Want to know how to schedule upcoming posts in WordPress? Then read on, as today’s tutorial shows you how…
If blogging is a hobby, you probably don’t need to think too far ahead with your content strategy – simply finish your post, then hit publish.
Most WordPress users like to aim big, though. If you’re serious about building a profitable website, you need to spend time considering your content strategy. After all, big blogs don’t publish their content aimlessly, and neither should you.
If you want to create a long-term content strategy, it’s important you know how to use WordPress to schedule upcoming posts – that way, you can plan your content in advance. Today, we’ll be discussing the benefits of scheduling WordPress posts, as well as walking you through how to do it.
Why schedule upcoming posts in WordPress?
Unless your content depends on timeliness, I recommend that you don’t hit publish the moment an article is finished. This is because, in my mind, there are five main advantages to scheduling content in advance. Let’s run through them in turn.
1. It’s easier to get into a consistent publishing routine
Any expert blogger will tell you that publishing consistently is way more important than the volume of content you publish.
If you can only commit to one post per week, that’s no problem; however, make sure your weekly post is published on the same day each week so that your audience knows what to expect.
Scheduling the post in advance is the easiest way to achieve this, as you won’t have to remember to log in to post your content.
2. You can schedule content for peak traffic
Website traffic is rarely consistent, and it’s highly likely that traffic to your blog ebbs and flows depending on the day of the week and time of day.
Newly published content is usually of most interest to your audience, so it’s highly recommended that you publish your content during one of the peak periods – you can use Google Analytics to monitor traffic cycles.
Of course, once you’ve determined your high traffic points, scheduling the posts is the easiest way to guarantee that your content is published in time for peak demand.
CoSchedule have compiled a collection of studies researching when the optimal time to publish posts is – check that out here. For example, a KISSmetrics study showed mornings received peak traffic, particularly on Mondays. Although statistics will vary from blog to blog, if you want to test the recommended peak time on your blog, go ahead and schedule a post for next Monday morning at 11am EST!
3. Take time off from your website
Stress is endemic in modern life. Even when we’re “off work,” we usually find time to do something work related.
It can do you a world of good to step away from your website for a week or two so that you can properly unwind and enjoy a good vacation. Scheduling posts gives you the peace of mind that your blog will continue to function without your day-to-day involvement.
4. You can stock up on content
Even if your blog publishes content like clockwork, it’s unlikely that you can create content so routinely – we all have bad days when the words just don’t seem to flow.
By committing to creating a content schedule, you can create a backlog of ready-to-go articles that will get you through any lean periods. It also means you can write as much content as you want when inspiration is flowing.
5. Take the big picture view
When you plan your content strategy in advance, it makes it easier to analyze your content’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, when scheduling you might spot that your blog is relatively light on one particular topic.
Realizing this in advance gives you plenty of time to proactively craft the content you need, which you can shuffle forward in your schedule. This can make your content strategy more insightful and also more balanced.
How to schedule upcoming posts in WordPress
Okay, so we’ve covered the many benefits of scheduling posts in WordPress. Now, let’s discuss how to schedule them.
WordPress comes with built-in scheduling functionality, which allows you to schedule posts in advance in just seconds – hint: you can follow the same steps to schedule pages, too.
To schedule upcoming posts in WordPress, log in to the dashboard, then make your way to the text editor. You should only schedule completed posts, but if you want to see the process involved, simply navigate to Posts / Add New.
To the right of the editor, at the top of the screen, look for the Publish meta box.
By default, WordPress is configured to publish posts immediately. You can change this by clicking on the Edit button.
Now you’ll be able to adjust the date, right down to the minute the post is published. When you’re happy, click the OK button to save.
If you’ve selected a future date, this will replace the blue Publish button with the word Schedule. The final step is to click this Schedule button.
And that’s all there is to it!
For the record, your scheduled date isn’t set in stone. If you wish to change the time or date, you can simply access the post, then edit when the post is scheduled.
How to schedule posts with a plugin
As easy as it is to schedule upcoming posts in WordPress out-the-box, you can enhance the core’s scheduling functionality using a plugin. My recommendation is the Editorial Calendar plugin, available for free from the official plugin directory:
Earlier in this post, I mentioned that one of the benefits of scheduling your posts was that it made it easier to see the big picture. Editorial Calendar is the ideal plugin for big picture thinking, as you get to see a calendar overview of when your posts are scheduled. This calendar view looks something like this:
To use Editorial Calendar to schedule upcoming posts in WordPress, we first have to install the plugin. From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins / Add New, then search for “Editorial Calendar.” Install the first plugin returned – it’s the one by Colin Vernon – by clicking Install Now, then Activate Plugin.
Now, Editorial Calendar’s most useful feature lets you quickly schedule any draft posts, so that you can instantly plug the gaps in your schedule.
Start by accessing the calendar by clicking Posts / Calendar. In the top-right, click the Show Unscheduled Drafts button. This will list all unscheduled posts – be warned: this includes the posts that aren’t ready to be published.
Find the post you want to schedule, then simply drag and drop it onto your preferred date. The plugin will automatically schedule it for this date.
You can also use the plugin to make changes to your content, without ever clicking through to the WordPress editor screen – just click the Quick Edit button.
This brings up a simple pop-up that can be used to change your content title, edit the body content, and swap the scheduled time – this last one is especially important as the drag-and-drop calendar can only be used to schedule the date, not the time.
You can also use the plugin’s drag-and-drop functionality to reschedule your posts. To do this, find the content you want to reschedule, then drag it from one date to another in the calendar view. The plugin will automatically update the scheduled date.
Scheduling posts in WordPress is super-easy – anyone can learn how to do it in just a few short minutes by following along with today’s tutorial.
If you want to enhance your content planning, though, I recommend the Editorial Calendar plugin – the visual calendar overview helps you to identify content gaps, plus the plugin’s drag-and-drop lets you schedule/reschedule content in seconds. And because everything in Editorial Calendar is so quick and easy to do, the plugin can save you serious amounts of time and frustrations!
Any tips for scheduling upcoming posts in WordPress? Using the Editorial Calendar plugin? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!