Like many things, scheduling posts in WordPress is quite easy, once you know how. Below I will outline the steps you need to take, plus run through some plugins that can help you with this task.
However, before we get to that, you may be wondering why you might want or need to schedule posts on your WordPress website. Well, there are a number of reasons, which we will briefly look at now…
Why Schedule Posts in WordPress?
There are several reasons why you would want to get in the habit of scheduling posts. Some of them are directly related to timing while others are more concerned with SEO. Here they are:
Spread Out Your Content Publishing
Being able to schedule posts is one of the best ways to keep a regular flow of content to your followers. For example, if you are able to produce a series of posts in one sitting, you can schedule them to be released once a week or however often you wish.
Many writers produce content in batches, rather than one post at a time, so scheduling gives you the ability and flexibility to publish whenever you choose. This allows you to stagger your content releases to your audience, meaning there is more chance to keep them engaged for longer.
Publish When Your Audience Is Active
Another time-related reason that makes scheduling a good idea is when you write. If you happen to be a late night writer, it makes more sense to schedule the post to be published during the day rather than well after everyone has gone to bed. This is particularly important if you notify followers of new posts via social media.
Scheduling posts also come in handy when you are away for an extended period of time. You could be on a two-week vacation or down with the flu. With content ready to publish, your absence will not have any effect on your regular updates when you plan to schedule them. Your followers will still be kept in touch when you are away.
You Can Plan Ahead
There are times when you may wish to provide a weekend series or seasonal content that you have already written and have filed away for such an event. Scheduling these posts will make it look as if you are celebrating the holidays or sharing the special series in real-time although the content may have been written long ago.
SEO – Keep The Search Engines Happy
One of the most important reasons is for SEO. Google loves websites that continually update or produce new content. Naturally, provided your new content is relevant to your website project, this helps you even more.
By scheduling fresh, relevant content to be published on a regular schedule you improve your chances of ranking well. In addition to giving you opportunities to rank with new keywords, both you and your website can become an authority in your niche. This is much less likely if you do not keep adding new content on a regular basis, and scheduling posts on your website in advance helps this.
How To Schedule Posts On WordPress
Scheduling a post in WordPress to be published at some point in the future is quite easy. All you have to do is:
1. After you have finished adding content to your post, instead of selecting “Save Draft” or “Publish”, select the “Edit” option which appears after “Publish Immediately”.
2. After selecting “Edit”, drop-down fields appear where you can select a different month, day, year and time in the future. Enter your new time/date, and then select “OK”.
3. The date to be published will now be updated to the new date… then select “Schedule”
Now instead of publishing your post immediately, it will be published at the new date and time you have specified.
WordPress Schedule Post Plugin Options
There are a number of plugins available to help with managing your scheduled posts. If you only have 1 or 2 posts that are scheduled, then they probably won’t be of too much use. However, if you have quite a lot of posts loaded up and ready to go, these may come in handy in managing exactly when the different posts are published.
If you have a lot of posts on your site, it can also give you a good visual perspective of when your posts are due to be published.
WP Scheduled Posts
After you have saved and scheduled your posts to be published, this plugin makes it easy to see exactly how many posts are scheduled and when they are due to be published.
It adds a notification in the top Admin bar with the number of posts scheduled. If you hover over this, a drop-down list appears that shows what those posts are and when they are scheduled for publishing.
It also adds a Scheduled Posts list to the WordPress Dashboard.
Get more information on WP Scheduled Posts here.
Schedule Posts Calendar
When you want to schedule posts in WordPress, the default WordPress option simply has a drop-down menu for the month, and a manual input for the day, year and time. This plugin adds a calendar to make it easier to select the exact day you wish to schedule a post for publishing.
The other feature that this plugin adds is when viewing existing scheduled posts in the “All Posts” window, you can hover over the post you wish to view or modify, and there is a new option called “Schedule”. On selecting this, the same calendar as above drops down, and if you wish to modify the day or time that your post is scheduled, you can easily select the new values.
Get more information on Schedule Posts Calendar here.
Probably my favourite out of these 3 WordPress schedule post plugins is the Editorial Calendar.
This plugin adds a “Calendar” option to the Posts menu in the WordPress Dashboard.
On this screen, you can see all the posts that are scheduled, and select and drag them to new dates on the calendar for when you would like them to be published. Also, if you click on one of the posts to be published, a box appears with options to:
- Edit (open the full editing window)
- Quick Edit (shows a cut-down version of the editing options, but you can still change the scheduled publishing time and status)
- Delete the post
- View the post.
This gives a great visual representation of what is coming up in your WordPress post scheduling plan.
Get more information on the Editorial Calendar WordPress schedule plugin here.
Being able to schedule posts in WordPress can help for a variety of reasons. As discussed previously, by continuing to add fresh relevant content to your website at regular intervals, you gain more attention from followers and can help with search engine rankings. Plus it can help to make your overall content marketing system more efficient.
With the addition of new content, you increase the exposure of your website by ranking for new keywords. This can mean new visitors to your website, which helps with building trust and authority, leading to increased sales.
Having the ability and flexibility to schedule posts makes better use of your time allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business. So if you are yet used the scheduling feature in WordPress, why not give it a go.