As part of my series on blogging, in this article I’m going to talk about how frequently to blog, keeping going, and how to get down to writing those posts. This is primarily aimed at people who are blogging for their business, but this advice applies to anyone who wants to build the audience for their blog and needs help getting down to writing posts and sticking to blogging.
So that’s everyone, right?
How often should I blog?
How often should you publish a blog post? Well, that’s up to you to a certain extent. But if you’re looking to appear high up in the search engine results and keep your readers happy, you should keep it regular.
Most advice that I’ve read suggests posting at least twice a week. This will keep your readers engaged, keep your content updated enough for the search engines to promote it up their lists, and get enough keywords and content out there to keep your statistics nice and busy.
Varying your blog posts
Even a book review blog could do with a bit of livening up every now and again. A good example is my friend Ali – she mainly posts long-format book reviews, but she also takes up general topics or talks about book-buying trips – which varies things for her readers and gives them something new every now and again.
I choose to vary things and give myself a structure by running series in different topics every week. I tend to publish a short Troublesome Pairs post about a pair of easily confused words or at present an article on blogging on a Monday, a Word tip or business post on a Wednesday, and I always run a Saturday Business Chat or Chat Update each Saturday. I don’t stick to this slavishly – this post is coming out on a Tuesday to avoid the bank holiday, but it helps me to structure things and means that there’s something for everyone every week (I hope).
You don’t have to just publish text pieces, either. I’m sticking to text for the moment, but you can include video and audio pieces as well.
This article by Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn has really good advice about when she schedules her text, audio and video content. Her blog is really popular, with loads of comments and great search engine optimisation, and if you’re planning on using different media, this would be a good plan to follow.
Including guest posts on your blog
I’ve talked about this a bit already in my article on Reciprocity in Social Media, but hosting guest posts (and having them on other people’s blogs, too) is a great way to spark up interest in your readers and get reciprocal links and readers. I’m going to write more about the etiquette of guest blogging soon. But again, it varies things a bit. I wouldn’t personally have a guest post more than once every couple of weeks.
How do I remember my ideas for blog posts?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have ideas and inspirations for blog posts at the oddest moments. If I’m anywhere near my desk and PC, I pop into my WordPress platform and create a Draft blog post, sometimes with just a title, sometimes with a few jotted notes. If I’m learning something new (like turning footnotes into endnotes, just today), I’ll take screenshots as I go along, and save them ready to insert into a post on the subject. If I spot a picture I want to take or have a document with a feature I want to use, I take a photo and email it to myself or save the document in the relative folder.
If I’m out and about, I use the note app on my phone to make a quite note of what I want to write about, or, if I’m feeling brave, I go into the WordPress app and create a draft from there!
How do I organise my images for my blog posts?
Because many of my blog posts are very screen shot based, and I always include some kind of image in my posts (looks good when sharing, attracts readers, etc.), I have a folder in my Windows Explorer called Blog posts. This has sub-folders for all of the blog posts I write, or plan on writing, so I can pop screen prints and pics into the appropriate folder and know they’ll be there for later. I have a set of generic pictures in the Blog posts folder, too, that I can use as images at the top of posts. I prefer to use my own images to avoid copyright issues.
How do I get down to writing my blog?
Here’s my secret: blogging SESSIONS.
You do not have to write your blog posts on the day you publish them! You can write them in advance, save them up, and publish in advance!
I’ve always got some draft posts on the go – either because I’ve had ideas (see above) and not yet written them up, or I’m part way through a series and I’ve planned the whole thing out. So when I can see at least a 90 minute slot in my schedule, I’ll schedule in time to write blog posts.
I’ll then bash through as many as I can, using my draft posts for inspiration and possibly already having pictures ready to go, either saved or inserted into the posts. Then I just need to write the text. In a good session I can get at least a week’s worth of posts ready in one go.
I’m used to having to write because that’s some of what I do in my job. If you have to wait for inspiration to strike before you write posts … just make sure that inspiration has plenty of room to keep going! Anyway, it’s surprising what you can produce when you sit down and tell yourself that you have 90 minutes to generate a load of blog posts!
Scheduling publication of blog posts
I would imagine that all blogging platforms have a scheduling feature. Here in WordPress, I can edit the Publish Immediately field to the right of my writing pane, and choose a date and time to publish the post (I also automatically post a link to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This means I can schedule a post to publish when I’m going to be away from my desk and the post will still be publicised).
If you don’t know how to schedule blog posts on the platform you’re using, Google your platform name plus something like “schedule blog posts” and you should be able to find instructions.
So, when I do a big writing session, I write the posts I want to write, then schedule them all in for the appropriate days. I can view just the posts I’ve scheduled to make sure there aren’t any clashes, then I can get on with work or even go on holiday, knowing that my blog will be publishing when I’m away.
How do I make myself keep on blogging?
If you get stuck and don’t post for a while, or don’t feel like posting, don’t panic! Here are some things you can consider doing:
- Have a think about why you’re blogging and whether you do actually want to continue (try reading my article on 10 reasons not to blog or the one on 10 reasons to write a blog!)
- Have a little brainstorm and think of some ideas for blog posts – just jot them down and write them up later
- Get into a writing routine that suits you – whether that’s posting once a day or having a weekly blogging afternoon
- Sign up for one of the various schemes that suggests something to post, or ask your friends or readers to make suggestions about what to write about
- Consider creating some themes – it’s easier to come up with an idea for a Word tips post than an idea for “a post”
- Don’t beat yourself up. Look at other people’s posts for inspiration. Ask for some guest bloggers. Review something you use in your work life. Write about something personal
This article has talked about how often to blog, how to organise your blogging, how to schedule posts and what to do if you get stuck. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these topics – do post a comment, and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it using the buttons below.
10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!
10 reasons NOT to write a blog – and why you should stop and think, at least!
Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely
Top 10 blogging sins – avoid these if you can!