An Award Winning Blog featuring Travel, Adventure & Family Life in North East England

Friday, 16 January 2015

My quest to be a better blogger

Blogging is a phenomenon that has really taken off in the last few years and continues to grow at an amazing rate. This is a good thing for someone like me who is always up for the challenge and I enjoy pushing my own blogging boundaries. I take HUGE inspiration from pro-bloggers such as Vicki from Honest mum and really admire women like Fiona from Coombe Mill Blog who despite running her own farm holiday business and looking after her family still manages to write a fantastic blog, run a very successful linky and takes the time to write thoughtful comments on so many blog posts every week. In order for me to get anywhere near the level of these two ladies, I have identified I need to get some of the basics of blogging right and there are areas of blogging I can definitely 'up my game'. 2015 is going to be the year I get systems in place and organise my blog so North East Family Fun has the potential to be the best it can be. Here's how I hope to achieve this:-

1 - Introducing the weekly spreadsheet and checklist


This may be a little 'Monica' and is maybe a little much for some people but I've developed a weekly blogging schedule with a daily checklist. This means every post will definitely be tweeted/posted on facebook/linked to google+/added to an appropriate linky/sharing thread rather than me just tweeting a link or popping on facebook when I had a spare 5 minutes. I've numbered my posts of the week so I'm not always promoting the same post. I'm not going to lie, it feels great to have taken control over my schedule like this and if you're serious about blogging, I would certainly recommend.


A snapshot of Tuesday's checklist

2 - Schedule posts


I know a lot of bloggers schedule posts but I was NEVER that person. I would just type and post straight away. I have recently realised that as a reader, I know when to expect posts from my favourite blogs and that's what I would like to expect my readers to want too. So after much deliberation I have decided to post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday plus my Weekend Reading post on a Sunday morning. I will schedule my posts to publish at around 6:30am every morning. I have been trialling scheduled posts for a few weeks now and it has been life changing! I love being able to quickly pop back and change something and I feel a lot less pressured to write when I have a weeks worth of posts already scheduled.



3 - Organise and properly label photographs prior to uploading


My photographs are pretty well organised however I rarely re-name them. I am going to do this as soon as I download them from my camera onto my laptop - hopefully this will make them easier for me to find at a later date and will be better in terms of SEO when people search google images.

4 - Schedule time for commenting and replying to comments on posts


Last year I was such a bad blogger! I rarely (if ever) replied to a blog comment and only really commented on blogs that were either in linkys or who I would consider a blogging friend. In all honesty I think this is quite rude of me and from the beginning of this year it has changed. I now schedule time in my diary to reply to every comment and have been reading and commenting on a lot more blogs than last year. I am really enjoying this and think it's always appreciated when you pop a comment on a post you've taken the time to read. 

5 - Use twitter lists to their full advantage


I didn't really use twitter lists before now but changed at the start of this year and it has made my life so much easier! No more searching for a particular twitter handle - I just look on the relevant 'list' and it's there. I have a list for 'North East bloggers' and my monthly '#LoveNorthEast' linky so I can easily tweet people who have taken part. If you've never used this function on twitter before, I would highly recommend.



What do you think? I'm hoping I can continue along the path I'm going and keep up with my daily checklist,  scheduling posts and commenting. I would love to hear your tips too.


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47 comments

  1. this is a great list i need to be organised like this , im getting there

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  2. Very organised. I need to get ahead so I can schedule posts, its something I do when I am going away but not otherwise

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    1. Thanks Alison - post scheduling has been life changing and definitely worth doing x

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  3. Firstly thank you for the lovely words about me and Vicki, I don't think there is anything better in life than feeling something you do inspires someone else. Secondly I see a rosy year ahead for you if you keep to your goals here, I do schedule posts and it takes the pressure off *having to write* which always makes ideas flow. Labelling photos is well worth doing too and of course being social, it's the best part of being a blogger. Happy 2015 and I'm loving watching your blog grow.

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    1. Thank you Fiona - I agree, it's lovely hearing you are an inspiration to people so always like to tell people when they are.

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  4. Thanks so much for your lovely mention, I love Fiona too. Fab goals to have. I schedule some posts but a lot of my commissioned posts happen on a daily basis so I tend to go live several times a day. I have just signed up to Co Schedule which looks pretty cool, not tried it yet but worth a look maybe for you, it's free x

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    1. Fabulous - thank you. Off to take a look now :D x

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  5. Great post! I'm brand new to blogging so these tips will hopefully get me off to a good start x

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    1. Thanks - blogging is a huge learning curve - there is always something new to learn x

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  6. I'd love to be this organised but it's never going to happen! I do attempt to publish the same time each week (I only manage 1 post a week) but am very random about promoting posts. I have taken your inspiration though and am going to make an effort to use twitter lists.

