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Take Nearly Total Control of Your Site with the WordPress Desktop App

WordPress Desktop App

This post is being created with the new WordPress desktop app and it is pretty fabulous. With the WordPress desktop app,  you can manage nearly your entire site. It’s even better if you manage or write for multiple WordPress-powered sites. Let’s take a quick look inside the WordPress desktop app.

The very first thing you need to know about the WordPress desktop app is that it automatically works if your site is hosted on WordPress.com. It will also work with self-hosted WordPress sites if you have Jetpack installed. If you don’t have Jetpack installed and have yet to create a WordPress.com account, you should really do that now! Then, head to all of your websites that have Jetpack installed, click “Jetpack” in the left menu, and follow the easy “Connect” instructions.

And if you don’t know if you have a WordPress.com site or a self-hosted WordPress site, we wrote a basic primer on the differences between the two.

The next thing you need to is, if you’ve already managed either your WordPress.com or your self-hosted WordPress site via WordPress.com, or the Android or iOS app, then you are already familiar with all this app can do. But now, thanks to the power of JavaScript and node.js, and the WordPress REST API, you can do those same things via your desktop!

We don’t know about you, but here at Skookum Monkey, we are chronic browser tab abusers. Meaning: We always have way too many tabs opens and they get to the point where the tabs are so small, you don’t know what is open. Multiple open tabs also means slower browsing, and even tab crashing.

We had the WordPress desktop app open for six hours, without any lag, and barely touching 0.3% of our CPU usage (once, it spiked to 1%). Also, it maintained just under 30 MB of our RAM usage, compared to well over 2 GB of RAM usage with all the multiple tabs. Even after having it running for 10 days straight.

So What Can You Do With the WordPress Desktop App?

So, if you are unfamiliar with the WordPress.com Jetpack interface and unfamiliar with either WordPress mobile app, here is a quick rundown of everything you can do with the WordPress desktop app:

Check Your Stats

If you’ve never checked your Jetpack stats via WordPress.com, your missing out on a lot. What you see in your self-hosted WordPress dashboard is only a tiny percentage of what is available from WordPress.com. Some of the extras include:

  • Country of visitors
  • Most popular day and time (will help you with your content publishing strategy)
  • How many followers you have on certain social media platforms that you’ve connected with “Publicize”

Publish

WordPress Desktop App - Adding an Image

You can edit and publish posts and pages directly through the WordPress desktop app. You can even schedule your posts, submit them for review to your editor, and stuff the post into drafts.

Creating a post is as easy in the desktop app as it is in the wp-admin dashboard. Everything you need is in a left-hand menu, instead of on the right.

When previewing a post, it opens up in your browser. You must be logged into your self-hosted WordPress site before you click “Preview,” otherwise it will return a 404 error. Some may consider that a drawback.

One more slight drawback to creating a post via the WordPress desktop app has to do with images. When adding an image, you don’t have the same sizing options. Instead, you see a slider that goes from small to large in the top-right corner, under the search magnifier. The options to decide how an image will link are also missing. And, you have to click on an image after it is added to choose alignment. To determine image size, what I do is click on the HTML tab in the WYSIWYG editor and change the width to “100%” and the height to “auto” for nicely responsive images.

You may see other options in the Publish area in addition to add a blog post and add a page. Any other publishing functions, such as “Features,” “Testimonials,” “Portfolio,” etc., require doing so via the browser dashboard. Clicking on those will open it up in a new tab.

Personalize

Under this area, there are two things you can do: Change your theme and edit/add menus, directly in the desktop app.

Beside “Themes” you will see a “Customize” button. When you click on that button, once again, a new tab opens in your default browser that allows you to:

  • Change the theme
  • Edit Site Identity, which consists of Site Title and Tagline, plus change your favicon
  • Change and add menus
  • Customize your Widgets
  • Change your Static Front Page
  • Preview how your site looks on different devices

Configure

The Configure area is another really helpful area. In here, you can setup Sharing, People, Plugins, Settings, and click WP Admin to visit your dashboard in your default browser.

WordPress Desktop App - Sharing

It is in the Sharing area that you can change and setup automatic sharing of posts to different social media accounts when they are published. You can also select which sharing buttons will appear on the bottom of posts and pages, and edit the sharing label.

Next is the People area where you can add and edit site users.

It is the Plugins area that is super cool. In here, you can setup your WordPress repository plugins to automatically update–which you should really do–and add new plugins from the WordPress repository. It does not work for automatic update of premium plugins found through services like Evanto Market. You can also deactivate plugins.

Finally, the Settings area is another great feature. You can edit your general settings, such as Site Title and Site Tagline, and hide your site from indexing. Also, you can configure your basic writing settings, which is the default post category and default post format. You can configure your comments, including blacklisting IPs from being able to comment on your site. Plus, you can also whitelist your IP in the Security tab and turn on Jetpack Monitor.

And once you are done with one site, all you have to do is click “Switch Sites”, search for the site you want to manage next, and off to the races you go!

We’ve been using the WordPress desktop app, which you can get here, almost exclusively for 10 days now to manage a not only this site, but a variety of client sites, and we love it. It has helped to solve the never-ending too many tabs issues for doing simple things, such as keeping plugins up-to-date. Obviously, it doesn’t eliminate all browser logins, but it certainly cuts down on them, which is also great for our RAM.

If find this post helpful, then subscribe to the Skookum Monkey newsletter. We are currently doing a series on WordPress Basics. So far, we’ve talked about “Why WordPress?“, choosing a theme, and basic architecture.

 

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