasting Option:
Some of the most primary tools used by every writer are the copy and paste tools. They help writers save a lot of time. However, copy and pasting content across different websites could be troublesome when the format of the source text is not the same format that you are typing in. This results in mismatched texts in your article.
WordPress features an option located in the post editor which can easily solve this problem and it is called the Plain Text Pasting Option.
- Navigate to the Toolbar Toggle to open up the other options
- In the extended menu, you will see a button shaped like a clipboard with a T on it.
- Click on this icon to paste the content as plain text
12. The Categories and Tags Converter
Your WordPress website’s structure will evolve over time. As you learn more about how to arrange your website, you’ll uncover new methods to make it easier for users to find content such as using categories and tags.
To do this, you may need to convert some categories on your website into tags (and vice versa). This procedure can assist in restructuring how your blog’s pages and posts are presented to readers.
To find the Categories and Tags Converter,
- Navigate to the Tools menu and select “Import”
- Select convert “Categories to Tags” or “Tags to Categories”, depending on which process you want to carry out.
- Select the tags or categories you wish to convert,
- Click the “Convert” button, after which WordPress will begin the conversion.
13. Import Data
You might be interested in moving your blog from another site to WordPress, or alternatively, you might already be a WordPress user who wants to move their blog from one WordPress to another. But if you don’t know how to carry out this tricky process, one false move and you may lose important content. Not to worry, WordPress has got you covered.
Thanks to the “Import Data” feature, you can easily import data into your new WordPress site.
- Go to “Tools” > “Import”, over here you will see a list of import options.
- Select the option that is best suited for you.
For example, if you are switching from a Blogger platform to WordPress, select “Blogger” from the import option. It will then install the specific plugin. After which you can begin to import your content into WordPress from the Blogger platform.
14. Automatically Close Comment Section
Many bloggers turn off the comments on their older posts because it can be a major source of spam and unwanted comments. On the other hand, you might not want to turn off individual comments on each of your older posts because that might be stressful and time-consuming.
In order to save time and reduce the stress involved with this process, WordPress offers an in-built solution to this problem that helps you automatically close the comment sections on your older posts.
- Go to “Settings” > “Discussion” and look for “Other comment settings”.
- Here you can choose to disable the comments after a certain number of days that the article has been up.
15. Preview Themes
Did you know you can preview themes on your WordPress without activating them?
Many users worry that changing their WordPress theme may bring unforeseen consequences and because of this they totally avoid the theme section.
You can preview a theme, to see what your WordPress will look like, without actually activating said theme.
- After installing your theme, go to “Appearance” > “Themes” page.
- Take your cursor to the newly installed theme’s thumbnail and then click on the “Open Live” button.
WordPress will proceed to launch the theme customizer showing a preview of your website using the new theme. You can then decide to activate the theme if you wish.
Web Development Features of WordPress
1. Voice Search
As technology continues to expand, more and more developers are beginning to prioritize increasing the ease users feel over everything else. One avenue where this is most apparent is in the integration of voice search into most programs.
Now that smartphones have become a part of our daily lives, a lot of people tend to search online by using voice commands. As most developers begin to recognize the relevance of this feature, WordPress has now followed suite by introducing the “Voice Activation Dialog Navigation” plugin, to integrate the voice search command into their platform.
2. Custom Content Types
Custom content types are another handy WordPress web development feature. Creating custom post types allows you to keep your custom content types separate from your regular blog posts.
WordPress offers different in-built post types directly into its software. These include: Blog posts, Pages, Attachments, Navigation menus and Revisions.
Utilizing custom post types efficiently can easily help your website standout because it gives you room to express your creativity. Book reviews, Photo albums and event calendars are just a few of the many possibilities custom post types provide.
3. Two-Factor Authentication
In order to increase user security, the option for two-factor authentication is now included in WordPress.
- Navigate to the “Two-Factor Options” section under “Users” > “Your Profile” to activate one or more two-factor authentication providers for your account.
