Some WordPress plugins I find useful to manage our blog: Edit Flow, WordPress SEO, FPW Post Instructions and many more.
Written by Marina Rossi on June 28th, 2013
Project Management: With a Little Help from My WordPress Plugins
This post is the fifth of a series about project management tools or services we’re using.
Everything starts with a post, you know. I mean, when you manage a blog you think about what you can post on it almost everyday. Even if your blog is just a tiny piece of your business communication (like ours), you’ll find yourself thinking about when publishing what. Also, if yours is a multi-author blog like this, you’ll know time and organisation are your worst enemies. We’re just four people and our focus is not the blog itself, so I don’t have to deal with dozens of editors, daily updates, editor meetings – and that’s great! – but on the other hand we have a little time to update our blog. For all these reasons, we rely on WordPress and on WordPress plugins.
WordPress is great, but its potential comes from the community. The WordPress community produces tons of plugins: here are the WordPress plugins we are using. And if you haven’t found any useful plugins, keep looking.
Workflow WordPress Plugins
The first batch of plugins is the most important because they’re aimed to improve a healthy and efficient workflow on the blog.
Edit Flow is a amazing plugin. Even if it perfectly fits editorial teams, it can be useful for small teams either. It has a lot of options but it’s great to schedule each post thanks to its calendar view which allows you to drag and drop posts from a date to another.
Another useful feature is the editorial comment: in the edit view you can leave a comment to the author of the post and respond in a nested thread. We use it during reviews to highlight doubts or modified sentences, for example.
Also, you can decide how many editorial steps a post has to pass. We have a first step called pitch which consists in a proposal created by the author: every Friday I make a call for posts and everyone can post their pitch(es) directly in the WordPress backend. Every Monday – during our weekly meeting – each of us presents their proposal(s) to everyone and I define the deadline for each approved pitch. When approved, the pitch changes status to assigned. When someone starts working on a post, it becomes a draft, until the post is closed and ready for the review (the pending review status). Every time a status changes, the editorial notification systems sends an email to subscribers (usually it’s me and the author of the post): this allows me to have under control the status of the blog and also to know immediately when a post is ready to be reviewed and scheduled.
Cleverness To-Do List
Cleverness To-Do List is a small but useful tool to create a… to-do list. It’s the last plugin I’ve installed so far, but it seems great. I create tasks and assigned them to each author individually, but everyone can view the master list. I’m using this plugin to remind the weekly call for posts and the post deadlines. Each task can be emailed automatically to the author when created (thank you, Email Notification, I love you).
FPW Post Instructions
FPW Post Instructions lets you create an instruction widget visible in the WordPress backend to administrators (or editors or authors). Thanks to this plugin, everyone can review the instructions during the post writing just below the edit window.
With this plugin you can setup you blog with much more SEO-friendly options (editing every little details like the titles of the pages). Above all, WordPress SEO is fundamental because it teaches you how to be effective with your writing, pleasing Google and its indexing. You can define a focus keyword, a SEO title and a meta description knowing exactly how Google will show them on the result page. Also it gives you feedback on how you blog can be better (more photos, more words…). If you want, you can also change the Facebook or Google+ description editing the Social tab.
WP to Twitter
WP to Twitter is a simple plugin that lets you auto-update Twitter when a post is published. I appreciate this plugin because it allows you to have a fixed template or a customized message.
Useful WordPress Plugins
These are useful plugins that help us to improve the blog administration experience.
This is very useful if you’re planning to co-write some of your posts. We often find ourselves writing together, so Co-Authors Plus is subtle but useful. You install it and that’s it: you select all the authors of a post and schedule it!
Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker is an alley to keep your links up to date. It periodically checks your links and notifies you if a broken link is detected. You never know: maybe a website as changed domain, or you have pasted a wrong URL.
This is an administrator tool which shows your Google Analytics data in the administrator dashboard. Google Analyticator shows the Google Analytics data while highlighting the dates when a post is published, so you can easily see if a particular post generated a peak of visitors.
Simple Image Sizes
Simple Image Sizes is a tool to create templates in order to crop your images easily. It’s a small thing, but it can really speed up the workflow.
Ultimate Tag Cloud Widget
Ultimate Tag Cloud Widget is a widget to customise your tag cloud. Easy peasy.
The last batch is dedicated to the first three plugins I’ve always have installed.
It’s the first plugin you have to install on every WordPress website, it’s the best spam filter, it’s Askimet!
Jetpack is a multipurpose plugin, developed by the WordPress team. I’m not a big fan of Jetpack, but it has so many options that there’s always something right for you. However, it’s a must: it has shortcodes (for an easier embedding), infinite scrolling, proofreading service. Just to name a few.
This is a pre-installed plugin. When I see it, it feels like home. It doesn’t do anything useful, it just shows quotes from the Hello Dolly musical, but it’s always been there and it’s ok.