Scheduling a post to be publish in the future is a neat little feature built into WordPress that’s easy to miss. Once you know about it, it could become the most used tool in your toolkit!
What does the scheduling feature do?
It gives you the ability to schedule a post to go live at a specific time on a specific date.
Want to publish next Tuesday at 1.03am?
When to schedule blog posts
Scheduling blog posts to publish in the future might seem pointless. After all, it doesn’t take long to login and do it yourself.
But what about when you’re on holiday?
You won’t want to interrupt an evening meal or day out with the kids just because you need to log into WordPress to publish your next post.
What’s the point in doing that when you have a cool tool to do it for you?
Then there’s business trips, weekends away, a busy schedule.
And, here’s another scenario – maybe most of your readers live in a different timezone to you. Hitting publish when they’re awake and at their machines makes a lot of sense. Especially if you also automatically update your social networks through tools like Hootsuite.
We’ve looked at why and when you should automatically setup your blog posts so they publish in the future, let’s look at the very simple process for setting this up.
How to set up a blog post so it automatically publishes in the future
The first step is to make sure your blog’s timezone is correctly set.
Navigate to Settings > General and from the drop down menu, choose a city in the same timezone as you.
(If you’re setting this up because your readers are in a different timezone to you, choose a close-by city instead.)
You only need to do this once.
Now, go ahead and compose your post.
When the post is ready to go, instead of hitting the publish button, hit the Edit link next to Publish Immediately:
Now change the date and time to the intended publication date, click OK to update the system and confirm.
The text on the Publish button should change to Schedule.
Your blog post is now scheduled to go live at whatever time and date you chose.
Here’s how my settings look after hitting Schedule. You can see the post is scheduled to publish on 26 December 2016, at 11.45am.
Want to make changes to your post but already committed it to a schedule? Don’t worry. Just log in as you would normally and make the changes.
The scheduled date doesn’t change.
Sometimes the automatic scheduling doesn’t work
Unfortunately this method isn’t fail-safe.
WordPress can and does miss scheduled posts, so it’s always best to check, or get somebody to check for you, as soon as possible after the intended publication date and time.
If it does fail, all you have to is do is click the publish button and the post goes live. I know this defeats the object of the whole process, so I suggest you try it out on your site before relying on it to post on your behalf while you’re away.
To do this, instead of hitting publish, hit the Edit button instead (as described above) and change the schedule time to a few minutes ahead and let WordPress do the rest.
Hopefully, it will work for you (it does for me).
If it does, try it again several times to make sure the first taste of glory wasn’t a one-off!