How To: Get Notifications and Automation for WordPress with IFTTT
If This Then That (IFTTT) is a powerful (currently free) tool that allows you to build connections between the services and applications you use, mainly for the purposes of automation of tasks and receiving notifications. By combing IFTTT and WordPress you can automate a number of tasks connected to running your blog as well as other important aspects of your life.
WTF is IFTTT?
In IFTTT, when a Trigger occurs an Action takes place. The Triggers could be anything such as a new post on your WordPress blog, a message in Facebook, or when there is a forecast for snow. The Actions could take the form of sending you an SMS message, posting an update on your Facebook page, adding an entry to your calendar, or turning on your lights.
These Trigger and Action combinations are called Recipes and there are literally thousands of them. For this post though, we will taking a look at some of the options available for WordPress and how you can automate some of the tasks you might be carrying out manually or relying on plugins to accomplish.
IFTTT WordPress Recipes
Recipes in If This Then That are divided into channels and unsurprisingly there is a WordPress channel. This means you can automate a number of tasks within WordPress based on triggers from other applications and services, or perform actions in other applications and services based on a trigger from WordPress. While creating your own recipes is simple enough, there are plenty of recipes out there already for WordPress which you can quickly start using.
Some popular recipes for WordPress include:
- Update Facebook Page with Link to New Blog Post posts to your Facebook page with a link to any new posts on your WordPress blog
- SMS to Blog Post send an SMS to IFTTT to create a new blog post
- New WordPress Post Text Notification sends a text message when a new post is published
- Instagram to Blog creates a new photo post each time a new photo by you is added to Instagram
- WordPress Post Backup on Dropbox automatically backs up posts on Dropbox as a text file
- YouTube Favourite to WordPress Post creates a new blog post each time you add a favourite video on YouTube
This is just a small sample of some of the many IFTTT recipes that involve WordPress. As you can see they have many uses, making them ideal for people wishing to publicise their new posts, automatically create new WordPress content, as well as those who are managing a blog and want to be informed whenever a contributor has published a new post.
The SMS to Blog Post is a great recipe, as it allows you to easily and quickly update your blog with a short message when you don’t have access to the internet but still need to broadcast a message, making it perfect for travellers on the road.
As you might already be achieving some of the outcomes of these recipes with plugins, you can safely uninstall some of those plugins by switching to IFTTT and lighten the load on your server.
Downsides of IFTTT For WordPress
At first glance, If This Then That might look like it has opened up a world of opportunities for WordPress users. However that isn’t quite the case, as the only triggers that are currently available for WordPress are:
- Any new post
- New post with specific tag or category
While the only actions for WordPress are:
- Create a post
- Create a photo post
Of course the WordPress trigger and actions can be connected to those from other services such as Facebook, SMS or phone calls. However when it comes to automating things in WordPress you are somewhat limited. For example it would be nice to get an SMS when someone leaves a comment on your blog, but at the moment there are still plenty of practical uses for IFTTT and WordPress.
Another potential issue is that it appears that you can only activate one WordPress site in your IFTTT account. This means for those managing or juggling multiple blogs, you will probably need to sign up for multiple IFTTT accounts.
While the possibilities for using IFTTT are almost endless, when it comes to WordPress integration there are a couple of limiting factors. However, overall it’s a good service, and even if the WordPress automation aspects of it don’t appeal to you, there should be something there amongst the many recipes to make your life easier in some way.