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.
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?