The summer may be officially over but that doesn’t mean you still can’t take a vacation. we all need a break every once in a while. But before you jet off on a weekend adventure (cruise, road trip, or even a WordCamp maybe?) you should get your website setup to take care of itself.
There are a few steps you can take to get your WordPress website ready to take care of itself, and lucky for you they’re all super simple and can be ready to go in the time it takes you to wait for you Uber. Here are the literal AABCs before you leave.
A is for Auto-sharing
When you’re out of the office you should be busy enjoying yourself with socializing, sightseeing, sporting events, nature, cocktail hours and more. This means you probably won’t have time to jump on your phone or laptop to update your Twitter or Facebook pages. Don’t forget to share on social media by installing an auto-poster.
One service we really like is Buffer. Buffer automated social sharing makes it super easy to type up and schedule all of your social media posts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram ahead of time. You can even use the free WordPress to Buffer plugin to integrate Buffer with your WordPress site. With this plugin you can enable an option to automatically share your new posts as they are published, so all you need to do is schedule a few new articles before you leave on your trip.
Another great option is Revive Old Post Pro. This freemium plugin recycles your old content and re-shares it for you. Simply install the plugin, tell it how ofter you want it to post and let it do it’s thing. You can see a full guide to using all of the Revive Old Post plugin features on our blog. And if you want more, ThemeIsle offers a premium version of the plugin that adds options for customizing your tweets and shared, the ability to track and view clicks with Google Analytics integration, options to share your posts multiple times, pretty much every social platform you can think of and more.
A is also for Alerts
Since you’ll be out adventuring you probably won’t be on your website all day like normal (at least we hope you aren’t working and exploring at the same time). Do yourself a favor and setup a few alerts on your website to notify you of any important events. If you’re going to be gone give
If you’re already using the popular (and free) Jetpack WordPress plugin there are useful notifications built right in, you simply need to enable and configure them. The first is the JetPack Monitor module which checks your website every 5 minutes to make sure it’s up and running. If there’s a change in your uptime status you’ll receive a “Bad news” email (or a “Good news” one when your site is back up). The other module you should consider is JetPack Notifications. This module sends you a push notification when you get a new comment or like. Just activate the module and install the free WordPress App for iOS or Android on your phone to have your notices at your finger tips.
For a bit more security, you could also try the aptly named iThemes Security plugin. The free iThemes Security plugin features a ton of useful notification settings you can use to stay on top of your WordPress website. First of all you can enable local brute force protection as well as setup a notification for when users get locked out from too many failed login attempts. Another awesome features is file change detection. You can set it up to notify you when absolutely anything is changed, or only when specify folders are touched. It’s up to you. But perhaps one of the coolest features of iThemes Security is the Away Mode option to completely disable your admin dashboard while you’re away. Just enable the option, select a one-time restriction and then choose the start and end dates of your trip to lock out other users as well as attackers.
If you upgrade to Pro you’ll also have options for logging user activity to see what your team is up to while you’re gone, schedule malware scans, enable two-factor authentication or even appoint a temporary admin to take your place for a limited time.
B is for Backups
Make sure you have a good backup plugin installed, just in case. This way if something does go wrong while you’re away it’ll be much easier to put everything back together when you get back.
We use VaultPress ourselves and it is without a doubt one of the best backup plugins for WordPress. Created by the team at Automattic it takes full backups of your WordPress site daily and stores the last 30 days worth for you. Restoring your website with one of your backups is as easy as easy as clicking a few buttons. With a price of just $5 per month you can’t afford not to get VaultPress.
C is for Content
Just like you need a few snacks to hold you over on a road trip or long flight, your readers need something to tide them over while you’re gone. The easiest solution is to schedule a few posts to publish while you’re gone.
The post scheduling features is built right into WordPress itself. So instead of publishing a post when it’s ready to go click the edit button to select the day and time you want it to go up. Then click to schedule.
Alternatively, if you already have a bunch of post drafts ready you can use a plugin like the Auto Post Scheduler to bulk schedule your posts for you. It has options for publishing pending and/or draft posts (or even recycle old posts), to publish by date or ar random, and the ability to customize the time gap between published posts. But really if you’re only going to be gone a few days the built-in WordPress scheduler will probably work just fine.
And S is for Swag
The last bit is to bring your own swag! You never know who you’re going to meet while you’re out and about. It’s always a good idea to represent your blog or business, whether it’s with a logo-ed shirt or hat, custom stickers to hand out, free pens with your name on them or some good old fashioned business cards (VistaPrint and Zazzle have discounts practically every month making these nearly free). You can’t go wrong with a little self promotion.
Now Go Have Fun
Not that working with WordPress isn’t fun, it’s just that you’ve earned you’re well deserved time off. With these tools you’ll be able to rest up and relax knowing your WordPress website can handle itself for a few days. Just remember – Auto-sharing, Alerts, Backups, Content and Swag. Have any more tips or recommendations to keep WordPress running when you’re not there? Share your tips in the comments below – we’d love to know what works for you!