How To: Plan Your Blog (When No One Reads It)

It’s difficult to persevere with a blog when you don’t feel like there is recognition for it. People don’t instantly become aware of a new blog and flock to it to praise the fledgling steps it’s making. It takes hard work and dedication.

I’m saying this, not as a long-standing blogger with thousands of unique visitors. I’m saying it as someone who is struggling now with the thought of failing. That’s what I worry about; that this blog will fail in the objectives I set out. I’m not doing it to earn money, but I do hope to reach an audience and fulfil my purpose, however slow it may be to realise this goal.

One friend of mine is on the cusp of blogging success, another is so good she gets regular promotions, sponsors and free tickets to London Fashion Week and other such events. I’m both happy and jealous for them. Then there’s a friend who is perfectly happy using her blog to document her life, with only a handful of visitors. It’s a great read, but she said she’d feel awkward if her audience was wider. To each their own.

I have that window into the future; I can see how my blog can evolve, the growth it could attain, the potential reach it could gain, if I keep at it which is a big help. A couple of years ago when I started blogging, none of my friends understood it, and that made it difficult to stick to my goals. Now, it’s different. And so, to the advice.

One.// Keep a folder. I have a folder for planning, a notebook for portable planning and a smaller portable notebook for post drafts, like this.

Blog Planning ONE.// KEEP A JOURNAL

Blog Planning ONE.// KEEP A JOURNAL

When I use these, it means I sit and actually focus on what I want to write. The folder has in it my monthly, weekly and daily goals and to-do lists (the daily goals are also translated into my diary which goes with me everywhere) as well as monthly ideas or themes, a year blog planner and stats recorder. I keep my expenses sheet and log in sheet in there as well, because I’ve used it so much to plan over the last month. Yes, I planned this blog long before I started writing it.

Two.// Never be unavailable. As mentioned, I use notebooks all the time, and they go wherever I go. It means that if I have an idea, or take a photo, or even have an idea for a photo, I record it and know I have it later on. I was on my break at work when I started this post, and I just sketched out a couple of photo ideas.

Blog Planning TWO.// NEVER BE UNAVAILABLE

Blog Planning TWO.// NEVER BE UNAVAILABLE

See? It enables you to never lose a potentially golden post idea.

Three.// Tags. Tag everything you talk about, especially the key issues you blog about. It may seem tedious, but putting twenty tags on your post can really help. When I draft a post I highlight key words in order to show where I need to tag.

Blog Planning THREE.// TAGS

Blog Planning THREE.// TAGS

The idea is this; if you reference something (e.g my obsession with Starbucks) then you tag it. People who follow that tag or search through it become aware of your blog and even though the post may not be about that tag entirely, you increase blog awareness.

Four.// Connect to social media. I’ve only linked my blog to my Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google+ because my Facebook has too many people I’m not keen on to be connected. However, I’ve already gained unique visitors from three of those platforms. If you feel comfortable with it, prepare to link your blog with every network that your blogsite offers. Also, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile; Pinterest isn’t a Publicize network (the WordPress connection widget), so I have to pin my blog manually. It may seem like extra legwork, but for me that’s over one hundred strangers who then see my pin and, indeed, sometimes link through. Furthermore I post pictures of my blog on instagram for the same reason. Tags on instagram are lifesavers here, and gains yet another totally different set of visitors. If you plan to network, your potential audience becomes endless.

Blog Planning FOUR.// CONNECT TO SOCIAL MEDIA

Blog Planning FOUR.// CONNECT TO SOCIAL MEDIA

Five.// Take photographs. Most of the photos on my blog come from, or are filtered through, instagram (see my profile here). That’s because I keep my phone on hand (much like a diary and notebook in usefulness), plus I absolutely adore a few of the filters available. And, as I said before; linking to social media diversifies your blog awareness.

Blog Planning FIVE.// TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS

Blog Planning FIVE.// TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS

Photos come in handy on a post because they break up the bulk prose and attract the eye. They can also, if captioned well, become a great Pin for both yourself and others, because they stand out from the other possibilities on the board, or they look fantastic as a thumbnail on Facebook etc. If you feel the urge, snap the shot. At the least you have a photo that takes up next to no storage on your camera-device. At best, you have something to blog about. Win, Win.

Six.// Pattern. Yes, this blog is only a week old in actuality. Yes, it has very few followers and only a smattering of posts. But, I know my routine and I have set myself goals as to how many posts I write/upload per week, when I have to write and when it’s okay to just skip a day. I’ve probably overwritten this week trying to lay the foundations for the blog and get my material off the ground. In a month I know I’ll settle into the pattern I’ve written out, the posts will even out and my blog will be a regular, consistent and, hopefully, read source of information.

Blog Planning SIX.// PATTERN.

Blog Planning SIX.// PATTERN.

I hope these tips haven’t scared anyone. I hope, actually, that they’ve helped someone because I could have done with something similar two years ago, trying to start my first real blog. My actual first log was more of an online journal which was highly embarrassing and so vaguely named by fourteen-year-old me that it will never be found.

 

Does any of this interest you? Do you plan or do you live dangerously in blog spontaneity? Drop a line.

Yours,

Amy.

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