Plan with Purpose

This entry is part 18 of the series Build a Better Blog


Welcome to the next letter in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

We’ve now reached P as we work through the alphabet so . . .
P is Planning with Purpose. 

Hopefully by now you have a clear picture of the purpose of your blog. Briefly, to remind you of this, answer these questions:

  1. Why have I started this blog?
  2. Who do I hope is reading the blog?
  3. What do I hope to achieve through this blog?
  4. When (how often) am I posting to the blog? (Remember the importance of writing on a regular basis, even if it’s only once a month.)
  5. How much time do I have to spend on writing the posts for the blog?

That done, you now remember your purpose for the blog.
So how can we plan to see that we’re meeting these criteria?

There is a popular saying often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the father of time management,

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

So don’t plan to have your blog fail! Here are some tips on how to keep it moving forward so you can build a better blog—no matter its purpose.

  • Plan in advance.

    Think ahead so that you know what’s coming up in future blogs and you can be thinking of ideas during the days leading up to the post. You can do this in many different ways.

    • Draw up a list of titles several months ahead.
    • Write a month or two’s posts in advance.
    • If you’re a writer or you are doing a series on a holiday or special event, list your titles (or topics) for the entire series.
    • Try doing a 26-part alphabetical series on your topic, such as this. I know in advance which letter I’m going to write about, so I can give it some thought before sitting down to write.
  • Plan a regular schedule . . .

. . . and stick to it. Google™ likes you to post twice a week (or more if you can). If this is possible, go for it. If it’s not, rather post once a week regularly, than promise to post twice a week and fail to keep up.

  • Create a post calendar.

    • You can use Google Calendar, or a spreadsheet, or make notes on a white board (as I do). There are also plenty of free schemes available if you look for them on Google™. If, like me, you have more than one blog, this is even more important.
    • If you’re on WordPress, install either the Editorial Calendar, or WP Scheduled Posts Options. The Editorial Calendar gives you a calendar which you can easily open from your dashboard. You can drag and drop your posts to other days, set them as scheduled, draft, or pending review. WP Scheduled Posts Options gives a nice drop-down menu for all scheduled posts from the top bar. Either of these will enable you to schedule your posts to publish when you wish.
  • Stay focused on your key points.

    • Address the issues you know your reader is interested in.
    • Never lose site of those points you listed when you answered the questions at the top of this post, the reasons why you’re writing this blog.
    • Watch your stats. Every couple of months, take a look at your posts and see which ones have raised the most responses and visits.
    • Don’t be too hung up on comments, unless they are an integral part of your post. Many will visit and put your suggestions into action without leaving a comment.Friendly note on this, if you’re reading a post, please do leave a comment. Even a “Thanks for this” helps improve the ranking of the blog on Google™ and encourages the blogger. If you leave a return link on my site I will visit you back—promise. Many bloggers will do the same.
  • Carry a notebook with you.

    • You never know when new ideas will strike. So be like the Boy Scouts and always be prepared.
    • I often get my best ideas in Church. (Sorry, Pastor!) I take notes during the sermon to help me concentrate, and if something nudges me saying “Blog on this!” or “That’s good devotional material,” I immediately draw an opening square bracket in my notes. [ I scribble the thoughts I have had and then close the brackets ] and return to the sermon, hopefully without having missed too much.
    • I also get bright ideas in the shower. I haven’t yet found a way to take my notebook in there, but that will be a clue to hurry up and finish so I can get it down before it disappears from my wet mind.
  • Anticipate “life” getting in the way.

    • The best way to do this is to work in advance, scheduling posts to appear on the appropriate days. I normally do this, using the WP Scheduled Posts plugin, but I have been in the situation where, due to a whole lot of unforeseen “life happenings,” it hasn’t been possible and I’ve run out of posts. I then do the best thing I can do and leave a note (It would be rude not to keep my date with you, right?)
    • Warning: I once scheduled a whole lot of posts on my site, complete with the dates they should post, and some rough notes of what I intended to cover those days. All worked well until I had a health emergency which landed me in hospital far from my computer. The last thing in my mind was my blog, and I conveniently forgot about it for nearly two weeks.When I returned, you know what had happened. My trusty pc had continued to publish the posts on the day I had them scheduled. I never heard from anyone about the very rough notes they had seen on my blog, but I’m sure my stats dropped faster than the South African stock exchange when the president of the country fired the minister of finance. I only schedule the posts that are ready to go live. I save them as drafts until I’m happy with them.
  • Blog along a theme for a limited time.

    • Blogging through the alphabet is not only for the annual A to Z Challenge. It is an excellent way to run with a series, and will stretch you to think out of the box at times. (e.g. When you hit the Q,X,Y,Zs!)
    • Some bloggers choose a theme for different days, e.g. Monday Musings, Thursday Thoughts, etc.
  • Keep an Idea File.

    • I’ve already touched on that in an earlier post. Create a safe place.
    • This could be on your computer (I have it on the desktop of my computer, called “Blog Ideas” as if I give it a title I invariably forget what I called it and where I filed it, and I waste a ridiculous amount of time trying to find the ideas that were supposed to save me time!)
    • You could also pin it to a notice board or keep it in a drawer. As long as you’ll remember where it is, and it’s easy to add to.
    • Add a note saving place to your phone, so it you get a bright idea when you’re out nd for some reason don’t have your notebook, you can quickly tap it out on your phone. Of course you will transfer to your list as soon as you get home.
    • When your record your notes, don’t just write the headline. I guarantee when you want to use it, you’ll have forgotten what you wanted to say about the topic! Scribble (fast-type) the main points you think of.

