Welcome to 8 weeks to #ImproveYourBlog, week 6.
During this 8 week course, we’ll be focusing on one thing per week. Every Tuesday, they’ll be a new post for you to read, go away and do some tasks that will hopefully enable you to improve your blog.
If you want to see what’s coming up in future posts, then check out the introduction post where I go through each weeks topic.
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Today we’ll be looking at how to create a blog schedule that suits you and stick to it.
The previous weeks:
If you’ve missed the previous four weeks, check them out here:
- Week 1: Check Yourself – an audit of your blog and social media accounts to make sure everything is up to date and ready for the new year.
- Week 2: Learning From Others – analysing other peoples blogs to see how you can improve your own.
- Week 3: Figuring Out What You Want – being clear about your blog goals and what actions you need to take to achieve them.
- Week 4: Improve Your Images – how to improve your blog images, use props, make graphics and where to grab free stock photos.
- Week 5: Improve Your Content – tips and tricks on how to improve your writing.
People are always shocked when they find out I blog every day. I actually put publish 10 blog posts a week, seven on this blog, three on my fitness blog and one on my tech blog. Well, apart from last week, when one of my fitness blog posts just disappeared into thin air. WTF?
On the March 1st, it will mark 2 years since I started blogging every day.
I’ve not got any special secrets to blogging so consistently, nor am I am some blogging superhero. I never set out with the goal of daily blogging, or even starting more blogs – it’s just something what happened.
Here’s how this section of the course is going to be structure:
- My blog schedule and how I got here.
- Should you blog daily?
- How to figure out your blog schedule.
- Tips to sticking to a schedule.
My Blog Schedule.
So, as I said, I blog daily and this isn’t something that I aimed for. My blogging schedule has changed over the years.
When I first started my blog at the end of 2012, I posted almost daily. I didn’t have a schedule, I just wrote the post and them published it there and then.
After a while a while, I got into the habit of posting every 3 days. I did this because it suited me at the time. I was doing mostly outfit posts and it would been impossible to do one every day!
Around November 2013, I started posting every 2 days. This was when I started posting different types of blog posts – reviews, lifestyle and beauty posts so hard more ideas.
I got to the point in around February 2014 where I basically had my content planned for the new two months on the every other day schedule. Which is great, as I love being so planned – but the problem was, some of the posts would be irrelevant after so long. I also like to get reviews and posts out where I’m working with brands within 7 days and was struggling to do this on this schedule.
After a bit of internal debating, I decided I would post daily until I had got my backlog sorted out. And I never looked back.
Almost two years later, I’m still posting daily and I still have my content planned over a month in advance!
Should You Blog Daily?
Let’s get things straight, just because I blog daily doesn’t meant I think EVERYONE should publish a new post every day. Some people swear by daily blogging, but others upload less for a variety of different reasons.
Here’s some pros and cons to posting daily.
- More content means more page views.
- The more you post, the more ideas you get.
- Your build your blogs content quicker.
- It’s believed to help SEO.
- You become disciplined.
- Sticking to daily blogging and make you have the good feels inside.
- It’s time consuming.
- Each post may get less views and comments if readers only view your latest post.
- You run the risk of posting low quality content just to get a post out daily.
- You might burn out.
How to figure out your blog schedule.
As I’ve already said above, I tweaked my blog schedule shit loads before settling with daily blogging and I think you should play around with a different schedule, too.
There isn’t a set about of blog posts you should aim for, the trick is to figure out what works to your based on your lifestyle, blog and other commitments.
You want to get balance between regularly updating your blog, but not feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. Remember that you can amend your schedule at any time – it’s your blog, your rules.
Work out how much time you have free on average each week to blog. Do you have a couple of hours a day after work? Or do you have other commitments so only a couple evenings a week? Be honest with yourself so you can be realistic about what you can do.
Work out how much time it takes you to complete one blog post. This includes taking photos, proof reading, SEO and any other things you might do when creating a blog post.
Think about other blog related tasks you do. Blogging doesn’t just stop at the publish button – there’s commenting on other peoples blogs, promoting your posts, managing e-mails, getting involved in the community and more.
Think about how committed you want to be. Just because you have 4 hours a day after work free, doesn’t mean you have to spend all that time blogging. You may have other things you want to do with your free time, like playing computer games, watching TV, exercising. If you force yourself to spend all your free time blogging, you might end up resenting it!
By now, you probably have an idea of how many times a week you are able to post. Now you’ll want to figure out what days you want to post on. Many people have many different schedules and I would suggest you play around with your days a bit and see which days seem to work best for you.
I know that I tend to get less page views on a Friday and Saturday, I guess because my readers are busier on those days. Test out a few different days and see what works best with your audience.
This advice also applies to the time you schedule your posts for. I schedule mine for 7am as this gives people a chance to read the posts during breakfast, on their commute to work etc. Again, it depends on what works for you and your audience. If I had a high amount of US readers, I might schedule it for later in the day.
Tips to sticking to a schedule.
Okay, so now you should have an idea about how often you want to update and when, now here’s some tips on sticking to your schedule.
Have some rocks in your diary.
By rocks in your diary, I mean things that you might post every week or months. For me, for example, I post an an Instagram roundup on the 1st of every month. I also post a #socialbloggers a roundup every Monday.
On my fitness blog, every Monday I post a fitness update where I talk about my previous week.
These are usually quick posts that you can do weekly or monthly and are a way of making sure you have at least one idea covered.
Popular ideas might be:
- Monthly favourite products.
- Favourite blog posts you’ve read of the week.
- Most played songs of the week.
- Monthly goals.
You get the idea! It can take the pressure if trying to think up new content all the time.
Automate what you can.
There are so many things you can do to automate aspects of blogging. If you can use a tool to do something for you and save time, then use it. I’m all about working smarter, not harder.
Here are some of the things I automate:
- WordPress posts all my blog posts to my Facebook page, Google+ and Tumblr so I don’t have to.
- Bloglovin’ sends out a Tweet when my blog post is live.
- Instagram autoposts my pictures to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
- I schedule Tweets using Buffer.
- I schedule Pins using Ahaolgy.
Take some time to plan.
This is essential, especially if you work shifts. When I get my rotas, I think about when I’ll have time to do blog posts, take photos etc.
I try to take my photos in bulk, so I’ll plan that in, then edit them and enter the photos into a draft. Next, I’ll plan when I can sit down and write the post.
In an ideal world, by Sunday evening I would have everything ready and scheduled for the next 7 days, then during the week, I’ll start working on the following weeks posts so I can have them all finalised and ready for the following Sunday.
Although this is not an ideal world – so that’s why I have to look at it on a week by week basis and plan when and how I’m going to get each post completed.
Change your schedule if it’s not working.
Picking a schedule doesn’t mean you have to stick to it for the rest of your life.
If it’s not working for you, then be open to change. Whether you want to post more or less, amend your schedule when you need it.
Remember that for most of us, blogging is a hobby and it’s supposed to be fun. If you find your schedule is making it feel like a chore or making you feel restricted, consider changing it or even getting rid of it all together. Some bloggers are more than happy to just stick to a post and publish there and then type schedule.
Get an Editorial Calendar
I use the WP Editorial Calendar plugin to plan my content – this is a calendar that I can drink posts in and out of, move them around days if I need to. Before I switched to WordPress, I used the Calendar app on my Mac and just typed in the title of each post when I planned to have it publish.
I never used to plan like this and had it all in my head, but I found this helps me keep things in order, see what type of posts I have coming up.
The trick is to just find what works for you.
Are you currently on a schedule?
Come back next week when we’ll be talking about how to use comments and social media to build a community!