Recently, I asked you all to send me any questions you had about blogging or design. I was intrigued by everything you asked about! One of the things that came up several times was how I plan blog posts. Today, I’d like to share a bit of my planning and organizational process, just in case it helps you out, too! Here are my top tips for planning blog posts like a pro.
1. WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin
This thing is my absolute favorite. I recommend it for all WordPress users! Essentially, it adds a calendar to the backend of your WordPress site and makes it possible to see the entire month’s posts in one fell swoop. You can also easily drag posts from one day to another and create a list of drafts/possible post ideas in a column on the right. I love it! You can achieve the same concept by using a monthly paper planner, but I like this plugin because it’s built into my WordPress site, so I can easily edit my calendar online and then begin writing posts straight from the calendar.
2. I carry a notepad with me everywhere
Sometimes I utilize a notepad on my phone and other times I carry a physical notepad around with me, but one thing is certain: I always (always) have one.
I have a hunch that the more time you put into something, the more your mind starts thinking along the lines of that thing. For example, when I was an avid hobby photographer, I started to see the world how it might look as a photo. Different things stood out to me — things I knew would look nice in a frame. Nowadays, I experience things in blog posts. A blog post idea can be born from an overheard conversation at Starbucks or a painting in my dentist’s office. I never really know, but I do know that my mind often thinks in terms of my blog, without me even trying. This means that I’m able to create ideas and pop them into a notepad so that I can turn them into posts later on. I’m also no stranger to taking photos or screenshots of things that could be used as inspiration for future blog posts.
3. I have general themes for my blog and stick to them each week
This organizational tip is a little looser for me, but in general, I try to write about creativity, self-development, business/blogging stuff, and travel. It’s important to me that each week has varied content, so that I’m not posting recipes or positive lifestyle posts everyday. On the right, you can see the categories that I aim to abide by, as well as the sub-categories within them. I like to have one of each every week, or at least a variety of some of them.
4. I keep in mind when my site is busiest
It happens that my blog receives the most pageviews on Tuesdays. Is it the same for your blog? Do you know how to check? I use Google Analytics, which shares everything from how many pageviews I receive to how many visitors are on my site at any given moment. Typically I like to publish posts on Tuesdays that I know will be popular among my readers, since I think it gives them an even bigger boost.
5. I talk to people about my ideas
I can’t stress how important it is to bounce your ideas off of others and get feedback about things you’re working on. I don’t share my ideas with trusted friends to get approval, but rather because they’re usually able to enhance my ideas in ways I wouldn’t have been able to think of on my own. Collaboration is an important part of blog planning in my opinion. Don’t have anyone who “gets it” to bounce ideas off of? I’ve got something in the works that I think you’re going to love!
How do you organize and plan blog posts?
photo via pete o’shea on flickr // cc
A few months ago, I discovered Humans of New York (HONY), an Instagram account and blog that features one-question interviews of New York’s unique inhabitants. HONY is the brainchild of NYC photographer and blogger, Brandon Stanton. After perusing through his quick portrait and interview snippets, I was stunned by each person’s story and the human experience Brandon is able to create. And with over four million fans and a #1 best-selling book, I’m not the only one who thinks so! Since HONY has moved and affected my life, I wanted to share a few of my favorite posts with you today, in hopes that you can find the beauty and honesty in them, too. I also recommend following HONY on Instagram — it’s without a doubt the most meaningful account I follow. Have a beautiful day, friends!
“People waste way too much energy taking things personally. That Facebook post is probably not about you. It was probably an accident that you weren’t tagged in that picture. And the person you’re dating is probably acting sad because that’s how they respond to setbacks at work, not because of anything you did.”
“I had a child when I was sixteen. I got kicked out of high school because of all the absences. My family and community pretty much wrote me off. But right away I got a job at a sporting goods store. Soon I was able to get a job as a receptionist at a tax company, and they gave me enough responsibilities that I learned how to do taxes. Eventually I learned enough to become an associate. Then I got offered a job at a smaller company, and even though it was a pay cut, they offered me responsibility over all the books — accounts payable, accounts receivable, everything. It was less money but I wanted that experience so I took the risk. And I’m so glad I did, because six months later, the controller of that company left and I was given that position. They told me they couldn’t officially call me the controller because I didn’t have a college degree. So I finished my degree 5 months ago — just to make it official! So after having a child at sixteen, I made it all the way to controller of a company, without even having a college degree. Can you believe that? Honestly, I’ve been waiting to tell that story so long that I told it to a customer service representative on the phone last week. She was nice about it and pretended to care.”
“What’s your favorite thing about your mother?” “She loves life more than anyone I’ve ever known. I hope she doesn’t mind me telling you this, but recently she’s had some health problems. And her health got so bad at one point, she called me and said: ‘I was starting to wonder if there was any reason to go on. But then I had the most delicious pear!’”
“When I told my mom that I was going to rehab, she was about to catch a flight to her 40th High School Reunion. I told her: ‘I guess you won’t be bragging about me to your friends.’ She said: ‘Actually, I’ve never been prouder of you.’”
“I’m glad I had a daughter. Ever since my grandmother died, I’ve needed the female energy in my life. It’s good energy. I mean, when things go wrong, another man can tell you that everything is going to be OK. But not like a woman can.”
“Do you remember the happiest moment of your life?” “This one time I was in Hawaii with my family, and we were walking to the beach, and we came to the top of this giant hill. And I said, ‘I’m going to take it.’ And I put my skateboard down, and started rolling down the hill, and I got going so fast that the board started to shake because the trucks were loose, and toward the bottom of the hill I came to this crack, and the board got caught and I was thrown onto the pavement. I got all bruised and scraped and my mom was screaming because she’s a total freakout.” “That was the happiest moment of your life?” “Yeah, I was just glad I took the hill.”
