One of my #18for2018 goals was to get serious about blog planning, and here’s how I’m doing it.
Everyone who blogs knows that blog planning is an essential step in having a cohesive and successful blog. Not only does it give you direction on what you’ll blog about in advance, but it also ensures that what you’re saying is on point and is in line with your USP (unique selling point).
However, I’ve been blogging for a little over two years now and blog planning was definitely NOT one of my priorities. I kind of just posted on the fly, whenever I had time, whenever Instagram Husband was able to take photos, whenever I had something meaningful to say. It’s kind of evident if you go through the posts on my blog as I kind of meander from one post to the next without any meaningful direction or aforementioned USP.
This year however I really want to focus on a few key themes for my blog (which I’ll be talking about in a later post), and giving it a bit more direction. So blog planning was the first thing I needed to do.
There are LOADS of blog plans out there and I had a quick look at a few to get inspired. In the end though I wanted to do my own thing that kind of fits in with my crazy and about-to-get-crazier life.
I decided to go analog with my blog planning and started off with a plain notebook and some felt tip pens (my favourite). Handwriting always makes me more focused and the time and creativity it takes to write by hand actually allows me to think of lots of ideas.
I went with a monthly schedule of the blog posts I wanted to do. Here’s what January looked like. I painstakingly drew each box for each day of January – you might think this is a bit of a time-waste but like the reasons for handwriting, doing this gave me focus and ideas for what to fill the boxes with.
Obviously I was on holiday for the first two weeks of January so they were blocked out. I knew that realistically I’d be able to blog 3 times a week so started filling in the boxes when I knew I’d have a decent amount of time to commit to blogging.
I’ve also colour coded the type of post so I can see that I’m covering all the things I want the blog to be about (and it just looks pretty).
In doing this I also had an idea of the images I needed to include for each post so I could plan these out in advance with myself or with Insta hubby, instead of rushing on the day of the actual post (like what I used to do).
You can see that I’m actually out of schedule – this post was meant for the 23rd January and it’s obviously the 30th now. I also blogged about the pregnancy capsule wardrobe before this one, and not after as planned above. I changed what I wanted to blog about too, with the original scribbled out and the wrong colour applied. January has been CRAZY with catching up on work, having BOTH munchkins at home making my hair grey, and some personal issues which meant that I couldn’t keep to the schedule as I had planned.
To me though, this schedule is more about knowing what I want to blog about and a bit of a timeframe as to when I’ll be posting about it. I’ve intentionally made it flexible to accommodate my full-time job, which is being a mum. Also, I can easily transfer what I couldn’t blog about in January over to February.
In addition to the monthly schedule I’ve added a bullet-journal style page (which took AGES to do) to track my blogging and social media. I can see at a glance when I’m blogging and posting, as well as get a bit of a pattern going with the type of posts.
If I was really organised I could note how many visitors I had per blog post or Insta post, to get a good idea of what kind of posts work well.
Any time I get an idea for a blog post, I’ll note it on my dedicated Ideas page for the month – I could then use that blog post for that month, or for the following month.
The plain notebook and flexibility of the way I’m doing my blog planning means that I can include pages such as a blog to-do list (which I’ve already begun for February), mind maps/brainstorm pages, checklists and other blog-related tasks. The different colours help with creativity and visualisation, and going analog (ie handwriting) forces me to focus on the task at hand rather than get distracted.
If you’re new to blogging, I hope this gives you some ideas on what you could do to start your blog planning. I think it is very important to plan posts for your blog before you go about setting up your website as it will leave you feeling excited to start creating on your blog. Come up with ideas first, then sort out your domain, hosting and design of the site. You can host with Bluehost, hostiserver or many more! If you would rather do it all online though, then another thing that you could take a look at using would be something like WordPress Hosting – daily backups. I obviously prefer to use a pen and paper to help me plan, but I feel like there may be some people who would benefit from using something like this. Obviously, using pen and paper is what works for me, and there are loads of free blog planning tools out there that could work for you, but it’s worth just starting with a pen and paper to get your ideas and plans committed!
Tomorrow I’ll spend some time working on February’s schedule and generating ideas for posts (YAY for pre-school going back!!), however if you’re interested in a particular post or series, let me know – I’d love some input on what YOU want to read!