Category Archives: Blogging

My 5 Step Blogging Process

One of my goals this year is to be more consistent in my blogging, and one of the ways I aim to achieve this goal is just by being more organized. I’ve slowly started to  develop a process to this madness, learning from other bloggers along the way. I hope some of these tips will be helpful to other bloggers but, if nothing else, can be a fun informative way to see how I blog. :)

My 5 Step Blogging Process

1. Organize and Planning
I’m a bit of an organization freak, so it is so essential for me to organize and plan my blog posts on some minimal level. Holly introduced me to this amazing site called Trello, and I use it to organize and plan my blog posts. She wrote an awesome post about how she uses it to organize her blog, and I now use Trello very similarly. I keep a list for post ideas and series that I do regularly, and then organize when I plan on publishing them by month. It’s very easy to move cards to a specific month or from month to month if your schedule changes. You can also add due dates and checklists to each card.

This keeps me from staring at a blank draft page and from having no idea what to write or talk about. It also give me consistency! Life gets busy and I don’t always have the time I need to dedicate to writing new posts, but if I have already planned them out ahead of time, all I have to do is do some minimal editing, sometimes add a few pictures, and hit publish.

2. Drafting
The next step is to actually write out a first draft of my post. I actually do most of my drafting away from home. When I have down time at work or school, it’s easy to pull up my Trello board, see posts that I want to write about, and start drafting them. I then email them to myself and then later upload the draft to WordPress and edit. (I don’t like to have all these drafts cluttering up my WordPress, so that’s what I send them to my email because my inbox is a complete disaster. I’ve accepted it and moved on.)

This is a very rough draft – I just write what I’m thinking and worry about editing and refining later after I have all of my thoughts and ideas down. I like to let my drafts sit for a day or two before I come back to them, that way I have more of a fresh perspective on it and can include points that I may have forgotten. However, that doesn’t always happen. If it’s a time-sensitive topic, I draft and edit right away. But sometimes I don’t touch a draft for weeks!  

3. Editing (and Adding Pictures)
This could really be broken down into two steps, but I tend to edit my posts and add pictures at the same time. After I’ve let the post sit for a couple days (or sometimes weeks – let’s be honest, haha) then I start to edit. This can include checking for spelling and grammatical errors, rewording or rephrasing, adding links, removing paragraphs, adding and taking away points, adding pictures, etc.

I add pictures in the editing step and not during drafting because I may remove certain points that I didn’t like, and then a picture may then be irrelevant. It’s silly to waste time editing the picture if I’m not going to actually use it. I also tend to really reorganize posts, so when I move the last paragraph to then be the first paragraph, I end up moving the pictures around, too. Saves me a bit of time!

4. Publish
Yay! My post is edited and I have deemed it ready to be released to the public. Sometimes I schedule my posts to be published, but normally I just publish in real time because I like to return comments after I publish a new post.

5. Return Comments
I cannot emphasize how important returning comments is. Returning comments builds awesome relationships with other bloggers, and it drives traffic to your own blog. I respond to comments in two ways. I usually respond to the original comment on my own post, acknowledging that I’ve read the comment and to answer questions. It’s like a, “Thanks for your comment! I’ve read it and you’re awesome!” I love discussions, so this also facilitates that.

I then comment on the person’s blog. I’m not concerned about how many comments I get on a post, but I really appreciate feedback. So by returning comments on their blog after I publish, I tend to receive more comments on that particular post. Most of my commenters are recurring readers, so if they’ve already commented on my last post they now have something new to comment on.

And that’s it! Not really too complicated, but it keeps me on track and I think it’s really helped with the consistency and quality of my posts the last several months. Do you have a blogging process? I’d love to read your system and get some tips for my own. I’m always looking for ways to improve my blogging. :)

You Clean up Nice

I tend to clean up my blog when I have the least amount of free time to do so. Usually it’s a form of procrastination because at the end of the year, I have the desire to do some tidying up curiously right around finals week. The timing may not be perfect, but it is necessary and is something that I needed to do! I thought I would share some of the things that I’ve changed around here and some of the back-end things that you might not notice.

New Layout
A few months ago, I desperately knew that I needed a new design. I was tired of looking at the same theme and I felt that it didn’t accurately represent Jovers anymore. So I switched between a couple of ones I found online but none of them seemed to fit. So about a month ago I purchased my first theme! I have always been so wary of doing this because I think it’s silly to spend money when there are probably hundreds of thousands of free themes out there. However, with how much time I spend on here and how important this blog is to me, it was definitely worth it.

I didn’t have much time to tweak it at first, but I’ve recently worked with it to get it where I want. I updated the font sizes to be a bit bigger and the color to be darker to overall just make my posts easier to read. I updated some of the font faces as well since they seemed so squished. I’m really pretty happy with it! It looks very clean and open, which is what I wanted.

The only thing I’m having problems with is having my front page show recent summaries of my posts. I fiddled with the content.php file and changed “the_content” to “the_excerpt” which worked in the past, but for some reason this theme is making it so when you click on the individual post in the feed, it’s only showing a summary. So there is no way to read the whole post.Thoughts, anyone?

Updated the Emoticons
This was also a bit overdue. I loved the elephant emoticons but somewhere along the line they got squished and I just wanted something simpler. I quite like these! :D :P :) :O :( XD :heart:

Organized Categories and Tags
I finally reorganized my categories. Some of them should have been tags so I converted them over, merged a couple that were basically the same thing, re-titled some to either be more specific or more broad to encapsulate other categories, and have made some plans for future ones. I hadn’t used tags very often previously, but after reorganizing I should be using them appropriately now!

Cleaned out Drafts/ Some Old Posts
I’ve had several half-written posts in draft status that I knew I would never finish or publish, but felt like I needed to keep them for “history reasons” or something. So I deleted those. I then was going through my archives, and couldn’t believe how far back some of my posts dated (back to 2010!). This was something that I’ve been debating back and forth on because I feel like these posts are really important to me, for reasons I can’t explain. No one hardly views them, I’m not using them anymore, and some of them really make me cringe! The horrendous sentence structure and grammar and complaining – I just don’t feel like it reflects who I am anymore. Plus, I had written them at previous sites, so I feel they didn’t represent Jovers either.

So I decided to remove some of them. I changed all of the posts that I had written prior to moving to Jovers to draft status, because I wanted to go through them and make sure there really wasn’t anything there I wanted to keep. Then after getting comfortable with the idea, I deleted them. It sounds weird, but I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulder! Plus, it’s nice to now go to my archives and see the first post I wrote here “Hello, World” right there at the bottom.

Updated Pages & Sidebar
Probably nothing that anyone besides me noticed, but I reworded some awkward phrases, added a few more links to social media, took a few away. Updated my About page a little bit and fixed my Goodreads widget which broke about a month ago and wouldn’t update the books shown.

Planning for Next Year
Reviewing what I’ve written over the year always motivates me to keep writing next year. It also gives me some new ideas of things to write and things I want to avoid writing. It’s also curious to note the big things that happened and the things that I consider important to me that I didn’t actually blog about. I’ve been reflecting over that and I think that will be a big improvement in my blogging next year.

Finally, I’ve decided to take after Holly and Georgie and post a blog survey. I think it will really show me my strengths and areas that I can improve. Also, I want to get to know my readers a bit more and see what you guys are interested in! I would really appreciate it if you guys could take it – shouldn’t take more than five minutes. I am very excited for what next year holds for jovers.net!