409 – 8 Habits of Highly Effective WordPress Users
- No announcements
Is there a plugin for that?
With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.
For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.
8 Habits of Highly Effective WordPress Users
- You are curious and always learning
- You have an open mind about the future of the software
- You ask for help
- You help others
- You have fun with what you do
- You understand work-life balance
- You pay attention to details
- You are part of the community
Thank you to those who use my affiliate links. As you know I make a small commission when someone uses my link and I want to say thank you to the following people. For all my recommended resources, go to my Resources Page
Full TranscriptBusiness Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.
On today’s episode, we are going to talk about the 8 Habits of Highly Effective WordPress Users right here on Your Website Engineer Podcast, Episode No. 409.
Hello and welcome to another adventure – I mean episode – of the Your Website Engineer Podcast. Today we’re gonna be talking about different habits of highly effective WordPress users and I’m bringing this to you live from – well I’m not live. I’m recording this before heading out to the Automatic Grand Meetup. This year, we are in Orlando, Florida. We’re spending a week there. Hopefully, we can spend the entire week there without any tropical storms or hurricanes coming our way and we are there, we’re learning, and we’re growing as individual teams and as a company as a whole.
So, I get to spend some time with my teammates who are all over the United States, Canada, and South America. I can imagine it’s just gonna be a good time and having a lot of fun getting to know other people that I haven’t met before and just spending some time in community with some of the smartest people I know. I mean it’s every day that I just am thankful and cannot believe some of the people that I work with – some of the developers – and some of the things that they are creating. So, it’s really exciting and I just wanted to bring you an episode. I don’t have any announcements today, other than Gutenberg 4.0 should be coming out soon. Gutenberg this and Gutenberg that it seems like that’s all what we’re talking about in the news right now.
We do have 4.9.9 is a WordPress release that’s scheduled to come probably in October – late October, early November – and it looks like they’re gonna talk a little bit about compatibility with PHP 7.3. So, they’re not sure if that’s gonna be the case. That’s really all of the announcements that I have seeing that I just recorded an episode just a couple days ago with the main news that’s happening throughout the week. One thing that I do want to share with you though is a plugin of the week. This one is called SportsPress. This is a good one that I probably could have shared a few weeks ago as sports leagues are getting started around the fall season and whatnot.
But this is a way that you can create a professional sports website. So, you can transform your WordPress site into a fully configurable team or club or league website. It gives you the ability to put standings in, you can have player rankings, you can put individual profiles. So, you can make this as robust as possible. I’m thinking back to my days at intramural basketball when I was in college and this would have been great to be able to put your team in there. If we were robust enough, most intramural leagues don’t have the ability to score each player; how many points did each player have, how many turnovers? If you had all of those statistics, this would be great to add to that, but you can use it in its entirety.
You can have events calendars, player lists, and staff profiles, or you can just use as little as possible. I think this would be great if you’re having an upcoming league or club or maybe a soccer league or whatever and you just wanted to keep track of who’s winning and who’s not, the scores, and whatnot. So, this is a free plugin. There is a premium addition, but there is 20,000 active installs and it is free on the WordPress repository made by Theme Boy. So, if you’re interested, search for SportsPress in the WordPress repository or, as always, you can find a link in the show notes for Episode No. 409.
All right. Today, I am going to kind of take a spin on a couple different things – a spin on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the book that’s out there – and then I heard a podcast on the Syntax.fm podcast. It was released a few weeks ago. I’m finally getting caught up to it, but it was the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Developers and I wanted to kind of just come up with eight myself and kind of blend those two things together and really focus on WordPress and how we can be really effective WordPress users or WordPress developers or WordPress designers or whatever your last word is, whether you’re a user or a power user or store admin or whatever. That’s what we’re gonna talk about today.
