I don’t know about you, but when I first started blogging, I found myself scrambling every week trying to figure out what I would craft, what I would post about, what my readers were expecting or wanted to see. I would tear my hair out (figuratively, not literally) trying to figure out the day (or night) before what post I was going to rush-write so I could get something, anything, posted on my blog. I had no form of blog planning, whatsoever. However, I’m also a Type-A/OCD/Super organized type person, so this was definitely driving me bonkers and was so not my preferred mode of operation. Anyone else with me?
I decided to sit down, get organized, and make a plan so I would know what I was posting on my blog and when. These 5 tips for blog planning are meant to be done in order, but you can totally pick and choose which ones work for you as well. Doing these has helped me SO much. If you’re new to blogging, this is a great way to get started and to get going on the right foot. Even if you’ve been blogging for a while, this may help you (re)define your niche or categories and get you back on track with your post scheduling.
Tip 1 – Make an Inspiration Board or List
The first thing you need to think about is why you want to blog in the first place and things you want to blog about. Is your blog a crafty one? A mommy one? For DIY projects and tutorials? Scour Pinterest and other blogs you admire and jot down what projects inspire you, crafts you think you could tweak, makeovers you want to do to your home, and in general, things that get your creative juices flowing. I refer to this as my Inspiration Board (or List)! This can be done on paper or in a word document on your computer; you could even make a special Pinterest board to pin all those projects to! I add to my Inspiration Board whenever I run across something that inspires me or if I have a light bulb moment, so I never run out of projects I want to do!
Tip 2 – Define Your Niche and Categories
The next part is something that a lot of bloggers have a problem with – defining your niche and categories. It’s so easy to get sucked into trying to do it all, but in the end you’ll just feel burnt out and your readers will be confused as to what the true point of your blog really is. If it helps, come up with a one-sentence slogan that defines what your blog is all about. My tagline is “beautiful solutions for everyday living,” which could still encompass a lot of things, but it helps narrow me down by setting the parameters that things I blog about will be things that will help make your everyday life and home be more beautiful.
Once you’ve defined your niche/overall blog theme, it’s time to break down what categories you are going to blog about. Instead of trying to blog about everything under the sun, try to narrow it down to 4 or 5 categories that you’ll consistently blog about. For me, my main categories are: Craft Tutorials, DIY Home Projects, Get the Look for Less, Current Design Trends, and Home Owner Advice. If a blog idea doesn’t fall into one of those categories, I generally don’t blog about it! I adore recipes and cooking, but since it doesn’t fit into my chosen niche or categories you won’t ever find a recipe on my blog. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever deviate for a special post (like giveaways, holidays, or for a post like this one) it just helps set up a framework that will hopefully keep you more or less on track with your blog. This helps readers know what you’re about and they are much more likely to stick around because they are interested in the topics you are posting about.
Tip 3 – Make a Master List for All Your Blog Post Ideas
Now, back to your Inspiration Board/List. Now that you have your categories defined, take all of the projects and inspiration you found earlier and start dividing them into your chosen categories. I refer to this as my Master List. A furniture makeover inspired by your fave blog could fit into DIY home projects, that super cute pillowcase you found on Pinterest would totally work for a craft tutorial, etc. This is most easily done in a word document, so it can be rearranged as needed and so you can pull it up when you need to reference it!
Tip 4 – Assign Each Day of the Week a Category
Another thing that readers find helpful is knowing when you’ll put up certain types of posts. Some people really love craft tutorials, so they’ll want to know when to check back on your blog for a new one. To make it easier on readers (and myself) I made a list of when I’ll post certain categories on certain days of the week. For example, Current Trends usually get posted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays are for Crafts or DIYs, the link party I co-host always goes up on Thursdays, and Friday is for free printables/round-ups/miscellaneous. I don’t always follow this framework, but I’ve noticed that it really helps me with planning if I’m at a loss, and it’s particularly helpful for scheduling in Tip 5 below. Post however many days you feel like you can manage. If that’s only once or twice a week, that’s absolutely fine, as long as you are consistent! Find a balance that works for you.
Tip 5 – Schedule Your Posts for the Whole Month in Advance
One of the biggest things that helps me stay organized and on track with my blog is making a monthly calendar at the beginning of every month, where I schedule my specific posts. Now that you’ve made an Inspiration Board, divided it into a Master List (with Categories), and then decided when you’re going to put up posts from each category, all that’s left to do is plug in what specific posts you’re going to do! I find that a Blog Planner is absolutely crucial for keeping everything straight. I use this one from Mama Miss Designs and I’m absolutely in LOVE. Here’s a blank page to see what it looks like:
So, if you’ve decided that Tuesdays are for Crafts, take a look at your Master List and choose a craft and plug it into a day, say February 10th. Do the same for all your categories. Write down the specific projects or post topics that you will be creating and/or writing a post for. PRO TIP: Write in pencil! You may end up moving things around or changing your mind if something comes up or you find another project you really want to do. This monthly calendar is totally flexible and you can change it to fit your needs or schedule. Once you’re finished you’ll have a page that looks like this to refer to for the month:
Now you’ll know for the whole month what projects you’ll be doing when! This is super helpful for planning ahead for what materials you’ll need to buy, promoting/posting teasers on social media, or when you’ll need to spend the weekend finishing up a big project. I also find that I’m more motivated when I have deadlines for projects I’m excited about!
And that’s my 5 step system and tips for organizing and streamlining blog planning! Now that you’ve already made an Inspiration Board and defined your niche and categories, you won’t have to do those things again. At the beginning of each month, just sit down and look at your Master List and then plug posts into the days you want. Easy-peasy! I feel SO much more organized since putting this into practice and I actually find myself completing more projects than I did when I was just winging it. Having a defined method of blog planning will make you a more successful blogger!
Click through the slideshow below to get all the tips again in quick-reference form!
Please let me know if this was helpful or if you have any other tips to share on organizing your blog planning!