Stephen Coven, the widely acclaimed author of the highly popular book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ and one of the most effective men that ever lived this earth, passed away back in 2012, at the age of 79. His book has inspired numerous authors, artists and everybody looking to lead a more efficient and proactive life. It is no doubt that he will always be remembered as a truly transformative leader and thinker on personal, everyday, effectiveness. His book is probably one of the greatest ever written on personal growth and transformation.
This post is a small tribute to his legacy, the seven powerful habits that numerous people around the world have tried incorporating.
Since WordPress is our focus here, we apply his seven habits to just that and see what makes for an effective WordPress publisher. In honour of the transformational guru, here are the seven powerful habits of effective WordPress users:
Like a boss, own your own WordPress experience. The best part about WordPress is that even the uninitiated, the ones who have had no experience with designing and managing websites, can learn the ropes of the business pretty easily and become comfortable with customizing and managing sites.
Learning about the themes, plug-ins and the nuances available on WordPress is fairly easy, even for beginners. For those who still remain apprehensive about the platform, there are always tutorials and articles available online to help you out. You’ll find help online for practically anything you’d like to do with your WordPress site. All that remains for you to do is realize the potential the web holds, stop waiting for help to come to you and find fixes and solutions for your WordPress issues.
Being proactive in this regard will enable you to turn from an ignorant, unsure site owner to one who is confident and empowered to bring about the changes that matter and ultimately create an attractive website for the audience.
As is propounded by Stephen Covey in his phenomenal book, be proactive instead of reactive. Make provisions for impending security attacks and other threats and be prepared for unwarranted changes and events. Learn to gauge your audience’s mood and use themes and layouts that suit their needs.
The beauty of WordPress lies in the fact that with the right proactive approach, absolutely anyone can do this and create a website that shines online.
Begin With The End In Mind
Use WordPress as a powerful tool to achieve your goals and objectives. At the end of the day, employing a particular tool should get you the results you want.
Ask the following questions:
- What is the end that you have in mind? What will you accomplish by creating a WordPress website?
- Do you want to build an internet card online for your brick and mortar offline business?
- Do you wish to build an all new online business? Do you have an ecommerce website in mind?
- Do you want to start an online journal?
- Are you looking to attract audience and customers who will build and promote your business?
- Do you wish to start with a new life altogether?
Keep in mind that Stephen Covey does not say the end in mind you begin with can’t ever be amended. Not even close to that!
We all know that goals, objectives and plans change and alter as we progress in life. Flexibility is important.
But the point is, you must have a potential, desired end in mind to know how and where to start.
Launching a WordPress website can prove to be a challenging task for some of us. However, if you begin with the end in mind, you’ll be in a better position to make the required initial decisions involving the domain name, hosting, layout etc. to establish a strong online presence through your WordPress website.
Put First Things First
Always plan for the future, prioritize and build a strong strategy. Once you have decided to launch a WordPress website and take control, the next step is to decide on a course of action for the future.
Keep in mind that the very things that can be counted as WordPress’s strengths can also prove to be major weaknesses.
For instance, if your WordPress website focuses on exhibiting high-resolution and top quality pictures demonstrating your photography skills, then having a sturdy theme that focuses on photos and colours will be important for you. However much it may cost you, it is something that needs to be done keeping in mind the present circumstances.
Since we only have a limited amount of time to devote to our WordPress activities and endeavours, it’s best if you put that time to its best use by putting important things first and working on the frills later. This is the essence of effective time management. Planning and prioritizing will help you increase your efficiency and focus on the core areas.
Stephen Covey highlights the importance of important and urgent things in his book. Similarly, you will also need to make a mental list of the important areas you need to work on when it comes to your WordPress website. Failing to prioritize often leads people to waste their time in less important, avoidable areas.
Take time out, whenever it’s necessary, to make strategic shifts in your priorities and enjoy the benefits of efficient time management.
The oldest adage in the world is quite applicable here: be positive and work hard.
Become an active member of the online community, observe your audience’s habits, requirements and needs.
In the online world, in order to receive something, you must learn to give as much as you can. In order to gain visibility online, you need to build relationships with your audience. To get links from big, established websites, you must set links to other sites and appreciate people’s articles and blogs. This way, people are more receptive to your suggestions and ideas, thus creating a win-win situation.
