Master blog post planning and scheduling

10:16 AM

Every blogger will tell you that blog post planning and scheduling is something you need to master if you want your blog to go places.
Gone are the days you could just sit down and write whenever your inspiration stroke. This might have worked when blogs were just personal diaries you shared with the world (welcome the 00's).

Blogging in the 10's means you got to keep a very consistent pace in your post publishing if you want people to keep reading you. Otherwise, they'll soon get bored of the erratic and rare blog post and move to greener pastures.
Greener pastures, aka blog that keeps coming with fresh content regularly.

This is usually where it gets though.

You see, we all have to juggle offline lives along with our online presence. There are meals to cook, homes to clean, social events to attend, kids to take care of and a whole lot of unpredictability to take into account

This all requires planning, a lot of planning.

Blog posts don't just happen out of thin air. Nowadays it requires often hours of your time to just get one post out (a thing I remind all those who keep stealing my pictures).
This blog would not be what it is now if it weren't for two things : 1) Blog Post Planning and 2) Blog Post Scheduling.

Blog post planning is that phase where you have your ideas, and need to decide how to use them and when. I myself keep a notebook with lists upon lists of possible blog posts topic. Whenever an idea strikes, it goes into the book, whether I am ready to use it or not.
The lists have grown so much over the years that I now keep topic specific lists. There are recipe lists, craft projects lists, and even season specific lists I use constantly.
Some of these post ideas have been left untouched for years now, simply because I am not in that place just yet (inspiration wise). Some make it to the list only to be used within a day or two.

Every week I make a little time to go through my lists and pick up topics I feel I can write about in the next 1-2 weeks and work on a draft (or two or three...creativity is a process). Whenever I write a draft, I also add a few lines about pictures to use at the end of it.
Whenever I have time to take said pictures, I'll go work on it.

At this point, my blog post is ready for the next step :

Blog post scheduling. For me, it takes two distinctive forms. There are the blog posts that I suddenly have time to write weeks in advance and schedule in "Blogger" and there are the posts I will write either the day before or on the day it is meant to go live.

Usually, by the time I have a good draft and a set of picture ready, I go ahead and write it in Blogger. Even if the post is so seasonal it cannot be published right away. This is often the case with my Christmas and season specific posts. Sometimes they are planned and written a year before they are due to go live.
For example I could have a great salad recipe that would be best suited for a hot Summer day, but have all the essential means to publish right away (except the right season and mood), if that happens, I will simply set the publishing date in the future. In Blogger, you can do that simply by clicking the "Schedule" option on your right hand menu and select the date and time you want it to go live.

When I do that kind of scheduling, I also write down about it in my day planner so that I remember something is going to go live on that day. I do so for two reasons, the first one being that I will want to give that post some "Promoting Love" when it goes live. The second reason being that I do not want to just publish two posts on that day.

Because you see, I also do short term scheduling. Every Saturdays, I sit down with my blog lists, my drafts, and my day planner, deciding what can be reasonably published in the week ahead. I check if my schedule allows me to work on pictures I might not have, or drafts that need to be perfected.
By schedule, I of course mean anything else that isn't blog related. If my week is jammed packed with other events and obligations, I will keep the blog post schedule much lighter for that week.
Regardless, I aim at a minimum of one post a week. 

My ideal pace being 3-4 blog posts published a week. This is a pace I can keep because I made my blog my day job, and I have a daughter going to school full time. But even when she wasn't I would plan ahead so that this minimum of one post a week would go live on the blog. I'm not going to lie, it was at times easier when blog posts weren't expected to come with pictures, but those days are gone, especially for personal and lifestyle blogs.

My best advice to anybody going into blogging is to keep writing, often, if not daily. What you write may not be publishing worthy at this point, but at least you have a draft to work with. And whenever something is ready to be published, go ahead and schedule it. Schedule it in such a way that you general publishing pace is maintained. So that if your personal goal is to have two blog posts a week, but have 6 posts ready you can span them over the next few weeks.

How do you approach blog post writing? What is your process? Do you plan ahead and schedule? How do you do it? I would love to hear about it in the comments below. 

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  1. Arghh, amazing tips and inspiration, Cyn!!
    As you know this is something I personally struggle with because I am too much of a daydreamer but I love how you wrote that you know consider your blog as your job, it's something I should start doing myself!

    I have a notebook full of potential titles! One tip I will add is that you should take your camera EVERYWHERE because so many times I see something and think "Oh, I could have blogged about that" but I've missed the moment, and as you mentioned, you cannot really publish without a photo these days! I always jot it down though, the memory, because I might be able to add it into another blog post or future writings!

