How to actually set up Microsoft Word to create and publish and edit posts to your WordPress blog

I just stumbled onto this obscure feature in Microsoft Word and wanted to share this with you.

Why would I want to do this?

  • Have you ever wanted to just directly paste in pictures/screenshots from your clipboard and have them automatically uploaded?
  • Have you ever wanted to create your post offline without distractions from the internet?

You can do this with Word. (This articles uses the latest desktop version of Word as of April 2018)

How do I do this?

Just launch Word > New and type in ‘blog’ in the search box, this is the one you should select:


Just type something up and hit publish as Draft so that you can get the box to set up your account.



This next step is the one that is not intuitive.


What the heck is an xmlrpc.php?

The short story is that it’s an endpoint that is enabled on ALL WordPress sites (unless you’re running a really old version) – it allows non-wordpress applications to send posts to this URL.

Just make sure your URL starts with https:// (not http://) and the URL ends with /xmlrpc.php

Your ‘blob URL’ would be just your domain name – for me, I entered ‘https://efficienthacks.com/xmlrpc.php’

Then you type your post and hit ‘Publish’.

Granted, you are going to have to log into WordPress to set a featured image and whatnot, but the core part of your article is there (with images and all!)

Other things to know

You can also edit existing posts!

You can categorize your post from Word

Things you can’t do from Word

You’ll have to set the featured image manually by logging into WordPress

Conclusion

There is a huge advantage for creating and editing blog posts in Word. The feature of pasting in screenshots from your clipboard alone makes it all worth it.

If you don’t have Microsoft Word yet, you can get it from Amazon here. Look for ‘Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition’ for the one-time payment option. The Office 365 edition is a subscription.

Full disclosure: I get a small commission from that Amazon link at no cost to you. I also work at Microsoft, but I’m not in the Microsoft Office team. This post is not affiliated with Microsoft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Produce First – Why choosing before consuming will make you feel more accomplished

Choosing to Produce Before Consuming…

When you wake up, do you even think about what you do? Most people act on autopilot.

How many times have you woken up, then “quickly” checked your phone, then ended down a rat hole of email, news, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, etc. ?

(These sites were made to have you keep consuming.)

The same thing probably happens when you sit at your desk with the intent to get some work done.

Next thing you know, you’ve wasted an hour (or way more) of your time with nothing to show for it. How does that make you feel?

When you consume first (and this is very easy to do), you cloud your mind with thoughts about random things that may not be top priority for you.

When this happens, you will feel as if life is outside of your control. And this is not a good feeling.

So what should you do instead?

Get up early. No kids, no phones, no email, no social media, no video, no audio, not even books.

Choose to make something.

This is very similar to the act of giving first. You might have noticed that it feels better to be the one that gave first.

Why would this make you feel better?

When you deliberately make a choice to wake up early and make something, when you make an effort to give, you are in control.

This is a different feeling you get when you consume (receive) other people’s content. The choice you make here is not as deliberate. When you give second, it feels more like an obligation than a choice.

 Action steps

It may differ for you, but the general idea is to deliberately choose to do something —

At first it can be choosing to get up early than usual…

then you can choose not to look at distracting apps/websites

then you can choose to produce. (Take it one step at a time)

For me, the easiest thing to produce is writing. You might want to produce something else if writing isn’t your thing. But give it a go before you dismiss it.

Here are some ideas:

  • What were some key ideas that stuck with you?
  • What are your plans for your project?
  • What is it that you are grateful for?

You can keep your thoughts private or publish them online — you’ve probably guessed that for me, it’s to use the Medium editor because I feel it keeps me very focused.

If you think writing is pointless and it isn’t worth your time, pretend that you are writing advice to make your parent’s/child’s/friend’s/a stranger’s life better. When you make something that will help someone else, that will make it all the more worthwhile.

Try it and let me know what happens.

How (not) to sell software yourself

Selling software is simple…

Just start coding/making it based on an existing app, make a better version, put it on the App Store, or Play Store and then people will buy it!

