Podcast Episode

479 – Automating WordPress with Zapier


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Meme Me is a plugin that allows you to use Gutenberg to make your own memes.

Automating WooCommerce with Zapier

Here’s the list on Zapier’s site that highlights all of the different integrations

Some neat ones are:

  • auto post to [insert social account here]
  • each time there is a post, log it in Google Sheets
  • post Instagram posts to WordPress

There are more than 2000 options. Give it a try and see how you can automate your WordPress site.

Thank You!

Thank you to those who use my affiliate links. As you know I make a small commission when someone uses my link and I want to say thank you to the following people. For all my recommended resources, go to my Resources Page

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode, we are going to talk about how to automate our WordPress site with Zapier right here on Your Website Engineer Podcast episode number 479.

Hello and welcome to another episode of Your Website Engineer Podcast. My name is Dustin Hertzler and today we’re gonna talk about Zapier because I kind of got involved with it last weekend. I’ll tell you that story in just a few minutes. I do have two announcements a plugin to share. The first announcement is a great article on css-tricks.com. I spend not a lot of time there, but I see posts come up here every once in a while. It’s a great website for learning CSS tricks, hence the name. But there was an article that was written, and it was a sponsored article.

Basically, it was an article about SSTP and database access on WordPress.com. It just kind of goes through. It’s got some great screenshots. I know that I’ve mentioned this before in the past that now WordPress.com with the business plan or the ecommerce plan will allow you to actually go and get database credentials and be able to do some things within the almost like regular WordPress hosting, you can now do on WordPress.com. And so, it’s got some great screenshots of what the hosting configuration looks like with SSTP credentials, how the database access looks, and it also has the ability to use SFTP clients. So, you can log in and you can see the files that you need to update and change and tweak and stuff. And then it shows you some screenshots from phpMyAdmin and all of those good things. It even shows you that you can change your hosting configuration. You can update php to the latest version if you wanna have that on your self-hosted WordPress.com site.

It’s not quite self-hosted because WordPress.com is doing everything for you but I think it’s a great option. If it’s something that maybe you have a client or maybe you have a friend or family that wants to get involved with WordPress but they don’t want to manage keeping it updated and deal with hosting and whatnot, WordPress.com is a great option. I believe the business plan is $200 per year or $300 per year. It’s $299. It’s about $30 per month for hosted. It’s about the same price as some of the other big-name hosting providers that out there. It is all with WordPress.com and it comes with 24/7 live chats and all that good stuff. So, that is the first article. If you wanna read and you wanna see some screenshots of what it looks like, there is a link in the show notes for the CSS-tricks website.

And then the other thing that I wanna talk about and you’ve probably heard about it if you’ve been listening to the WordPress news and information going on. But Awesome Motive acquires the all in one SEO pack plugin. Awesome Motive is a company by Syed Balkhi, and he is the one that runs all kinds of things on the web. WPBeginner is one of his things. He also does OptinMonster. He’s got a whole slew of other things under the brand Awesome Motive. This is basically he acquired the company and the project for two primary reasons. It’s because the users are continuing to ask us to build an SEO plugin that’s easier to use and more affordable. They wanted an SEO plugin that was affordable and has results focused like some of their SaS software is. All in one SEO is that and all in one SEO has played an important role in the life and the history of WordPress, the history of WPBeginner. It was the first plugin that Sayed used on WPBeginner. There are lots of users that rely on all in one SEO pack to optimize their WordPress site for SEO.

Basically, the whole article is over on the WP Tavern. There are a few different articles that are out there. It basically just talks about the story behind it and what that is going to look like revenue wise and what the product is gonna look like. I’m very confident with Sayed and his way and just in the WordPress community that he’s not gonna totally disrupt the way that it works. It’s gonna be a very systematic approach to make the updates and changes that they are going to want to do with the all in one SEO pack. It also has currently two million WordPress sites are actively using it. So, it’s not a small little plugin that they acquired. It’s a big, hefty plugin. It’s got some pro features as well. If you are a user of that plugin, look out for some updates coming in the near future.

And then in the Is There A Plugin For That section this week, there is one called MeMeMe. Making memes are hard. You have to use photoshop or find the right font. It’s just kind of a pain to make a good meme. There’re online tools that are out there and whatnot, but this plugin MeMeMe is a plugin that allows you a custom meme style to the core image block. So, you select the style, add your caption that you have, and then you can create a custom meme all for yourself. It’s probably not something that would be very likely to be used on a live website. But man, if you create memes a lot, this is a pretty cool thing that you could do. You add an image and then you can add some sort of tag and you can save it as an image. It’s kind of neat. It’s a neat thing. That’s the plugin that I found this week. Somebody pointed it out in a Slack room channel. I’m like, hey, this is one we can talk about on the podcast. That is MeMeMe or you can find a link in the show notes for episode 479.

