Working with Rough Ideas & Draft Articles in WordPress
I have always been an advocate of WordPress especially for newer webmasters. The system is easy to use and there are countless tutorials found all over the Internet. But one area that is not covered so well is the management of post ideas in the WP backend. Writers who want to take down notes or brief headlines will need to create a new post and save this as a draft.
The problem is that you may end up changing the title later on down the line, and this would also require editing the permalink too. After a while you may just end up creating a brand new post to use. For this article I would like to share a few ideas on how to manage your own drafts and rough ideas. The WordPress system does offer greater functionality through plugins which can help writers to better organize their thoughts.
The first plugin I want to share is called Ideas and was initially released for WP 3.4.2. This will create a new custom post type called Ideas where you can write out headlines, post content, keywords, and other typical forms of metadata. The Ideas plugins is completely free and it does provide a more customized solution.
Some people may not like the idea of having a brand new CPT taking up another slot in the menu. This all comes down to personal preference. But I have noticed that it helps users who are not familiar with WordPress instead of searching through the various plugin menus.
What I specifically like about this plugin is the ability to store content in “brainstorming” format. As such you can write ideas in a mess of sentences or lists where others may come back and possibly add more. Then once you are ready to write the post you can start a new draft and fill out everything properly. Take a peek at the plugin screenshots to see more.
Another solution in the form of Post Ideas+ adds a link into the Tools menu section. This plugin is much more basic where all of the post ideas are listed in block formatting on the same page. You can quickly edit the post headline, description, keywords, and possible links for referencing.
The plugin itself has not been updated in a while but it can still work great on the latest WordPress 3.5 release. A possible reason for the lack of updates is because there are not many custom features required. And so there really isn’t a whole lot to update other than the UI. Granted I am sure more functionality could be added but for a free plugin I would definitely recommend Post Ideas+ for any commercial WordPress blog.
WP Idea Stream
This plugin behaves a little differently than the other two, so it may not be a great solution for administrators. WP Idea Stream creates a new post type which handles ideas as they are submitted. But this plugin also allows frontend users to submit their own ideas into the custom post type. It is a strange feature but also something that you can’t find elsewhere.
The plugin itself also comes with a handy widget for displaying the submission form. Users can look through the most popular ideas of what has been submitted, along with their own posts. It is a much more detailed system but it offers a deeper connection to the audience. Online magazines such as TechCrunch even allow for user-submitted topics and ideas.
Check out the plugin screenshots and you can see there are a number of additional options from the admin menu. There may be a way to turn off the frontend submissions and use this as a backend-only solution. It does provide a full-blown CPT which includes many of its own features. But there are certainly other options to choose from so determine what works best for your website.
Although these are the best methods I have found, surely other developers will be creating similar ideas over time. It is worthwhile to check the WordPress plugins directory every so often and see if anything new has been released. But you only need one solution to fix the problem and I do hope this article may help with that.