Ok, stop. If this is what you think of when you have an idea for a product, then you're going about it the wrong way. Sure there are a few people who have done this, but this is an exception. Don't get me wrong, generating ideas is a good thing, you should at least jot them down. But how do you pick which one to execute on?

That's the question I asked Yaro Starak, a well-known blogger, he respond to my question with this: Don't make it about something you can sell, figure out the thing that people want to buy. In other words, find out their pain points and make a solution for them. So treat your "ideas" as guesses as to what people want and try to validate your guesses.

If you would help me validate my guess, that would be much appreciated! It will only take 5 minutes (4 questions).

[link to survey]

Here are some of the concrete steps that I have compiled

Just a word of warning: I have not actually followed through on this yet, I'm just jotting down the rough steps of what makes sense to me at this point.

  1. Find a pain point to solve (interview or survey)
      • In this step, you'll be interviewing potential - I actually attended a really good webinar by Cindy Alverez last week. The main point is to validate your idea. She provided some good questions to ask potential customers.
      • Follow up on pain points:
      • "In the past month, how often has [problem] happened?"
      • "What other ways have you tried to solve [problem]?"
      • "How high a priority is it to fix [problem]?"
      • "If [problem] was magically solved, how would that make your life better? What would you be able to do?"
      • "Who else is affected when [problem] happens?"
  2. Make a new email list and a landing page for people to get signed up. Keep trying to grow this list as you build your software.
  3. Create a really simple prototype (don't need to code anything, can just lay out what the screens look like)
  4. Make the software in small incremental steps. After each small victory, blog about the process or share with the list. Keep validating your assumptions as you go to figure out which features to implement first.
  5. Set weekly goals to complete your tasks.

Here's a popular article by (@cliffordoravec) that I've found very helpful - it is related to selling Software as a Service, but the ideas presented can apply other digital products as well (ebooks, courses, etc.):

In it, he gives some templates as to how to reach out to potential customers via email.

Another helpful and popular course is Evan Kimbrell's 1 day MVP on Udemy (444 ratings at 4.7/5)- he's even generous enough to give this away for free (assuming coupon code still works)!  Here's the link.  He goes in depth about the 7 steps of an MVP:

  1. ​Sniff test (in your head)
  2. Competitive analysis
  3. Customer Development Interviews
  4. Basic Pitch Experiment
  5. Complex Pitch experiment
  6. Build the prototype

Tools You can use to Sell your Software

As a last step, here is one solution you can use to package up and sell your software (make sure you spend more time on getting a following of people via email first):

withCoach.com - You can get started for free - you can list an unlimited number of free products and one paid product (Coach takes a 10% commission on that, which isn't bad). You are allowed 100 customers (which is a good target if you're just getting started).

Another popular platform is Gumroad, but the support isn't as good. You can read more on my article about Gumroad vs WithCoach: The two best online platforms for regular people selling their stuff.

Others: selz, ejunkie, shopify. I didn't bother with these as they didn't fit my needs

How You Can Create Effective Infographics that people actually want to read (for FREE)

Hello, Internet Neighbour!

It's pretty well known that people judge articles by their cover image. I'd like to think otherwise, but that's how it is. There are just so many articles out there that just having a great headline isn't enough.

Have you ever thought of creating an infographic but not willing to shell out money for expensive software that you might not even know you'll end up using? (not to mention the time you have to invest to learn to do something useful with it)

I've tried Fiverr for infographics, but even though they did a good job, I ended up having to wait for days and ended up editing the final infographic myself anyways, so it's not like I saved any time.

In this post, you'll learn how to do just the essentials to make your own infographics and title images real easily because you're not starting from scratch.

So if you're ready to reduce the time it takes you to edit images, get ready.  Here we go.

Download Your Free Template

Are you spending way too long trying to create nice images for your blog/social media posts?

Download my free image template and I'll teach you how to use the free Google Drawings service to help you can edit the designs for your needs.

Here's how you do it.

I just learned about Google Drawings last week and I'd like to show you how to use it efficiently.

Here are some quick and dirty videos I've made:

How to add text to an image:

How to apply the 'zoom in' effect to a screenshot:


The Infographic

Here's the infographic I've made to help you make infographics (I know… that's some meta shit right there)


Download Your Free Template

Are you spending way too long trying to create nice images for your blog/social media posts?

