5 Tips For Productive Blogging

5 tips for productive blogging

We all have a slump with blogging, once and a while and sometimes you need to push through and get back on it. All in all I have never hated blogging but sometimes you hit a wall and find it difficult to create new posts. So seeing as I have just got out of my rut, I thought I would share what has worked for me.

  1. Make notes when inspiration hits. If you sit and force yourself to come up with ideas, they won’t come. I make notes when the inspiration hits, either on your phone, notebook or in my case I always carry my planner so I have a section in the back I dedicate to blog idea and I have a note book for review notes and inspiration. Just don’t force it and capture what you can.
  2. Set time aside. I am one of those that makes notes all the time, so when it comes to writing my actual post I can string together all my notes and don’t have to worry about writers block. Saying that I always make sure that I set aside a specific time or day for getting my writing, photo taking and editing or scheduling done. If I don’t plan the time I spend most of my time saying to myself “oh I’ll finish it later”, but never do. I often find Sunday morning or a Thursday evening are some of the times work best for me, find a time that works for you and regularly stick to it you’ll work better than the ad hoc approach.
  3. Have a plan. I am a big planner and organiser and this is key for me with blogging as well as everything else in my life. In terms for my actual blog I strive from scheduling, I aim to post every Tuesday and Friday, so I note out the date that I will post on for any given month. The last two slots of the month are always dedicated for a collective haul and a monthly favourites and the rest of my posts get built up from there finding a balance for content with what I want to write and what I can commit to that month.

As well as a plan for content before I sit down to work on my blog I like to list out everything that needs doing, even into the smallest tasks. Each post has similar things that need doing but I find that if I write it out one by one I feel more accomplished at the end of my blogging session and I ensure nothing is missed. Added bonus of list writing you don’t waste the first 45 minutes doing nothing but getting distracted.

  1. Dress for success. I am aware this sounds weird, but I’m going along the lines of advise you often see for working at home so why not blogging. When I used to have a blogging day I used to dress super slouchy, sometimes even in pjs but instead of been comfortable to write I just found myself demotivated wanting to do nothing. So stay in your normal clothes if you are planning to blog in the evening, or if you are having a blogging day then, get ready for the day like you do the rest of the time. Trust me it will be worth it.
  2. No pressure. At the end of the day though, don’t pile on the pressure. It may be good to commit the time to write and compose content for your blog but if you aren’t feeling up for it don’t do it. If you pressure yourself into creating content you will won’t necessarily make good content. If you aren’t enjoining it or it is stressing you out, simply take some time out.

So those are my tips for how I ensure I am a productive blogger, let me know in the comments how you try to be a productive blogger.

Gwen

xx

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Getting Organised: Blogging

Last Friday I covered getting organised in my life in general (available here), today is how I am now organising my blog. Earlier in the year I showed you my notebook, solely dedicated to the organisation of my blog which although a great idea proved to be clunky I didn’t always use it and I just found I never referred to it. I find organisation is a bit of trial and error and this system I used a base for the past few month and have found a great system to keep me on top of things.

Spreadsheet Everything: I use a few spreadsheets but my core document has a sheet for a calendar and a checklist of upcoming posts, as I plan to post every week on Tuesdays and Fridays as well as weekly social media posts. This is super visual and helps prompt ideas as well as time frames for me to finish certain posts or tasks. You can also plan far in advance, you can assign seasonal posts when you think about them and easily find them again at a later date.

Weekly To Do Lists: As I mentioned in the life organisation post, I write weekly to do lists, not necessarily for a certain days but its covers the post I want to sort out that week. I also break it down into the individual tasks for that particular post that have to be done, by breaking it down it seems less daunting as well as making sure you don’t miss anything.

blog-organisation-to-do-lis

Making Notes: I am always making notes either specifically post based or post ideas, these are either in my planner or phone. My notes can vary between the odd word, post title, product thoughts or even mini paragraphs ready for blog posts. This is key to keeping me organised as once I come to write the posts the majority of the post is already there. It is one of the most important things for me in keeping organised as the whole sitting down to write a post is not quite such a big tasks.

