Blog Better Week: Building Your Blogging Momentum

This week I’m focusing on how you can improve your blog.  Enjoy!  Tomorrow’s post will show you how to get people into your carnival booth – I mean, web site.

The question bloggers ask me over and over is, “How do you blog so often?”

The answer is simple: stop clicking Publish and start clicking Schedule.

Blog Nirvana - Plenty of Scheduled Posts

Blog Nirvana - Plenty of Scheduled Posts

Fail to Plan and You Plan to Fail

Blogging is no different than any other IT work; if you’re always doing things at the last possible moment, you’re going to do a crappy job.  If you start doing your work in advance before it’s due, then you’ll find yourself putting more and more polish into your work.  You’ll stop sweating bullets, stop stressing out over quality versus quantity, and stop approaching your blog with guilt.

I schedule my posts for publication on weekdays, often a week or more ahead of time.  I’ve gotten into the routine of scheduling posts on Mondays and Wednesdays, leaving myself Fridays for spontaneous stuff.  If I have an urgent flash of news that I just have to push out ASAP, I’ll write it up and then rotate out my next scheduled blog post to later in the line.  This post is a great example – I’m writing it on Monday, August 3rd for publication on Wednesday, August 19th, but if something comes up, I can reschedule this post later and later.  (Edit – sure enough, I pushed it back, and I had enough blog entries about blogging that I built a whole week of ’em.) It’s a timeless post – not good for eternity, but at least it can be published at any time without losing its impact.

Plus, when I schedule a blog post ahead of time and sleep on it, often I’ll return to it the next day and remember something I should have added.  I can take my time to refine the post rather than hitting Publish and cringing.

Write When You Can, Not When You Gotta

Scheduling posts ahead of time gives you a sudden flexibility.  When you feel creative, write, and write until you don’t feel creative anymore.  Write as many blog posts in a row that you’ve got time for, and then quit.

My best blogging time seems to be Saturday mornings.  I’ll pile up a list of blog ideas in my favorite task management tool, RememberTheMilk.com, and on Saturday morning I’ll pull up the list to see what strikes my fancy.  If I find the words coming easily to my fingers, then I’ll blog until I get constipation of the word processor.  Usually I can bang out 3-4 entries at once, which buys me two weeks of time.

Next Saturday, if I’m not feelin’ the love, I won’t feel guilty – because I’ve already got enough articles to tide me over.  Voila: stress-free blogging.

How to Get Started Scheduling Blog Posts

Brace yourself: just go cold turkey.

The next time you write a blog post, schedule it to appear a week from now – minimum.  Yes, you’re going to feel guilty.  Yes, you’re going to think that your readers will be horrified at your lack of blogging, but no, none of your readers will actually notice.

What they WILL notice is your sudden increase of quality from that point forward.

Isn’t it worth 7 days of silence for a lifetime of better blogging?

Next Up: The Basics of WordPress SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

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13 Comments. Leave new

  • Great article as usual Brent. I have a related question. Is your “Upcoming Posts” section a WordPress Plugin?

    Reply
  • Great advice, and I always tell people to write 5-10 before they publish, and then start scheduling out. Go conservative, every other week if you must, and maintain it. For the average person, you ought to find something to write about every week in your job. If not, ask yourself why.

    I don’t necessarily agree with the upcoming posts link. It’s kind of a tease, and if you move something when a reader is looking for it, it can create unnecessary hard feelings. I rather see you use that space for something else.

    Reply
    • Steve – hmmm, never thought about the moving-around stuff, and I do tend to reschedule things now and then. I’m going to think about that. If I was a new blogger, I might want the “upcoming” list just so people could know it’s not an abandoned blog, but I’m not sure that’s a concern when people find my blog for the first time. I might pull that. Thanks for the thought!

      Reply
  • How much do you pay monthly for your blog space at WordPress? Wait, I can look that up on WordPress FAQ.

    Anyway, this post is really helpful for aspiring tech bloggers such as myself. I want to be a solid, serious tech blogger someday. This series on blogging will surely teach me things that I ought to know.

    Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Marlon – I host my blog at MediaTemple on a dedicated virtual box. I had to upgrade to a dedicated virtual server because every now and then it gets spikes of activity that are too large for a shared service to handle.

      It costs $50/month, and as I grow I can upgrade to a larger virtual server without the hassles of switching physical servers. MediaTemple offers larger servers for $100-$150/mo.

      Glad I can help! Have a good one!

      Reply
  • I find that it’s important to write blog entries (or at least rough drafts) when the idea occurs to me. Everything is so fresh in my mind. If I take cryptic notes and go back to them, the quality of the article suffers.

    I just wish I could blog while at work. Oh well.

    Reply
  • The other day I was watching a Quest video you did. And you talked a good web site to go to for re-Indexing scripts? It was hard to make out the name of the web site – I think i was something like sqlblog?

    Reply
  • Great advise.

    Reply
  • I totally agree, whenever I get a good idea for a blog I add it in as a draft and then flesh it out with detail later. Often when stuck in a hotel for the week I’ll craft a whole stream of articles like Brent does at the weekend. I normally don’t publish more than a few days ahead of schedule unless it’s a particular event in which case I’ll schedule the post for a few weeks ahead of the event date.

    Reply

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