Download my free image template and I'll teach you how to use the free Google Drawings service to help you can edit the designs for your needs.

Post Mortem: Stuff I've learned after the fact...

After making the infographic, I've compiled a few learnings that might help you:

Resizing the canvas to make it longer will screw up the scaling, just start out with a very long image and shorten it if necessary.  If you really need to extend the height, make a long rectangle and drag it to the bottom of your screen, then scroll down and use the resize handle on the canvas.

Google Drawings doesn't export long images properly in png or jpg format, you must export as svg, then find a converter like https://cloudconvert.com/

Use an actual placeholder image in your template sections (and apply the mask), then use replace image (rather than using a placeholder shape like I did)

If you have white text and use a different font, copy and paste your text into notepad.exe before copying it onto your infographic. This is so that you can paste as plain text. Otherwise, your text will get pasted as black even though you want the text to be white.

Can't be bothered with this? Go to Fiverr.com and pay someone to do this - try to ask if they can make an infographic for you in Google Drawings so you can edit the text later. You'll have to send them the text (for the infographic content) beforehand.

It’s time for you to create

Human beings are a unique breed. We have the ability to think and create things on a level unmatched by other species. It just baffles me just thinking about it. It is unfortunate that many of us fall victim into consuming more and more content and rarely end up creating anything. The good news is that every day is a new day and perhaps today is the day you made something.

So what should you make?

The easiest way to get started is to write articles that teach others something that you’ve learned. If you think about it, humans have been passing down their knowledge from one generation to the next, first in the form of stories, then books.

If that isn’t your thing, that’s fine – just keep in mind to write something that is useful for others – it can be informative, entertaining, interesting. Don’t over think it – take a look at this document from Marty, it’s a simple list of words he found useful when writing formal essays and it’s got over 1.5 million hits! http://martinpiecyk.com/improveyourwritingability.html

How do you make it readable?

Now there’s no magic formula, but here are some pointers that you can use as guidelines:

  • Think about who you are writing to (parents of young children? Older parents? Office workers? Students? Etc.) If your writing is technical, write down prerequisites.
  • DON’T START WRITING YET! First, PLAN your article – identify the main goal for the article (e.g. the goal for this one is to get you to start writing), then jot down a few points leading towards the “climax”, and a few points after.
  • Use a conversational tone – write the way you would talk to your best friend (use the singular ‘you’ and ‘I’). Now, I know this isn’t what we were taught in school, but a general reader is more likely to tune out if you use a formal tone. Think about it – what was the last formal document you’ve enjoyed reading?
  • When you’re done writing, make it skimmable – you can bold or italicize your key points.

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GIVE IT TO ME!

Enter Medium

“…but I don’t want to set up a blog that no one will visit..” That’s where you’re wrong.

There is a social blogging site (where articles are categorized) – it’s called Medium. You’ll get readers even if you don’t do anything to promote your articles. Just tag your articles and start writing!

Their text editor is very nice allowing you to focus just on the writing.  You can even paste in images directly from your clipboard!

[edit: 10/2/17 – Niume is now shut down 🙁 ]  

Still Need some motivation?

I’ve came across two methods that have helped me out a lot when it comes to overcoming writers block.

Here’s a video explaining how to plan out an article.  The short version is that you should have the main point (the climax) written down (on paper), then jot down the topics that come before and after it. Source (article): Chase Reeves of Fizzle

The other method is called the MacGyver secret.  The idea here is to write down your problem, then do some activity that doesn’t require thinking (allowing your subconscious to incubate the idea), then returning to it and starting to write.  Source (article): Yaro Starak’s interview with MacGyver creator Zee Zlotoff

Then what?

When you’re happy with what you’ve written, post a comment below with the URL and a short two sentence explanation of why your article is interesting and I’ll feature it in the next newsletter! (and if I like it, I’ll also submit it on Reddit) I look forward to seeing what you’ve wrote!

The Internet needs better and useful content, and that’s where you come in.