What helps you get organised with your blog? Let me know in the comments below so we can all be more productive bloggers when we attempt to juggle life, blog and work.

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Productive Blogging

I am entering my second complete year of blogging and past the 18 month mark, which seems like such a huge achievement to me and I have been through some huge transitions since blogging moving from being a university student for the first 12 months of my blog and for the past 5 months I have been working full time. We all have such a variety of different commitments in our life from work, study, relationships and family which all need to be balanced with the blogs that we love creating and having our own little corner of the internet and the community it involves. So I thought I would share some of the ways I manage to be productive with blogging.

getting organised

Getting organised is key, planning it all out having a notebook or diary to help organise your thoughts. I’ve outlined how I am organising my blog this year from my diary to my blogging notebook with monthly overviews, checklists and space for notes for blogs. This may be a bit over the top for some people but make sure you have a way to keep on top of all of your ideas and what is coming up on your blog, no double posting and a definitive plan can really boost your productivity. See how 2016s blog organisation here.

Don't over commit

The first summer of my blog some one hundred plus days, I blogged daily and when I went back to university for third year I just couldn’t commit to blogging that much. Some people can blog every day or five days a week but not everyone can and that’s okay, if you over commit you can just end up feeling mad at yourself when you don’t meet these. Pick a schedule that works for you, I post twice a week at 17:00 on those days which works for me and I’ve managed to only not meet it once. Yet a schedule can be important when growing a blog and working with brands, as you have consistency and reliability and people can expect regular content that they want to see from your blog. Pick a schedule and amount of content that works for you but pick what is manageable for you.

make notes

Have a note taking method, whether it be your phone, a small notebook, or notepad just have something where you can jot down your ideas. Just don’t kick yourself because that amazing idea you had has now disappeared into thin air, so do what works for you to keep a note of your ideas.

effective time use

Use what time you have, sometimes sitting down and writing for hours at a time writing blog posts back to back is counterproductive. Often I do a little bit on my lunch break at work either writing a bit, or making notes on future posts etc. its making the time you have work for you as we all have other commitments in life. If you’ve noted down plans and ideas, you can use them as a start point when it comes to creating all of your posts.

dont force it

If the content isn’t flowing when you sit down to write, then don’t write it’s a waste of time and you may end up rewriting it all again later on. Write what you want to write at that time rather than what you have scheduled or planned you may end up with a completely unique and insightful post because of it, or just look at the posts ideas you have noted and you never know what you might find some hidden gem that you had completely forgotten about.

scheduling

We all know about scheduling our blog posts by now, no longer just uploading when the post is finished, this allows us to create consistency and the checking of the writing. Yet sometimes we don’t always think about scheduling other things which can really benefit us such as social media, instead of just using the twitter function on WordPress try using social media suites such as Hootsuite. Here you can schedule multiple Twitter and Instagram posts to promote your latest posts, find out beauty bits and show of your blog and photography skills, and you don’t need to remember to do actively post these yourself. Using blog photos and hashtags you can make the most of social media with minimal effort creating interest which runs alongside blog content.

bulk processes

Although bulk writing posts can make them stale don’t be afraid to take bulk actions on other items, I may spend some time each evening to work on blog stuff but winter nights with nothing but dreary lighting and awkward shadows so photos aren’t possible blog posts by blog posts. Therefore with some posts especially those in which you can prepare photos in a bulk like routines and reviews etc. favourites are slightly different as there is less preparation really. Yet some weekend mornings I can bulk take photos, edit phots and I have even bulk schedule posts and social media, these are all things where you can become productive by bulk doing these tasks when you don’t necessarily have something new to write.

Hopefully these steps are useful to you in order to become more productive with your blogging. How do you try to ensure productivity with blogging? Leave your hints and tips below.

