Everything about blogging is extremely hard.
You have to comment on blogs, you have to interact, you have to reply to comments, ALL SORTS OF THINGS.* And then there’s also the thing called ACTUALLY BLOGGING. Aka posting.
But… how does one plan posts??? How does one WRITE posts???
WELL LUCKY FOR YOU, I’m here to stop you from having an existential crisis! I’ll be sharing how I plan and write my posts and hopefully that’ll help you out as well!
Of course, my way is NEVER the right way.
But it should be. You do whatever is best and easiest for you! I’m just here to share my process and maybe it’ll inspire you a bit. Or cause you to change everything about yourself and your life because you love me so much.
*Okay so these are things you SHOULD do and things I LOVE to do… BUT STILL.
1. the month before, i brainstorm posts
So pretend it’s July. There’s May, hunching over her computer because she always forgets to straighten her back (what is wrong with her???). And you know what she’s doing??? She’s planning out NEXT MONTH’S POSTS.
Aka August’s posts. Aka this month’s posts.
(Back to first person now, like someone normal.)
I’m already planning out September’s posts as we speak.
I have a surprise… Planning them out the month before ALWAYS is useful, so it’s not August 1st and I’m freaking about what I’ll be posting.
Planning the month ahead is ALSO nice when you’re COMPLETELY BLANK of what to post. Instead of frantically writing a post the day you’ll be posting it, you have your plan to refer to so you can start writing posts early! And not flail about having no post!
And sometimes I’ll think of an idea that I don’t think should be written until later! So I’ll write it down* to save for later, and move on. *thumbs up*
*ALWAYS WRITE DOWN IDEAS OR YOU WILL FORGET THEM I 100% GUARANTEE.
2. putting dates on them
When I have almost all of the posts brainstormed, I start to assign them certain dates. (I usually do this a few days before the month starts.)
I’ll stick to my blogging schedule—Mon/Wed/Sat—and match up the posts with each day. I also include the number of the day as well??? I’M WEIRD.
This is where the calendar down at the bottom right corner for Windows computers—TAKE THAT MAC
And this is just me, since I have a variety of post topics, but I like to space out the types of posts. So I won’t have this blogging post and another blogging post and another, and then bookish post and bookish post and writing post and bookish post.
See now that’s just… not good. (I have a great vocabulary, obviously.)
I also like to make sure that while I have posts planned for ALMOST every day*, I still have some slots* open for SPONTANEOUS post ideas.
And I make myself realize that THIS IS NOT SET IN STONE!!! I can move around posts, take one out, add one in… This plan is just something to make me feel organized (because I’m not) and for me to refer to.
*Not like EVERY DAY. More like… every day of my blogging schedule APPRECIATE ME FOR ONCE HERE I’M TRYING.
**What, is this like a gameshow or something???
Wow that was short.
Well I guess I skipped the whole part about getting post ideas BUT THEY COME FROM EVERYWHERE OKAY???
other Very Fun Facts™ about my post-planning process:
- I have my blog plan in Google Docs. A simple bullet point list is all it takes.
- I also should use that doc to keep track of all my tags/awards but LOL NO I APPARENTLY SUCK AT THAT.
- I put a strikethrough (because I’m #fancy) through the posts I’ve published.
- I need to have posts planned for at least 4/5 of the month or I freak out. Like, actually freak out. Like, AHDJSKSMFJSKAKJFJEKAKHAYJE freak out.
- Sometimes I think of a post idea that is JUST SO GREAT AND AMAZING and then, you guessed it, I FORGET IT.
- Lesson of the day, kids: Write your fricking ideas down or
diesuffer from horrible memory.
This is what my plan looks like!
My friend Ju(lianna) did a post on how planning ahead helps organize her blogging life, which you should totally check out!!!
1. titling the post + linking
Now comes the more complicated part: the actual WRITING of the post.
I either look forward to this, or completely dread it. (I DON’T KNOW WHY???)
Okay, so I’m not going to literally tell you EVERY SINGLE STEP (such as going to wordpress.com, clicking the “write” button, etc.) but I’ll do the most important ones! For example: titling.
