You spend months working on your new website.  You pour over every page, every image, every word.  It’s finally ready to go. You launch it. You post it on social media and tell your friends, put it in your newsletter, everyone looks at it and it’s so exciting!  And then…

It seems like no one ever visits your website again.  This story happens again and again and again. It’s discouraging.  

Why does it happen?  Depending on the nature of your organization it could be that you’re website is just a digital brochure.  It never changes. So think about it, why would someone visit it frequently?

Most of us would like a website full of new and exciting information, but putting updated information online means that you need to take outdated information offline.  Nobody likes out of date information. I don’t care if it’s a notice on a bulletin board, a sign along the highway or information on a website. When I see something out of date I lose trust in the source of information.  I take whatever it says with a grain of salt.

I get it.  It’s hard to keep up with things.  But what if your website wasn’t one of those things?  What if it took care of itself?

How can that be?

If you don’t have a WordPress website check with your host and find out how to expire information. Some have that feature, some don’t, but it’s definitely worth your time to find out.

If you have a  Wordpress website it’s quite simple.  There’s this fancy little WordPress plugin called Post Expirator.  When you create content you can tell it when to show up and when to expire.  We use this for our church announcements. When our pastor wants to announce a new series I set it to publish the last week of the current series and expire on the last day of series.  When we have an event I make sure the announcement expires at the date and time of the event.

Everything is scheduled and I only have to look at it when I’m adding new content.

So how does it work?

There are any number of ways to utilize this feature, but the following tutorial is a good way to get started.

1.  First, decide where you want your information to be displayed.  It can be in a section of your home page, in your sidebar, or it could be a completely different page on your website.  In this case, I decided I wanted the information to be displayed on a separate page. So I created a page called “What’s Happening.”  If you use the *Divi Builder insert a blog module.  Other builders would have something similar.  You just want to be able to display your blog posts preferably with controls over which categories to display, how to display them, etc.

2.  We use this feature for a variety of ways (announcements, digital bulletins, homepage slider) and I have created categories for each.  Here I select which category I want to have displayed on this page. For this example we will be populating the “What’s Happening” page which will display all items in the “Announcements” category.

 

3.  Next, decide what kind of content you want to display.  Do you want the featured image? The post date? The author’s name?  In this example, I want to show the Featured Image.

 

4.  Now I need to decide how I want it to be displayed.  Do I want a grid or fullwidth posts? For announcements, I like a grid best.  

I also chose to have a box shadow around each post.

Here’s how the end product looks:

Now that your page is set up to display your posts let’s look at how to create each post to automatically display when you want it to and remove itself when you want it to.  

    1. Add a new post and add the title, image, and text that you need.  For the instance of announcing next week’s message the title we use is the date of the message, the text is the description and invitation to join us next week.  The image is the image that corresponds with the series.

2.  If you’ve installed the Post Expirator you will see a box on the right side just above the Featured Image box.  Make sure you check the “Enable Post Expiration” box. Once you do that you can enter the date and time that you want the post to expire, which will remove it from public view.   

What happens to it is up to you.  If it’s something I might want to edit and use again I ususally choose
Draft.  If not, I will usually trash or delete it.

3.  If you are ready for it to display on your site right away then hit Publish.  If not, you can schedule when to post it by clicking Edit next to Publish immediately and then choose the date and time for it to publish.

4.  Click “OK”, then click “Schedule” and voila!  Your post will show up where you want it to when you want it to and will disappear when you want it to.  

 

Do you need help setting up this process on your website?  Click here to schedule a free consultation.

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