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Blog Organisation

blog organisation calender

A new year and a new blogging note book, with a more organised and perfected method of organising my blog and mind set for keeping me on track this year.

size matters

First up I switched from an A4 notebook to a more compact A5 notebook, this was one of the biggest steps in this, having a comprehensive notebook which had everything I ever needed for my blog all in one place. It can now fit in my bag alongside my diary, so I can make notes and plans when I’m out and about or on my lunch break at work. Also when I was planning out the notebook situation I noted the number of pages I required for the notebook so I could pick something that was an appropriate size in terms of the number of pages required with a few extra for additional notes than could be made etc. Also by switching and downsizing and been able to take the notebook to work I was no longer left with pages and pages of notes that amount when creating the blog posts, or wanted to make notes on blog posts while at work or when my notebook wasn’t available to me.

lessons learnt

 So what lessons have a learnt from last year’s blog note book and how am I learning from these with this year’s notebook. First up I now know what I want and need within my notebook for effective blogging and therefore can better organise my thoughts, creating a more seamless and flowing note books for notes and scheduling so that everything has its place. I need more space for thoughts the old note book was huge but there was no logic to it I’d end up losing notes and they weren’t where they need to be in order for me to make the most of them.

blog organisation check list

Therefore this time I am making more of an effort to split up the months, having their own calendar, schedule and checklist, as well as having notes for every single post that is coming out that month either the ideas, key points, photos, categories and tags etc. This makes the space a lot more usable, and practical.

creating flow

Establishing a flow for your notes is important, make sure you know where everything is so you can find the notes you want as and when they are needed. Work out the logic you use to find and do things and use this to create a note book which works for you. For me everything has to have its place and then I can find everything as and when I need them. It’s no longer all over the place and I feel as though the notebook flows better than before.

additional tools

Sometimes you want a few more tools than just a biro and your notebook, in order to add additional notes or the odd ideas as well as to differentiate between notes and headers etc. For this I always ensure I have post it notes and coloured fine liners, which aren’t anything special the fine liners are from Asda and are only £1.00 much cheaper than the branded ones and the post its are also just cute small post-it’s from Asda as well. There is no need to spend a huge amount of money on these stuff head to your local supermarket as there are great inexpensive items which can help improve your productivity.

Taking Time

One thing I will say about this is, is that as I did it mainly by hand which clearly takes time, but I feel as though it is absolutely worth it as you do it once and then that’s it everything is clear, concise and ready for the rest of 2016. Some may prefer something more causal but I personally prefer to have everything all in one place ready for me to plan out the rest of the year, this isn’t for everyone so do what works for you.

blog organisation post notes

So that is how I have chosen to organise my blog planning this year, hopefully it’s inspired you, how do you organise planning your blog? Is January your time of year to reorganise your blog or is it back to school time in September?

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How to Write a Blog Post?

How I Write Blog Posts

So we have all had those moments where we have an amazing idea but have no idea how to put pen to paper so to speak, over the past year I have developed a tried and tested method for writing a fool proof blog post. Earlier in the year I should you how I got my blog organised, which you can check out here, this starts with that and takes it that step further. So here is how I go about writing my blog post, this was all written and illustrated around when I was writing my morning routine post which you can check out on my page.

writing

First comes first I start with the idea and look about planning it out, what content do I want and what do I need to do to achieve this such as research. This can vary depending on the type of blog post I am creating a haul post takes very little thought just a little bit of organising the items into sections to take pictures and structure the blog post e.g. organising by shop or type of product. When looking at reviews it takes a little bit more work, I look to take notes while using the product and looking at how it wears throughout the day over the course of a week. Taking notes and orgainsing points and paragraphs for a post has made writing so much easier considering I used to do this all the time for essays but never thought to do this with the blog post. For example with the morning routine post I started by jotting down everything I do in a morning in order elaborating on each point if needs be to remind myself what needs to be mentioned.

Then I will build up the post, I aim to just sit down and write solidly but I always like to have something on in the background. This varys sometimes if I need to work a lot of the pictures or do a lot of photo editing I will opt for spotify, where I listen to Man Overboard radio so I get a nice mix of music. Other times I will but all my subscriptions to the watch later playlist and watch my wierd mix of channels from Achievement Hunter to Fluer de Force, or sometimes I watch a bit of The Simpsons always a classic.

