Five Little-known Features in WordPress to Make Managing Your Site Easier

WASHINGTON, DC – WordPress Experts

If you have a WordPress-powered website, you probably login to the backend Dashboard every day to perform recurring tasks. Well, there are probably a few things you’re not aware of, or might not be completely familiar with. Hopefully this blog post will show you how to manage your WordPress website is more easily and efficiently.

Screen Options

Hidden at the top of the page, to the right, just below the top bar in the Dashboard is a collapsible menu called “Screen Options”. This menu actually has different content depending on which screen you’re viewing in WordPress backend. Basically, the role of this button is to allow you to determine which options and/or should be available for editing on this page. This can be helpful for several reasons: for instance, let’s say you have a ton of plugins installed and your admin backend is starting to feel bloated. You probably don’t use all of those plugins all the time, and some you might not use more than every once in a while. This feature allows you to pick and choose which blocks, some of which are added by those plugins, are displayed on which pages. Another thing it does is it helps you manage which fields are disabled on content edit pages. For instance, if you do not regularly set a featured image on your posts, you can uncheck the checkbox called “Featured Image”. When you enable or disable something, it will be effective immediately and the setting will be retained when you refresh the page. This feature has other options too, such as Screen Layout. On the New Post screen, for instance, you can choose for the boxes to be displayed in either 2 columns (default) or 1 column. This feature can be used to give you a custom, barebones interface so that you only see what matters to you.

Help Menu

If you’re new to WordPress or just want to know more about what functionality can be done on a given page in WordPress, the Help menu is for you. It’s located right next to the Screen Options tab. This tab will drop down and provide you with information on a variety of items specific to the page you’re on. And if that’s not enough, there are even links on the right that lead to even further information. Many plugins even provide help content so that you can be sure you know all of the abilities provided by each one and can perform the actions efficiently and confidently. Of course, Google is a great way to find help in a bind, but this tab allows you to learn and solve common issues, potentially all without leaving the page you’re on!

Hide the Top Bar on Front-end Pages

When you log in, a black bar appears at the top of the screen, both on the front-end—when you’re viewing the actual website—and on the backend. This lets you quickly and easily switch back and forth between the dashboard and the user-facing view of your site so that you can make a quick change to settings or add a new page or post, or even edit the current page at the click of a button. However, this bar can become an annoyance for some because it may cause the layout to be slightly different than a normal visitor to your website would be seeing. Also, by hiding it you can increase the security of your website because an attacker who gains access to your computer would still have to know the URL to the backend of the site in order to gain access to make changes, rather than being able to just click a button at the top of the screen. When paired with a plugin like iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security), which has the ability to “hide” (i.e. rename) the WordPress backend URL alias, this feature can be especially helpful. Luckily hiding the top bar is a core WordPress feature, so no extra plugins are necessary to disable it. This is a per-user setting, so if you don’t like the bar and want it hidden, you’re not necessarily imposing your preferences on other authenticated users of your site. To enable or disable this feature, login to your WordPress website and mouse over your name in the top right hand corner of the screen, and click Edit My Profile. Below the color schemes section, you will find a subheading called “Toolbar” with an option labeled “Show Toolbar when viewing site.” To disable the Toolbar, uncheck this option. If you later want to re-enable it, simply check this box. Be sure to submit this form so that your changes are saved.

Collapsible and Re-organizable Boxes

    

If completely removing a box from the page using the Screen Options feature is too drastic for your needs because you’re going to need to come back to it again and again, but you still want to minimize some information that is shown so that you can easily move your focus to another section, you have a few other options. Many boxes, such as the “Featured Image” box on the post editing screen, can be collapsed as well as moved. Collapsing a box will leave the heading section visible but hide the majority of it so that you can switch your focus to other boxes around it. You can collapse a box by clicking the “up” arrow on the top right corner of the box. If you need to access that content again, you can easily make it visible again by clicking the down arrow in the top right corner to expand the box.

Alternately, if you just want to reorganize the boxes on the page so that you can prioritize that content you wish to change, any box that can be collapsed is also able to be moved by simply clicking and holding the heading area, dragging to the desired location, and releasing the mouse button. Note that, for instance, on a Post edit screen, you cannot move the main content area, nor can you move anything else to a spot above it. However, you can move just about any other box on the page. Do you use Featured Image more than Categories and want to prioritize setting that data? Just click and hold on the box title, “Featured Image,” and drag it until it bumps the “Categories” box down. Then, just let go. As long as your mouse was still in the placeholder rectangle, your Featured Image box will now be above the Categories box.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Another option you’ll find on the Edit My Profile page is Keyboard Shortcuts. This is usually only helpful for blogs and websites that get a lot of comments that need to be moderated regularly. The idea behind these shortcuts is to allow you to quickly perform a series of repetitive tasks without having to rely on your hand eye coordination and pointer precision skills. Once you memorize what keys do what, it can be much faster to perform these actions using your keyboard rather than a mouse or trackpad. In any case, I won’t go into detail about the specifics of which keys do what because WordPress.org already has a page for that. But I will tell you how to enable it, because it’s not enabled by default (which is good because in general it’s not appropriate for a website to hijack your keyboard without first getting your explicit permission). Luckily, enabling this option is pretty simple; just tick the checkbox in your Edit My Profile page labeled “Enable keyboard shortcuts for comment moderation.” under the heading “Keyboard Shortcuts.”

Conclusion

Hopefully this information has been helpful and you will be able to utilize these features to manage your WordPress website more efficiently.