    Thanks again for this post! Lots of love xx

    1. Lauren, this was the main reason behind choosing a phone with a great camera, I didn't care much about anything else but the camera on my new phone. I can't just lug my DSLR everywhere and with my phone, the good new is that I can still take quality pictures I can work with.
      If all fails on the picture front, I know where to find free to use stock photos, but that is my last resort option.

    2. I have the poorest quality camera on my phone and my phone spends more time off than on haha! I think I need a new phone!! :P xx

    3. A new phone is a good idea then :-) I used to have a crappy camera on my old one, and this is what motivated me to research the camera feature better when I planned the purchase of the phone I have now (HTC One M8 EYE). I realised that I needed the phone to take picture more than I needed it to make phone calls :-)

  2. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Your blog looks great but I guess you need to add some more sparkle to it, may be more graphics or eye catching designs, an embroidered border or something, more colour. I am saying this because you have redesigned it recently. No offence meant.


    1. I have a thought about redesigning the header and title, but reading around and learning from graphic designers I also know that the thing that works best when it comes to blog and website design is a "less is more" approach. You don't want the eye to be taken in too many directions at once. The pictures inside the blog posts are colorful enough that it could be that a header + a border + all the widgets on the right + the blog posts content could end up being too much on the visual.

      Once upon a time I had a background behind the content area, but I found that it was very distracting on screens with a bigger screen resolution as there was more border space on the right and left of the content area than there is on an iPad or a netbook with a smaller screen and resolution. So what looks good on one computer and one browser can look totally off and uncomfortable to the eye on another.

  3. "Clean" is the trend in blog design now. Lots of white.
    I like your header as it is. Your blog looks perfectly on trend for a lifestyle blog as it is. I hate those 'sliders' & changing images that are on some blogs, they are distracting.

    I want my blog to be "Bollywood Fabulous" with lots of loud colors & kitschy memes.
    I found a blog design site named (how original!) that will stick one of those fancy recipe indexes with the thumbnail galleries on your blog for $100. They charge a base fee of $400 for a custom blog design, I think you're in the wrong biz, Cyn!

    I'm getting pretty fast at cranking out a post, my 1st 10 posts were spent getting the fonts & spacing screwed up & then figuring out how to unscrew up what I did. HAH!
    I finally sat down & wrote a list of all the recipes & subjects I wanted to post on for a year.

    Hey, Cyn I see you don't have the Desi Link button your blog anymore. I've seen it still on other blogs & clicked on it & it doesn't work. Does Desi Link exist anymore?

    1. Wow! 400$ for a custom blog design! Maybe I should start learning coding and hyping my game on Photoshop eh?

      Are those the standard fees for any custom work they do? Or is there different fees for Blogger templates and Wordpress templates? Wordpress themes usually require a lot more coding and work to design than Blogger ones from what I read.

      The Desi Link doesn't exist anymore, I think it has been inactive for over a year now. I pulled it down when I noticed it stopped working, it was the last incentive I needed to do so, as of course I felt my blog was less and less representative of what the Desi Link was all about.

    2. They have quite a few pre made templates for around $50, then a menu for various added features like sliders, recipe indexes, print buttons, drop down menus etcs. Some things are more expensive on Wordpress, some not. All custom work starts with a base fee of $400, and there's a waiting list. Apparently they do the custom work in only 2 days, so I'm wondering how 'custom' it really is? Most of their pre made templates looked like they're geared to fashion & beauty blogs - none specifically for cooking blogs.

    3. Oh yes, I thought this was interesting & kind of neat- they ask you to make a pinterest mood board for the design of your blog. Here's my pinterest board-

    4. Yeah, I looked at these templates, they are all really the IN thing for fashion blogs and lifestyle blogs. I am sure many of the blogs I follow have a template that is theirs or has been inspired by their layouts.

      Most of these customisations are probably in their code library, they just need to add a few lines of codes, tweak things like colours, fonts, and width to match the look their client want and voila. The most intensive work would be to create a custom graphic.

    5. That mood board is awesome! I think you need to find a graphic designer who could pull a blog template from scratch

    6. There must be a graphic designer/blog designer SOMEWHERE in India or Nepal that can do what I want. I'd rather do business here on the Subcontinent than off in the wild blue yonder!

  4. "Gone are the days you could just sit down and write whenever your inspiration stroke." This came at such a right time for me. I published my current post after hibernating for 5 months. Your post will ensure I get the next one out within a week. :-)

    1. That is a long break :-)
      I am glad to hear I helped. I find that always having a few blog posts in the pipeline helps to go through periods where the lack of inspiration strikes.


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