7 Quick Wins for Busy Developers Using WordPress
Whether you’re a freelancer or working with a creative agency, being a developer is a busy gig. You’ve got skills that no one else can replicate, and that’s great for business, but it also means you’re stuck doing the things no one else can (or wants to) do.
You’re the one who has to field all the questions and handle all the complexities of actually building websites, setting up workflows, and managing the client’s whims. With all of that going on, wasting time is not on your agenda.
But there are always those little tasks that seem to prevent you from getting things done as efficiently as possible. Maybe it’s setting up WordPress admin accounts, or switching back and forth between sites, or maybe just keeping all of your tasks from blending together.
The good news is there are a few ways to simplify those little annoyances that keep things from running smoothly, so you can get back to doing what you do best.
#1. Manage Multiple Sites from One Dashboard
If you spend any amount of time managing multiple sites, then you already know what a hassle it can be to keep track of everything. You have to remember each site’s login and password, keep each plugin and theme updated, and sometimes install the same plugins to each site as needed. All of that combined can make for a lot of extra time jumping in and out of individual sites.
Thankfully there are several companies out there that exist for the sole purpose of helping you out. There are tools available that let you manage all of those things from one dashboard, such as CMS Commander or ManageWP.
Only having to login to one location to make minor updates and changes will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.
#2. Organize Your Sidebar Plugins
When you first start using WordPress, usually your sidebar menu is nice and neat, but eventually you’ll start to notice that things get a little messy, especially as you start adding plugins to the mix.
With each plugin installed, your dashboard’s organization becomes more complicated. Some plugins are easy enough to find, as they’re usually featured at the bottom of the main sidebar, but others can get stuck in Settings, or another location, making them hard to find when you need them.
Thankfully, there are tools like the Admin Menu Editor that allow you to reorder items, hide items you don’t need, add page separators, and even create your own menus. In other words, if you’re the fastidious sort, you can overhaul your disorganized menus in favor of clean and simplistic ones to save you time.
#3. Organize Your Media Library
Chances are, at some point you will find yourself digging through a client’s WordPress media library to find an image, which means you already know how frustrating it can be to find the file you need at a moment’s notice.
WordPress’ basic media functionality is fairly limited. Your images are usually listed in reverse chronological order from when they were uploaded and the search function only really works if you remember the name of the file in the first place. But, if you don’t remember when the image was uploaded or what it’s called, you’re stuck crawling through the entire database manually and that’s a big waste of your valuable time.
However, there are plugins available to help you on your quest. Plugins like WP Media Folder allows you to create custom, multi-level, folders that work with the drag-and-drop interface, so you can move files around much faster.
#4. Use Bulk Edit for Multiple Posts/Pages
Now, maybe you already know this one, but you’d be surprised how many people forget that WordPress has a lot of built-in features already designed for efficiency. One of those features is the Bulk Actions > Edit, which allows for editing multiple posts with a single action.
Maybe each post needs to come from a different author, or your client decided last minute to add another category. Either way, all you have to do is use the dropdown Bulk Action feature to add or change all of your posts at once. And the good news is you don’t have to download any additional plugins.
#5. Use Plugins to Handle Major Site Changes
Every so often you will have that one client that wants to change up their theme. No big deal, right? Well, as a developer, you know that even minor changes can be a huge deal if not planned out properly. What if the new theme doesn’t have thumbnail images? Or, what if your client wants to see the changes before the site goes live?
Your best bet is to look for plugins like these that will help you manage your theme before you make any major changes. Or, if you’re dealing with a problem like our thumbnail image example, you can use plugins like Regenerate Thumbnails and Auto Post Thumbnail to switch themes quickly without losing precious data.
Alternatively, if you have a client that suddenly decided to change the name of the site’s URL, then you can save yourself countless hours with plugins like Search and Replace that can find and eliminate dead links quickly. Trust us, you don’t want to sit and test every link on a website. It’s not a good use of your skills.
#6. Easily Test Multi-User Sites
If some of your sites are multi-user sites, like membership sites that have multiple profiles or other front-end issues that need to be addressed, then inevitably you’re going to have to test out your site from different user’s perspective. One easy way to do this is by using a plugin like User Switching, which lets you quickly swap between user accounts in WordPress for testing purposes.
Another way to test your site is by using your browser’s incognito windows to create new “sessions” without worrying about clearing caches or other technicalities. You could use this feature to simultaneously view the same site as a visitor who is logged in and one that is logged out to see the differences. You’re also able to test out things like registration forms as an anonymous user. And, once again, this handy hack doesn’t require a plugin.
MemberMouse also allows you to login as a member, so you can troubleshoot issues and get the full experience from your member’s point of view.
#7. Access WordPress on the Go
As they say, time waits for no man, which means that at some point as a developer you’re going to have a client contact you about something while you’re on the go. And maybe you won’t have access to your laptop, but they need information, like, yesterday. What’s a developer to do?
Well, you can access your WordPress sites using WordPress for Android and iPhone, for one. You can keep up with your site’s activity even when you’re away from your desk, check notifications, publish posts, access site stats, and more.
If you want even more functionality, you can always use a plugin like WordPress Mobile Admin, which gives you a full feature control panel on your mobile device. Whichever way you choose, you don’t have to leave your work behind when you’re out and about. Unless you want to, of course.
Joanne is a writer who specializes in educating online site owners about building a thriving membership business.