I’ve been keeping a posting schedule here for a few months, and I’ve been using it over there for over a year. And the whole time I’ve been doing so it felt a little constrictive. I’d have the next post all polished and ready to publish, but I was scared to break the schedule because where would I be without publishing dates to provide a sense of order?
It was while I was giving this idea some further consideration recently that I recalled a plugin that was featured on WPCandy. When I first saw Blog Update Reminder I couldn’t really think of a reason I would use it. But giving some thought to trying to update my blogs more frequently it suddenly occurred to me that it would be pretty cool if I could just get some kind of alert that it had been a while since I’ve posted and maybe I should.
And this is exactly what Blog Update Reminder does. If you haven’t published a post to a blog in a set interval of days, it sends you an email that says something to the extent of, “Hey, maybe you should update.” It does this everyday until you satiate it, which I’m not sure I love, but better to know too much than too little.
It’s also worth noting that, at least for now, scheduled posts count toward the good. That is: if I have a post scheduled for a week from now and I set my pester interval to two days, I won’t get bothered until two days after I have no more scheduled posts (nine days). So you could cheat the system by scheduling a post far away and never publishing. But it’s a tool meant for your benefit, not your pain, so I’m not sure that really gets scored as a problem.
Mostly I like the idea of the plugin as a way to keep me honest. The game can be built so that with scrupulous posting I’ll never see a reminder. Such that when I see the reminder I know that I’ve lost the game. It’s only when I’ve failed to maintain the frequency with which I intend to post that I’ll get reminders (or notifications of defeat).
Substance-wise, I only have two potential niggly points about the plugin. The first is the name. Anytime I see someone uses the word “update” with any proximity of the word WordPress, I think of the need to keep my blog software up-to-date for security and feature reasons, not publishing stuff on my blog. I’d have called this plugin something like “No Post Pesterer”. Yes it’s a trivial point, but I warned you these were niggly.
The other issue is that I can’t know what the email message will say short of editing the plugin or falling delinquent myself. Again niggly, but I’d love to be able to send a test email to myself, and easily set the email message to say:
You’ve been neglecting your responsibility to yourself and your readership by not updating [blogname] in [dayssince] days. Remember, you think you should post every [setinterval] and you’re letting yourself down by not keeping up that rate.
Obviously coding the ability to easily customize the message text is a nontrivial task, and probably not really worth it for the modest benefit it provides. The stock text is a little more formal than I am with myself, but that never did anyone any harm. And editing it in the plugin itself is hardly rocket science.
Overall, I’m excited by this plugin that I didn’t understand initially. I think it’ll be a great excuse for me to see if I can keep myself posting to my blogs with a reasonable frequency with just this single modest crutch. And if you think you could use such a crutch, this seems like a good one.