Setting up automated tasks for WordPress, like taking a backup every time a post is published or sharing posts in social media networks can be a real time consuming process. What if there was a service that could do it all for you?
Something like a mute Siri?
Just as you could ask Siri to wake you up at 7:30 AM on Fridays, what if you could ask that service to do something similar, with WordPress?
Well, there is. It’s called IFTTT and it’ a real game changer.
What is IFTTT?
IFTTT is a revolutionary service that changes the scene of current automation services. Say you want to switch your mobile to the silent mode (or a do not disturb) during said hours in the office. Or on a date – that’s good manners. 😉
Or send your mom a text when you get back home from work. Yes, it happens and there’s nothing wrong about it.
You can program IFTTT to automatically do those things for you. IFTTT literally stands for
“If This, Then That”
IFTTT contains of 4 basic components:
A Practical Explanation of Triggers and Actions… in Action:
A Trigger is when someone punches you in the face. An Action is what you do soon after. You can be Gandhi or Rocky. Your choice. Based on the action you choose, a Recipe is formed. We’ll get to Ingredients a bit later.
The only difference in this analogy is that in the case of IFTTT, all triggers are anticipated, i.e. they’re pre-determined. You expect them to happen. In other words, “when you get punched” is a trigger only if it’s not an impossible or totally unexpected event. Let’s face it, there are lunatics in this world who would randomly punch you in the face. No kidding.
Come to WordPress, mama
Now that you know the basic principle of the three components, let’s look at an example with a software approach. When you have a multitude of social networks connected to your site, at times it gets messy. You might forget to share an article in one network. This leads to inconsistency and at times can be pretty frustrating. Nonetheless, it consumes a lot of your time.
With IFTTT you no longer need to manually update your social networks. IFTTT can be programmed to do it for you – however you like it. So when you publish a post or a page, a Trigger is said to have occurred. Based on that Trigger, you have an array of Actions. A prominent Action would be “share that post in Twitter”. Each ‘trigger-action’ combination forms a Recipe.
Now when you publish a post to Twitter, you need a couple of parameters – your Twitter account details, the default hashtags, mentions, etc. These parameters are called Ingredients.
Given the uncountable number of possibilities of IFTTT recipes, the developers devised a smart way to group them. These groups are called Channels. There are over a hundred channels present in IFTTT, WordPress being one of them. Obviously.
IFTTT for WordPress
The IFTTT WordPress Channel allows you to connect your WordPress blog to IFTTT, whether it is hosted in WordPress.com or a self-hosted WordPress website. Once you have activated the channel it can then be used as either a Trigger or an Action.
IFTTT WordPress Triggers
At the time of writing this article, there are two Triggers available for IFTTT WordPress. They are:
- Any new post
- New post with a specific tag or category
Some might argue that this is a limitation, but I beg to differ. IFTTT for WordPress is still in its infancy. Give it enough time and it’ll blossom into something like WordPress SEO by Yoast.
IFTTT WordPress Actions
Also two in number, the IFTTT WordPress Actions are:
- Create a post
- Create a photo post – This will create a post on your blog with the photo post type and links it to the URL of the image used as the trigger.
IFTTT Recipes for WordPress
Now that you know the available Triggers and Actions for WordPress, you are limited only by your imagination. There are tons of awesome recipes available for WordPress, with new ones being added every day. Check out the official WordPress IFTTT Channel to view all recipes.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ITTT recipes for WordPress:
When you publish a new blog post (trigger), this recipe will automatically post the link of the post to your connected Facebook page.
One of the most useful recipes, this will automatically tweet your blog post (title + URL) when a post is published. Of course, you must assign a Twitter account for this to work.
Although achievable by backup plugins, this recipe backs up your post in Dropbox in a text file. It’s not in Rich Text Format, so the HTML code of your post gets published.
This recipe creates a new photo type blog post in your WordPress site, every time you upload a new photo in Instagram. Teenage girls, this is your queue. Although, the odds of a teenage girl reading this post is equivalent Leonardo Di Caprio winning an Oscar. Just saying.
LinkedIn is famous for the legitimate network it creates. This IFTTT recipe will automatically post your recently published WordPress blog post to your LinkedIn account
A front page in Reddit would send oodles of traffic into your blog – loads of bookmarks and many new email newsletter subscriptions. Be careful what you wish for, because a sudden surge in traffic results in high server load – which might just topple the server over the edge. This results in downtime which in turn, kills the incoming traffic. To save yourself from something like this, you could try managed WordPress hosting services like WPEngine. This IFTTT recipe will automatically submit your WordPress post to Reddit upon publication.
From a simple note taking software, Evernote has become a phenomenon – a ‘must-have’ app for Android and iOS. This IFTTT recipe archives your WordPress post to your Evernote account.
Buffer is an indispensable service for serious social marketers. This IFTTT recipe send your published blog post to Google+, via Buffer. Thus, for this to work, you need a Buffer account and connect it to your Google+ Page.
Established in 2008, Bitly is an excellent URL shortening service with advanced tools for tracking link click rates. With this IFTTT recipe, when you publish a blog post in WordPress, a public bitmark is automatically added to your Bitly account. This becomes incredibly helpful should you want to track your link’s click rate.
As mentioned previously, Buffer is an AIO social media marketing platform. This IFTTT WordPress recipe will submit your blog posts to Buffer, as soon as they are published.
IFTTT is a service which can be used to perform almost any automated tasks. With regard to WordPress, it is no exception. Auto-shortening your published post URLs to Bitly or sending your posts to social media networks can be very helpful as it saves a lot of your time. However, you must also keep in mind that writing an effective description while updating a social media channel results in better conversions.
For example, you would write about the same topic in two different ways when you’re using Facebook and Twitter. Or Google+ and LinkedIn. Analyzing the social media channel in question and optimizing your status/update description accordingly, would significantly give better results.
Over to you – what are your thoughts on IFTTT? What’s your favorite recipe? The platform is all yours!