Since we’re entering a new year, and because I had some blogging friends ask me how I stay organized for the blog, I thought it would be a good time to post a discussion on blog post scheduling. But I can’t write anything without giving credit to a certain blogger who showed me the way to organization. Without a question, Amanda from On a Book Bender is one of the most organized people I know. When it comes to organizing your blog and scheduling posts, she is my role model.
Of course, BEFORE I found out Amanda’s tried and true method of easy blog post organization, I did have a bit of a schedule of my own that included a little bit of this:
And a WHOLE headache! The problem with scheduling this way, using my Entourage calendar, was that I didn’t have it right in front of me to look at. I needed something tangible, something that sat right next to the laptop that I could look at whenever I sat down at the computer with some free time.
But this would take time.
Eventually, I started up some Word documents for some events I was hosting (like my Four Weeks of Bookish Things event, or my one year blogiversary month posts) and this worked fine, but I still found that I moved things around a lot — which meant fussing in the document and in WordPress with my already-scheduled posts — and didn’t really know what I wanted where.
Then Bloggiesta happened and Amanda opened my eyes to a whole new way of organizing posts.
The good ol’ fashioned way with a pen and a piece of paper.
But before I could even think about taking out my pens and papers and getting myself organized, I had to ensure I had a blog schedule that worked and made sense.
My blog schedule isn’t something you see right when you come to the blog. It’s kind of hidden away in my ‘About the Blog’ section, but it looks something like this:
Monday — Review / Cover Love
Tuesday — Review
Wednesday — Review / Open
Thursday — Review / Discussion / Open
Friday — Book Hoarders Selection
Saturday — Musical Saturday / Review / Open
Sunday — Clock Rewinders (Previously Sunday Reads & IMM)
It was easy to make up a blog schedule, but it was kind of hard to stick to. Aside from knowing that Thursdays would be days for discussions, Mondays would be days for covers, and Saturdays would be days for bookish songs, I still didn’t have any rhyme or reason to my posting. Cover Love posts would happen occasionally, discussions would happen every week (or sometimes once a month), and reviews were either sparse or plentiful. Some weeks I’d be posting like a madwoman! My schedule looked fine from the outside, but it lacked consistency.
The problem was that after a few months of events and spending lots of time on the computer, I needed a different system. Something easier that I could look at and know EXACTLY what I needed to do for a given month. I came across THIS POST by Amanda for Bloggiesta and my blogging life changed. For the win.
Here are what my post organization system look like now (as compared to the previous mess of a calendar):
Using Amanda’s system of post organization, this is how I organized my posts from last October when I was scheduling posts for the last two months of the year. Knowing that I wanted to keep some days open for guest posts, excess reviews, a Musical Saturday, or ANYTHING, I left a few days open each week. Whereas I had been posting every single day each week for months — sometimes MORE than once a day — I knew that for the sake of my sanity, I needed to slow down and post like a regular person, but that my posting needed consistency.
If you can look closely at the dates, you’ll see that every OTHER week I post a discussion, and on the weeks when there isn’t a discussion, I post a Cover Love. Book Hoarder’s Selection happens once a week (since getting the books I own read is a priority) and then there are about 8-10 spots for reviews each month (as a sidenote, I’ve made the decision to NOT post Cover Love posts all the time, and I’ve added a Library Reading feature bi-weekly, as well as changed my Book Hoarder’s posts to bi-weekly — THINGS CHANGE!). That might seem like a small amount of reviews, but like I said: life happens. Sometimes I’ll have weeks where I can barely get through a few books, so setting my reviews at a decent amount helps. As does keeping some days open. If I have lots of reviews, there are days I can post them.
The best thing about scheduling and organizing my posts using this system is that I can look at it and see exactly what I need and when I need it (which is one of the key notes in Amanda’s post). If I have all my reviews scheduled for a few months, I could take a breather and maybe read some books I don’t plan on posting on the blog, or maybe take a few days off from reading and hang out with the husband or catch up on some TV shows. Knowing that I have a plan makes ALL the difference and I’m not sure I could go back to doing it any other way.
Finally, here are some last tips that I can think to give to you to make your blogging life easier:
- Get a journal or a notebook. Keep track of any ideas you might have for features, discussions, events, etc.
- Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate things or your brain might turn to mush.
- If it gets to be too much, take a break.
- It’s YOUR blog, so be yourself. Don’t think that because I do it one way or because another blogger does it another way that that’s the way it should be done. We are ALL different and our blogs should show that uniqueness.
- If you’re not sure of how to do things, don’t be afraid to ask another blogger. We’re here to help!
- Try out a way of scheduling posts, but be sure to review it after a few months. Ask yourself if you’re still keeping things fresh, if your features are working, and if you should add or change anything.
- Remember that you can always change things. A schedule isn’t written in stone.
- Have fun. Don’t get too caught up with being so organized that you forget to enjoy the books you’re reading, as well as the blogging community.
How do you stay on top of organizing for the blog? Do you schedule posts? Do you have any tips and tricks to help bloggers stay on track?