Working in a remote team presents a range of challenges, beyond just keeping in touch.
Staying organized across different time zones, and on different projects and platforms, means that you need to integrate your tools to avoid losing track.
WebHooks are one of Slack’s coolest features. They allow you to easily link services together. And using third-party services and RSS feeds, you can build on their functionality and turn Slack into the control room for your WordPress website.
- 1 Why Integrate WordPress and Slack?
- 2 Using Integrations to Keep Your Team in Sync
Why Integrate WordPress and Slack?
If you have a team working on content in WordPress, and you’re also sharing ideas on Slack, you’re probably familiar with the chore of copying and pasting information and links from one to the other. It’s very easy to forget, or to miss a tag for a particular Slack user.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could automate this so you spend less time trying to manage both?
Integrations do require some time and testing, but hassle-free automation of basic business tasks is usually well worth the effort.
I want to show you three excellent WordPress and Slack integrations that help keep the Red Robot team organized and productive.
If you’re not sure where to start with integration, the Slack plugin for WordPress offers a simple way to get Slack notifications when important things happen on your website.
This is a valuable plugin for any team that works collaboratively on a WordPress site. It’s also handy just to let your team know when you’re site’s updated so they can share new content with their social media followers.
You don’t need any technical knowledge to set this up, but it’s pretty flexible. After installing the plugin, WordPress will ping Slack when:
- a post is published
- a post is placed in Pending — handy if you have multiple collaborators, and you need one editor to check through everything they write
- someone comments on your site.
By default, the first two only work with posts — not pages.
You can add multiple notifications for each type of alert, and you can also add more alerts by custom-coding them yourself. For example, you might want to send a channel message when a password is changed in WordPress.
You’ll need administrative access to install the plugin on the WordPress site, and administrator access for Slack to set up alerts.
To create your first alert:
- In your browser, log in to your Slack administration area
- In the App Directory, click Custom Integrations
- Click Incoming WebHooks
- Click the green Add Configuration button
- Choose the channel that you want to notify
- Copy the WebHook URL Slack provides
- Back in WordPress, paste the WebHook URL into the form and finish setting up your notification.
Did you notice the test button at the bottom? After saving, you can send a dummy alert to Slack to check that everything’s working.
There are a few different plugins that offer this functionality, but I like this one because you can install additional plugins on top of it. This expands functionality without having to manually change the plugin.
In theory, you could set up a complex Slack notification system that keeps your remote team in the loop when things happen on your site. And you can extend the features of the plugin to notify the team when new emails come in, which is a good DIY alternative to something like Zendsk.
Zapier is one of my all-time favorite productivity tools. It allows you to create connections between separate services. When something happens in the first tool, it acts as a trigger; something happens in another, separate tool as a result.
I’ve lost count of the number of services that I’ve connected using Zapier. It’s simply amazing. It supports hundreds of well-known and niche services that small businesses are likely to use.
And for remote teams, it’s an excellent method to create bi-directional notifications or actions.
Many services can trigger services like Zapier. It’s not unique. But its strength is in the sheer number of triggers that it provides “out of the box”.
For example, here are all the things that can trigger an outcome from WordPress in Zapier:
- new post, post format, post status, or post type
- new user or author
- new media item
- new comment or comment status
- new category, tag, or custom taxonomy.
It also offers tons of triggers in Slack. Again, the list is impressive. Here are all the things Zapier can listen for:
- new user
- new user mention
- new custom emoji
- new private message, channel message, public message, or reaction
- new starred message.
Crucially, with Zapier, it’s possible to have a trigger in either application. Each integration is called a “Zap”.
You have to set up each Zap manually, but once you’ve done that, it will run periodically in the background. The number of minutes between each execution depends on the plan you’re on.
Here’s an example of what Zapier’s set-up screen looks like. I’ve already linked my Slack and WordPress accounts. On this screen, we can create a WordPress post from a Slack channel message:
You could create a Zap to auto-upload images to WordPress from Slack so that you don’t have the hassle of navigating to the Media Library. Equally, you could sync in the other direction and turn WordPress comments into Slack reminders.
Depending on your Zapier plan, you may be able to add more steps to your Zaps. For example, I could have new starred messages in Slack create new draft posts in WordPress. Then, I could automatically add the post title to a to-do list or a Google Sheet. The functionality you can access will depend on the pricing plan you have with Zapier.
If you monitor blogs for new content, RSS feeds are your friend. They alert you when new content is added to a website, which saves you time checking each one individually to find out if something has changed.
This can help keep your team informed, and it also ensures that everyone’s accessing the same updates and information. We use RSS feeds to find out when our clients are updating their blogs, since we like to retweet their posts as often as we can.
Using RSS is the simplest way to connect WordPress to Slack. You can use it with any CMS or website that has an RSS feed.
IFTTT, and Automate.io allow you to build RSS feeds into workflows, in a similar way to the example we created in Zapier.
But within Slack, there’s a much easier way to keep track of RSS feeds in any channel, and it’s available on all Slack plans — even if you don’t pay for a subscription.
Slack has an app directory, and RSS is listed in the Essential Apps section. Navigate to the App Directory once
logged in, and click the icon to add RSS to your Slack installation.
To subscribe to a feed, go back to the RSS app in the App Directory and add the URL to the feed. (Don’t just add a website URL here; the process will fail.)
Most WordPress blogs’ feed URL is just the regular domain name with /feed/ on the end.
Once you’ve subscribed, Slack will automatically post new RSS entries in the channel you’ve chosen.
You could use this RSS integration to keep your team informed when new articles are posted to your WordPress blog. But there are many other use cases. For example, you can keep track of your competitors’ blogs, read what your customers are posting about, or keep tabs on important news in your industry.
Slack’s RSS integration is simple and efficient. You can’t change the poll frequency, but you do get some additional options if you type /feed help in any Slack channel:
Using Integrations to Keep Your Team in Sync
WordPress need not be an island, and there’s no reason to try to manage it manually. These integrations would benefit remote teams, but in reality, any business that uses Slack and WordPress can benefit from a little more automation.
You don’t need to pay for any of these services to try out the basics we’ve covered here. But in return for a small investment of time, the productivity boosts are potentially enormous.
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