I ghostwrite content for and manage the blogs of several Blogging Bistro clients. Each client’s blog is set up differently, and I invariably forget to do something before publishing the post. Sometimes I forget to add a featured image or to craft the SEO description. On rare occasions, I’ve even forgotten to title the post!
You can imagine my excitement when I discovered a WordPress plugin that displays a custom blog post checklist inside the WP text editor. The plugin is called Pre-Publish Post Checklist, and it’s SO easy to use, even if you’re a non-techie. I had it up and running in less than five minutes.
How it works
Here’s how this little gem works, once you install and activate it (which takes about a minute):
You add a checklist item, then click SAVE. Repeat for each item you want on your checklist. How easy is that?!
The checklist displays in the right sidebar of your WordPress post editor (you can drag the widget up or down in the sidebar if you want). As you complete each item on the checklist, click the item. When you schedule or publish your post, you’ll get a warning pop-up if you forgot to check off any items.
I installed the checklist on a client’s blog that has multiple contributors. The plugin is particularly helpful for group blogs, as it ensures that all contributors go through the same pre-publication process and that no steps are missed.
To show you how easy it is to install, activate, and customize this plugin, I’m going to install it on my own blog, right now, as I’m composing this post.
Install the Plugin
Log in to the WordPress admin area. (I use WordPress 4.3.1, currently the most recent version.) In the left sidebar, find “Plugins.” Hover over the tab and select “Add New.” In the “Search Plugins” field (on my screen, it’s in the upper righthand corner), type Pre-Publish Post Checklist. You’ll see several results. You want the one by Andrew Mead. Click the “Install Now” button. Then click “Activate Plugin.”
In your list of Installed Plugins, find Pre-Publish Post Checklist and click “Settings.” Alternately, you can get to the settings for this plugin from the main WordPress Dashboard by clicking “Settings” in the lefthand sidebar, and then clicking Pre-Publish Post Checklist.
Customize the Plugin
- Prevent Publishing (you won’t be able to publish the post unless you check every item on your checklist
- Warn User (you’ll receive a pop-up warning you that you haven’t checked all the items, but you can click “ignore” and publish anyway
- Do Nothing (no warnings; publish at will)
Add Items to Your Checklist
Now you’re set to add items to your checklist. Click the green “Add Checklist Item” button. Type in your item and click “Save Item.” The “Save” button is located on the far righthand side of the form field, and you MUST save each item individually.
Repeat these two steps for each new item on your checklist.
To edit items, click anywhere in the text for the item you want to edit. The form field for that item will activate. Edit the item and click “Save.”
Once an item is saved, the “Save Item” button will change to “Remove.” Click “Remove” to delete an item.
The only thing I couldn’t get the plugin to do was to re-order items; there doesn’t seem to be a drag-and-drop feature available. The items display in the order I added them, with the first item I added at the top of the checklist.
How it Looks
The checklist will display on every new and published blog post. It will also display on the pages of your site (unless you install another plugin that allows you to customize which plugins display on certain pages).
I’m not concerned about the plugin displaying everywhere; it’s unobtrusive and I’m convinced it will be more of a help than a hindrance. Carefully consider the items you want to include on your checklist, because you will have to check ALL of them EVERY time you publish or update a post if you enabled either “Prevent Publishing” or “Warn User.”
If you don’t want to check all the boxes but prefer to eyeball them to make sure you’ve completed all the steps, select the “Do Nothing” option. That’s what I did after using the plugin a couple of times.
Download Your Free Checklist
Determining how extensive to make your checklist is a matter of personal preference. I included only the items I routinely forget. But for my client’s blog (which multiple people manage), I created a lengthier, more detailed checklist.
I know you don’t want to waste time thinking of every item you could possibly include on your checklist, so I’ve done the work for you! I created a mega checklist of essential to dos before you hit “publish.” Feel free to adapt the checklist for your own blog.
Two easy ways to get your checklist:
- Text PREPUB to 44222, or
- Click the button below:
Many thanks to the WPbeginner blog for their article, “How to Create a Blog Post Checklist in WordPress.” I’ve followed this blog for several years, and their tutorials are always timely and easy-to-implement.