How to Feed Your WordPress.com Blog While Web Surfing: the Power of “Press This”

TL;DR

WordPress.com includes an empowering yet unheralded power-packed feature: the free Press This bookmarklet. Once added to your browser, feeding your blog becomes kid’s play.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Power of Bookmarklets

✧︎︎︎ What Is a Bookmarklet?

A standard bookmark is all about traveling. Tapping a bookmark takes you to the underlying website marked by HTML coded plain text, comprising an URL. A bookmarklet is a bookmark on steroids, also plain text. Rather than coding an URL, JavaScript performs a certain task, relying on one or more features of the underlying website. It may transport you to that website, or it may perform a task offered by that website. In both instances, the distinguishing feature remains the performance of the bookmarklet’s designated task powered by the underlying website. Read: you can drive a car, or you can drive then exit the car to perform a desired task.

Bookmarklets eliminate the tedium of frequent chores

Bookmarklets eliminate the tedium of frequent chores

● Example: the PrintFriendly Bookmarklet

For years I subscribed to the top tier offering of EverNote. Profound discontent with that service—the bloat factor, show-stopping formatting woes, annual (hefty!!) pricing increases withOUT new features or cured glitchy old features—pushed me to a bullet journal. Resulting question: how/where to stash saved web pages?

Research led me to PrintFriendly.com, a free resource dedicated to a singular task: convert a web page to PDF, stripping all extraneous matter, i.e. convert a web page into a clean PDF. Bonus: when that PDF file is stashed in Google Drive, its contents are ooo baby! searchable, as is the filename itself.

● Bullet Journal Notes Aware of Digital Files, and Vice Versa

I added this print-to-PDF bookmarklet to every browser on each of my devices, adopting a new procedure designed to instill analog/digital harmony:

  • tap the PrintFriendly bookmarklet always visible via my browser’s Favorites bar
  • save the PDF file to Google Drive (gD)
  • massage the filename by including the date and a signifier, e.g. 17.0525-3.(web page title).pdf
  • append a cryptic notation to my bullet journal’s Daily Log, e.g. under that log’s dated header, May 25th (initial entry in boldface):
  • → → 🔲 Research: grab WP bookmarklet gD/3️⃣

Why? The #3, inside a square, tells me this task has an associated file in Google Drive. It’s the 3rd file I’ve saved that day. (If I’m saving bunches of files in one session, I add m for multi rather than a number). The related filename code segment, 0525-3, references the section of my bullet journal with associated details (May 25th Daily Log, entry marked with #3 inside a square). Bottom-line: my bullet journal alerts me to the existence of related files, each with 0525 embedded in the filename, while the digital file references the related analog dated Daily Log entry.

I use numerical codes because numbers are precise. Rather than searching, visually or mechanically, for multiple words, I instead focus on one number. A “forest for the trees” syndrome may swallow my peepers, but my eyes can pinpoint a single number with relative ease. Likewise, electronic searches kick back numerous irrelevant files when relying upon words; the hitlist calms when seeking one number. Bonus: no bloat; no glitches. And, because I am handwriting throughout the process, I enjoy the inherent power of enhanced focus, getting more done in less time. Read: a win!

● One Problem: Installing a Bookmarklet on an iPad/iPhone

Yes, this can be done. The typical method involves saving a standard bookmark, then editing it. One copies the bookmarklet JavaScript coding, then pastes it, replacing the initial URL. While not difficult, the process personifies tedium.

This gal believes in minimizing headaches where possible, including a fail-safe easy way to install ANY bookmarklet. Once the linked helper is loaded, installing a bookmarklet transforms into a no-fuss one-tap affair.

✧︎︎︎ The Press This Bookmarklet

Aside: Comments advocating the .org version of WordPress over its .com sibling amuse me. The arguments insist the .com version “is too limiting” as compared with plug-ins accessible only to self-hosted .org WordPress sites.

Back in the late ’90s into the early years of this century, I created and maintained two successive (award-winning 😃) law-oriented websites. Security issues pushed me to abandonment. More than a decade later, those security issues have exploded into a virtual daily war. I do not have the time to beat back miscreants, an on-going drama resembling the whack-a-mole game. I chose the .com version because security issues are handled by folks paid to focus only on that aspect of websites.

I discovered: familiarizing myself with the WordPress.com Support pages—without fail—provides an answer (or at least a hint ripe for googling) for each need, from exploiting the Pinterest “Rich Pins” feature to devising handy site widgets, and most points in between. The Press This bookmarklet presents yet another “too cool; thanks WordPress.com! 👍🏽” option to exploit.

***UPDATE:*** Minutes within this post going live, an eMail from WordPress.com arrived: “You now have access to thousands of 3rd party plug-ins…” But limited to Business accounts. 😡 

The previously linked site ensures painless installation of the Press This bookmarklet. Once installed, you surf as usual. Let’s say you’re at Slick Susie’s improve-me focused website, where you read a great article about developing/polishing a Morning Routine. Because this would be of interest to your blog readers, you perform a quick two-step dance. First, you highlight text within Susie Slick’s blog post. Then, you tap your Press This bookmarklet.

That tap opens a window/tab, showing the editing screen of the WordPress.com Admin area. The webpage title populates the title field of your WordPress.com post editor. Your highlighted text appears within the body of your “Draft” post, followed by the URL/link to that neatOh! Slick Susie post. You can then assign category and tags. Or, accept the Draft as is, knowing you can return to polish it at a more convenient time.

If you plan to add nothing, you may want to formally designate your Draft as a Link or Aside type of WordPress post, rather than accepting the default Standard (Article) format. On the other hand, you may opt instead to use the Slick Susie post as an idea generator, creating your own resulting full blown meaty Standard/Article post. (But hey, give credit where it’s due, e.g. “A recent blog post I encountered {link} prompts this post…”).

The edit screen empowers you to schedule a date/time for posting, keep the Draft status to finish your post later, or publish immediately.

WrapUp

  • What starts as a procrastinating mindless web surfing session can be converted to genuine productivity—feeding your blog—with an easy tap of the Press This button gracing your browser’s Favorites bar.
  • Other bookmarklets await your installation, anxious to steroid-ize your Favorites bar.
  • Quoting my darlin’ grandmother: “Baby, sometimes ya gotta spend time to save time.” Translation: devoting a few minutes to installing helpful bookmarklets today WILL save you hours throughout tomorrows.

Call to Action

  • Your intentions are great, but you falter re implementation as regards feeding worthy content to your blog—on a consistent basis.
  • You’re tired of staring at the still-blank blog editing screen, unable to muster a topic.
  • You have no stash of Drafts to massage into full-blown posts.

Each of these woes is curable, via the Press This bookmarklet at the heart of this article. You can continue to complain, or you can position yourself for gain. Bonus: one-tap conversion of a no-true-purpose browsing expedition, into the basis for a blog post, mutes Poindexter—the Inner Critic.

Your world, PardNah! Your choice. Why not play Nike, and “just do it!”?

Til later 👋🏽☺️