I just noticed a feature in WordPress.com‘s blogging platform that I had seen in other platforms such as TypePad: the ability to schedule posts for a future date and time. Even without this feature, I still thought WordPress.com was a far superior service and offered many benefits either free or at ridiculously low prices, but one of its drawbacks was the inability to delay publication of a post, and have it then publish automatically.
Maybe I had just missed it earlier, or maybe it’s a recent addition, but it’s a really important new feature, particularly for businesses and other organizations.
Because it enables WordPress to serve a a full-blown content management system for a Web site, of which a blog is just one subset. Many organizations have news announcements that they want to make public at a certain time, perhaps even on a weekend. With the ability to schedule automatic publishing at a future time, they don’t need someone to log in and manually convert a draft post to “Published” status. And by setting a time up front when writing the post, it reduces the likelihood of a post being inadvertently published by someone who accidentally hits “Publish” instead of “Save.”
So I’m giving it a try, with this post.
I’m writing this post on the bus on the way to work, but I’m going to schedule it for publication at 8:15 a.m. CDT on August 12, 2008, when I’m going to be in the middle of a meeting.
To do this I will click the Edit link next to “Publish immediately” in the right sidebar:
Then I will adjust the time as below:
When the post is finished, then you just hit Publish as usual.
I think that’s all there is to it. I’ll update this post later to tell how it worked.
But then again, if it didn’t work, you won’t see it in the first place.
Update: This is an update before the scheduled publish time, but here’s how my “Manage Posts” dashboard
It shows that the post is scheduled but not yet public. Looks like it’s working.
The other nice thing is I could update the Blogging Curriculum page with a link to the new post, even in advance of publication. I’m not sure what the user experience would be, though, from following a link that is scheduled but not published. Maybe I will Tweet the link to find out.
Further Update: A couple of my Twitterbuds told me the result from having a link to a scheduled but not yet published post is less than satisfactory. So I had a friend capture a screenshot. Here’s what it looked like:
Take-away: Wait until the post goes live before including links from already-published pages. If, however, you had a page (or several posts) scheduled to publish simultaneously, you could put in those reciprocal links and have a good outcome.