8 steps to spring cleaning your blogging routine

Nikki ParkinsonLife 33 Comments

This week on Styling You I’ve got into the spirit of the season. The spring season.

So it makes sense today to talk about getting organised, de-cluttering and making your blog posting easier.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Now if the word routine has you shaking in your bloggie boots, don’t worry.  I’m not here to crack the whip (or make your bed!).  Hopefully just to make your blogging life a little easier with some things I incorporate every day.

1.  WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin.  I’ve mentioned this plugin before but I’ll mention it again as I’ve had a lot of questions about it.  No, I haven’t been able to find a Blogger equivalent, although you could create a private Google Calendar just for blog planning.  The advantage of this WordPress plugin for me is that it sits in the back end of my site.  When I add a post via this method, it automatically saves it as a draft. I can look at my planned content for a month or a week in advance and keep a track of whether it is varied across the topics that I cover.  It’s not set in stone, either.  I can move post ideas around to suit and fit in posts that are more timely.  Regardless of what type of calendar you use, get clear in your own mind how often you can post every week and be consistent with that number and the days/times you post.

2. WordPress iPhone app. This is a free app that I now have on my iPhone and my iPad.  Yes, I can blog using this app but the most use I have out of it – from a time-management point of view – is as an easy way to respond to comments on my blog posts.  Replying to a comment is a matter of just hitting the reply button and typing.  It’s something that I can do while in the queue at the school pick-up or waiting to pay for groceries.

3.  Keeping the email inbox overload under some semblance of control is a daily battle for me. More than 300 emails a day is not uncommon. I approach it this way. If they have not addressed me by my name and it’s not something of relevance to my blog, I hit the Delete button. If they have not addressed me by my name but it’s of potential relevance to my blog, I file it in the content folders set up in my inbox – I do not reply.  If the email is addressed to be by name, I aim to answer it by the end of the day. Even if that end of the day is 11pm.

4. Every Sunday night (or Monday morning) I look at what’s on the iCal computer calendar for the week ahead.  That includes my blog writing commitments, freelance work, events and consultations. I also think ahead about the photography and videography I’ll need to do. I look at how I’m going to fit all that into the available hours (generally school hours plus after 8pm at night). Most weeks it’s like trying to fit mis-matched jigsaw pieces into a holes that are way too small but I do the best I can, prioritising income-producing work (and occasionally feeding the children 😉 ).

5. I’m no longer afraid to say no. Much as I’d like to fly to every event in Sydney or make the drive to Brisbane, I weigh up the time and cost against the worth of those events for my blog before committing to travel.

6. Setting up my Google Reader and having that feed into the Feedler RSS app on my iPad was an inspired move. My husband does not think it’s so inspired when I slip into bed at night, caressing my iPad ready to type away comments on my favourite blogs. I argue that it’s better than me switching on the bedside lamp and tell him to stop snoring.

7. This won’t apply to everyone but as a fashion and beauty blogger – beauty in particular – you have to stay organised with the product you are currently reviewing.  Each month I rotate and bring into my skincare and makeup routine key products that have arrived on my desk for review. As a product comes into rotation, I head over to my Editorial Calendar and allocate it to a future blog post based around the type of product it is. I’ve got quite systematic about it so as not to forget or leave out a potential *winning* product.

8. Like your wardrobe or your makeup collection, giving your blog’s appearance an edit is also a good thing.  This is not necessarily a wholesale redesign but maybe it’s playing around with where you currently have your widgets and gadgets positioned. When someone arrives on your blog, can they easily navigate their way around it? If they are reading your blog on an iPhone or iPad, will they be able to see it properly? If in doubt, get a friend or two who follows your blog to give you some suggestions. Whenever possible get as many reader perspectives on your blog as you can.  Don’t be scared of constructive criticism.  I’d rather here it up front than lose a reader of something that’s niggling them.

How do you organise your blog and your blogging week?  Do you have any tools you use to make this work better for you?

 

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Comments 33

  1. I love your blogging tips Nikki, they really inspire me. I recently lost interest in my own blog for a couple of months. I have a 2 year old and one year old and all of a sudden I found myself in a predicament where I couldn’t be a good blogger and good mother at the same time. In recent weeks I’ve slowly returned back to my little blog and I’ve decided I definitely need to take a different approach and put some discipline into my blogging routine. And hopefully I can find a good balance between both worlds.

