One of my goals this year is to be more consistent in my blogging, and one of the ways I aim to achieve this goal is just by being more organized. I’ve slowly started to develop a process to this madness, learning from other bloggers along the way. I hope some of these tips will be helpful to other bloggers but, if nothing else, can be a fun informative way to see how I blog.
1. Organize and Planning
I’m a bit of an organization freak, so it is so essential for me to organize and plan my blog posts on some minimal level. Holly introduced me to this amazing site called Trello, and I use it to organize and plan my blog posts. She wrote an awesome post about how she uses it to organize her blog, and I now use Trello very similarly. I keep a list for post ideas and series that I do regularly, and then organize when I plan on publishing them by month. It’s very easy to move cards to a specific month or from month to month if your schedule changes. You can also add due dates and checklists to each card.
This keeps me from staring at a blank draft page and from having no idea what to write or talk about. It also give me consistency! Life gets busy and I don’t always have the time I need to dedicate to writing new posts, but if I have already planned them out ahead of time, all I have to do is do some minimal editing, sometimes add a few pictures, and hit publish.
The next step is to actually write out a first draft of my post. I actually do most of my drafting away from home. When I have down time at work or school, it’s easy to pull up my Trello board, see posts that I want to write about, and start drafting them. I then email them to myself and then later upload the draft to WordPress and edit. (I don’t like to have all these drafts cluttering up my WordPress, so that’s what I send them to my email because my inbox is a complete disaster. I’ve accepted it and moved on.)
This is a very rough draft – I just write what I’m thinking and worry about editing and refining later after I have all of my thoughts and ideas down. I like to let my drafts sit for a day or two before I come back to them, that way I have more of a fresh perspective on it and can include points that I may have forgotten. However, that doesn’t always happen. If it’s a time-sensitive topic, I draft and edit right away. But sometimes I don’t touch a draft for weeks!
3. Editing (and Adding Pictures)
This could really be broken down into two steps, but I tend to edit my posts and add pictures at the same time. After I’ve let the post sit for a couple days (or sometimes weeks – let’s be honest, haha) then I start to edit. This can include checking for spelling and grammatical errors, rewording or rephrasing, adding links, removing paragraphs, adding and taking away points, adding pictures, etc.
I add pictures in the editing step and not during drafting because I may remove certain points that I didn’t like, and then a picture may then be irrelevant. It’s silly to waste time editing the picture if I’m not going to actually use it. I also tend to really reorganize posts, so when I move the last paragraph to then be the first paragraph, I end up moving the pictures around, too. Saves me a bit of time!
Yay! My post is edited and I have deemed it ready to be released to the public. Sometimes I schedule my posts to be published, but normally I just publish in real time because I like to return comments after I publish a new post.
5. Return Comments
I cannot emphasize how important returning comments is. Returning comments builds awesome relationships with other bloggers, and it drives traffic to your own blog. I respond to comments in two ways. I usually respond to the original comment on my own post, acknowledging that I’ve read the comment and to answer questions. It’s like a, “Thanks for your comment! I’ve read it and you’re awesome!” I love discussions, so this also facilitates that.
I then comment on the person’s blog. I’m not concerned about how many comments I get on a post, but I really appreciate feedback. So by returning comments on their blog after I publish, I tend to receive more comments on that particular post. Most of my commenters are recurring readers, so if they’ve already commented on my last post they now have something new to comment on.
And that’s it! Not really too complicated, but it keeps me on track and I think it’s really helped with the consistency and quality of my posts the last several months. Do you have a blogging process? I’d love to read your system and get some tips for my own. I’m always looking for ways to improve my blogging.