These providers include:
- Email codes
- Time Based One-Time Passwords (TOTP)
- FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F)
- Backup Codes.
Providing these codes can help you to easily retrieve your account in case of a security breach. At the same time the two-factor authentication feature helps to protect your account from outsiders who might be looking to log into it.
4. Live Chat and Chatbots
Another feature that is beginning to grow in popularity on the internet is the provision of chatbots and a live chat option. This is a particularly helpful feature because it allows the consumers of the product to feel safe and at ease knowing that any issue they may face can be easily addressed and solved by consulting the chatbots.
The live chat feature also helps to enhance user engagement and activity leading to an increased user experience. WordPress has made it possible to implement a live chat option by just activating the required plugin.
5. Augmented Reality
A futuristic feature offered by WordPress web development is the option to use Augmented reality to elevate user experience. This feature allows users to utilize virtual reality elements in order to carry out different activities.
For example, if a customer needs furniture for their new home, they can use the augmented reality feature present on the online furniture retail store to create a 3D representation of the furniture right there in their empty house. This will help the customer to get an idea of how the desired furniture would fit in the house.
By the same token, augmented reality is an essential element for WordPress sites. The AR for WordPress plugin will allow you to publish 3D models of your products in an Augmented Reality view to give your customers a more interactive experience on your website.
6. In-built News and Blogging
WordPress offers integrated blogging and category management for blogs by swiftly modifying content as needed. Using the brand-new, cutting-edge block-based editor called Gutenberg, you can now continuously add news articles straight from your browser.
In the Gutenberg editor, essential elements such as images, headings, paragraphs, videos and audios are all divided into blocks. The importance of these blocks is that it allows you a wide range of flexibility when adding content types into your posts.
In addition to the aforementioned features, you can include separators, in-post widgets, columns, embeds and many other content types into your posts as you like.
7. Custom Design
WordPress now allows users to embrace their creative side and design their website past the scope of existing themes.
This new feature will allow you to design your website with not only the specialized themes on the platform but by making use of the millions of plugins and custom themes, you will get unlimited options to design your website to your utmost satisfaction.
The creative freedom this feature brings will allow you to design your website in such a way that is most visually appealing for visitors. This way you can be rest assured that the moment someone visits your site they will have a wonderful user experience.
WordPress is a versatile platform that enables you to create original and engaging content. It contains many helpful features that are often overlooked. These are just a few features you should become familiar with in order to maximize your WordPress capabilities and to make using the platform much more enjoyable.
- The more you practice using these features, the better.
- WordPress continuously develops new features to make tasks even more efficient.
- Regularly update your WordPress and read the patch notes to learn about newly added features.
If you want to apply the information you’ve just read, but don’t know where to start, try following these instructions:
- Identify the features listed that you had no clue about before you read this article and begin practicing.
- Start off by using features that you only need to activate once and those that work behind the scenes (such as the sticky post feature and closing the comment section automatically).
- Experiment with features which may enhance your workspace for you to create content more efficiently ( the widget accessibility mode, distraction-free mode, etc).
- The keyboard shortcut feature is one which you should make use of anytime you are typing. The more you use the keyboard shortcuts, the easier they will be to recall.
- The same also goes for the pagination tool also. Try practicing this feature by typing a long post to get a feel of it.
- How to install WordPress
- How to use WordPress: A beginner’s guide to building a WordPress Website
- How To Install a WordPress Theme In 3 Ways
- What are WordPress Widgets? What They Are and How to Use Them
- What Are WordPress Plugins And How To Manage Them?
- WordPress keyboard shortcuts
Is WordPress Free?
WordPress itself is a free, open-source web software but to use it, you will need to purchase a web hosting plan. You may find hosting for as little as $1 per month on a shared hosting plan.
Is WordPress available in my language?
WordPress is most likely available in your language. WordPress translations are currently available in 169 locales, with 10 of them being 100% up to date.
Do I need to know how to code to use WordPress?
You do not need to know how to code to use WordPress. Since there are many feature-rich themes and plugins made available to make modifying your website easier, you need not know how to code.