Build a Better BlogThere are probably plenty more ideas, but these should be enough to start you thinking. Please share in the comment section how you plan your forthcoming blog posts.

Have a great day, and come back tomorrow for Q is for Quest for Quality as we Build a Better Blog.

 FURTHER POSTS TO READ:

  • Fact or Fiction
  • Go for Google
  • Harnessing Hashtags
  • Interesting Images
  • Joy of Journaling
  • Kindle and KDP
  • Live and Learn
  • Marketing Methods
  • Nuggets and News
  • Ongoing Opportunities
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22 comments on “Plan with Purpose

  1. Excellent advice for the power blogger!

    As for your capturing your ideas in the shower – if you have an Android device, you might be able to activate the “OK Google!” voice input, and then shout them to your tablet as the ideas come in. 😀

    • LOL! I love this idea. My husband already teases me for talking to myself in the bathroom. I can imagine his reaction if I start yellng at my tablet. 🙂

  2. I am bookmarking this for further review as there are a number of good reminders in this list. Thank you for sharing them. A tip for ideas in the shower (depending on the enclosure) I have heard white board markers work on some shower surfaces. Once the shower is over put them in a notebook and wipe the shower wall.

  3. There are some great tips here. I found I started really strong with ideas but now have to really think about what to post!! I do have that ideas folder you suggest though – and after a laptop failure last year, everything is stored on a cloud!! Thanks Shirley!

    • Hi Nicky, what a bother having a laptop failure. I had not one but TWO full websites hacked a few years ago and had to start them over. Not fun. Have a good evening.

  4. Some great tips here. I schedule my posts in advance but have been known to change titles at the last minute 😊 I blog at least once a week if not twice – my life has changed direction since I started blogging in 2012 and I started a new job last year which has made me cut down on a lot of blogging commitments but I still keep going on!

    • Yes, Linda. I often change my title half way through the post when I see it’s going somewhere else! But at least having a working title, I know what I plan to write on.

    • Thank you Narayana. Good to have you visiting today. I read your post and tried to understand it. 🙂 You are way cleverer than I am!

  5. Hi Shirley – I know when I started blogging I’d no idea what I was going to do – the edutainment/historical bent sort of just came to the fore – things people would be interested in reading … I was lucky it sort of happened.

    However I have way more things to write up and post about than I get round to … but better to have lots than none I guess … and I am spasmodic … but always around – cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/p-is-for-pigs.html

    • Thanks for our further comments, Hilary. Yes, when I started I had no idea what I was doing either. Because I’m a cancer survivor (nearly 20 years) I wanted to help others cope with the diagnosis and treatment. But that became so top heavy that when my book was accepted by Revell/Baker, I split my website in two, one half concentrating on writing, blogging, etc, and the other on cancer-related material (riseandsoar.com – which was the original title of my book). But the nightmare of trying to keep two sites going is heavy. I don’t know if it was the wisest decision, but it was years ago so I can’t stop either.

  6. There are some great tips here Shirley, thanks very much for the ideas. I’m not that concerned if I miss a day here or there but I do like to schedule a few posts in advance if I can. I always carry a notebook and jot down ideas as they come to me. Deb from http://www.Debs-world.com

    • I don’t blog every day, Debbie. It is way too much for me as I am writing a series of eBooks at the moment. I have two websites, so I aim at posting twice a week on the one and once a week on the other. And if I miss, I miss. But I find if I schedule in advance, I’m less likely to fall away.

  7. Lots of practical steps in planning….I always have a pen and notepad with me..it’s funny how we get blog ideas at a very random time….i am still not sure how I feel about scheduling posts….for now, i kind of enjoy writing, editing and publishing immediately…that probably explains why I’m not scheduling posts for the atozchallenge…
    I know it will be important if I will be away from my device during a vacation though…interesting points on this one

    • Thanks for the visit, Phaytea. I don’t usually schedule far in advance, but I like to have the next couple of posts ready to publish if something happens. For the A to Z challenge this year, I had all but three drafted and scheduled – but I polish them ready for publication a day or two before. I still have two of the three to write from scratch so I must allow extra time for them. Have a great day!

  8. This is definitely a useful post! I also try to have a post schedule, I find it way easier to write when I know the topic ahead and I feel like I’m not waisting time since I know exactly what to do!

    • Thank you, Lisa. Yes, I find it very stressful when I realise I am due to publish a post which is not yet written! Far better to work in advance.

  9. Hi Shirley – these are all really great suggestions. I have a notebook to jot down ideas – or I email them to myself if I’m at work. I post three times a week and have a system that I follow now that works well for me. I find it really interesting looking at my stats later down the track to see that often the posts I love are less popular than the ones I thought were fairly ordinary – just shows that you don’t know exactly what people are looking for. I definitely always run ahead of time – at least a couple of week and more if I can so I’m not under last minute pressure. I had all my AtoZ posts done by the end of March and that has been an amazing relief.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

    • You are way more organised than me with the A to Z. I had a rough draft done of all but three of mine before starting, but I have to edit and format them before they go live. I’m currently two days ahead!

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