It’s pretty easy to create wordpress blog posts using nothing but email. With the amount of people using Facebook, Twitter, and mobile “smart phones” to update their profiles – why not update your blog via your phone too? The ability the create a blog post via an email has been around quite awhile, but I think it took until this year to be really useful. I’ve had a blackberry now for about a year and a half, but before that my phone was a flip phone, and sending texts to people was tedious at best. Now most modern smartphones have a full sized keyboard, and it’s easy to send texts, that’s why twitter and facebook updates are popular on mobile phones. Blackberry’s can send and receive emails, most smartphones (iphone, HTC touch) can now as well. If you’re out and about and waiting on the kids at the mall, or the wife in the grocery store – you should take advantage of this wordpress feature.
It’s easier than you think, in your WordPress dashboard just go to “Settings->Writing” and scroll to the bottom.
It’ll look like this:
You’ve probably seen that 100 times before and either didn’t think it was useful, or didn’t know how to set it up. Basically, what you need to do is setup an email account just to use for posting to your wordpress site. Most web hosting accounts let you setup quite a few emails, and you need to create one that nobody will ever see or use but you. In other words, instead of setting the traditional “firstname.lastname@example.org”, setup something like “LKBHJTD@mycoolsite.com”. The reason for the strange name is that anyone that has this email address will be able to post to your site, but you’re not going to give it out to anybody – so that won’t matter.
Once you’ve setup the email account, get the setup instructions from your web host and find out the mail server and port number. Then enter those, along with your new username and password in the appropriate fields, and save to update. The only other option you have is “wordpress category”, and I advise you maybe setup something like “mobile news”, or assign a similar existing category.
Now the funny thing about WordPress is that, in the dashboard – other than the fields in the image above, no instructions exist on how to use this mysterious “blog posts via email” feature in WordPress. NONE at all. Of course, this information does exist in the wordpress codex, and it says that you have to setup some kind of “trigger”. Basically – you gave wordpress login details to “check for email” just like an email program would. Once it gets the lastest email (to create posts with), it’s even smart enough to delete the messages (like an email program does). But, it’s not setup to automatically “check email” at regular intervals.
The file that “checks mail” is yoursite.com/wp-mail.php. That’s right – it’s existed all this time in your root directory as a core function of wordpress – and you probably didn’t even know what it did. You have a few choices on how to “check mail” with this file. You could setup a cron job to run it at your own specified intervals. You could manually bring up the file in a browser and call it that way to check mail. But if you’re on a cell phone – that’s just a pain.
A much better way (in my opinion) is to just place this code in your footer.php:
<iframe src=”http://yourblogdomain/wordpressinstalldir/wp-mail.php” name=”mailiframe” width=”0″ height=”0″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” title=”"></iframe>
Now, every time a page loads on your site – WordPress checks for mail. That’s pretty much it, you just have to remember that you can’t use pictures and the posts will be just text. You can always go back at a later date and add images, tags, or whatever. If you still need more information, consult the official Post to your blog using email page in the WordPress codex.