When I first started blogging it was pretty stressful. I knew I wanted to write about leadership, church, and faith and I knew WordPress was the platform I wanted to use, but that was about it. I didn’t know how long a post should be, how often I should post, how to promote a post, or how to find time to write in between being a full-time husband, dad, and pastor. Writing is tough enough. Add all those other elements to it and it can feel like more trouble than it’s worth.
There were more than a couple of times I felt like quitting. And there’ve certainly been seasons when I’ve “taken a break” from blogging. But the more I keep at it the more I learn about making blogging less stressful, more effective, and more fun. Here are four simple steps that have made blogging better for me and will for you too:
1. Decide how often you’ll post
Should I write every day, once a week, or every other day? What days will I be more likely to get the most hits on? Or should I just write whenever I feel like it? These questions used to plague me. Right now I usually post on Mondays & Fridays with a clip from another blog I think you’ll like on Wednesdays and a re-post from my archives via Twitter on Saturdays. So I’m writing twice a week but putting something out there four times a week. Right now that’s what works for me.
If you’re looking to be a professional blogger you’ll want to post at least five days a week. If you’re doing it more for fun (like me) one to three times a week is plenty. You also want to take into account your audience is being bombarded with media every single day. While frequency helps, posting only a couple of times a week shows your readers you only post when something’s important and they should pay attention when you do.
2. Schedule time to write and edit
The secret to getting things done is to schedule appointments to do tasks on your calendar like you would a meeting. Block out consistent time to think, write, and edit so it actually happens. If you just leave it to chance it probably won’t.
I usually write, edit, and schedule posts a week before I want them to go live. I write and edit on different days. This helps me to get a good perspective on my posts after I’ve written them.
3. Automate posting and social media promotion
WordPress is great at this. Once I’m ready to post I schedule when I want it to go live on the blog and Twitter. After that I don’t really have to think about it. When I want to re-post something from the archives on Twitter I just schedule that through SocialOomph. It’s simple, doesn’t take a lot of time, and frees me up to write more.
4. Use a blog template
I got this idea from Michael Hyatt. Here’s what a typical post from me will look like:
* Relevant image.
* Personal story that leads into the topic of my post.
* 1 – 5 points that help you do something or inspire you to WANT to do something.
* Concluding paragraph
* Discussion question.
I don’t do this all the time but this is the template I use most days. It helps me think through content better so I can communicate more clearly.
Knowing how often you can post, scheduling time to write and edit, automating post promotion, and having a blogging template so you’re not always starting from scratch will help your posts get read by more people and help you have more fun doing it.
Questions: What step(s) can you implement this week that will help you write better posts? What tips would you add to this list?