Welcome back, it’s Thursday so that means it’s time for another one of my Blogger Series posts!
For those who don’t know, my Blogger Series is a set of articles regarding tips and tricks to help you boost your blog and get more done.
Today I discuss designing a workflow in order to become more efficient when creating blog posts.
Creating a Workflow
Writing a blog post is not a quick task, especially long posts (the Scrivener post I did, took several hours!).
Following my rebrand in 2017 and a change in how I was working, I found that my blog posts took a lot longer.
Gone were the days of just throwing words roughing onto the screen and pressing Publish (it’s good that those days are gone because that was NOT the way to blog!).
I wanted to make my blog interesting, easy to read, eye-catching and structured. Well, that takes time. 🙂
To make this efficient, I created a Workflow that allows me to follow a specific system when creating blog posts.
This stops me missing a step, failing to include something or taking twice as long due to redoing unnecessary tasks.
This is how I work:
Choose a Topic
The first step is to choose a topic. It has to be interesting to me, it’s a lot harder and more time-consuming trying to research and write about a topic that I’m not interested in.
I don’t mind doing that sometimes as need, but in general, I want my topics to be something I care about sharing.
I usually have a topic already picked since I (mostly) fill out my Content Calendar out at the beginning of the month. (There’s a free downloadable copy of my content calendar in the above link).
And if I’m ever struggling or want to write something different, I have a nice big list of topics.
Create an Outline
Once I have my chosen topic, I start to outline the post.
This is where I list the points I want to cover. This can be both the root ideas and the sub-ideas. I usually just dump them in under bullet points, it’s about getting the salient points down.
Next, I put them into a logical order, sometimes grouping them into categories or by similarities.
Define the Keywords
I pick out several keywords that are important to the article. Keywords are effective when used in certain locations such as headers, URL slug, tags, article.
Keywords are words that have significance in SEO. They are a reference point code that helps people find your information.
Keywords are important as they help to increase your visibility. If you are not sure about SEO, then my post How to make your blog super SEO friendly covers a number of things that you may find useful.
Write the Post
Next, I write the article. I make sure to include my keywords organically in the copy, (never “keyword stuff” as this will have a negative effect). This is just a draft, so I get all the relevant points down and in order.
To keep articles easy to read, I use short paragraphs, nothing longer than 4 lines.
This is especially important now as more people view blogs on their mobile devices and there is nothing worse than being greeted with a wall of text.
Decide on Headings
My articles are all broken down into sections featuring a heading. Firstly, it makes it clear what each section is about and secondly it helps my readers by having the text into more easily readable chunks. It also makes it more scannable.
I choose where the sections need to be and add in the headings. This may also include deciding if I need just top-level headings (H1) or subheadings too.
I then do a run-through of the article, expand any points or reduce anything that I feel was unclear or unnecessary.
I try and catch any spelling or grammar errors on this pass. Once I get to the bottom, I then do a Grammarly check just as an extra precaution as there’s always something I’ve missed. 🙂
And yes, I do still miss some. That’s just the way it is, but I catch most of them. People don’t want to read articles littered with spelling and grammar errors. This does not make you look good.
Choose a Headline/Title
I brainstorm title ideas, aiming again to include the odd keyword and make it something clear so that the readers will instantly know what the post is about.
Once I have a few, I use the Headline Analyzer to check my title ideas and then select the best.
This is then added to the blog post. I do a quick check to make sure the URL slug has picked up the headline (sometimes it doesn’t, so I have to do it manually).
I usually have an idea of what imagery I want for an article as I am outlining it. Once the piece is written, I go searching for the perfect image.
I will often end up with several I like and usually download them all, as I like to have a library of images to choose from.
Once I have the image I like, I create the relevant graphic(s). Always starting with my main image that has the blog title clearly written. I have this as a template to allow me to keep my brand consistency.
I always make my main title graphic a large verticle image. This is because I want to make it as “pinnable” as possible. Pinterest likes long verticle pins and I want to optimise this.
I add the image under my intro paragraph, resize (I always go to the same size, again for consistency) and add in the alt-text.
Format & Prep
Once the imagery is in, I format the article such as changing the headers to the right tag size and colour, making sure the intro and outro are in my preferred colour and styles. As well as checking that anything in brackets is italicised.
I pick my relevant category for the article, I have a good set of categories so I usually already know what it will be listed under.
Tags are the same, as I’m writing the article I come up with several tags so adding these takes no time.
Again, tags and categories are part of your SEO so you need to think carefully when creating these.
I schedule my posts to go live on my blog. I almost always write them early these days, it just isn’t worth the stress of writing and publishing them on the same day. I almost certainly missed my own deadline when I do that.
Now I try and have several written early and make use of WordPress’s scheduler that means my posts go live on the correct day and time. This is great for if something crops up or if my internet goes down.
Finally, I schedule the post to go live on my relevant social media platforms. Some can automatically share via WordPress’s sharing system, others such as Instagram need to be added to a scheduler.
I use the social media scheduler, Buffer for all my scheduling and I love it. Makes my life so much easier.
Do What Works For You
This is how I create my blog posts, by having this specific list of tasks in this order. It works for me and allows me to work effectively because I know what step I need to take immediately after the first.
This might not work for you. But I recommend coming up with a workflow that organises your system and gives you a step by step process when creating a post.
If you like this workflow, then you can save the below infographic I have created that lists the tasks in order.
To save it, simply right click on this Infographic and select Save Image As and save it to your computer.