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Automate WordPress with IFTTT

By Charles Costa

Whether you’re a blogger, programmer, or just casual user of WordPress, you probably know WordPress is a helpful tool which can be used for a variety of tasks. Whether you’re trying to roll out your own self-hosted business powerhouse or are just trying to share your knowledge with the world, having an efficient workflow is vital to your success.

Although using WordPress can sometimes be an intensive process, you can simplify your work by using IFTTT (short for ‘If This Then That’). IFTTT is a robust macro creation tool, with a simple to use interface. If you’ve ever used Microsoft Office from years past, you’re probably familiar with VBA scripting and the hassles it caused. Today however, things have changed and IFTTT allows you to to automate common tasks with a few clicks.

IFTTT website screenshot

How It Works

For those unfamiliar with IFTTT, the service is relatively easy to pick up. First, you choose the application you want to automate (IFTTT supports 142 channels WordPress IFTTT section) and then you can choose from pre-made tasks or you can create your own.

Creating your own ‘recipe’ (the IFTTT name for macros) simply involves setting a trigger, and an action to occur. Everything is done via the web and you don’t need to touch a line of code. If you have a self-hosted WordPress install, then you’ll need to ensure that XML-RPC is enabled on your site (under Settings > Writing) for IFTTT to work. Additionally, if you have a security plugin installed on your site, you should ensure that it also isn’t blocking XML-RPC.

Integrating IFTTT with WordPress doesn’t require installing a new plugin or tweaking your site. All you need to do is provide IFTTT with your website URL and a username and password. If security is a concern for you, it’s always a good idea to create credentials specifically for IFTTT rather than using your administrator credentials.

IFTTT features two types of triggers and two types of actions for recipes created on the site. The triggers include adding a new post and adding a new post with a specific tag or category. The IFTTT WordPress actions include creating a standard post, and creating a photo post.

Sample Recipes to Get You Started

Social Media

Since social media is a vital component of virtually any blog, we’re going to focus on that first. Sure, you could use IFTTT to share posts to Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, but you can also do that with Jetpack. The list below is focused on less conventional uses which aren’t as apparent:

Instagram: If you’re an avid Instagram user, you can have Instagram photos tagged with a specific keyword posted to your WordPress category under a specific category. (see recipe).

WordPress Instagram

SoundCloud: If you’re a podcaster or musician who uses SoundCloud to share your content, you can have WordPress generate a blog post automatically whenever you add new content (see recipe).

YouTube: Managing video is a difficult process as is. Make your life a bit easier by creating your blog posts automatically when you upload videos to YouTube (see recipe)

Utilities

Auto blogging: Sometimes you might have a situation where you’ll have posts from an outside blog which you need featured on your site. By using IFTTT, you can pull posts from an RSS feed and have them reposted through your WordPress site (see recipe).

Evernote archival: Although backing up your WordPress website is a relatively simple task, it never hurts to have redundancy in your workflow. By using IFTTT you can automatically back up your blog posts to Evernote (see recipe).

A Word of Caution

Although IFTTT is a great way to help streamline post creation when it comes to handling multimedia posts, when using a recipe to create a WordPress post, you should have IFTTT create a draft so you can edit the post beforehand to ensure it fits your SEO strategy. Since posting videos and multimedia alone isn’t much good for your readers, it makes sense to add content to the posts before they go live.

On a more positive note, with IFTTT, the sky literally is the limit for what you can achieve. The recipes mentioned in this article are only meant to be a primer. As mentioned earlier, you can always create your own recipes to fit your needs.

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