Appropriate TAG’s for your post is highly important for new people finding your posts and blog, so I note down important possible TAG’s as I go along such as brands and related key words. I find this way better than trying to think of all of the keywords at the end. Its basically doing anything that can make the whole thing simpler and much more efficient.

pictures

Once the post is finished I move onto the pictures, sometimes the pictures are taken first but the editing is always left until after. If I am taking photos after the post has been written I sometimes make notes of what I need to take photos off for example with the morning routine I listed everything i needed to group within each picture. I use picmoney as it is free (you can pay for additional tools) but its great for basic editing and collages which is all I need really. So then I organise the pictures, upload them to wordpress and name them all accordingly so they come up within a google search result. Once the pictures have been added to the post I check through everything and make sure I’m happy with everything.

As I go along I tick everything off on my tick chart and schedule the post according to my plan, trying to ensure variety with the content of the posts while still ensuring regular quality content. After scheduling the post to wordpress I will hop over to HootSuite where I schedule a few tweets to go out around it to alert people of the new post and make the most of hash tags ect. to make everything more searchable. Then I can sit back and relax and wait for it to post, and see the reaction.

So how do you guys write posts? Do you have a general structure or do you just go for it?

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Things I’ve Learnt in a Year of Blogging

1

So I have been blogging with a focus on beauty blogging for a year now and I feel as though my perceptions of the blogging world, what makes a good blog and how I view the world of beauty has changed. So I thought to celebrate reaching the one year mark I will look at how far I have come and what I have learnt.

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Before and at the start of blogging I thought picture taking was a thing of just adding a bit extra but really a good picture can really make a review. Poor quality pictures, reflections of the picture taker and a messy background were things I hated in others peoples blogs so why should I have them in mine. So although I admit my picture taking is nowhere near perfect sometimes falling victim to non natural lighting or having to brighten up an image I feel like I am slowly getting there. Some are better than others but I am hoping to slowly improve over time.

Don’t Follow the Hype

Before blogging I always got caught up in the hype a lot easier just assuming the blogging community knew something that I didn’t and this meant what they said was right. It is so easy to get caught up in clever marketing and jump on the band wagon but it is always important to think that products don’t work for everyone the same. For example think of the Benefit Rollar Lash and the buzz around it, I tried it got the sample with elle and it worked very well although the next day I used my primark lash and curl and found it worked almost as well. Yeah the roller lash is good but not amazing or a holy grail like some people think. Read the reviews and think for yourself is it worth it for you don’t feel pressured to follow the hype.

Designer is Not Always Best, But Neither is Drugstore

Before blogging I used to scoff at people who wasted money on designer makeup, that was until I discovered and tried high end make up myself with beautiful lipsticks and the creamy urban decay eye shadows I found some of my favourite products. I still love my drugstore mascaras and everything its just I finally understand the want and love of high end makeup in its irresistible packaging. What I am trying to say is you can have both and I think in a complete collection you may need to have a bit of both and some of us do have tight budgets, so we have to only splurge on what we think is worth it. Sometimes designer is worse than its drugstore counter part just think about what you wish to spend your hard earned cash on.

Mix It Up

This is something I want to do slightly more than I do already, that although I have a primarily beauty blog it is nice to mix things up a little bit. We all have things that make us different and although we all love beauty we all have other things we do too. I love knowing more about the person behind the blog and really we all have so much to offer, sometimes non beauty posts are more interesting. So hopefully I will continue to do this more as time goes on.

Running a Blog Takes Time and Effort

When I started I never really thought how much work a blog could be, I just thought oh snap a quick pictures and write a few words and boom your done. As I mentioned before a good picture is important, good lighting, placement and thinking everything through thoroughly before you can even consider editing and uploading photos. Then you have to plan what you want to write, ensuring you say something important and possibly insightful especially in a review these things don’t just happen in a 20 minute writing session. I’ve found sticking to my schedule that I set in January is useful, two posts a week was and still is something I can fit around work and life and ensures hopefully better quality content. Posting loads can weaken content but barely at all can damage your following and you’re creative streak, I have pages of ideas and just refer to it if I am low on ideas

Even after writing you still have to pay attention to social media, which I have to admit is still and area I have to work on. It is always just something to have an area you know you need to work on so if you have any tips let me know.

So what has blogging taught you? What makes you blog and what do you want to work on with your blog?

Lots of Love,

Gwenllian Branwen

xox