So, I wanted to just spend a little time here talking about this and maybe next week, after the Grand Meetup, I’ll have some time to kind of talk through some of the things that I’m working on YourWebsiteEngineer.com. I’ve spent some time today and some things it’s really weird that are broken on my test site work perfectly fine on my live site. So, I’m trying to debug and trying to figure out what that is and moving some things around and making the RSS feed a little better. So, I’m doing a bunch of things and I want to give you a real good recap. I think I’m gonna have a little bit of time next week as I won’t have any kids to put to bed and I won’t have any kids to feed breakfast. It’s basically gonna be me and if I get up early enough, I’ll have some dedicated time to work on Your Website Engineer stuff.
So, let’s go ahead and dive right in. Let’s talk about the 8 Habits for Highly Effective WordPress Users. The first one is you are curious and you’re always learning. I think that’s a great point for those of you who are listening right now, today. You’re spending time. You’re learning about WordPress things within a podcast setting. There’s hundreds of ways to learn. You can listen to a podcast. You can read books. You can read articles online. You can watch countless YouTube videos on how to do things. There’s tutorials that are online that are a hybrid of both. There’s just so many things and WordPress, as you know, is always changing.
We’re talking about Gutenberg this and that’s changing and we’re learning about this or maybe you want to learn how to create a plugin and so you’re moving some things around on your website and you’re taking things out of your functions.PHP file and moving it into a plugin. You’re learning how to do this. You’re learning about WordPress best practices and you’re just constantly keeping up with the trends and just trying to figure out what is going on and how you can implement new things that you learn into your current website. So, that the first thing that I came up with. You’re curious and you’re always learning.
I think the next one is really important too – especially when we’re at this stage right here in 2018 – is you have an open mind about new technology. And the first thing that comes to mind is just about the software Gutenberg. There’s been so much uproar about “Gutenberg is gonna destroy WordPress” or “Gutenberg is gonna be the best thing about WordPress.” And I think that to be a good WordPress user, you just have to embrace the technology. They’ve been working on Gutenberg for more than a year now just trying to make the interface that much nicer, making it that much easier to create the custom posts that you want – you know that perfect post or that perfect page or custom layout on a page. That’s what we want to think about and we want to continue to just have an open mind about the future of software.
When they started to – a few years ago – this was I don't know probably four years ago when they started the new editor or the new dashboard. They called it MP6 is what the code name was, but then a lot of people were reaching out and said, “Oh, we don’t like this new backend. It looks different. It’s clunky” or whatever. We embraced that technology and we’ve moved forward and now it’s like we can’t think of the old way that we used to do things in WordPress. So, I think that’s a really good skill or a good habit to have if you want to be a highly effective WordPress user. The next one is you ask for help. There’s a saying out there that most people know more than you. That’s a given.
There are so many things that I don't know when it comes to WordPress and I’m constantly asking questions, constantly trying to learn, constantly trying to like you know that first point was you’re always learning, but then sometimes you just have to ask for help. It’s kind of scary. I know that when I first started working at Automatic, there was tons that I didn’t know and it was really scary to ping somebody or message somebody individually and say, “Hey, I don’t understand this. Can you teach me? Can you help me?” You just want to be comfortable with not knowing everything. I mean it’s gonna be impossible to learn everything there is about WordPress because there’s just so many things that are going on. There’s code, there’s themes, there’s plugins, there’s custom work that is not even on the repository, premium version, software as a service. There’s so many things with WordPress.
You just have to be comfortable without knowing and just be comfortable with failing sometimes. Sometimes you’re going to try to do something and it’s just not gonna work like maybe this bug that I’m trying to work on on YourWebsiteEngineer.com, it works on my live site, but not on my dev site. Maybe I’m just gonna fail and I’m gonna have to ask somebody like, “What’s the next step in the process? I think I’ve troubleshot where it could be coming from, but I’m not 100% sure.” So, that’s one of the things that you have to have a habit of is being able to and willing to ask for help. On the flip side, you also want to be able to help others and so it’s a good saying too that whenever you go to a WordCamp or a WordPress event that there are always people there that know more than you and there’s always people there that know less then you.
