You might have a great looking website, award-winning even. But does it do tricks? I’m not talking about desperate cries for attention or flashy stunts. A good website should aspire to really awesome feats of usefulness. If you’ve built it on WordPress, the website’s at least got a head start on that goal.

Versatility and extendability are why WordPress is such a popular website platform. With today’s themes, you get very pretty design running on an engine that lets you publish the words and pictures essential for successful Internet marketing. Writing and content creation are easy to manage if you make smart use of core WordPress features. And with a few tweaks from quality plugins, you can encourage visitors to share your hard work across their networks.

Quick warning about searching for new plugins: Most of them are junk built in bedrooms across the globe. Without a little care, this stuff can encrust your website with a thick layer of clutter and code you don’t really need. When you’re vetting plugins, look for those that have been updated in the past six months. Give bonus points for plugins with their own dedicated websites. While many plugins in the plugin directory are free, don’t settle for imitations of paid premium plugins. Go ahead and pay to get that good stuff.

If you’re going to install any plugin though, make sure you’ve installed and configured Jetpack. This official software pack from the creators of WordPress packages a bunch of the very best innovations. You need it to take advantage of the features mentioned below. If you’ve been doing WordPress updates faithfully over the past year, you probably already have it.

Look What I Can Do! 3 WordPress Tricks

Scheduling – There’s no need to bust your butt to write a post the night before you need it to appear online. Think ahead and write your post about a week before you need it. Then use the date-picker in the Publish tool to schedule it. After that, you can take your ease and wait for your posts to roll out like a welcome mat for those new visitors. Better yet, why don’t you write and schedule a few more posts while you’re waiting to promote the others? Blogging’s kind of a vicious cycle. Take control and learn to schedule posts for the future (and send them back into the past) here.

Want to make your life even easier? Use a plugin like WordPress Editorial Calendar to view and edit all of your scheduled posts in an easy-to-read calendar format.

Media Galleries – With recent updates to Jetpack, sharing a group of pictures at once in WordPress got really easy. While most blog posts need just one image to illustrate the point, you might want to share a bunch of pictures all at once in a gallery style. There’s advanced plugins you can try for that. I recommend Flickr for sharing. But you can quickly assemble a slick gallery hosted on your own website with WordPress’ built in Media Library. Just don’t load 100 pictures from your company golf outing. Try five or ten instead. If you can use just a few images to tell a story, don’t bury readers with hundreds of the same thing. Read up on WordPress a little and get the hang of this great new feature.

Sharing Buttons via Jetpack – Part of the reason you write blog posts is to generate valuable content worth sharing. Make it easy on your visitors by activating the sharing buttons included in the Jetpack plugin. There’s a ton of sharing plugins that add this feature, but they tend to clutter up your website with too many choices. This plugin pares the options down to just those most popular in the States. Consider which four social networks your readers use the most and include just those sharing buttons. If they’re into Orkut, you’ll want a different plugin, but I’m a big fan of this streamlined, straightforward choice.

photo credit: jurvetson via photopin cc