1) Define Your Goals
Why are you writing a blog? What are you hoping to get out of it? Where do you want your blog to be in six months? In 12 months? Are you trying to make a living by writing? Are you looking to promote and grow your business? Do you want to use a blog as a communication tool? Is your blog a side project or a full-time endeavor? These questions are good to keep in mind when coming up with a schedule, particularly regarding how often you post.
2) Determine Your Posting Frequency
Once you’ve given some thought to what your blogging goals are, you will need to decide exactly when and how often to post. Starting off, it may be a good idea to limit your posting to just once a week until you get accustomed to the whole blogging process.
You don’t want to be too ambitious with your posting schedule and then realize that you can’t keep up. However, things like the typical length of your posts can influence how often you publish. If your posts are on the shorter side, between 500-800 words or so, you might have time to post more frequently than if your posts are 2000 plus words.
Posting on the same day or days each week is also important. This can help you in a couple of ways:
- A posting schedule helps organize your writing time with the rest of your life. Having a hard deadline for posting helps to keep you accountable and increases the likelihood that you’ll post regularly.
- If readers get used to your posts coming out on a certain day, they are more likely to come back and read regularly, which will increase traffic to your page and help build up a loyal following.
Keep in mind that scheduling can include more than just blog posts. Things like newsletters and social media posts should also be published regularly.
3) Decide When to Write
Scheduling when to write your blog posts is just as important as when to post. Depending on your blogging goals and everything else you have going on in your life, this can vary considerably. Maybe you want to write some every day, or maybe just writing one, two, or three days a week works better for you.
Either way, scheduling time to write and making it a priority is critical for your blog to succeed. Many people start blogs with no writing schedule in mind, and without it being an obligation, they start to fall behind and post less regularly, with the blog eventually dying out completely.
Even with the best intentions to write, it is very easy for other professional or social obligations to interrupt your posting schedule if you don’t have time set aside to write.
4) Write and Automate Posts
Now that you’ve got a posting and writing schedule set up, the next step is to actually follow through with your writing! Sticking with your schedule is crucial if you want your blog to become and stay successful.
It’s a good idea to try to stay two to three blog posts “ahead of schedule.” This means having two or three future posts already written every time you publish one. Doing this gives you a little bit of a buffer in case something comes up and you are unable to meet your writing obligations for a day or two. Even if you couldn’t write that week, it is still important to stick to your publishing schedule if at all possible.
A good way to make sure that you don’t forget to publish a post on its scheduled day is to set up automated posting. The blog platform that you use will almost certainly have an option to schedule a posting time for a blog post. This allows you to set the posting time and then not have to worry about manually posting it when that time comes.
5) Measure Results and Adjust as Needed
After you’ve been on your schedule for a while, it’s a good idea to take a close look at the number of readers you are getting. If you are posting on multiple days, is one day getting especially more or less traffic than another? Do you see different results based on the time of day?
If the numbers aren’t meeting your expectations, you may want to consider tweaking the schedule slightly to see if that changes anything. This could mean changing the number of posts you publish each week, the days on which you post, or a combination of both of those. After a while, with the new schedule, you can compare the schedules and see if one results in more readers than the other.
While a change might be necessary to get your readership to where you want it to be, keep in mind not to overdo it. If you are constantly changing your posting schedule, you might end up confusing or turning off more readers than you gain.
In addition to those steps, here are a few other things to keep in mind when scheduling your blog posts.
- Guest Posts - Not every blog has guest posts, especially those just starting out, but they can be very useful for some. If your blog is going to utilize guest posts, it is a good idea to schedule them just like you would ones that you write yourself. Maybe you have one a week or just once a month, but being consistent is key.
- Seasonal Posts - Planning ahead for seasonal posts is smart. If you know certain times of the year lend themselves to particular content (holidays, seasons, financial deadlines, etc.), getting these posts planned early can save you a lot of time and stress when the time comes.
- Evergreen Content - Some topics are good for all seasons. They can stay relevant and fresh for a longer period of time. Keeping some of these types of posts written on standby is a good insurance policy for times when you can’t think of anything especially current or topical to write about.
- Helpful Plugins and Apps - There are a number of scheduling, productivity, organizing, planning, and calendar apps out there. Check out some of them and see if any might be helpful to you.
Blogs don’t write themselves, and it’s easy to get off track without a plan in place. Scheduling your blog posts (and sticking to that schedule) is one of the most effective ways to grow readership. Following the steps listed above will help make your blogging more efficient and hopefully lead you down the path to success.