As bloggers we often read how important it is to post regularly. In fact, one of our requirements to join Chronic Illness Bloggers is that you post at least once a month for the last three months. Some bloggers find this to be a bit of a stretch, but what we understand is that if you want to build your blog you’ve got to post regularly.
Advantages of posting regularly
- Attracts new readers – every new post is another chance to attract new readers. As you share your new posts out to social media (and yes, you should be doing this) it’s yet another chance for someone new to see your posts and to find your blog. The more posts you have out there the more opportunities you have for someone to find and enjoy your blog.
- Readers know when to expect your posts – readers want to know that you are still there. When they visit your blog and see that your last post was 2 months ago they assume you probably aren’t coming back. They’ll read what you have posted (maybe) but they aren’t likely to bookmark your blog, add it to their feedreader, or sign up for an email list because they don’t expect you to return. Alternatively, when readers see that you have been posting regularly, they expect that you will continue to do so.
- It helps you create steady traffic – the more you post the faster your traffic will grow. That said, you don’t have to post multiple times a day (or even daily) to see steady growth to your traffic. Posting once a week or less will still bring you growth, it will just be slower growth. But, that’s OK. It’s better to post regularly on a schedule you can handle than to overwhelm yourself by trying to post too often.
How do you post regularly when you just don’t feel like it?
When you look at your past posts, do you find that you often have multiple posts clumped together and then go weeks before you post again? There are probably days when you feel up to writing more than once in a day, and other times when you go for weeks or months between posts. That’s the nature of living with chronic illness. You don’t know how you will feel from day to day. There is an easy solution to this problem.
Schedule Your Posts
On my blog I publish a new post every Monday and Friday (and sometimes on Wednesday). I’ve found that this schedule works well for me. I’ve tried to post more often, but lately I’ve not had the time to write more than two posts a week. That said, there are many weeks when I don’t write two posts a week. So, how do I stick to my schedule even when I don’t feel like writing?
I schedule my posts.
Scheduling posts is something that any blogger can do. It’s no more difficult than simply pressing publish when you write a post. Instead of publishing the post right away, you schedule the post for a later date. Both WordPress and Blogger have functionality built in to allow easy scheduling of posts. If you are using a blog program that doesn’t you can still schedule your posts by writing your post as a draft and creating a reminder on your calendar to go back and publish on the correct date.
How to Set a Realistic Schedule
Look back at your blog. How often (on average) do you post? Do your posts average out to once a month? Or, once a week?
Whatever that number that’s probably how often you want to try to schedule your posts (at least to start out). If you try to schedule more often than you typically post you might have a hard time keeping up with your schedule. And, there’s really no reason to try to schedule less often than you typically post on average.
Remember, if you blog about your real life you don’t have to share what happens right when it happens. It’s OK if people read about it a little late.
If you often find that you have several posts clumped together followed by spans of nothing, scheduling is exactly what you need. Scheduling will allow you to write whenever you feel like it but publish your posts in a way that keeps your blog looking fresh and like someone is paying attention on a regular schedule (even when you might not be).
How to Keep Your Schedule
- Create a schedule that works for you. The greatest thing about scheduling blog posts is that you still get to write when you want to and feel like it. You can still be spontaneous and creative. Just because your posts are being published on Fridays doesn’t mean you have to write them on Friday.
- Make your schedule public. Tell your readers what your schedule is. You can do this right up front, or you can do it on your “About Me” page, or wherever you want to do it. Putting it out there makes it more likely you will follow-through.
- Remember that not all posts have to be great. Even sticking to a schedule and writing in advance doesn’t guarantee that all your posts will be winners. Some will be duds, and that’s OK. It might be that you go back to some of those duds and rewrite them later when you’ve had a chance to think about why they might not have resonated, or you might just ignore them and pretend they never happened.
- Keep a running list of topics. Every time I think of a new topic to write about, I write it down (with as much thought as I can put into it at that time). Then later when I need content I can go back to my list of topics and find one that resonates with me at that moment and finish writing it out. Not having to spin my wheels just thinking of a topic makes writing the post much easier.
But, what if you don’t feel like writing and there’s nothing scheduled?
I try to stay scheduled out about six weeks. Right now I’m barely scheduled out two weeks. Sometimes life gets in the way, and that happens even more often when you live with chronic illness. This is exactly why I shoot for six weeks, because I’ve had life get in the way and used up my six week buffer. Having only two weeks worth of posts sets off my panic monster just a bit.
So, what do you do when you need content but you are running up against your schedule?
There are a few options.
- Re-purpose old content – take a look back at some of those posts that might not have resonated as well as you thought they should. Or, perhaps they did do well but you wrote them three years ago. Now, is a great time to edit one of those and republish it under a new title.
- Round-up posts – look around at other people’s blogs and see if you can create a round-up post with the best posts on whatever topic strikes your interest. Write a post with the 10 ways to _____ and link out to those blog posts you found. The other bloggers will appreciate having their content shared and you’ll appreciate an easier than average post.
- Share memes and youtube videos – Seen something lately that made you laugh? Or, better yet something that made you think? Share it. Write a short post around it about why you are sharing it and what it means to you. Just make sure that any images or videos are not copyrighted and/or that you linked to them properly. Always give credit where credit is due.
- Ask your readers – Hit up your social media followers and ask them for questions they want answered. You can write a post answering several, or you can write a post answering just one. You can also pose a question to your readers and write a post sharing their answers. For that matter, you can simply write a post asking a question of your readers.
- Seek out guest contributions – Ask your blogger friends (and even your readers) for guest pieces. Often other bloggers will be happy to share a piece on your blog in exchange for a little extra attention to their own blog, and often your readers have something to share but didn’t know they had a place they could share it.
How often do you post on your blog? Are you able to maintain a regular posting schedule? Do you have other tips that have helped you post regularly? Share your thoughts in the comments below