We’ll walk you through how to create a schedule and link it to your WordPress site step by step below.
Please ensure the plugin is installed on your WordPress site. If you need assistance with that, please see our Installation guide.
Next, you’ll need to create a Google Sheet for your schedule. You will enter all of the relevant information here, and in a later step we’ll describe how to sync it with your website. We’ve created a template for you, so if you like, you can just copy that over to your Google Drive and you’ll have all of the necessary fields, spelled correctly and ready to go. You can find that template at this link, and then skip to Step 4.
If you prefer to create your own Google Sheet, log into your Google account and go to Google Drive. Select New, then Google Sheet, as per the screenshot below:
Now, you’ll need to add headers in the first row of the Google Sheet. Please note: the headers must be spelled exactly as listed, and must be in the first row, in order for the plugin to recognize them and import the items correctly to your website. Please see the example below:
The headers should read as exactly follows, including capitalization:
- session_ID — this should be a 2-3 word description of the session that the plug-in will use to recognize when other fields have been updated. Note: This field is required. Your Session ID will show up in the URL for the session. Also, please note that changing this later will take some additional steps, so choose your Session ID carefully.
- name — this is the title of a session
- description — this is a more detailed description of what a session will be about
- date — this is the date the session takes place; format should be set as mm/dd/yyyy
- event_start — this is the start time for the session; please note the format should be on a 24-hour clock: 11:00, 12:00, 13:15, 14:30 and so on
- event_end — the end time for a session; as above, format should be on a 24-hour clock
- speakers — this is a list of speakers for the session, separated by a comma. Note: the speakers must match the name on your speaker spreadsheet exactly. For example: on your speaker sheet, if someone is listed as Speaker First Name: John and Speaker Last Name: Doe, you would enter John Doe here.
- moderators — if your session has a moderator, add their name here
- room — the name of the room in which the session will be held
- track — if your event is organized by tracks, list the track for this session here
- event_type — some larger events also have other ways to sort sessions. For instance: panels, workshops, product demos, etc. You can list anything here for the event type, and people attending your event will be able to sort by these categories after you import your spreadsheet.
- hidden — is your session a draft that you would prefer to keep private? if so, entering anything in this cell will “hide” the session; leaving it blank will allow the session to appear on your website
- hashtag — add a social media hashtag for this session. Note: be sure to include the # symbol.
Now you’re free to add in your session details. Below is an example of a completed form. Note: the formatting for dates and times must exactly match as below.
Once you’ve completed as many fields as you like, you’re ready to import your schedule. Remember, you can always update it and refresh at any time!
In order to import your schedule, first you’ll need to publish your Google Sheet to the web. Go to File ->Publish to the Web, as shown in the screenshots below. Publish the entire document as a web page (this is probably the default setting, you can just hit Publish).
Note: this technically makes your document public for anyone who has the link or knows how to perform advanced search techniques, so make sure you don’t have anything you absolutely want private listed here. If you prefer draft sessions not appear at all, we suggest writing them in a separate spreadsheet to be copied and pasted here later.
Note: you MUST hit File –> publish to web to get the correct link. If you simply use the share button to get a link, the importer won’t recognize it.
Google will give you a unique URL. You just need to copy and paste this into your WordPress site. First, copy your URL:
… then, paste it into the WordPress site as indicated below, in the field that says Schedule Doc URL.
After that, just hit Import Sessions and your schedule should update!
Updating / Adding Sessions
Whenever you need to update session information (or add sessions), simply make changes to the Google Sheet. Then return to the Importer Settings within WordPress and click Import Speakers again.
If you need to delete a session in its entirety, you’ll have to make changes in two places:
- Delete the row in the Google Sheet.
- Go back to your WordPress site and find the custom post for the same session. Trash and permanently remove that post as well.
Deleting the row in the Google Sheet by itself will not remove the session from your website. You have to remove the session in both places.
Note: you only need to do this if you are deleting a session altogether. If you are simply deleting one field, such as the session description, you can simply delete that cell and then click “Import Sessions” as per usual, and your site should update correctly.
Updating Schedule Colors
You can update the colors of your “session type” easily with the import tool.
First, go to Settings –> Importer settings on your WordPress admin page.
Here, you can type in the hex values for the colors you wish to use for each session type, separated by a comma, as shown in the screenshot below.
Setting a Default Hashtag
Some organizers want a hashtag for each session at an event, so that people can follow specific sessions. Others prefer to use a single hashtag for the entire event. With the ONA Event Manager, you can do both.
First, you can set a default hashtag that the tool will use if you don’t use a specific hashtag for the session. To create the default hashtag, go to Settings –> Importer settings in your WordPress admin page. From there, you can enter a hashtag, as showin the screenshot below. Remember not to enter the # symbol; the tool will automatically do that for you.
The best part is that if you enter a session-specific hashtag on the session spreadsheet, it will ‘override’ this hashtag. If you leave it blank … the tool will use the default hashtag for you.