Generally speaking, the straightforward approach to publishing on the internet implies that you type a post, edit, and format it as per your needs, and then hit the Publish button. All done! That’s just how easy WordPress makes it.
However, what if you don’t want to publish a post right away? What if a given post would be a better fit for the coming week, but you’ll be traveling so you might not be able to post it? Have no fear! The schedule feature of WordPress is your friend.
In this article, I will talk about the benefits of post scheduling, and when and how you should use it.
Benefits of Post Scheduling
Take a Break, Maybe?
Even if your blog or website is your primary source of revenue, you’ll still have other things in life that will ask for your time. Maybe you need to take a day or two off work. In which case, scheduling posts for the future is an easy way to ensure that your blog is updated with fresh content, while you enjoy your time off doing other important tasks.
Balancing the Posts
This is especially useful if your website features a diverse array of content. Say, you have a Breaking News category, and another category for detailed Op-Eds. But if you are planning to post an Op-Ed, but Breaking News comes in, you might wish to schedule the Op-Ed for a later date.
The Right Timing
It often happens that blogs and websites tend to get the most traffic at particular times of the day (for many of my blogs, this occurs at roughly 8PM of my local time). In such case, it is a good strategy to schedule your posts so that they go live at time intervals that are best suited for the readership of your blog. Even better, you might consider spanning out your posts so that there is a good deal of time difference between two consecutive posts.
Avoiding Writer’s Block
This is one strategy that I regularly employ on my personal blogs. Some days, when I have a bit too free time and/or I’m feeling motivated, I write down a bunch of posts, and schedule them for later. This way, even if I run out of blogging ideas for a few days and/or do not feel like writing something new, my blogs still have a regular flow of content.
Scheduling a Post
Scheduling a post in WordPress is fairly simple. On the Add New Post editor, look for the Publish tab, and then use the publish date and timing settings.
Confused? Let the WP.com documentation help you (applies also to self-hosted WordPress websites).
Speaking of self-hosted WordPress websites, there are several plugins that you can use to power-up your post scheduling. Bump the Schedule is one handy plugin if you regularly schedule multiple posts. Basically, this plugin lets you modify the date of scheduled posts in one go. So if you have ten posts scheduled, and you wish to postpone each by a day or two, Bump the Schedule can get the job done (doing this manually can be very time consuming).
Auto-Schedule Posts, another very useful plugin, can ‘hold’ posts until they meet a specific criterion for publication. You can limit your publication to certain days of the week, specify a time duration between two consecutive posts, and more.
The third plugin on our list, WP Missed Schedule Fix Failed Future Posts, fixes the problem of ‘missed schedule’ in WordPress.
Lastly, the Show Off Upcoming Posts (SOUP) is a rather unique plugin, which displays your scheduled posts in a sidebar widget.
Consider this to be a sort of ‘teaser’ function: the titles of the upcoming posts are shown in the sidebar, thereby encouraging your readers to sign up for your blog. It can also show the link to your newsletter, so if your upcoming posts are enticing enough, you can easily convert visitors into subscribers with the help of this plugin.
Post scheduling not only helps you stay more organized, but it can also make your life as a WordPress user comparatively easier. By scheduling posts for the future, you can be sure that your blog or website will not run short on content!
Do you use post scheduling on your blog or website?
Sufyan bin Uzayr is a freelance writer and Linux enthusiast. He writes for several print magazines as well as technology blogs, and has also authored a book named Sufism: A Brief History. His primary areas of interest include open source, mobile development and web CMS. He is also the Editor of an e-journal named Brave New World. You can visit his website, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook and Google+.