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5 ways to automate WordPress and save time on post-publication tasks

By Krystina Martinez · May 26, 2020
Hero image for automation inspiration of the WordPress logo connected by dots to the logos of Facebook, Buffer, and Excel

Thanks to its user-friendliness and robust customization features, WordPress powers about one-third of the world's websites, from hobby blogs and corporate websites to news outlets and online shops.

Practically anyone can build a website with WordPress, but successfully maintaining and growing it requires consistent attention. Not only do you need to create content, you also need to consider things like SEO and promotion to make sure someone actually sees it.

In other words: Your work isn't done when you hit publish.

Adding in a few automated workflows to handle your post-publication tasks can help you stay focused on content while keeping your site growth on track. Here's how you can connect WordPress with the other tools you use. If you don't run your website on WordPress, don't worry: you can achieve similar results with any website builder Zapier supports.

We've included some pre-made workflows—we call them Zaps—throughout this piece to get you started. Just click on the button, and we'll guide you through customizing it. It only takes a few minutes. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Automate your social promotion

A business that isn't on social media might as well not exist in many people's eyes. That's why WordPress has built-in sharing options for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Eventbrite. If you enable these connections, a window will pop up after you publish asking if you'd like to share to a social network. It even lets you customize the message that goes out.

A screenshot of social sharing options within WordPress with a blank field for customizing social messages.
This is what WordPress

If social promotion isn't your forte, you may spend longer trying to come up with a catchy blurb to attract visitors than you did writing your post.

Setting up a workflow that automatically sends each new post to your favorite social network is the ultimate "set it and forget it" power move. These Zaps will automatically add an excerpt from your WordPress article to your social media post, eliminating the time spent fiddling around trying to create the perfect social copy.

Post new WordPress posts to your Facebook page

Post new WordPress posts to your Facebook page
  • Facebook Pages logo
  • WordPress logo
Facebook Pages + WordPress

Want to level up your workflow? Add a filter step to any Zap—available on a paid plan—to promote only the posts you're interested in pushing. Maybe you're trying to build your personal brand on LinkedIn, so you want to use specific hashtags with your content. Or perhaps you're trying to build up your company's marketing efforts surrounding its corporate responsibility initiatives, so you only want to promote posts in a particular topic category. A filter step lets you promote only the posts you want.

If you use a social management tool for your business or personal use, you can also set up a workflow to send your WordPress posts to apps like Buffer or SocialPilot.

Write posts from your social content

As a brand, a business, or someone just trying to make their mark on the world, you have to be on all the platforms. From posting a photo that screams "aesthetic" on Instagram to writing a witty tweet, you're creating great content, but it doesn't always make it to your WordPress site.

Curating your social media posts into written content is a tried-and-true tactic, but the process of grabbing embed codes of your posts is annoying. Instead, use an automatic workflow that will create posts or even upload media from your social accounts directly into Wordpress.

Spread the word about your content

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tactic, but it's very time-intensive. Think of all the personal and professional communities you're a part of. It would be great if you could personally reach out to each person to promote your work, but you only have so many hours in the day. Instead of driving yourself crazy trying to do this manually, set up a few workflows to do the marketing for you.

Send a message blast

One way to generate word-of-mouth is to turn to chat apps like Slack, which can be a gathering place for professional and personal communities. Maybe you want to promote your company's work to a professional group in your field. Set up a Zap to share published WordPress posts to a specific Slack channel, Facebook Group, or whatever messaging app you prefer.

You can also set up an automatic workflow to get Slack notifications for new WordPress posts. For example, this can be helpful if you want to know when your team publishes new content on the corporate website.

This isn't limited to published posts, either. If you regularly proofread content, you may find it helpful to set up a Zap to get notifications when a WordPress post status is in "Pending Review." You can use the Zaps listed above to do this. Just select the post status you want alerts for from the dropdown menu when you're customizing your Zap.

Send email updates

Another way to quickly get the word out is to set up an automatic workflow to send your published posts to email addresses. You can connect WordPress to your personal email service, like Gmail, or use Mail by Zapier to send out your posts. This is best if there's a person or small group of people you want to keep up-to-date on everything you publish.

When customizing the email step of your Zap, add email addresses separated by commas, plus the name and address you'd like the automated email to send from. You can also specify a separate email address for replies.

The action step in the Zap Editor.

In the Subject and Body fields you can add default fields from WordPress or add your own custom text. If you'd like to preserve formatting from a WordPress post, select HTML from the Body Type dropdown.

You can also connect Zapier with some email newsletter services, so that draft campaigns are created whenever you publish.

Build your own archive

WordPress is a tank when it comes to managing tons of posts, pages, and media storage. But it can be a beast to sort through on the back-end, especially if you produce tons of content.

Imagine you want to re-promote some of your greatest hits in a particular category. Sure, you can filter by categories and tags within WordPress' admin panel, but you're still doing a lot of clicking to search for content best suited for your re-promotion strategy.

You can cut down on time wasted on page loads and clicks by creating your own archive for internal use—and you don't have to copy-and-paste links.

First, create a spreadsheet in your app of choice as it will serve as your archive. Helpful information you may want to capture could be publish dates, post titles, post URLs, and categories. Whatever you want to track, make sure the columns in your spreadsheet are appropriately labeled. You'll need this for the next step.

Columns labeled for a Google Sheets spreadsheet.

Then, set up a Zap to track each new WordPress post you make in a spreadsheet, assigning the appropriate WordPress post data to each column. Once the Zap is turned on, your spreadsheet will start populating itself with each new post. You can use these pre-made workflows to get you started.

Now you can quickly scan relevant information about your content without combing through your WordPress admin panel. The best part: if you need to do a content audit in the future, you've just saved yourself from hours of heartache.

Collaborate on post-publication work

It can be tough to juggle managing site content and teams responsible for that content. When other teams depend on website content to do their work, that throws another layer of management into the mix. You can minimize the work of herding cats by connecting your WordPress site to your favorite task or project management system.

For example, let's say you announce on your site about a new event your business is hosting, and your colleagues in event-planning and sales need to capitalize on the announcement. You can set up a Zap to create specific tasks and assign them to particular users or teams. You can also set specific due dates, or if your app supports it, non-specific due dates like "tomorrow" or "next week."

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Krystina Martinez picture

Krystina Martinez

Krystina writes about all things automation for the Zapier blog. Previously she was a public radio journalist, so she has a lot of opinions about microphones. When she's not writing or tinkering with Zapier, Krystina enjoys sewing her own clothes and taking long naps in between her many hobbies.

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