I hear the groans now, but please bear with me. The last thing I ever intended to do when I began this blog was blog about blogging, but I assure you, there's a method to my madness. As I've fallen in with more writers and bloggers in recent months I've found myself explaining my blogging methods repeatedly, so much so that my fingers are getting tired. So I decided it was time. It's time to write the dreaded blog about the hows and the whys of the blogging habits I've developed.
Any of my regular readers know, if they've bothered to notice, that I blog on a (somewhat flexible) schedule. In general, my blog articles are scheduled in advance to post on Sunday morning at 8:00. There are times that I veer from that schedule, but I'll get to that later. Suffice it to say I'm fairly consistent in my blogging practices and it seems to suit my readers and me quite well. First I'll explain to you why I do it, then I'll explain to you how I do it.
The "Why" of It All:
When I first began blogging, I found myself full of ideas and wanting to share them and would post randomly any old time I was struck with inspiration. Then I got busy in other areas of my life and went an entire month without a single post.
I found I was giving in to practices I'd seen happen to many blogs. The blogger loses interest, or forgets, or just fails to find the time to blog in any sort of reasonable period. That, my friends, is the easiest way to lose your following.
If you lose your motivation to write your blog, your readers will quickly lose their motivation to read it. Sure, they may still show up as followers; they may even still receive emails telling them to visit your blog. The question is, are they reading it? You could have a million followers, but if your followers aren't readers, who cares?
At some point early in 2011 I decided it was time to schedule myself "blog time" and stick to it. Easier said than done. However, blog sites offer this wonderful feature that allows you to pre-program your posts. That means when I have all sorts of inspiration, I can bang out two, three, or four posts in an afternoon and schedule them to post based on my schedule. It also means I can draft "spares" and save them for those weeks when I simply do not have the time to deal with the blog.
The happy side effect of this is that virtually all of my blogging stress is now gone. I have a set deadline for every article and I have structure. You see, I'm not naturally organized; I have to work at it. By giving myself a deadline and a schedule, I force myself to remain organized.
The "How" of It All:
As I stated at the beginning of this article, I schedule my posts for Sunday morning at 8:00. Why that day and time? Because even if I have no time during the week, I can usually find a couple of hours on Saturday to sit down and write a post last minute if I need to do so (as I am currently doing with this one*). I also find that it's a great way to spend a Sunday morning. I wonder how many of my readers get up at whatever time on Sunday and spend a few minutes over their morning coffee perusing their favorite blogs and websites. I can tell you that I get quite a few hits throughout the day on Sunday and on Monday mornings.
Are you one of them? Let me know by leaving a comment. I'd love to know your reading habits so I can offer you more of what makes you return.
Now my blog has become a bit more diverse in the time since I started it, so I keep a schedule in my planner that tells me on which date I posted each entry. Because I tend to post crochet patterns, recipes, my own writing, and articles about my favorite pet project, the Kindle All-Stars, I have quite the realm from which to draw.
The last thing I want to do is beat my readers over the head with the same thing every week, so the calendar gives me a spot where I can say, "Okay my last recipe went up on this date and I'd rather not post more than one each month, so this one can go here..." You get it? I'd rather spread out and give you a little nibble here and there of each topic.
Yes, there are exceptions. There are always exceptions. April is National Poetry Month. I enjoyed dedicating that month to poetry this year. I like poetry. I write terrible poetry, but I still have a mind to share that love. Will I post nothing but poetry in April of 2012? I don't know. I haven't yet decided that.
A wonderful exception: A writer friend (Tony Healey) asked if I would post chapters of his latest novel in advance of its release. Of course, but we decided rather than post a month of chapters on Sunday mornings, we'd do a special mid-week edition instead. That series is coming soon.
Holiday exceptions: July 25, commonly known to retailers as "Christmas in July," fell on a Monday this year, so I posted on Monday instead. The same held true for Halloween because I wanted to "treat" my crochet-inclined readers to free patterns on each of those two days.
You see, even if you choose to blog on a schedule, there's no need for rigidity because, after all, it's still your blog. It's your path. Follow it as you see fit and figure out what works for you.
|Sunset in Rimersburg, PA courtesy of Valerie Lapcevich|
*This post was inspired by a question from a pal on twitter after I made an offhand comment about blogging on a schedule. I knew there was no way possible to explain my habits in 140 characters, so I decided to delay the post I had originally planned for today. Incidentally, that tweep was writer Susan Smith-Josephy (@SuSmithJosephy).