Blogging

How Much Planning Goes Into Your Blog?

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Do you have a system for your blog, or do you write whatever strikes your fancy and post it whenever the moment feels right?  While there are certainly benefits to spontaneity, doing some degree of blog planning can help give your readers a more consistent experience.

Timing

One element of this is timing.  How often are you going to post?  Are you going to try for a certain number of posts per week or per month?  Are you going to try to post on certain days of the week?

Any plan you come up with should try to improve the experience not only for your readers but also for yourself.  Being really strict about your posting schedule, or trying to churn out more posts than is sustainable for you, will only increase your risk of blogging burnout.  But let’s say you decide that two posts a week are doable for you, and you decide to try for Wednesday and Saturday.  That can help you stay on track and motivated, and your readers will know when to expect you.  If you end up deviating from your plan that’s completely fine, and chances most of your readers won’t even notice unless it becomes a regular thing.

Regular series/features

Having themed posts that appear on a regular basis, whether that be a consistent day of the week, the beginning or end of the month, or more sporadic timing, can be a fun way to experiment with planning for your blog.

I have regular series running 4-5 days per week on my blog.  Sunday is blogging about blogging, Monday is the emerging blogger series, Wednesday is book reviews, Friday is the what is… series, and Saturday is my weekend wrap-up.  It actually makes my life easier in terms of coming up with ideas for things to post, because I’ve already got the basic topic figured out.

Other ways to do regular features could be based around different forms of writing, like poetry or fiction.  You could try serializing a longer fiction work like Crushed Caramel did with her Annabelle Riley story.

If you participate in other bloggers’ prompts that appear on certain days of the week, you can also plan your weekly content around that.

Cultivating your idea farm

I’ve written in a previous post about where to find ideas for blog posts.  How will you manage those ideas so they can blossom into future blog posts?

I have a blogging spreadsheet where I keep track of all of my ideas for blog posts.  I call it my idea farm because I tend to it so that it will grow and produce happy little blog posts.  I’ve got the ideas grouped either by topic or based on the regular series they’re intended for.  The actual system you use is less important than just having some kind of process to make sure good ideas don’t get lost along the way.

Overall direction

Where do you want your blog to go in the medium to long term?  If you want to carry on status quo there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, although I think we all continue to develop and grow as bloggers the longer we’re doing it, whether we intend to or not.  That’s part of what makes blogging so interesting.

But perhaps you have a new direction you’d like to take at some point in the future.  Giving some thought to this may help you to identify small changes you can start to make now that will be useful down the road.

Or maybe you don’t have a different direction in mind, but there’s an area you’d like to grow in as a blogger, such as SEO or coming up with creative graphics to go with your blog posts.  Spend some time thinking about where you’re going to seek out knowledge and how you’re going to implement it on your blog.  Feel free to take your time to plan and prepare before trying to implement new things.

Go for it

Blog planning strategies can be helpful, but what’s going to end up being most important is your implementation.  If planning starts to feel like a chore, ditch that approach and find something else that does work for you.  If you want to be completely spontaneous with your blog, that’s equally valid.  There are no rules here – just what works best for you and your blog.

Blogging resources from Mental Health @ Home: A New Blogger's guide to WordPress and Up Your Blogging Game

For more on blogging, check out the New Blogger’s Guide to WordPress and the Up Your Blogging Game page.

32 thoughts on “How Much Planning Goes Into Your Blog?”

  1. Since mine is a food blog, there is a lot that goes into it. I find my recipes and then shop for and cook them. Then I edit all the pictures I take during the cooking process and research my information. Not counting the cooking and prep time, each blog takes me about 1 1/2 hours to write. I try my best to post everyday, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

  2. I like your blogging about blogging series! And your idea farm creates a nice little image of plump idea-chickens pecking away in rows while inspiration-cows graze in columns.

    Can you recommend some blogging prompts from other bloggers? I’m intrigued.

  3. I like to work on a longer post and make a series out of them. I really like the words you use for your Idea Farm. Thoughts are like little seeds that we need to care for so they can grow into a beautiful garden.
    I like to type my ideas in a word document, let them live there, come back to them and write the idea into a post. I’ve learned that when you write or type up your ideas somewhere, one idea sets off another and your train of thoughts is ready to ride!
    They frequency of posting was a struggle but with more kindness to myself I’ve managed to loosen up the expectations that I had for myself.
    I’m would really like to write about more self care or recovery but I see I need to follow my own pace. That is something that I literally see in my ideas/posts so I can pace myself irl too. So now for the short answer: I plan in posting but I write when I feel it.

  4. I blog for fun and for social interaction, so I don’t really mind when or how often I post for blog purposes. I’ve been putting out a lot of super-fast posts lately since I switched to giving my own advice, because I’ll think, “Oh no, that poor teenager needs advice right now!” (I often put a link to my blog as the “answer” at yahoo answers, except for when my advice might anger them.) I need to slow down and know the teenager isn’t going anywhere! But it’s all in good fun! My mom’s always asking, “how can you make money with blogging?” And I’m like, “I have no freakin’ clue.” [Shakes my head.] But yeah, blogging is a way to break up my other online activities: social media (I love playing words with friends), submitting to agents, etc. So I just throw it out there! I do like, though, how you schedule your blog, ’cause whenever I’m up at eleven, I eagerly await yours!!

      1. Yeah, sometimes! You know my recent blog about the supplements for panic attacks at school? The mom who wrote that letter gave my answer (the blog link) a thumb’s up, and she “liked” my post! 🙂 That made me happy!! YAY!

  5. I have no plan for my blog! I wanted a way to share longer stuff with Instagram friends with some anonymity, and to participate more in the fantastic WP community as I’d been lurking as a reader for some years.

    I like that Idea Farm thing. I often type whatever comes to mind, keep it all in drafts, then edit or delete or publish (or schedule it to be published on slow weeks) based on how I feel. Not very systematic, really.

  6. I don’t really plan my blog. I try to stick to themes that I want to center around, like art, poetry, and dealing with mental/physical health issues, but other than that, I try to give myself free reign to be creative. I do try to vary content so I don’t post a bunch of one kind of content in a row. And I try to post every other day unless something really major comes up that interferes.

  7. I was a meticulous planner for my first year. A couple months into my second and I’m essentially writing whatever pops into my head most mornings. And, it shows. Multiple posts per day in December saw my view double or triple or more everyday. Great post, Ashley. Lots for me to reconsider. 😊

  8. I post daily with no structure, just whatever comes to mind. I like the series idea for different days of the week but I have no idea what series I could do. How did you come up with your ideas?

  9. I absolutely love your metaphor of cultivating an idea farm! I mostly just blog about books I read and cooking/baking, so my reading/cooking pace is the biggest determinant of how I often I post. Having these blogging projects helps me to hold myself accountable to actually do my hobbies (they make my life better, but sometimes I feel so unmotivated to do anything, and without the blog I probably wouldn’t read or cook as much).

  10. Being a relatively new blogger this was very helpful! I’m more of a spontaneous writer and would like to make a plan so that I have some consistency for myself and my readers. Thankyou for posting!

  11. I’m new to blogging, and this really helped! I really like your description of the idea farm. I’m thinking for myself that a Google Doc with all my ideas stored there might help – I tend not to plan my posts almost at all, so maybe a little bit of forethought will help the structure of my posts. Anyway, thanks!

  12. I have ‘The Reality of…’ series every Monday, and my own posts on a Saturday and this has definitely taken a lot of pressure off 💚

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