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      Lisa, it sounds like you’ve been super busy doing important stuff. The big thing with blogging is finding that consistency balance that works for you – and yes, that’s going to change from time to time. Don’t be too harsh on yourself and make sure it’s still enjoyable.

  2. The WP Editorial Calendar is amazing, I just started using it. It make me realize how I wasn’t covering every topic I wanted to write about! Great article.

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  3. No doubt, blogging is one of those things you almost need to have a full time staff member working on. It’s so time consuming! I struggle with mine. There are some months I do 10 posts, other months 0 or 1 post. There’s only so much time in the day 🙂 Can’t do it all I guess. Thanks for the tips, I’ll definitely check out the wordpress app for android.

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      1. You do an excellent job of replying to all of the comments – that’s very important to do, in order to get repeat visits and build a quality following. My blog gets about 15-20k unique hits and I still seem to struggle with getting quality comments. One here, a few there… not much more than that. Maybe my posts aren’t controversial enough hahah

  4. Great post Nikki! For me the essentials are having a blog content plan and also a freelance schedule which I allocate client work to. I only have a certain number of hours that I can dedicate to freelance work so I have to make sure I don’t over commit myself (naturally I have learnt this the hard way!).

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  5. Great tips Nikki.

    I really need to work on keeping my inbox at a manageable level. It’s just nuts how many e-mails I receive and there’s just not enough hours in the day, events is a huge one for me too while i’d love to say yes to more the reality is that I have three kids and a husband who works away, it’s just not going to happen. I’d much rather enjoy the time I have with them and be super calm and relaxed.

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  6. Well I am still to set up my blog, have my wordpress account and domain name and started reading some blogging tutorials, I have a forced break over the next couple of weeks so will follow your tips and get started x

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  7. 5. Was very important to me, I don’t get half the invites that you do, but mine are pretty random and after attending a few that I got very little from I now say no to pretty much everything. My blog is for fun, not for work so I need to classify it as fun for me or my kids and it needs to be easy to get to etc.

    6. feeddler…Mr H wants to make the bedroom an i Free zone!

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      Great points, Claire. It really is about doing a self-assessment about your blog and why you blog, then setting your own guidelines. Getting on clear on that makes saying yes or no easy! And my iPad is now my book, so it has to come to the bedroom! My hubby is usually in bed before me during the week as he commutes and I stay up working so it works out ok.

  8. Really useful tips, thank you. I’d lost motivation with my blog lately, but I want to start taking it seriously again. The calendar plug-in sounds like a great tool to get me organised, as I’m aiming to regularly promote my new business through my blog without overdoing it. I’m off to reply to comments with my wp app now!

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      That’s great, Kirsty. It’s easy to lose your blogging mojo but I find with a bit of structure I have the self-discipline to keep going. That’s what works for me anyway. Not necessarily the formula for everyone.

  9. Phew! I’m exhausted just reading that Nikki, you ought to go have a glass of vino in the sunshine now!
    Thanks for the tips re WordPress plug-ins. My blog is only a week old and the only emails I’m getting want to sell me viagra, or money-making opportunities….

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  10. Hi Nikki, Excellent tips. I have recently started a blog book. It is a really funky book with coloured tabs and I organise my blog here. I love to write with a pen and feel more ogranised that way. So in my funky book I write down my blog ideas, blog diary/schedule, things to remember. It has worked wonders for me and has helped me stay focused and get into a routine with my blog. I also love my Google Reader which I have set up on my iGoogle home page, listing my favourite blogs and their latest posts.
    Blogging can be hard work but with some organisation is so much fun!

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  11. Good Morning, Nikki…I am very grateful for the reminder about the WordPress calendar plug-in. You mentioned it at Blogopolis, and as I was doing another review of the blogs…it slipped my mind.
    Back at one blog, and love love loving it working the way it’s meant to…and a timely (ha!) reminder from you here today…download WP calendar. Done.
    Have a wonderful spring Saturday. Mind you in Sydney it looks sunny but the wind is bitey!
    Love Denyse X

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  12. Ah, so this is how you do it all. So organised. Thanks for the (always fabulous) tips. I really like Instapaper. It’s something I use to store blog posts that interest me when I don’t have time to read them. The only problem is that I have a huge backload of posts to read and generally only get to them at my little girl’s swim or dance lessons.

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