TITLES ARE SO IMPORTANT!!! I like to make mine witty*, long**, and engaging. This (and the featured image) is what’ll most likely make someone click on your post RIGHT AWAY! Or maybe you just like that blogger’s posts so much you just NEED to read it.
And sometimes, I’ll come back and be changing the post title, but usually I keep what I start with!
Now, you see that little link icon besides it? THAT’S WHERE YOU CAN CHANGE THE (last part of) THE URL OF THE POST!!!
The WordPress default is just making that last part, after the date, your post title. AND MY TITLES ARE SUPER LONG, which makes the link long! And that’s not good for SEO stuff or whatever. (I don’t really know???)
And even if my post titles weren’t long, it’s good to condense your link to just a few keywords about the post. For example, I made my link: “my-post-planning-writing-process”. And that’s it!
*At least I HOPE they’re witty??? If not what am I doing here and what is my life.
**LONG because they’re WITTY.
2. writing the post + formatting
So now, it’s time to write the post!
I start out with one big catchy (hopefully???) line. Sometimes it’s just a lead-in to the intro, or sometimes it’s a line to about the post topic. But whatever it is, it’s BIG and BOLD and has to be worthy of that. *wink wink*
Then there’s the intro. My intros either SUCK or are pretty good. There’s no in between. I think my intro for this post is pretty good. I don’t like to make intros too long. And usually right after the intro finishes, I insert the “read more” tag.
I also like to bold one line that tells you guys what the post will be about.
As you can see, I’ve already started formatting some things!!! The first line is big and bold (in Header 2 and the color black). I bold an important line (to later make larger), and then I have the footnote.
And then after that I’ll have my lovely flower divider
which I need to redo sometime soon. Any graphic that I make will be inserted into the post as I write (the flower divider and the arrow thingy). Just because it’s easier for me! And visually pleasing.
Soooooo I write the post, and bold things as I go. These bolded lines are IMPORTANT phrases that I want you to read. At the end, they will be changed to a larger font size!So, basically the only formatting things I do while writing the post are:
Oh, and don’t forget! At the end of the post, I have to insert my “shall we chat?” graphic, create some questions for discussion, and then insert my sign-off. But no screenshot of that because I haven’t finished writing this post yet. :PP
3. the advanced™ formatting (coding)
CODING!!! A very interesting but sore-on-the-eyes thing.
So you see that screenshot??? You can see me use the code < small >. But without spaces, because if I do the ACTUAL coding, it won’t show up.
Well, the code < small > makes the text SMALLER. Wow. Who would’ve guessed??? But I use this for footnotes (and also little notes like this). I actually do < small > while I’m writing because it’s short and easy.
But, then comes the VERY LONG CODE of making text bigger. There are actually many versions you can use:
- < span style=”font-size: __pt;” > — don’t put the spaces in between < > and the words, and the __ is for a specific number. i use 17.
- < span style=”font-size: _____;” > — so the blank is for a lot of things??? like “medium”, “x-large” (which i used to use), “large”, “small”, “x-small”, etc.
- < big > — this one’s very simple and easy. BUT it doesn’t make the text as big as i want it. soooooo. (but if you do < big > and < big > again, it’s pretty large!)
Also, after you do these codes, you have to close it with a < /span > or a < /big >. (This is really confusing, so check out this post by the wonderful Analee for more!)
The first code is the one I use. Mostly because you can adjust the size so it EXACTLY fits your taste. Just subtract a number to make it smaller, and add a number to make it bigger!
I KNOW AMAZING RIGHT.
I used to do ALL this coding in the HTML editor (there are two tabs called “Visual” and “HTML” underneath the title) and let me tell you: MY EYES WERE BLEEDING. It’s just all small black text and white background and UGH.
But now!!! I’ve discovered that if you put the coding in the Visual editor (like in the screenshot above), switch to HTML, then back to Visual, the changes will copy!
So now I can do all this coding and MY EYES WILL NOT DIE! Do you see why I’m so excited about this???
Also that sounded really confusing so let me show you the MAGIC:
SEE ISN’T IT MAGICAL???
