Developing a System for Your Blog

system

Today we’re going to expand our “techie tips” to include some blog management tips. I’ve said this many times, and it’s true — I am NOT organized. By nature, my personality type is “Sanguine,” which means my mind is mostly adrift with ideas, not structure. My point is, if I can develop a blog system, anyone can.

This week my “system” is a bit off kilter (or, as we say in Arkansas, “hunker-jawed”), due to fact my kids are home from college, but in general, this system has kept On Blogging Well running smoothly since its inception, and I’m going to share with you a few things I do consistently to keep it going. These may or may not work for you — you’ll need to adapt and find what works best.

Editorial Calendar

In addition to having a specific niche topic for your blog, it helps to know what each day’s post will be about. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the blinking cursor, wondering, “What, oh what, shall I blog about today?” Having a weekly schedule has helped me. I keep a separate notebook for each main element of On Blogging Well: Marketing, SEO, Writing Tips, etc. Sundays and Wednesdays give me a bit of a break, because I host guests and list my favorite posts of the week.

Research

The tool I use for conducting research is my Google Home Page. I subscribe to over 30 blogs and scan the headlines each morning. You can move your cursor over the headline and the entire post will appear. I read a sentence or two and if it’s something I want to know more about, I’ll click over and read the blog and jot down key points to conduct more research on. Some days, several blogs have posts that go along with ideas I want to share, and others, almost nothing “clicks.”

When a particular topic strikes my interest, I’ll Google about it and read a few more blog posts, taking more notes. This whole process takes about 30 or less minutes, and I do it while I’m sipping my morning coffee. Okay, I’m an early riser. You may want to do your note-taking at night. (Well, I’m a night owl, too. Sleep is over-rated.) I usually complete the bulk of my weekly follow-up research on the weekend — usually Sunday afternoons.

Writing the Posts

Some people mind-map or outline their posts, but I almost always compose on screen. By the time I write the post, I’ve done enough research to have a good idea what main points I want to share. I know I tend to babble, and I don’t edit relentlessly like I should. Everyone has weaknesses — I suppose that’s my main one as a blogger.

Whenever possible, I write 3 or more posts at a sitting, usually on Sunday and Tuesday evenings. I schedule the posts to display at 5 a.m. on the proper day and use the “upcoming posts” plugin, which gives my readers a mini sneak preview.

SEO Stuff

Before I hit the “Schedule” or “Publish” button, I make sure the permalink I want has been set, my post tags are entered, the proper category is selected, and that I’ve completed the fields for my title, excerpt, and keywords from the All-in-One SEO Pack plugin.

Final Checks before Posting

Check your spelling, save your draft, and preview it. Read the post at least once. Then, when all is well, click the “Publish” button, and viola! you’re done with that post.

Promotion

I post a link to each blog post on several social bookmarking sites as well as my personal Facebook profile and On Blogging Well’s Facebook fan page.

Finally, I schedule tweets. Using SocialOomph.com, I schedule about two headlines per hour (from my Google Home Page) to post as tweets. Remember your Twitter manners — post at least 7 information tweets per each sales pitch. Otherwise, people will start unfollowing you. This has worked well for me.

There are a couple of ways to measure your Twitter effectiveness. The first is, how many people are “listing” you? The other is to use a URL-shortener that provides some analytics data, such as bit.ly.com, which I have embedded into my SocialOomph profile.

Follow-Up & Community Building

About twice a day, I check & respond to comments on my blog, Facebook, interact on my Twitter stream, and visit other blogs and leave comments.

How long does all this take?

About 2 hours a day, plus 3-4 hours on Tuesdays and Sundays, when I’m researching and writing. I write 5 blog posts per week (not counting the quick Sunday & Wednesday posts), but I do my best to do my promotion, follow-up, and community building tasks daily. I suppose you could estimate using this system will take you about 2-3 hours times however many blog posts you write per week if you wanted to know how much time to allot for blogging.

My advantages and disadvantages, time-wise

That seems like a major time commitment, and it is. Do I have more time than you? Well, we all get 24 hours a day. My disadvantages are that I work full time, have a hobby farm, a family, and I’m taking several online classes.

My advantages are that my kids are in college. Son lives at home, but he works most evenings, and Hubby works second shift, so it’s usually just me and the dog in the evenings, although I spend 20 minutes a night on the phone with Hubby during his supper break and take a break to cook supper for my son each night.

