Knowing how to schedule your posts in WordPress is an invaluable feature, but it’s not an obvious tool. That’s why so many WP newbies don’t exploit it. This tutorial shows you how.
Benefits of Scheduling Your WordPress Posts
Auto-publishing web content on set days and at fixed times has several benefits.
- Keeps the site active with regular content, even when you’re away
- Post to a global audience during peak activity times in their time zone
- Puts you in better control and keeps the content well-organized
- No more forgetting to publish a post
Scheduling posts becomes even more useful if you have regular guest writers. You can drip feed the content based on whatever makes sense for your website and its readership. Examples might be by topic, by author, or days leading up to special events, etc.
4 Commonsense Reasons to Schedule Posts
Reasons to schedule updated content include:
- Publish posts on the days leading up to a temporary promotion
- Publish posts to announce upcoming events on specific days
- Content updates keep the site fresh and interesting for visitors
- Frequently published content keeps the SEO bots visiting
Point 4 should also result in your fresh content getting indexed quicker than less active sites.
3 Ways to Schedule Posts in WordPress
There are 3 ways to put your written content on autopilot in WordPress:
- Use the built-in Guttenberg editor
- Use the WordPress classic editor
- Use schedule posts plugins (best for sites with several writers)
#1 Schedule posts from the Guttenberg editor
Log in to WP Dashboard and select Posts -> All Posts from the side menu.
Click the Edit (block editor) link to open a draft (unpublished) post to schedule.
You are now at the post’s edit screen in Gutenberg.
- Click the Document tab if it’s not already open
- Click the Immediately link next to Publish
- Choose a Date & Time to publish your post from the popup calendar
Tip: You can also click a date number (blue circle) for faster date selection.
Lastly, click the Schedule… button above the Document tab.
Gutenberg now takes you to a pre-schedule checks screen. Here you can change the schedule and apply a few other tweaks depending on your installed themes and plugins. Click the down arrows next to each of the options to view and or edit its settings.
Here’s how the pre-publish options look with our sample post.
Click the Schedule button once you’re happy with the pre-publish settings.
You have now scheduled a WordPress post to publish on a specific date at a set time.
#2 Schedule posts from the classic editor
Some WordPress users still prefer to use the old Classic Editor. It’s still available via the official Classic Editor plugin. You can have the two editors active at the same time, so you’re not stuck with one or the other. Both editor links show up when you hover over a post or page.
Click on the Classic Editor link.
From the Publish box (right), click the Edit link next to Publish immediately.
Pick a date and time for your scheduled posts and click the OK button.
Now click the Publish button at the bottom of the Publish box.
The Publish area gives information about the scheduled post and options to make changes.
That’s it. You now know how to schedule blog posts in WordPress using block and classic editors. If you want to cancel the schedule at any time, simply change the scheduled status back to draft.
How to Schedule Already Published Posts
Published posts are already live, so you can’t re-schedule them for a future time. If you modify the content, those changes become live the moment you click save. However, it is possible to schedule content updates to already published posts using a plugin. The Content Update Scheduler and Tao Schedule Update plugins are two options, though checking them today, they haven't been updated in a while.
Scheduled Draft Posts Using a Plugin
There are plugins designed specifically for scheduling posts and pages. The WordPress default options are fine for average users, but larger sites should consider a plugin. The reason is that WordPress only lets you do one post or page at a time. The manual route becomes laborious if you have lots of posts lined up or have multiple authors writing for the site.
There are several plugins available, so feel free to do your own research.
I'll show you one free option, and mention a fully featured paid option.
Free: Editorial Calendar
Editorial Calendar is a powerful post-scheduling plugin. Download and install, then follow along.
Log in to your Dashboard as Site Administrator.
Click Plugins -> Add New from the Dashboard side menu.
Follow these three steps from the Add Plugins screen.
- Type editorial calendar into the search box
- Make sure the editorial calendar plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress
- Click Install Now. Click again when the button text changes to Activate
The Editorial Calendar plugin is now ready for you to use.
From the WP side menu, click Posts -> Calendar.
Editorial calendar interface
The calendar gives you an easy-to-manage broad view of days and months. You can schedule multiple posts at the dates and times you choose. This approach is much more convenient than working with one post at a time using the WP default scheduler. Even better is its drag-and-drop interface and quick menu options for each scheduled post.
Here’s a snapshot of a part of the Posts Calendar interface.
You’re free to move any unscheduled posts around if you change your mind. You can also drag and drop a post from its scheduled slot back into the Unscheduled column if you’re unsure.
The Calendar offers the following link options for all scheduled posts.
- Quick Edit
The Quick Edit feature is valuable for changing several settings quickly. They include the draft post’s title, body text, time, and status, i.e., Draft, Pending Review, and Scheduled.
Here’s how the Quick Edit popup looks.
Paid: Strive Content Calendar
An alternative to the Editorial Calendar plugin is the Strive Content Calendar plugin.
Strive has a more modern design and colors your posts based on their status, making it easy to see if you're on top of your deadlines. The four statuses Strive adds to your site are Not Started, Writing, Editing, and Complete. They can be set for any post via the post editor or the calendar. You can also add new posts or insert existing drafts, make small edits with the Quick Edit window, and reschedule posts using simple drag and drop.
Guttenberg and the older Classic editors provide a quick and easy way to schedule posts and pages. Plugin support is better for busy sites with lots of regularly updated content. Scheduling is a practical and professional way to manage a growing WordPress blog or website.