So I just copy and paste the code wherever I’ve bolded the text*, do the Visual-HTML switcheroo, and VOILA. I HAVE LE BEAUTIFUL POST.**
The “Visual-HTML switcheroo” also works on wherever I’ve put < small >.
(Not so fun fact: If you’re viewing this post in my Reader, YOU WON’T SEE ALL THE BEAUTIFUL FONT SIZE CHANGES!!! Sooooo head on over to my BEAUTIFUL site and look at the differences in font that I spend a lot of time on!)
PRO TIP FOR CODING: When you type out the code, MAKE SURE IT’S RIGHT. Because if it’s not, and then you paste it everywhere… you’ll have to redo EVERYTHING. This happened to me three times for a post and I 0/10 do not recommend.
*I feel like if you make text bigger, YOU SHOULD BOLD IT. I don’t know, it just feels weird if you don’t??? Bolding is already a way of calling attention to text, and when you make it bigger, you do the same. WHY NOT DO BOTH??? Not saying that if you DON’T bold, you’re doing it wrong, tho. Just bothers me a lil.
**I PROMISE that my French is better than this.
4. featured image + categories and tags
So, I’m actually planning to do a little post on how I make my featured images??? SO I’M NOT GETTING IN DEPTH HERE.
I download a free stock photo (somewhat relating to the post) for the background image. I’M HOPING TO USE MY OWN PHOTOGRAPHY… but sadly not yet. I head over to picmonkey.com, upload my graphic template, and proceed to make the featured image.
Then I save it (or “export”, as it’s now called *glares*) to my computer, and then click on Post Settings to upload it to WordPress.
Next is Categories and Tags! I have six very general categories: blogging, book review, books, life, uncategorized, and writing. I keep it general and not that many because I’ve seen a lot of blogs with a RIDICULOUS amount of categories. Makes things hard to find.
And then for tags… well, I basically keep everything nice and concise in categories and actually NOTHING in tags.
TAGS ARE ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD FOR PEOPLE TO FIND YOUR BLOG!
My fear is that I’ll end up with WAAAAAY too many tags, which I’ve seen a lot of blogs have. Not saying it’s wrong!!! It’s just personally too many for my taste.
I’m trying to get better at it, but really… categories are more useful. All I’ve tagged for this post is “tutorial”. Which isn’t exactly true…? BUT NO ONE CARES BECAUSE I’M ACTUALLY USING A TAG!
5. time to gif the post!
MY FAVORITE PART.
Excuse me while I actually do the coding for this post so I can take truthful screenshots.
So, this post isn’t very gif-able??? BUT I WILL MAKE IT WORK. (Like see, I did a gif right above this mwahahaha.)
For this step, I skim through the post, and try to find places where I could insert a gif relating to the text. I find that gifs, images, and any other thing with color are EXTREMELY important, because they make it easy on the eyes!
(Like, seriously. If the post is just all text with no fun graphics/images/gifs, MY EYES WILL HURT. This is why I stay away from eBooks #oops.)
When I find a spot I think a gif could work, I search it up, and copy and paste. I adjust the size to make it look fitting. (NOT TOO BIG THAT IT’S IN MY FACE, but not to small I can’t see it.)
BUT THEN. I link the gif back to the original source. I do this in place of doing something like (via) underneath, and then linking THAT to the original source. IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOU LINK IMAGES BACK TO THE SOURCE! So do that in SOME way.
Then I continue on my merry way with inserting gifs in the post. HOWEVER, I don’t like gifs being placed too close together, nor too far away. I have to be VISUALLY PLEASED.
6. publish the post!
And now it’s time to publish the post!
Or schedule it. Idk.
(I’ve actually been having some trouble with publishing posts??? Like the “publish” button has been permanently replaced with the “schedule” button and whyyyy. But I’ve figured out another way to publish it because I’m #genius.)
Now let the likes, views, and comments all come flooding in! Congrats to you (or me???) for finishing the post.
so! did you like this post? was it helpful? how do YOU plan your posts, if at all? and what’s the process you go through for writing them? do you use gifs? do you use coding to make size changes? tell me ALL about your posts and how you make them!
PS this post is over 2K words long I’M SO SORRY