You’re looking at your WordPress analytics and you notice something strange: 80% of your users are on the opposite side of the world, in a totally different time zone, and they’re all online while you’re asleep. You’ve stumbled across a weird niche that’s extremely popular in one particular part of the world, like “steampunk in Australia”. What can you do to release content at times when it’s going to be seen? Well, you can schedule it. WordPress makes scheduling very easy, but many beginners don’t know about it—it’s a powerful feature, but it’s tucked away and very easy to miss.
Many blog owners make the mistake of posting whenever is most convenient to them, which is usually somewhere in the little spaces between work, errands, hobbies or whatever else life can throw at them. This is perfectly reasonable, but it isn’t optimal, and it denies your content the readership it deserves.
Considering how easy scheduling is, you’d be foolish not to. Outside of time zone differences, here’s a few reasons you should consider scheduling your posts:
You’re Taking Some Time Off
Burnout can get the best of us. Eventually, you’ll need to take some time off to refresh the batteries and invest some time in yourself and other meaningful relationships around you. Many content creators worry about taking time off as they feel their audience will become uninterested during a period of downtime. The stats all say that non-posting periods are the #1 killer of sites, but rarely consider that people are needed to write those posts, and those people need time off.
Scheduling allows you to post consistently during these periods. This does mean content creators have to prepare enough content in advance. Therefore, depending on how active you’d like your blog to remain, be prepared to put in some long hours beforehand.
Scheduling posts during high traffic periods allows you to create more effective releases. Compared to your previous content strategy (or lack of one), your new schedule will maximize the value of your content. More eyes = more conversions. Simple as that.
Scheduling your posts will save you a lot of time. It changed my life a little: there’s something almost zen about scheduling a week’s worth of posts at once and then just letting them launch on their own. You can set up the whole week on Monday afternoon, then spend the rest of the week actually creating content. I’ve found that it has supercharged my productivity, since I can get all my organising out of the way at the start of the week and don’t need to keep stop-starting to sort out posts.
How to do it
Organizing your WordPress posts is actually really simple and only contains a few variations on the usual process. I’ll walk you through the steps, but they can viewed at https://en.support.wordpress.com/schedule-a-post-or-page/.
After finishing writing a piece, find the ‘Document’ tab (should be in the top right of your browser). Click on it.
2. Beneath you should see a ‘Status and Visibility’ dropdown with a ‘Publish’ column. Click on “immediately.”
3. You should be greeted with a calendar in which you can choose your planned publishing date and time, choose your optimal time. This can be a past date if you’d like to backdate.
4. Click on the big blue ‘Schedule’ button above and you’re done!
5. To view any scheduled posts go to WordPress admin, Posts > All Posts > Scheduled.
6. If you’d like to unschedule a post, go back to the ‘Schedule’ button and change it to a ‘Draft.’
7. Please note: you cannot schedule more than 100 posts at once. If you attempt to do this, 100 will be posted but the rest will just vanish. There can’t be more than 100 posts scheduled on any one WordPress site—if you’re running a massive campaign, it might be good to split it across multiple sites, or figure out which posts are best to schedule and which are best to post live.
If you are scheduling posts for a different time zone, remember to align your time with the correct alternative time. If you’d find it easier to change the timezone of your entire WordPress, go to Settings > General > Timezone.
What About Scheduling Content Updates?
Scheduling updates to a post isn’t as simple as scheduling a post; updates and edits occur immediately, with no official way to schedule them. If you want the changes to be made at a certain time, you have to do it manually, which is less than ideal.
As stated above, this isn’t easily achievable and can disrupt your workflow. The solution is to install a plugin that can schedule content updates, the most popular being the Tao-schedule-update plugin by TAO Digital. The other option for scheduling content posts, creating custom solutions for content updates and optimizing your WordPress website is to hire a professional WordPress developer. Especially if your technical issues are becoming overbearing and affecting your ability to create more content or invest in your product/service. Hiring a developer will free up that time as well as give you some mental space to regain some creativity.
Developers don’t necessarily cost an unthinkable amount! There’s a team of affordable WordPress developers at CodeClouds who are worth talking to. Compared to freelancers they offer guaranteed working hours, which is important when dealing with strict time constraints between partners. They have developers in the USA, India, Australia and New Zealand. They’re pretty selective of their clients, but it couldn’t hurt to get in touch and find out whether they’re a good fit for you.
Post scheduling is a huge sanity-saver. It’s right there in the posting panel, but a surprising number of people miss it—there’s a lot of options and it seems like one that gets glossed over. Once you know it’s there, you’ve got a powerful tool at your disposal. Good luck, and happy posting.