20 Mar How Writers Can Make the Most of WordPress in 2019
WordPress first came to prominence as the blogger’s platform. Anyone, no matter their circumstances or level of experience, could start sharing their ideas, thoughts and opinions with the world. And though it has since become the most widely-used CMS of any kind, supporting well over 50% of all trackable sites, it remains the ideal choice for writers.
But simply using WordPress will only get you so far — you also need to make the most of it. You need to understand where its greatest strengths lie, which plugins will best help you write and edit your content, and how you can use your WordPress site to bolster your personal brand.
To that end, let’s take a look at how you can take full advantage of using WordPress as the foundation for your writing activity and career:
Get familiar with the Gutenberg editor
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Released last year, WordPress 5.0 brought some significant changes with it, including a totally revamped editor. Titled Gutenberg, it was designed to more smoothly support rich content, making it faster and easier to create attractive and modern blog posts. However, the shift wasn’t made mandatory: anyone wanting to use the classic editor could continue doing so.
Whether you’ve stuck to the classic editor the whole time, or you’ve simply not paid that much attention to what Gutenberg is capable of, there’s a lot to be gained from reading up on its full potential. Check out this guide to learn about its block-based system, and what it brings to the table — the better you get with it, the more rapidly you’ll be able to create your content.
Polish your technical SEO
WordPress has great SEO functionality from the outset, but it gets even better when you add the Yoast SEO plugin to the mix, giving you access to clear and actionable information about how your posts are likely to perform in search. To get the most traffic for each post, remember to set clear metadata, build around primary keywords, and target readability.
Beyond that, you’ll also need to study your site’s analytics to see how your posts are performing. You might find that an unexpected topic is getting a lot of attention, for instance, giving you direction for your future writing. Something like the DashMetrics dashboard can be extremely handy for getting at-a-glance data.
Anyone aspiring to thrive as a writer in the digital world needs to understand the importance of social media. Just one post shared across several top social networks at the right time can produce a huge amount of traffic, all for a very minimal time investment. And while you can certainly promote your own content, it’s typically more effective to encourage readers to carry out the promotion for you.
This comes down to making it as easy as possible to share your articles, which means fleshing out your content with simple social sharing buttons. Here’s a good selection of social sharing templates, or you can find a suitable plugin to handle everything for you, with one excellent example being Sassy Social Share.
Join the WordPress community
As a digital writer, you’re likely to already be a member of at least one writing community (something like Jericho Writers, for example), so you should have some experience interacting with online groups. Why not use it? Whether you’re interested in development, eager to spread the word about the virtues of the platform, or curious about working on plugins, you can become a part of the Make WordPress community.
What direction you take as part of the greater WordPress community is up to you, but you’ll certainly find a lot of value in conversing with other writers using WordPress (which should be most of them, realistically). You might end up with more WordPress-specific writing tips — and plugin suggestions — than you know what to do with.
There are occasional exceptions (typically from giant brands with money to spend on massive resources), but in most cases it’s true that consistent scheduling is a core part of achieving online success with your writing. After all, Google prefers websites that are updated regularly — it shows that they’re active, and thus worth revisiting.
Now, it’s extremely challenging to produce enough content to fill a solid content calendar, but the actual scheduling isn’t challenging at all. WordPress makes it simple to schedule a post: once you’ve finished your draft, you can look to the Publish box and click on “Edit” next to “Publish immediately”: select the date you’re looking for, then click the “Schedule” button, and it’ll be ready to go live when the time arrives.
Well, there are you: some general tips for how to take advantage of WordPress for your writing career. If you can start using it more optimally, you can get through content faster, attract more views, and network with like-minded professionals. Isn’t that something worth putting time towards?