When you promote other websites and when in return they promote yours, it benefits both parties and this is the perfect example of a win-win situation.
This concept can be easily applied to your own website’s community. If a person comments on your blog, it’s obviously a bonus point for you. If you respond to the aforementioned comment, it’s a point in favour of the person who made the comment. This will popularize your post and encourage other people to comment, a thread you definitely want to be continued.
This concept works like a dream with regard to WordPress.
A lot of plug-ins are available for a small fee online. You can also find the ones for free. All you have to do to create a win-win situation is to donate to the developer of the plug-in, set a link to them and thank them on your post for the world to see. The more people you appreciate on your WordPress website, the more popular your website gets and you make a huge contribution to the open source model of WordPress.
A little kindness goes a long way.
Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
The fifth of Stephen Covey’s effective habit, this aphorism stays true to every business, relevant in every generation.
You need to adapt a customer centric approach to doing things. The customer, as they say, is the king.
Stephen Covey stresses on the importance of listening, carefully and closely. Brian Clark, in his blog Copyblogger, stresses on the importance of listening. He suggests that it is beneficial to build an audience before you build a business, since your audience will set the course and direction for your business. To build an audience, you must closely listen to their needs, desires and expectations from your business.
Even if you don’t send a physical product through your WordPress site, you are still selling your thoughts, opinions and ideas to your readers. Your content is your product and you must use it to seek inputs and feedback from your readers. It speaks volumes for you so make sure it speaks the right things about your business.
Only when you understand what your audience wants can you create content that is valuable and design it in a complementary fashion. The art of listening is one that you must perfect, in order to tune into your audience’s thoughts and opinions about your content, your product and your business.
While WordPress has made the publishing and designing part of the content fairly easy, your job is to focus on getting your audience to engage with your content and develop a mechanism to receive their thoughts and opinions.
Only when you listen and understand then you will be listened to and understood.
Combine your competencies and lead the online space.
There is great power in synergy. What a few people can’t achieve alone, they can achieve when they combine their skills and competencies.
WordPress is a wonderful tool to help you become proactive and enable simple, useful learning. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to carry all tasks out on your own. You can engage professional help and do things in an improved manner.
For instance, if you require a WordPress press that is high on performance and security, a generic host won’t solve the purpose. It is highly unlikely for you to have the know-how, skills or even time for maintaining your virtual private server.
This is why a lot of business owners opt for premium managed hosting. This allows you the time to focus on core areas like running the business, getting customers etc. while the hosting company takes care of technical aspects of running and protecting the website.
That is what is called synergy. You work with people who have expert knowledge in their respective fields and you get superior performance after combining it with your own skills.
True, online tutorials will teach you how to manage things on your own on WordPress. However, this takes a lot of time away from your day and leaves you with little time and energy to focus on your core activities. Thus, it makes sense for you to synergize.
This is applicable to SEO, design and layout of your website.
Be proactive and smart about using synergy in your WordPress strategy to reap maximum benefits.
Sharpen The Saw
Strike a fine balance of resources and knowledge. Continuously brush up on your skills, knowledge and resources.
The last habit speaks of continuously evolving and improving with time. As you manage your WordPress site, you must remain in touch with the latest trends and tricks of the trade.
WordPress is constantly evolving and developing and requires every website owner to do the same. As a proactive website owner, you must grow as the web grows and look for learning opportunities wherever you can find them.
For instance, each WordPress update comes with new built-in features that are immensely useful for website owners. When the platform itself learns and evolves regularly, the website owners have an increased responsibility to do so. Again, you need to be proactive to adapt these changes.
Each day is a new day to learn from people’s experiences and to gain insights on becoming a more effective WordPress owner. So keep learning and keep growing as each day passes.
You’ll always find something new and useful to learn, skills to acquire or people to partner with. All you need to do is keep your eyes and ears open, be proactive and focus on the end goal. Get your priorities right, think win-win and listen to what is being said around you and about you. Following the seven effective habits and applying them to your WordPress strategy will make your website better each day. Use these seven powerful habits to improve your WordPress experience and as a potent tool to improve your business and achieve your goals.