No matter if you’ve just started WordPress and you have just installed WordPress or you just went to WordPress.com and you have signed up for an account, you are farther along than somebody else. And so you want to make sure that you are spending some time helping others. Helping others solidifies your own knowledge. That’s a really great point. I find that whenever I want to teach something, I really have to learn it myself and then – when I teach somebody – then it really solidifies like, “Okay, yes, I know exactly what this is.” It works really well on live chat when I’m talking to somebody. I have to physically know, “Okay, this is the next setting. This is what you have to do. Here’s the setup and configuration.” I have to know exactly the steps so I can teach somebody else.
So, it just helps me continue to learn. You can answer questions on the WordPress forums. You can go to WordCamps and just talk to people and answer people’s questions there. You can just teach online – whether that be YouTube or blogging – or you find something new on WordPress, you figure out how to do something, and then write a short blog article or do a quick YouTube video. You just kind of you share that knowledge and so it helps other people. So, that is another habit. That’s Habit No. 4. No. 5 is you have fun with what you do. This, I think, everybody falls into this camp somewhere. I believe for the most part that if you’re listening to this podcast, you at least enjoy using WordPress.
There’s a lot of WordPress people or people that have to use WordPress that don’t really enjoy it. Maybe they’re a business owner and they just have to keep their website updated. But I don't think that you are diving in and you’re trying to learn more about WordPress by listening to podcasts and whatnot if you don’t really enjoy what you’re doing. You want to kind of level up your skills. You want to continue to learn and continue to grow. You enjoy challenges. You think of an idea of like, “Oh, I wonder if I could create this? I wonder if I could rearrange this page like this? I wonder if I could create a short code to save me time every time I do a post?”
You’re coming up with little challenges and making it a little game like, “Can I figure this out? What kind of programming does it need to be or can I generate something online or can I find something online?” Even if something’s not particularly fun, try to find ways to make it fun and interesting. You know even the challenge of, “Okay, I have one hour. Let’s see if I can get this done. Let’s see how much I can get done in one hour from my to-do list.” That’s just kind of a fun gamifying way to work through some of the challenges that you may have on your website. So, that’s No. 5, have fun with what you do. No. 6 is to be a good WordPress user, you have to understand the work-life balance. I think that is a huge … we read it everywhere. You know you have to have work-life balance. You have to have work-life balance.
It’s really hard when our jobs may or may not have to do with WordPress and our hobbies may or may not have to do with WordPress and we have some time available throughout the day, but we want to make sure that we aren’t getting burned out on certain things and certain WordPress things. So, one of the great ways to do this is just to take breaks. You know you’re spending time, you’re spending time working on whatever you’re working on, and then you want to be able to take a break and walk completely away.
I don't know, again, count the number of times that I have been doing something else – maybe going on a walk, maybe gardening or taking out the trash or just doing random things – that an idea will come and I’ll be like, “Huh, I wonder if that will solve whatever I was working on within my site?” because your brain just continues to work on things in the background and it sometimes can solve things while you’re doing mundane tasks or tasks that don’t take a lot of mental brainpower. So, that’s something else to think about. You want to make sure that work-life balance, make sure there’s more life balance. You’re not always working. I feel like this summer, I’ve done a great job of not doing anything in the evenings.
I always have this idea like, “Okay, I’m gonna work on this part of my website” when I get home in the evenings. But then kids have to go to bed and then the kitchen gets cleaned up and then toys and stuff are put away and then, all of a sudden, it’s like, “Oh. Well, I only have an hour until it’s bedtime and I don’t really want to get all amped up working on my website.” So, I’ll just put that off to the next day. So, I have to make sure that I fit my time in during the daylight hours and so I don’t have to worry about doing that at night so I can actually enjoy life and I could read a book or watch TV or watch a sports game or whatever. So, you want to understand the work-life balance and you know how to take breaks and you know how to not be consumed with WordPress all the time always. That’s No. 6. No. 7 is you pay attention to details.
