I’ve been working harder and harder recently on creating a blogging routine that works for me. I had set it as one of my goals for the summer to not only find a blogging process that works for me but to also get on a regular posting schedule.
While I haven’t entirely been able to do the latter just yet (there are still weeks where I’m not posting according to my regular Tuesday-Friday schedule), I have definitely been able to find a blogging routine! So I thought I would share a little bit of what’s happening behind the scenes and share my blogging process!
FIND A POST IDEA
Like any blogger, it all starts with a post idea. I will admit that this one is particularly hard for me. I define myself as a college + lifestyle blogger and it’s hard to find ideas that stand out within that niche! I feel like we all talk about the same things, and I definitely don’t want my blog to sound too much like what everybody else is doing!
My post ideas usually come at the most random times. Sometimes it’ll come while I’m reading someone else’s post (reading other people’s content inspires me to come up with my own), sometimes it’ll be while I’m browsing Pinterest… I like to keep a little notebook of ideas for posts, but sometimes I’ll just create a draft and write my idea while it’s still fresh in my head.
Once I have found my idea, the rest usually comes naturally. Before I actually start writing the first draft, I like to come with an outline for my post. I normally just type the headings, which contains my main ideas, but sometimes I’ll also type a few words that I hope to incorporate into my post. If I already have a specific angle that I want to tackle, I’ll write that down as well. The goal here is to have everything I need for when I actually start writing the post!
I know a lot of people don’t plan their posts before they write them, but planning saves you so much time!
My writing teacher would be so proud of me for saying this, but whether you have an assignment or a blog post to write, consider making a plan. It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but I’m not lying when I say that it does save you a lot of time! It also helps shape your text and ensure that it follows a thread.
I don’t plan at a specific time. Just because I made a plan for my post doesn’t mean that it’s going to be posted soon! I actually have like 5-6 drafts with ideas that I just haven’t gotten around to finish yet. Sometimes, I will just pick up an idea that I had left dormant a few weeks ago, and looking at it with brand new eyes helps me finally pinpoint the angle that I want to give it!
Then comes the first draft. I normally write all of my posts in one sitting, but sometimes, with longer posts, I will break off that step and write a little bit each day. It all depends on how much time I have left before I want to post it. However, I always give myself a deadline: the first draft needs to be done at least two days before it goes live. This gives me more flexibility for editing and adding pictures.
EDITING + ADDING PICTURES
I normally do that step the night before the blog post goes live. I always let 24 hours pass before I open the first draft again and start editing. Seeing the post with a fresh mind and a brand new pair of eyes helps seeing mistakes and what needs to be rewritten.
Not only do I try to correct my grammar, spelling and punctuation, but I also try to check readability. I only recently started to care about that, but I will admit that it does make my posts easier to read! I tend to write extra long sentences and I use the passive voice a bit more often that I would like to admit. I basically go through the same revision process that I follow when I revise assignments.
As I reread my post and edit it, I try to add relevant pictures. I’m not really into photography (but I’d love to start posting more of my own pictures!), so I don’t really add pictures unless it’s necessary (like a book cover). If pictures are needed, I either take my own (and that’s something I would have planned before) or browse the Internet in search of free stock photos.
CREATING FEATURED IMAGE
This is one of my favorite steps (but it’s also one that be extremely frustrating)! After the post is ready to go, I create my featured image using Canva. First, I browse the Internet for a free stock photo that is related to my blog post topic. The resource I love the most is Unsplash, but I will sometimes also use Google Images. If you use the latter, make sure you go under Search Tools > Usage Rights > Labeled for reuse with modifications. Otherwise, you might get sued for using a picture that is not your own!
I already have a layout that I like to use on Canva, so I just play around with it until I’m satisfied. I also use the Filter option on the image that I imported on Canva so I can play with image settings such as brightness, contrast and sometimes blur if the picture is too crisp and makes the text unreadable.
Before the post is ready to go, I like to check SEO. I’ve only started caring about that since I moved to self-hosted, but I’m kind of obsessed with it. I’m still not sure how it all works out, but having the Yoast SEO plugin definitely makes it easier! I just play with my post a little bit to ensure that it scores great in search engines, and I’m ready to go!
That’s the absolute last thing I do before the post is ready to go live! I normally set my posts to go live at 7:30 AM on Tuesdays and Fridays so people can read them while they are getting ready to go to work (or, in my case, university).
PROMOTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Don’t think that because your post is now live that’s the blogging process is now over! Promoting is one of the most important parts of writing a blog post. Sure, you need killer content, but what’s the point if there’s nobody to read it? I wrote a post dedicated to connecting to other bloggers, and promoting on social media is not too different from that!
Once my post is up on my blog, I pin it in different group boards, I post my link on some Facebook groups’ blog post threads, schedule at least three tweets advertising the post… and the list goes on! I also make sure I leave some comments on other people’s blogs. Blogging is not only about receiving, it’s about giving too! All of this is to ensure that I give my new post a maximum of visibility!
What is your blogging process? Any steps you think I should add to mine?