First of all: why use a blogging schedule? It's not essential, but I have noticed that the blogs I most enjoy reading tend to be the ones that are updated on a regular basis, whether that is daily, a few times a week, once a week, or even just once a month. Maintaining a regular posting schedule lets readers know that they can depend on you. And letting your blog sit for too long without any new posts also runs the risk of turning away potential new readers who may think your blog has become dormant. But, as I said before, it's not essential, and some bloggers simply don't have the time or inclination to commit to a specific blogging schedule, which is okay. But if you do, and if you like to be organized and methodical the way I do, then using a schedule can be a great way to go.
|These are the pages in my DIY planner that I use to organize my blog posts.|
First of all, decide how frequently you want to post. If you're just getting started (or even if you've been blogging for a while already), I would suggest that you estimate your desired frequency of posts, and then pick a target frequency that is a bit lower than that. Most people probably overestimate the number of posts that they'll be able to write, so choosing a lower frequency makes it more likely that you'll end up with a schedule that you can actually maintain. For example, at the beginning of this year I revised my blogging schedule for this blog so that I'd have a new post appearing approximately every 5 days. While I would love to be able to post three times a week, that is not realistic for me right now and trying to post that frequently would just lead to failure.
Secondly, have a list of ideas for future posts. If you've been blogging for a while, you may already do this, but if you don't, start making a list right now of specific ideas for potential future blog posts, and add to the list whenever you think of a new idea. You should try to have anywhere from a week's to a month's worth of blog post ideas on this list at all times. That way, when it's time to write a new post, you won't need to worry about what to write. Trust me, this makes things way simpler and less stressful.
Next, use a monthly calendar to plan out your future posts. (You can see mine in the above photo.) It will probably be simplest if you use this just for blogging so it doesn't get cluttered up with anything else. Say you have decided to post twice a week on Monday and Wednesday. Take your calendar and write "blog post" in every week on Monday and Wednesday. Then look at your list of blog post ideas and write specific ideas in on the days when you'll be posting. If you tend to write posts that fall into a few very specific categories, try to space things out so you don't have two very similar posts being published one after the other. This brings in some good variety to your schedule. For example, I usually alternate product reviews with non-review posts.
Finally, start writing! It usually makes me a lot happier if I have my blog posts completely written before the day they are posted. You should be able to set things up on your blog so that you can write posts and have them automatically posted on a date and time that you choose. This means that if you are incredibly productive one week and write ten posts in five days, you can publish your two posts for that week and schedule in advance blog posts for the future, when you may experience a dry spell or be too busy to spend time writing for your blog. This allows you to post regularly even if you may not be writing regularly.
|Writing the draft of a future blog post by hand in my notebook.|
Some more tips:
- Your schedule is not set in stone. If you miss a day, or if your post is a day or two late, don't worry about it (this post and the last one were actually a day late!). Probably no one but you will even notice it, and even if they do, who cares? It's your blog, and if you start feeling guilty about missing posts, then you'll start to enjoy it less, and if you're not having fun doing it, why do it at all?
- Likewise, if you need to increase or decrease the frequency of your posts, just do it. It's great if you can post more frequently than you thought you could at the beginning, but even if you can really only manage one or two posts a month, that's okay too. The most important thing is (to me) maintaining a regular pattern of posts (i.e., not ten posts one month and then none for the next two months).
- Don't tell readers that you will be posting about such-and-such topic unless you already have that post written or you are 99% sure that you will have it posted by the time you said. I've done this in the past, where I've said on my blog that I'd have a certain something written in the next few weeks and it never happened. That really annoyed me, so now I try to avoid saying something like that unless I'm absolutely certain that I'll have that post up by that time.
I've maintained my blogging schedule since last June (although I did start posting slightly less frequently this January) and it's really made me so much happier with my blog. I currently have five future blog posts written and scheduled, and I have my schedule planned out completely until the end of July (and reviews planned until September), which is a bit excessive but really makes things a lot simpler for me. I just get such a good feeling looking at all of those future blog posts planned out, even though I know that some things probably will get changed around a bit before July comes around.
Do you stick to a schedule with your blog posts? Do you have any tips for blogging regularly?