I think that this is really cool and it’s a really good thought that WordPress users are always trying to figure out the best layout or the best design or the best way that this isn’t gonna break. You know you’re thinking of those edge cases. You’re running through and testing different things. You know last week we talked about how to keep your website updated and when you update WooCommerce or you update plugins, you’d run these tests to make sure that your website’s not broken. And you think about those. You think about those edge cases and you try to work through them and you try to figure out, “Okay, is there something? How can I test this to make sure that there’s no issues?” or “How can I test this? Let’s look at this on a phone. Does it look good?”
You’re paying attention to details and just making sure all of the pieces of your website – your plugins, your themes, and everything – is working perfectly together. I think that’s a good trait of a WordPress users or WordPress developer. And the last one is you are part of the community. There are so many things that you could do to be part of the community or even create your own WordPress community. There’s local meetups, there’s local WordCamps. Those are the two big ones by far and you can go to Meetup.com and search for WordPress and find ones in your local area or you can go to WordCamp.org and look for any WordCamps that are happening locally near you. So, those are great ways, but those only happen you know the WordCamps are once a year and then the meetups are maybe once a month.
What you could do is you can start finding people on Twitter to hang out with. You can look for people that have questions about WordPress and talk to them. You can do what some people say like a lunch and learn and you can say, “Oh, well, we’re gonna watch this video from WordCamp Dayton 2019” or whatever. You can come up with, “Okay, we’re gonna every month or once a month we’re gonna go and we’re gonna rent out a space or go to a library community center and then just stream and use their projector and watch a WordCamp presentation and then we’ll talk about it.” Those are things that you can do to be part of the community. You can spend a little time on the community forums and answer people’s questions there. There’s a WordPress Facebook group. So, there’s WordPress everywhere.
There seems to be groups and you can just join those and just join into the community and just join in just asking people questions and answering people’s questions and just being part of that community and helping people out and just spending time enjoying being around other WordPress users. I find that sometimes just gives me more inspiration than actually going … like I go to a WordCamp and I just listen to other people and how they’re using WordPress and it’s like, “Wow, that’s something I’ve never thought of and that’s something that would be really cool. Maybe I should do that.” Then you get down the path of, “Oh, I need to do this, this, and this because someone else is doing it.” But it just motivates me and gives me some encouragement and just keeps me going and just says, “Okay, these are some of the things that we could do” or “These are some other things that would be really cool or exciting to use WordPress for.”
So, those are some of the things that I thought of. I’m sure that I could come up with eight more and it could have been the 16 Habits of Highly Effective WordPress Users, but that’s what I wanted to share today. I know that this is not a real technical episode. I’m trying to – while I’m at the meetup this week – I’m gonna plan out the next three months’ worth of content and see what I can do to make them kind of all cohesive and moving together. I did a really good job of that in 2017 and then 2018 has just been kind of these hodgepodge episodes as I see fit. So, I do say that I’m gonna blame the house. I’m gonna blame all of the pieces of the puzzle that’s coming together with the house.
We’re getting ready to move out of a temporary spot into another temporary spot because, of course, our house isn’t done yet and we probably have another six to eight weeks and then everything will be done. I’ll be moved into the new house and life will maybe be not crazy anymore. We’ll see what happens there in a few weeks. But that’s what I wanted to share with you today and I’m gonna spend some time this week. While you’re listening, I’ll be at the Grand Meetup and spending some time – all those little pockets of time that I have – and just kind of planning out and how I can share more WordPress information whether that be through the podcast or even some YouTube videos or doing a webinar here or there.
That’s gonna be my goal to work on YourWebsiteEngineer.com and to create more high quality content for you so you can continue to learn and you can continue to be curious and learn about WordPress. That’s what I got for you