You probably don’t need that calendar

I came across another empty calendar on a WordPress site today. It reminded me of a lot of sad meetings where someone said “We should put all our events on a calendar on our website so people hear about them.”

Someone added ‘calendar’ to the requirements list. A plugin was bought, installed and configured. The first batch of executive meetings, general assemblies, and conferences was entered. And then… nothing.

Unless your organization marches daily to its calendar — the people who come to your scheduled events bring you most or all all your revenue, for example— you probably don’t actually put on enough events to bother.

Maybe you have a couple of important events a year. They could even be essential. But you don’t have to have a whole hoo-ha of a calendar to display those on your site. And in fact — if those events truly are important — it’s better that they’re not on a calendar plugin anyway.

Calendars are off to the side. They’re a separate content stream that gets its own visual treatment, has its own metadata and lives in its own space. To bring events to the fore, site editors have to write posts about events or similar editorial shims, hard-coding a link to a time-sensitive bit of content and setting up a broken link in the near future.

And then, after the event passes, you have instant outdated content — a news item pointing to an already-happened event.

What to do about the passage of time

So skip the calendar. Use a plugin like PublishPress Future to give the post announcing your event an expiration date. If the notice of the event needs to stay on the front page despite having newer items, make it sticky or put it in your carousel. Or make it your hero image CTA. The event organizers will probably want that anyway. And they will be happy when they don’t need to remind you to take down the post about the event that just happened.

Or, use something like Toolset to create a calendar where ‘events’ can be folded into the regular content stream while maintaining their date-sensitive display settings. This will be expensive in terms of developer time, but it might be the most elegant solution for a site that needs to display ‘a few important events’.

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