How to Simplify Your WordPress Blogging Workflow?

29 July 2013

San Jose: How many of you think that there are not sufficient hours in the day to run your blog, take part in social media communities, while running a successful business?

If you are one of the many bloggers and business owners always seeking more ways to be efficient, then you are in for a treat.

I own and manage numerous multi-author blogs including WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. Through the years of experience, I have considerably streamlined my editorial workflow which lets me to focus my time on growing my business.

The key to streamlining any process begins with organization. You cannot be competent until you are ordered. Often when bloggers are asked about their workflow, mostly don’t have one.

Let’s begin by creating an editorial workflow.      

Creating an Editorial Workflow

On my blogs, I use a plugin called Edit Flow to create a 5-step workflow process. My workflow stages look like this:

  1. Idea– All post ideas start in this stage
  2. Assigned – Posts ideas that are assigned to specific authors go in this stage. In
  3. Progress – When author is ready to work on an assigned post, then they put it in this category, so I know what is being worked on.
  4. Pending Review - Once the author completes the assignment, then they submit it for review.
  5. Ready to Publish - Once I or another editor reviews the post, then it goes in this stage.

You can add your own stages in the Edit Flow plugin by using the Custom Statuses feature. Often people mistake this plugin as something for multi-author blogs. It is not. You can employ it on your personal blog as well. I just modify the stages by getting rid of assigned, and pending review.

By defining these stages, you know precisely where you stand in terms of progress. It also adds structure for your team to follow thus making the whole process more planned.

Improving Communication  

Over the years, I have noted that poor communication can be a most important productivity drain. In the beginning, like most folks I used email to communicate with my authors. That was a mistake because email threads have a tendency to get long and off-topic very quickly.

To keep things organized, here are two sets of communication methods.

Method 1: This was to develop the communication between editors and authors by centralizing everything. Edit flow plugin came to rescue again because it enables for editorial comments and notification right within the WordPress dashboard.

The comment style design keeps me from going through the long email threads. This enabled authors and editors to converse right from the WordPress dashboard to get the article done as fast as possible. It also allowed to go back and visit the conversation around each post if you wanted to see why a specific decision was made.

Method 2: This is where we build a centralized group where we can converse about tasks other than blog posts. I used the P2 theme from WordPress and simply created a password protected section. I did this because it’s easy and free. There are tons of other project management solutions out there, so you can theoretically use any of them for this.

Adding a Visual Overview

You just cannot continue to develop your process if there is no visual outline of schedule and deadlines.

This is when an Editorial Calendar can be useful. Edit Flow has a calendar option, or you can also use the Editorial Calendar plugin. This allows you to see where you stand in terms of your progress. Which author is working on what post, which post are scheduled to be published etc.

If you make use of the Editorial Metadata feature of the Edit flow plugin, then you can add deadlines, first draft dates etc. This can be really useful for each author to see on the calendar, so they can prioritize each item.

Fine-Tuning and Management

Now that we have covered the vital parts of editorial workflow, there are various other tools that I use to help me fine-tune the process.

Let’s start with the publishing schedule.

Schedule Posts – WordPress comes with a very neat schedule post feature that lets you to schedule your articles to be published at a later date. This also allows you to be consistent with your publishing schedule even when you are traveling to different time zones. Consistency is significant because your audience expects you to publish at a certain time.

Link Management – One of the ways we monetize our sites is through affiliate marketing. Use a plugin called Thirsty Affiliates to manage all of our sponsor/external links. While the base plugin is free, there is a paid add-on that lets you to auto-link certain keywords which can help save time.

Content Audit – One of my goals for WPBeginner is to keep it as accurate and as related as possible. This is why we go back and edit old articles. To have a proper content auditing process, use a plugin called Content Audit. To make the revision process easier, use a plugin called Revisionary which lets moderated editing of published post content.

Final Thoughts

Time is clearly our biggest plus point, and using it efficiently can significantly catalyze the growth of your business. The above process will surely help you streamline your WordPress editorial workflow and will allow you to stay ahead of schedule.

Read more: WordPress Blog Maintenance

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