Having reached the one year point, I’ve decided to spend this week reflecting on what I’ve learned from blogging over the past 12 months, firmly keeping in mind I still have a lot to learn.
Scheduling is probably the most important thing for me when it comes to keeping my blog going and running smoothly (or as close to smoothly as it can get). There are two reasons I am a huge fan of scheduling.
01. I have days where I work 11 – 12 hours. That isn’t every day but it happens more often than I would like and on those days, I’m not writing. If I even get to read other people’s blogs and the comments on mine on those days, I’m pretty happy. Outside of that, I just work long weeks (standard is between 50 – 60 hours depending on what is happening) so my blog has to work around that, plus there are times when you get sick, are tired, or just not feeling the whole writing thing. That’s life. It happens. But if you haven’t scheduled posts when you were feeling like writing and had the time to do it, what it means is your blog goes quiet for days at a time. I know that even missing a day of visiting blogs that I comment on hits the view count on my blog. I know this from days when I was too busy or too sick to do anything with the blog and I watch the stats fall over the next couple of days even though I still have posts going out – which I guess is why anyone is still visiting. If your goal is to build a blog, letting your blog go quiet is not a great idea.
02. The second reason I am a big fan of scheduling is because of the WordPress reader. It is still my biggest referrer for visitors and by posting regular content spread throughout a day you show up in the reader more than once catching different people in different parts of the world who are checking the reader at different times. Also, if you want multiple posts in a day and you post them all at once, mostly people just skim over you in the reader anyway. So using scheduling to your advantage and getting your blog seen can be really helpful.
I mentioned it in my post on content, but I am really big on planning things out on paper. I have a notebook ruled into columns with the days of the week and the dates running down one side and space for the names of posts, the episodes numbers that I’m up to, and everything else to be filled in. Once I plan to write a post I lightly write it in the space. Once I’ve drafted the post and scheduled it on WordPress I write over it. In the days leading up to the post going out if it is a feature or a review I do a re-read/re-draft/re-write depending on what the post needs (though this falls down when I get busier and sometimes they get a quick read and edit leading to some interesting typos that probably should have been caught and fixed). Lastly once the post goes out and I’ve checked that it has posted properly, I tick it off my list. Some interesting post errors have occurred where the body of a post has just kind of vanished or only half the post has apparently saved, but these are the exceptions. Most posts go out without an issue.
This system works for me because I don’t post on the day I write. Even episode reviews I try to give a 2 day buffer from viewing to posting. That way I’m not under stress to have to watch an episode the day it comes out (I prefer to so I can comment on other posts) but I don’t have to if I’m busy. I can put it off a day, or sometimes two. I can also rethink my opinion because I usually draft episode review posts immediately after viewing. Sometimes as I think through an episode after, my opinion changes or I reconsider things. That 2 day buffer allows me to turn over all those little thoughts and see if I need to change something. Admittedly, given my episode reviews are just my impressions of the episodes, I seldom change them too much. It is really only the rant like ones that get toned down a bit as I try to moderate the tone just a little.
The posts that get the most reworking are posts for shows I love. Mostly because those posts are the ones I struggle to write with any kind of objectivity (not that any of my posts are actually objective but I usually try to find both positives and negatives and to consider different views). Soul Eater and Yuri on Ice are two reviews I really struggled with writing. The Yuri on Ice review I’m still not happy with and I rewrote that so many times. Eventually however you kind of just have to let it go and accept that the post is what it is and it is time to send it out into the world for others to criticise or enjoy.
Anyway, pretty much I’ve learned that if I want my blog to have regular content and I want that content to be more than just a stream of unedited rambles, I need to plan, draft, schedule, and review posts before they go out, and even then interruptions happen meaning sometimes the review process gets a little sloppy. Also, when most of my viewing and reviewing happens between 4 – 5 in the morning, there are days where even morning people aren’t as alert as they’d like to be at that hour.
What are your thoughts on scheduling? Do you schedule posts or do you post as you go? What system do you find works for you?
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