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.
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.
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.
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.
Want more blogging tips?
The MH@H Store has a FREE how-to guide on building a WordPress.com blog from the ground up. It’s got lots of useful tips whether you’re just getting started or wanting to take advantage of more of WordPress’s features.