In the early 1900’s an Italian economist by the name of Vilfredo Pareto noticed that only 20% of his pea plants seemed to produce more than 80% of the peas. Soon, he also noticed that 80% of the wealth in his country was possessed by 20% of its citizens.
In the late 1940’s, efficiency guru Dr. Joseph M. Juran applied this same formula to business. Named the Pareto Principle, Juran theorized that in any given situation, 20% of your efforts tend to generate 80% of the results.
The challenge then, becomes figuring out which 20% of your work generates the greatest results so you can focus your primary efforts on that 20% and reduce or eliminate the rest.
Thankfully, in a world of automation, there are any number of tasks you can simply set to perform themselves. This frees you up to focus on the tasks that generate the biggest results. Here are 5 ways WordPress can be an invaluable time saver.
1. Spam blocking
Comment span is not just annoying, but it can also have a significant impact on your SEO. No one has the time to regularly check comments for spam and the longer they sit there the more harm they do. The best thing is to stop it in its tracks before it takes root.
Akismet is the default plugin that WordPress uses to deal with comment spam. The good news is, all comments marked as spam end up in a folder that you can periodically review. If a legitimate comment accidentally gets marked as spam, you can repost it and the program will learn from it and get smarter!
2. Posting and reposting
As in so much of life, one of the keys to building a loyal following is consistency. This includes posting new content and regular and consistent intervals. There are a number of plugins that will post your content right when you want it to go out, but there’s also a lot more to it.
When you generate new content, you don’t want to just post it once, you also want to periodically repost it across different channels. There are a number of different plugins that can help you automate posting across a wide range of channels. You can use standard plugins such as WPsite Content Resharer and Resharer Pro or Revive Old Post or use a custom plugin such as Jetpack.
3. Automate anything
IFTTT (If This Then That) is a free plugin that allows you to automate almost any task and even create daisy chains. For instance, if you post a blog to your WordPress site, you can set IFTTT to automatically post it to your web page, send out a tweet about it and even enter all of the information about the post such as the date, title and category to a spread sheet.
If someone comments on your post, you can set IFTT to like the comment, post an automatic response and even send you an alert that someone has commented. At the moment, there are 108 different services that you can use IFTTT with such as DropBox, OneDrive, Hootsuite, Bitly, Buffer and Flickr just to name a few.
4. Content Strategy
For a website to be successful it needs a well-defined content strategy. That also means scheduling posts well in advance. While some plugins can automate posting to a variety of outlets, scheduling specific postings can be time consuming.
Thankfully, there are services such as the Automatic Post Scheduler. You simply choose the frequency that you want posts to be scheduled and then make sure there is plenty of content lined up in the queue.
The automatic post scheduler will determine the most appropriate date and time and post straight from the queue. If you have a busy posting schedule and want a little more control over when certain posts are published, however, then you can also use an editorial calendar to schedule posts weeks or even months in advance. You can see at a glance what posts are scheduled to be published and even drag and drop posts to quickly reconfigure the release schedule.
5. On-Page SEO
While there is not currently a way to fully automate SEO, there are ways to automate some of the tasks related to optimizing your content for search engines.
For instance the WordPress Related Posts plugin will automatically add related post links at the bottom of your post. If your readers like the post they just read, there’s a good chance they might like to read more.
The longer they keep reading and clicking, the higher your search engine rankings climb. SEO Smart Links may take a bit more time and energy to configure, but once it is done it will automatically search out keywords in your content and link them to other posts, pages, categories and tags on your page. You can also set it to link to either internal pages or open up affiliate pages in a new window.
While people often continue to be concerned about automation taking away valuable jobs, nothing could actually be farther from the truth. Automation simply takes over mundane and routine tasks that don’t actually require human ingenuity to achieve or accomplish. By automating as many mundane tasks as possible, you actually free yourself up to create, strategize, plan, think, dream, innovate and engage in the types of tasks that will drive your business forward.
Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88.