A recent post discussed the idea of being consistent – and persistent – with your marketing activities. Today, I want to talk about updating your blog regularly.
As you can see if you look through the archive at my site, posting on my blog regularly is often a challenge for me, so I’ve given this topic a lot of thought. What tools, techniques, and habits can one use to generate a consistent stream of blog posts?
Let’s start with tools – always the way to my techie heart. One very cool WordPress plug-in is called Editorial Calendar. This plug-in is only used within the Dashboard. You can choose to see between 3 and 5 weeks at a time and each post you’ve created appears on the calendar. This allows you to schedule posts weeks into the future. They don’t even need to be completed posts. You could layout your intended content just by creating future dated posts with nothing but a title, which can be changed later.
By creating a schedule of blog post topics, it’s easier to see what you plan to write and when each post is needed. As long as you get the post written before the future date you’ve scheduled, you’ll be good.
Another tool I recommend is perhaps the simplest – a text editor. I use TextPad (http://www.textpad.com/), but Notepad or any other text editor will work as well.
I use the text editor to actually write my posts. I don’t like to do it right in the WordPress Dashboard because I may not always have an internet connection when I’m writing, and God forbid I somehow lose the connection – and all my work! – before I save it. Working locally in my text editor – where I frequently save the file – is safer.
The reason I use a text editor rather than MS Word is that it’s much easier to cut and paste from a text editor to WordPress than from Word. Word often inserts a lot of unnecessary formatting garbage into the post under the hood. In the best case, it’s a lot of extra stuff the browser and search engines will need to sift through to get to the actual content. In the worst case, it will mess up the formatting of your post. I can’t tell you how many times a client has asked me to fix the formatting of a post after they’ve pasted its content from MS Word. So use a text editor, not Word, to write your posts!
The last resource I want to discuss today is a good royalty-free stock photo site to get images for your blog posts. Images make your posts more interesting for your audience to read.
I’ve used iStockPhoto (http://www.istockphoto.com/) for years. They have a large selection and a good search mechanism. Their prices for small photos has gone up considerably recently, though, so I also look for images in free galleries. These sites may not have as wide a variety of quality images, and the search function may not be as helpful, so it can take more time to find an appropriate image. Your trade-off is time vs. money, so you decide. Another paid site I’ve found good images at recently is PixMac (http://www.pixmac.com).
Next time, I’ll go over some techniques and habits that can enhance the likelihood of generating blog posts regularly.