If most of us managed our money like we managed our blogs we’d either be bankrupt or deep in debt. We certainly wouldn’t have any savings!
A scenario: you boot up the ‘compose’ screen of your blogging software, fidget a little while waiting for inspiration to strike, get a post idea, write it, format it, and hit publish, all in one go. Does this sound like your daily blogging routine?
There will be days, unfortunately, when this routine is interrupted: when inspiration doesn’t come, when words feel like they’re being scraped from the bottom of your skull, when the computer restarts itself and you lose everything, or when there’s a show on TV you just can’t tear yourself away from… That’s life, and it’s important to develop a blogging style that isn’t derailed by these little hiccups.
In this post I want to outline six steps to a blogging habit that will have you churning out posts consistently and stress-free.
1. Budget your time
It’s important to limit the time you spend reading feeds, checking stats, moderating comments, and so on. If you set a time-limit for such tasks you’ll find yourself completing them faster and more efficiently. It will help ensure you don’t spend 3/4 of your evening on superfluous tasks, and 1/4 actually blogging.
2. Perform certain tasks on certain days
This is not for every blogger, but you might find that it suits you. This could mean writing certain types of posts, or covering certain topics, on specific days of the week, for example. Each day you’ll be clear on what type of blogging you need to do. You might also allocate one day a week to process your inbox to zero, another to work on your layout, and so on.
3. Develop many more ideas than you actually use
One of the most useful things any blogger can have is a bank of ideas they can turn to whenever it’s time to write a post. A well-developed idea means you need to do less work later, but even a headline can be enough to kick-start a post. A good collection of ideas will ensure you’re never kept from posting by a lack of inspiration again.
4. Write more than you publish
Like the simple but true ’spend less that you earn’ principle of saving, you can develop a surplus of blog posts by writing more than you publish.
Let’s say you wrote one extra blog post a week for one year. At the end of the year, you’d have 52 surplus posts: enough to put your blog on autopilot for almost two months! You can also dip into these surplus posts when you don’t feel like writing, or experience some other kind of blogging emergency.
5. Set your posts for timed release
Rather than writing and publishing in one go you can use a simple WordPress feature to establish a posting time-table.
Open the ‘Post Timestamp‘ panel in the sidebar of the post compose screen and select the ‘Edit timestamp‘ box (this is important!). Set the timestamp to the date and time you’d like the post to go public, double-check everything is correct, and hit publish. Your post will appear on your blog at the time you’ve selected. (Tip: make sure you’ve set your WordPress account’s time setting to match your local time via the ‘Options‘ panel.)
You can make sure your posts are set to auto-post on the correct date and in proper order by viewing them in the Manage > Posts panel.
Readers like consistency. It will be better for you and them if you make a commitment to post at certain times, on certain days.
6. Write each week’s posts in one or two batches
One thing you might notice is that writing one post can loosen up your writing muscles and help the words come easier. Most of us make the mistake of stopping at this point, rather than capitalizing on our warmed-up state.
Writing posts in batches means you can set them to future-post and take a few days off worrying about creating content for your blog. Most bloggers, for example, don’t post (or post less) on the weekends. You could use this time to write your posts for the week.
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