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.
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.
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.
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.
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,