Welcome to a new feature on the Stem Strategy Blog: WordPress Wednesdays! Every Wednesday, we’ll share a tip, trick, plugin or cautionary tale from our WordPress adventures.
For the bloggers in the crowd, you know the magic of scheduling posts in WordPress — it’s a great way to prepare content in advance, and then have it post on your site at a predetermined date and time.
Pros: You control exactly when posts will publish, which is very helpful for time-sensitive content. You can also write content in advance and have it go live at a pre-determined time.
Cons: WordPress’s post scheduling is very rigid. Each post needs a specific date and time to publish; each post must also be edited separately to change the order of posts publishing.
Thankfully, there are several plugins that extend WordPress’s abilities; the two below expand on WordPress’s out-of-the-box post scheduling with a little automation:
Time Release acts alongside your normal publishing activity; it allows you to set aside posts in a queue, and, when a post hasn’t been published on the site for a set number of days, automatically publishes one of the queued posts. This way, you can write as usual, and Time Release will only chime in with its queued posts when you haven’t posted in a specific number of days.
When viewing the list of posts, Time Release puts a little ‘pill’ icon next to the ones that have been added to the queue. The minimum number of days until a post could go live is displayed next to the icon, and the icon becomes slightly greyed out once a post is published, so you can see what posts have been published automatically even after the fact.
Pros: Simple to use; only kicks in when blog posts haven’t been published in a while, allowing it to be used as a ‘freshness’ backup system as well as a post-queuing tool.
Cons: It’s a little too easy to accidentally publish a post you’re trying to add to the queue. You must make sure you’re saving the post as a draft rather than scheduling or publishing it; otherwise, it will go live as usual.
Rather than creating a separate queue, Automatic Post Scheduler stops the Publish process in WordPress and schedules the post instead. The plugin uses WordPress’s standard scheduling, but automatically sets the post’s publish time; it also blocks posts from being published right away as a default, which is great for button-mashing folks like myself.
Pros: Very handy if you want to schedule all of your posts. Action is only required if you do not want to schedule a post, and overriding the plugin and publishing immediately is easy to do.
Cons: Posts are still set to publish with a fixed date; rather than creating a less-structured queue. Changing the publishing order still must be done on a post-by-post basis.
One last bonus plugin: although it doesn’t do any scheduling heavy lifting, the WordPress Scheduled Time plugin helps highlight post statuses at a glance. The plugin colour-codes the different post statuses, making it easy to spot those that are scheduled to be published, or are still in draft mode and need your attention.
Do you have any tricks or plugins that you rely on to help schedule and queue your WordPress posts? Please share in the comments!