All right. Today, like I said, we’re gonna talk about automating our websites with Zapier. Zapier, like I said, I was getting into the – I’ve used Zapier for different things. One of the main ones that I have, I just have a free account with Zapier. You can create up to three zaps or five zaps or something with the free account, or workflows or whatever they call them. And then you can run them as many times as you want. So, one of the free ones that I have set up is any time that I star something in Slack, it will automatically send it to OmniFocus so I can remember to do it later, and it gives me a link back to the Slack post itself. So, maybe somebody says something cool about check out this app. I can star it. It will show up in OmniFocus and then I can automatically process it when I process the rest of my OmniFocus inbox or whatnot. And so, it’s really great! That was one of the things that I started to use it for.

Well, this past week I was looking at ConvertKit and we’ll talk about ConvertKit on an upcoming show because I’ve been doing a lot with it for my wife’s website for her functional medicine CE program. What I was doing was I saw that within ConvertKit and WooCommerece there’s a plugin. Anytime that somebody makes a purchase on the website, it will automatically tag them or save their contact information inside of ConvertKit and send over the purchase information. So, if they purchase a certain plan or a certain whatever, it shows up in ConvertKit. This is super helpful if you wanna send out an email blast to all the people that purchased a certain product. Or maybe if somebody has purchased – You could set it up so that if somebody purchased $1,000 worth of products then they get a special coupon code or whatever. You can do that. I was like, oh, that’s really cool! I don’t know if I’ll ever use that automation but I’m one of those guys that once a couple people in there have the data, I want all of the people in the database to have that information.

So, I contacted ConvertKit to see like is there a way to import the past purchases. And they didn’t have anything to do that. I was like, what in the world! How can I get this in there? One of the suggestions was to use Zapier. I was like, oh. How would you use Zapier? And then there is actually a Zapier zap that you can connect Google Sheets with ConvertKit so that anytime there is a new record in the Google Sheet, it will automatically map those fields into ConvertKit. So, what I did was I exported all of my orders and then I massaged the data in Excel just a little bit to get to the correct CSV. Then I would copy and paste 10 to 12 rows to 30 rows at a time from my CSV file on my desktop into the Google Sheets. Then Zapier would process it. It would go through and it would all of the adjustments and add all of this data to the ConvertKit members or the people and the email subscribers. It would add all their purchases. Brilliant! It was super cool!

Then I thought, what else can we do? What else can we do with Zapier? I thought today we could talk about some of the things that we could do with Zapier and WordPress. If you don’t know what Zapier is, it’s kind of like if this then that. It’s like a web automation software but you can pair up tons of different accounts with your Zapier account. So, with WordPress integrations things that you could do is you could connect your WordPress account, that’s your self-hosted site, and then you could connect your Facebook page or Twitter or Google Sheets. Buffer is an app to push out social media updates and whatnot. You can do Instagram. You can do Feely. You can do Mailchimp. You can do LinkedIn. You can do Pinterest. There’re over 2,000 apps that you can connect with WordPress. Wow! What are all those things that you can do?

Some of the things, just as an example if you think through like you can post a new WordPress post to your Facebook page. Or you can Tweet your new WordPress post automatically. You can post an Instagram photo to your WordPress blog. So, if you have Instagram you can automatically post that to your blog. That’s kind of a cool one. You could share a new WordPress post on Pinterest. You can buffer your WordPress post and so they’ll go out on social media later. You can find an RSS feed item and post that to WordPress. That’s kinda cool. Like if you wanted to have some sort of blog and you’re pulling in information from different places, you can automatically post them your WordPress site. You can post a new Evernote in notes to WordPress. So, if you write a lot in Evernote and you wanna publish that, you can set up that automation to do that. This one I thought was kinda cool. You can create a new WordPress post from Google Sheet rows. So, you can do it this way, or you can do it the other way. You can create a new row in a Google Sheet spreadsheet based on a new WordPress post. I think that one would be really good if you wanted to kind of keep a highlight of everything that you’ve posted through the year. Instead of scrolling through WordPress, you could scroll through an Excel list or a Google Sheets list.

Let’s see what else you can do. You can publish you WordPress post to your scoop.it topic, whatever that is. I’m not 100 percent sure what that is. Let’s see what else. You can get Slack notifications for your WordPress posts. So, maybe if you have some sort of channel that you want people to – Maybe you’re at your team and you have 10 people but you want everybody to post out when a new post is available, you put this in a Slack notification so it shows up when a new blog post is out. Then everybody can go, and they can post this on their own social channels. You can do that. You can make Trello cards for new WordPress posts. You can save WordPress posts to an Airtable base. You can create a WordPress post from a new article in a Feely category. I mean, this list just goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on. You can make a WordPress post from a new YouTube video. You can post new Eventbrite events on WordPress. You can share your Tumblr posts via WordPress. You can share your WordPress posts via Tumblr. You can back up your WordPress post to Google Drive. You can get all the text from your post and save that into Google Drive. You can create a Goggle Calendar event for new WordPress posts. You can create WordPress posts from tagged pocketed items. Like I said, the list goes on, and on, and on.