My main advantage is that I consider blogging my “second job,” with hopes of growing it quickly enough to replace my day job. This motivates me to keep on blogging.

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!

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14 comments ↓

#1 Rafael Marquez on 11.24.09 at 1:29 pm

I’m going to have to start saying “hunker-jawed” :-) I find it easiest to write all my blog posts on 1 day, or at least write several posts in one sitting. I’m doing Nablopomo on my 2 main blogs right now so my routine is a little hunker jawed right now, but I like the discipline of having to have something to say for everyday.

#2 Laura on 11.24.09 at 1:31 pm

My main problem are family who think all of this is a waste of time cause it isn’t making money from the start. I’ve been online several years and they think everything I do online is useless.

Visiting from IComWeLeave.

#3 Linda Fulkerson on 11.24.09 at 1:34 pm

@Rafael — It’s such a great phrase! 😉

I also find it easier to write when I’m in “writing” mode. I also write newsletter posts and other projects during my scheduled writing times, so I usually get a lot done at one sitting. Sometimes when I’m in the midst of a research session, I have to stop and write a post because the words start flowing, so I set my research aside.

#4 Linda Fulkerson on 11.24.09 at 1:47 pm

@Laura — First of all, welcome to On Blogging Well! I’m glad you stopped by.

It’s hard when your family doesn’t understand what it is you’re trying to do. Most businesses take a while to get off the ground. I, too, have been online a while and have tried so many different things. I feel as though I’m just now learning how to make money online.

How? My suggestion to anyone who wants to make money online as quickly as possible is to click on the Traffic Geyser icon in the upper left sidebar and give the 30-day trial a go. This is a very exciting program. I’m just getting started with it so I haven’t promoted it much, but so far, I’m highly impressed!

#5 Skye on 11.27.09 at 9:31 pm

I’ve seen the suggestion about the Editorial Calendar before and I thought it was too rigid for a personal blog. But now I’m realizing that I like my own blog better when it’s a mix of different types of posts and some of them are easy to plan ahead. I think it would also help with making sure I give all my blogs the attention they need without feeling overwhelmed – since this is supposed to be fun, after all.

#6 Linda Fulkerson on 11.28.09 at 6:58 am

@Skye — I’m pretty much of a maverick, so I typically shun structure of any kind. But this loose editorial calendar has really helped me. It gives me enough freedom to write whatever I want but enough structure to prevent me from staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what to write.

Readers seem to like it to. Everyone is busy, so they can stop by the days that are more important to their needs.

#7 Tammie Swaney on 01.26.10 at 7:46 pm

Linda, Great stuff here. Some I’m doing, some I need to do. Glad to have the time tonight to catch up on your posts. You may hear from me again. Keep Blogging!

#8 Chelli on 08.14.10 at 7:24 am

I am a very slow typist. Are there spyware that convert voice to text? If yes, what level of accuracy can I expect?
Thank you.

#9 Chelli on 08.14.10 at 7:26 am

Not spyware but software.

#10 Linda Fulkerson on 08.14.10 at 12:50 pm

Hi Chelli — I use MacSpeech Dictate to convert spoken word to text. If you don’t have a Mac, I’m sure there are products out there for PC, but I haven’t used any so I don’t have any recommendations of those.

Ask others or do a Google search for voice recognition/dictation software and read some online reviews. Hopefully that will help you find a good product that will work well for you.

#11 Chelli on 08.15.10 at 2:51 am

Thank you, Linda. I do have a Mac. Is it a standard feature or do I need to buy that software?

#12 Linda Fulkerson on 08.15.10 at 4:59 am

Unfortunately you’ll have to buy it. Here’s a link that tells more about it:
http://www.macspeech.com/pages.php?pID=143
I ordered mine from Amazon.com. It’s $50 cheaper there!

#13 Brenda Prinzavalli on 10.20.10 at 2:36 pm

I love this suggestion! I work with clients all the time to make sure they organize a system for their blog/social media time. It’s easy to let it slip and not get the attention. Your various points are key and thanks for sharing them!

#14 Sort My Life Solutions on 03.11.12 at 1:26 pm

Thanks for sharing – I usually find when I am ‘inspired’ to write a blog, I come up with several ideas at once. When this is the case, I just roll with it because I know they will be good blogs. Other than that, I constantly listen to the news and have set up google alerts via email to keep me in the know.

Thanks for your blog! :)

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