“When I started, these rocks were bathed in light. Now they’re just shadowy masses. So I have to decide how I want to remember them.”
“At the end of my senior year, I took some advanced level entry exams from Cambridge University. They are very difficult and very important. When the exam scores came in, my friend called me and told me that the principal was looking for me. My father was sitting next to me. He saw my face and asked me what was wrong. ‘I think I did very poorly,’ I told him. ‘Because the principal is looking for me.’ He told me that he would come to her office with me to support me. When we got there, there was a huge line of students waiting to get their scores, but the principal called me in. She told me I was one of three students in the school to get all A’s. My father was so nervous when I came out, and when I told him, he hugged me so hard that I could tell he was trying not to cry. He was so happy, he took all the money out of his wallet, handed it to the security guard, and told him to pass it out to everyone in line. It was the happiest moment of my life.”
“In my heart of hearts, I wanted to do the right thing, but selling drugs was easy. Everyone was doing it. I mean, I’m not using that as an excuse, I made my own decisions. But I grew up around these Robin Hood figures who would sell drugs, then buy supplies for kids who were going back to school, or pay rent for an old woman who was about to get evicted. All my friends were doing it. It almost seemed fashionable. I never felt proud of it. I always thought I’d transition to a job with the Transit Authority, or a job like this– something I’d feel good about, but instead I transitioned to jail. I did six years. When I got out, it was tempting to go back to the easy money, because everyone around me was still doing it, and I couldn’t get a job. But luckily I found an agency that helps ex-cons, because there aren’t many companies looking to give people a second chance. I’ve had this job for a few years now. You know what product I’m selling now? Myself. Everyone around here is my client. Times Square is a drug to these people. And I’m picking up all the trash so that they can have the full Times Square experience.”
“I was an English teacher. The demands of the system required that I give out grades, but I never felt good about it. How do you grade someone’s writing? Writing is about revision. It’s about access to self. If a student writes a poem, and it’s the best they can do at the moment, how are you supposed to compare that to the student sitting next to them? How are you supposed to give one a 90, and one an 85?”
“Right after I lost vision in my eye, I was so bad at walking that I ran into a girl eating ice cream, and knocked her cone out of her hand. She screamed: ‘Are you blind!?!?’ I turned to her and said: ‘I am blind actually, I’m so sorry, I’ll buy you a new cone.’ And she said: ‘Oh my God! I’m so sorry! Don’t worry! It’s no problem at all! I’ll buy another one.’ So we walked into the ice cream store together, and the clerk said: ‘I heard the whole thing. Ice cream is free.’”
“What’s your greatest struggle right now?” “No struggles.”
Check out the HONY Instagram and let me know your favorites, too!
All photos and interviews via Humans of New York // Brandon Stanton
Hey there and welcome to Weekly Wishes, where I talk about the goals or challenges I want to achieve this week and also let you share your own through the link-up below. I’d love for you to join me and add a link to your own goal-setting post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to achieve your weekly aspirations.
Good morning everyone! I’m sitting here on Sunday night after binge-watching Orange is the New Black. I usually avoid watching TV because I found that I get too sucked in and have a hard time turning it off when I’m into a series. I do like this show though — does anyone else watch it? I also started watching House of Cards recently and I dig that one, too!
Anyways, this weekend I went to the OC Fair, which is a big fair/carnival in my area. It was my first time at the Fair since before I left for Japan and it made me realize how odd the Fair would be to a Japanese person! The OC Fair (all fairs?) are known for selling deliciously horrible foods, like hot dogs as long as my forearm and fried oreos. People here obviously don’t eat like that on a regular basis, but it’s fun to have one day a year where binging on chocolate covered bacon is normal. ;) What’d you do this weekend?
Last Week’s Wishes
- Add new prints to the shop + do some DIY projects. Merp. I honestly didn’t devote much time to these last week. Doh! I used to feel pretty guilty when I didn’t finish my weekly goals, but now I’ve learned to more readily forgive myself. I do hope to spend more time on them this week though!
- Keep working on my new project. Yes! I put sincere effort into this project last week and I feel so refreshed and excited when I work on it. I love that feeling!
This Week’s Wishes
- Respond to all the questions you asked from this post. Your inquiries are so interesting and insightful to me! I’m really excited to share my thoughts with you. If you have other questions, feel free to ask them this week in the comments section of that post (or by email). :)
- Continue working on my side project and create a master plan. Vague and annoying, I know. I’ll definitely share when I have a better picture of things though.
- Blog in advance. I normally write my posts either the day before or the day of a post. But I LOVE those rare moments when I schedule things a week in advance. I’d love to try and get ahead on blogging this week.
WEEKLY WISHES LINKUP RULES
1. Share your posts about your goals, challenges, or wishes for the week, month, year, decade, whatever! Entries completely unrelated to the theme or linked to your homepage will be deleted.
2. Link back to this site so others can get their goal-setting on, too! You can use the button below if you’d like!
<div align="center"><a href="http://thenectarcollective.com/tags/weekly-wishes/" title="The Nectar Collective" target="_blank"><img src="http://thenectarcollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Weekly-Wishes-Button.jpg" alt="The Nectar Collective" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
3. You can link up your posts on any day of the week, but the most common day to do so is Monday. :)
4. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF ALL! You MUST visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a motivating comment.This is such an important part of this linkup! We are each here to encourage each other and build a community of determined women and friends. If you join our community, please share some love — that’s all I ask. :)