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How to Use the WordPress Desktop App for Your Self-Hosted Blog
Do you want to use the WordPress desktop app for your self-hosted WordPress.org blog? WordPress desktop app allows you to easily write and edit blog posts without being distracted by other browser tabs. In this article, we will show you how to use the WordPress desktop app for your self-hosted WordPress blog.
Pros and Cons of Using the WordPress Desktop App
WordPress desktop app is created by Automattic, a company founded by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg. It is also the company behind JetPack and WordPress.com. For details, see our article on the comparison between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
WordPress desktop app offers an improved user experience for self-hosted WordPress websites, which is particularly great for users looking for a distraction free editor to create content.
However, just like everything else in the world it has its own pros and cons.
Here are the advantages of using the WordPress desktop app on your computer to manage your self hosted WordPress.org website.
- Offers a nice user interface to manage your website
- It syncs your content fast and offers a great writing experience
- Offers a clean distraction free writing area to create your content
- Allows you to perform website management tasks without opening your browser like updating plugins and answering comments.
Following are the disadvantages you need to consider before using the WordPress desktop app for managing a self-hosted WordPress site.
- It doesn’t work while offline. This means you cannot write posts and just save them to your computer using the desktop app.
- Doesn’t load custom fields created by plugins in the post editor. For example, if you are using Yoast SEO, then you will not be able to edit post’s SEO settings from the app.
- Requires you to install the JetPack plugin and sign up for a WordPress.com account.
That being said, let’s take a look at how to use the WordPress desktop app for your self-hosted WordPress.org site.
Using WordPress Desktop App for Self-Hosted WordPress
First thing you need to do is install and activate the JetPack plugin on your website. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation, you will be asked to connect JetPack to a WordPress.com account.
You need to click on the ‘Setup Jetpack’ button to continue.
This will take you to the WordPress.com website. If you already have a WordPress.com account, then you can login. Alternatively, you need to click on the sign up button to create a new account.
After sign up, you will be taken to the pricing page. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘Start with free’ button.
WordPress.com will now create your free account, and you will be redirected back to your website.
Next, you need to download and install the WordPress Desktop App on your computer.
After installation go ahead and launch the app. You will see the login screen where you need to enter your WordPress.com username and password to login.
Once logged in, you will see the WordPress.com reader screen where you can explore content and follow blogs. To manage your website, you will need to switch to the My Sites tab.
You will now see your website title in the left menu along with other website management sections. In the right column, you will see JetPack traffic reports.
Using the admin bar on the left column, you can edit and create posts, pages, and custom post types. You can also add a new blog post by clicking on the write button at the top.
The content editing area offers a very polished user experience.
On the right column, you will find post settings like status, post scheduling, categories and tags, featured image, and more. To the left, you have a distraction free writing area with a rich text editor.
You can add photos and galleries to your article by clicking on the ‘Add’ button in the editor. You can close the settings column by clicking on the gear icon at the top.
Now let’s take a look at the Comments section.
The WordPress desktop app allows you to easily manage comments on your website. You can reply to comments as well as approve or delete comments pending moderation.
The themes section in the app allows you to manage themes installed on your website. You can also install a new theme without leaving the app.
However, you cannot customize your theme inside the app. Clicking on customize will open the customizer window on your website in a new browser tab.
The plugin section allows you to install, upload, and activate plugins directly from the app.
The app will also notify you of plugin updates, and you can update them directly from the app. You can also optionally choose to auto-update plugins that you trust.
Now, let’s review the Sharing section.
Here you can connect the JetPack plugin to popular social media websites and automatically share new posts on social media.
If you want to add new authors and users to WordPress, then you can do so directly from the ‘People’ section in the app. It shows all registered users on your website as well as users following your blog using the JetPack follow feature.
You can click on the add button to invite new users and click on existing user accounts to view their details and delete accounts if needed.
The Settings section inside the app allows you to manage WordPress settings from the app. Some of these settings are specific to the app and JetPack plugin while others are WordPress settings that you would normally manage in the admin area.
If you manage multiple WordPress sites, then you can add them to the app and manage them from the same dashboard.
Any new website you add should have JetPack installed and connected to the same WordPress.com account you are using in your app. After that you can simply click on the add new site button at the bottom right corner of the app to add them.