It says here that there are – I guess it doesn’t say. It’s just one of those infinite lists. You just keep adding more, and more, and more. And the list just keeps getting longer and longer. I’m looking at Zapier.com and the you look for WordPress integrations. You can see all of this. You can back up WordPress posts to Dropbox. You can send email from Gmail with new WordPress posts. I mean, it’s endless. Everything that you can think about. The cool part is there are different ways to trigger these. So, if you come up with an idea, you can actually create your own as well. You don’t have to use these ones that are already there. What you can do is you can use triggers or actions.

Here’s what’s built into WordPress for triggers. You can trigger an event. You can trigger when something happens if a new comment is added to your website. So, you could do something special if a new comment was added. If you had a team that was managing like your WordPress site and wanted to make sure that they saw all the new comments that come in, you could somehow send them a message when a new comment has been made. You can trigger things when a new author has been added. You can trigger when a new comment status is created. You can trigger when a new post format is created. So, if there is a new post format that you have created within WordPress, you can do that. A new post type, when you add a new post type. When a new user is added. They are triggered when you add a new post to your website, when a new category is added, when new media is uploaded, a new post status. So, when a new post status is ordered and when a new taxonomy. So, if you add a new category tag or a custom taxonomy. Those are some triggers that if you do these things on your WordPress site, you can trigger to do other things with any connected type accounts.

And then there are a couple of actions when you create a post, or you upload media. Those are kind of – There’s not a there with WordPress when it comes to actions but the main one is going to be when you create a post. So, you create a new post including the status of allowing the create of drafts or when it’s only published or whatnot. Those are some things that you can do when it comes to connecting with WordPress and these WordPress integrations.

They’ve got some tutorials online and it is a free thing. You can sign up for Zapier and it’s completely free. Anyone can start. You can do 100 tasks per month. You can have what’s called five zaps and your zaps will run within 15 minutes of the update time. This was one of the things that actually kind of threw me for a loop early on. I was like why isn’t this working. I was doing everything right. I had everything set up and just the instant. It said it would run instantly and it wasn’t instantly. It was within 15 minutes was that instantly thing. So, that’s free forever. The biggest ting is if you need more zaps. A zap is basically one of those things like send a new post from WordPress to Google Sheets. That’s a zap. Send purchase data from Google Sheets to ConvertKit. That’s a zap. But those zaps then you can run multiple, multiple, multiple times per month. So, it starts at zero dollars for free and you can run up to five zaps. Then they only do single step zaps. So, like one thing happens and then this happens. That’s all you can do with the free plan.

Then they come up with there are other plans. The $19.99 is billed per month annually or $24.99 per month to month. This is the starter plan. It allows you 20 zaps. It still does that 15 minutes update time, but you can do multistep zaps. So, you can say if this happens then do this, and then do this, and then do this. You can have some premium apps and a whole bunch of things. Everything that I talked about can be done completely on the free plan. Then the prices go up from there. $19.99 and then $49 dollars per month and then $299 per month and then $600 per month for a company with automations. That includes 100,000 tasks per month. You might have heard of Zapier before. I just wanted to highlight some of the cool things that you could do with Zapier.

Some of the things that we didn’t talk about like you can send things to Mailchimp or some of the other connections. I’m looking here. So, Gmail we talked about that. Evernote, Feely or you can do things to Trello or Airtable or Dropbox or Google Calendar. Even like if you are using ActiveCampaign or MongoDB or Discord or any of those things you can do a bunch of things. There are 84 pages of connections that you can make within WordPress. There is one for Gravity Forms. So, if you wanted to connect a Gravity Form possibility if something happens create a WordPress post from a Gravity Form submission. Maybe you have something on the backend that you wanted whenever somebody submits this form through Gravity Forms it creates a new post and saves that as a draft, and it’s got all the information. The sky is the limit with what you can do when it comes to the integrations that Zapier can do.

That was just a brief overview of what you could do with Zapier. I’m sure that you could come up with tons of things and tons of ways to use that free five zap plan just to save you time so you’re not posting on social media all the time. You just kind of automate all of those things that should be automated when it comes to the web. It’s just basically linking those different accounts and talking via an API and then doing all of that stuff on your behalf. That’s what I wanted to share with you this week. Get started and spend a little time. Just play with a free account on Zapier and see what kind of automated things that you can do just to make your life easier. That’s what I wanted to share with you today. Take care and we’ll talk again soon! Bye-bye.

For more great WordPress information, head on over to yourwebsitenegineer.com.

I think you might have heard of WordPress before. Duh, you’ve heard of WordPress.