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3 ways to automate WordPress and improve content creation

This is a test post to some degree as well as an explainer. I’ve been trying to work out the best way to get a post out without needing to tend to some of the tedious chores of publishing a post every time. I want to get those out the way fast so I can focus on the writing. Read on to see what I am trying out.

I make use of featured images – a lot. I try have them in every post except when I create a DanelDoodle because then the doodle becomes the only image I want the reader to focus on.

Most of the time I create custom featured images for each post because when you share on social media, the central part of the featured image stands out. Sometimes it matters less so I looked at several ways of to automate the creation of a featured image.

One was super simple which I loved but there was no way to distinguish between posts and pages (Default Featured Image). Another broke my site since the plugin hadn’t been tested to work with my version of WordPress (Auto Post Thumbnail). The third worked a charm: Quick Featured Images.

The featured image (and thumbnail) for this post was automatically generated by using the plugin so its a step I can skip when creating posts with a specific tag. I’ve started with this and will see how I go but so far so good.

Social Sharing

click to enlarge

I had a challenge with the social sharing function in the past but I am now trying to see if it has been fixed. I’m referring to the Jetpack function that you see in the screenshot.

In the past, the message I would write for the audience would overwrite the heading and excerpt I normally capture at the start of the post or in the SEO description.

I don’t want that to happen.

I would prefer it if the message was displayed in addition to the title and the excerpt I normally see.

That is because each plays its own role in making content stand out. I have been doing it manually for the last year or so but am hoping this will now work and save me more time.

Once this post is published, I’ll come back and confirm how it worked.

Block Templates

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Reusable blocks. This entire page and its layout can be saved as a reusable block. I would first have to group the elements I would want to reuse and then save the group. There’s more on that from WordPress. This does not included the featured image however and nor the headline.
  2. Copy post. I could just go to my list of posts that have been published and copy the entire post. This would copy everything and then I just need to change the things I want to change but everything else in terms of structure, would remain. More on that here.
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Hyperconnected business and driving the next level of productivity with collaborative apps

This title is not really mine and comes from some of the headline announcements at Microsoft Ignite which took place this week. I have an interest since I work there (disclosure) and write about these things, collaboration especially. In this post I want to unpack one of the themes and product announcements. The theme is captured by the title, the product is Microsoft Loop.

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The ebb and flow of productivity at work

I was thinking the other day about the times when I’m most productive at work. So much has been written about the subject and I work at a company and in a role where it’s one of the key functions of my job, i.e. to make people more productive through technology. There are a gazillion sites and services out there on how to be more productive. I think a lot of them miss the point.

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The backlash to video calling and the alternatives

Okay I wouldn’t call just one decision from the CEO of a major bank the indication of a backlash: Citigroup CEO ordains Zoom-free Fridays to ease ‘relentless’ pandemic workday. But come on, how many tales have you already heard of similar woes. Zoom fatigue has become a thing. And its not just about Zoom. Microsoft Teams (disclosure) has built features into their software to try and negate the ill effects of too much time spent on video calls. So what’s a business bod to do?

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In an age of machines human organisations matter – an ode to joy

There is an explosion of automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning with many fearing job losses. In the attention economy we have proliferation of social media, questionable content, digital addiction, etc. Freedom of expression knows no bounds yet sensitivities are tested like never before. There are many benefits to adopting these tools and approaches and there are those that countervail – some stand out, either as out of touch dinosaurs or innovators. In all this there are many reasons to be joyful.

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The business of culture change in the tech industry

I had interesting chats with customers and colleagues recently that I wanted to capture and share. The context was enterprise collaboration technology but I also wanted to expand a little on the increasing business of technology’s influence on culture more broadly and vice versa. It probably raised more questions than answers.

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The reinvention of normal at work

There are key activities and those leading them at the heart of the changes happening at work as a result of the pandemic. Some are quick to adopt them and others not. Then there are those that will unfortunately not survive. Activities focus on events, remote work and learning.

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The innovation train and how best to lubricate the collaboration tracks

It has been almost 20 years since the birth of the social web and maybe a little less for the enterprise which caught up later. In this brave new world, especially in the enterprise, email was to be replaced in favour of tools that were simple, social and collaborative. I’ve been in the business all this time and it seems old habits die hard.

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The hidden cost of complexity in enterprise software

It’s an unfortunate side effect of growth that when your enterprise software goes hyperscale in a growing market, you will need to accommodate an ever expanding set of customer demands for new functionality. Doing so fends of competition but adds complexity and friction to the user experience. It can even be counter-productive and lead to slowing growth or churn.

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The changing influence of culture and technology at work and the battle for the mind

I work in a field that frequently deals with changing the culture of work through managed change engagements. They are most often aligned to new technology adoption or digital transformation efforts. In all this work, the typical influencers present themselves: people, technology and process.

I’m exploring the first two in this post and assuming people as being synonymous with culture. Mindset is a relatively new component I also delve into. This is an essay capturing recent observations on the changing influence of all these elements. You may get more questions than answers ;)

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Thought Rocket: The Conversation is the Collaboration

Workplace chat is something I am heavily focused on at the moment, i.e. my customers use of Microsoft Teams. Either through lack of knowledge or legacy thinking, I’m faced with initial confusion. This quick video aims to tackle that.

I’m trying to emphasise that it’s not about the many things I get asked to address first. After doing a demo, often the immediate questions are around how to structure files and folders, Teams and the different environments themselves, how to organise Teams and Channels, Tabs, etc.

I try get to the essence of a tool like Teams. For me it’s first and foremost about the conversations – in channels or chats. That is where the essence of teamwork and collaboration happen. Get that right and then the structure will flow – that is the right order and based on getting the hard but most impactful stuff done first.

That is the essence I am trying to distil in the short video which is a play on Marshall McLuhan’ famous view on the Medium is the Message. So since this is a thought rocket, a super quick view on things expressed in a short video, doodle or blog post, I’ll leave it at that and for you to make of it what you will.