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    1. I have been loving my twitter lists this week - so useful x

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  7. I love you for writing this - you've articulated everything I want to achieve! Checklists are my big thing right now thanks to a fab book I read called the Checklist Manifesto but I felt like perhaps a daily one would be too much but actually you're making it work! I'm going to try it. As for scheduling posts - it is my dream to have next weeks posts already written but I'm so hand to mouth it would basically result in no blogs this week! How did you make that transition from blogging as and when to doing this week AND next weeks posts?!

    Anyway great post, thanks so much for linking to #TheList and let's get together sooooon! Castle trip?! ;) or maybe a coffee and blog strategy chat! Xxx

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    1. Hannah I started by getting a head for a holiday, then loved how much more relaxed it made me feel so try to keep a a week or at least a few days ahead all the time now

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    2. Thanks Hannah - I used to have zero schedule to my blogging at all and over Christmas I slowed my 'publishing' down and although I wrote a the same pace I would schedule some of the posts instead of posting straight away. Eg when we stayed in wigwams I blogged about our stay and separately about breakfast - rather than publishing both straight away I scheduled the breakfast post for the following week. It did take a couple of weeks to finally get into sync.

      I am going to Hamsterley Forest tomorrow to take part in their Gruffalo trail - the old me would have written and published this as soon as I got home and linked to #countrykids linky. The new me already has a post lined up for tomorrow so I have a whole week to write and schedule The Gruffalo post for next week.

      I love my daily checklist - I have a tab for every day Mon-Sun and change the dates at the start of the week then an extra two tabs for 'week beginning....' where I plan my ideas for posts 2 weeks in advance. Working great so far.

      We definitely need to meet up soon :D

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  8. Love this I'm very Monica about things but because blogging has to fit into everything else I can't be too Monica - esque but this year I'm going to change

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    1. Fab - the way I see it is, I have the whole day to complete my blogging 'to do' list - If I haven't completed it through the day there is always the time at night. I don't beat myself up if I miss a few things though. I don't schedule anytime to write and think that can't be forced - can only really do it when I'm in 'the zone'

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  9. I like to think of myself as pretty organised when it comes to blogging, but I currently have spreadsheet envy! x

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  10. oh i love this, I so need to sort out twitter posts and schedules this year x

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    1. I do like to schedule tweets on the days I'm working - very useful x

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  11. I need to be more organised too, i really need to start scheduling posts as everyone says its the only way to stay on top of blogging but i never seem to find the time. Good luck on growing your blog this year x #TheList

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    1. You don't need more time to schedule posts - just instead of hitting publish straight away, always schedule your posts for a certain time of day - then as a reader people know when to expect a post (if there's going to be one that day) xx

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  12. I always schedule posts helps me to be organised when blogging daily, also like to try and stay active on Twitter.

    Sophie
    xx
    www.pocockins.co.uk

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    1. I can't believe I've been blogging all of this time without scheduling posts! It's been life changing!LOL

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  13. Well done samantha such a good idea being organised makes life alot easier :-)

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  14. Do you know something - I run a blog about blogging tips and I still don't schedule my blog posts in advance :)

    I think the key to a successful blog is consistency. It doesn't matter how many posts you publish. I think what matters the most is that your readers know when to expect them. So even if it's once a week, as long as it's the same day once a week and you're putting out quality stuff, you'll see yourself grow steadily :)

    Good luck with your blog, I know you'll do just fine!

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    1. Definitely consistency - I have sometimes blogged three times in one day and then not again for a couple! Seems mad to think how badly organised I was!

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  15. Wow, that is organisation...I have been blogging for 5 and a half years and I am probably the most haphazard blogger going. I don't ever plan I just do...I do need to be a bit better at having some sort of schedule I suppose. 'probably won't happen though' ;)

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    1. Haha well if you've been doing it five years you must be doing something right :-) x

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  16. oh this is a wonderful blog post and the kick up the bum i needed too! I spend most of my time just surviving with crazy life, but actually im happiest when im organised, reading and commenting on blogs and just generally taking my time! Go you!! x

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    1. Thank you - it is hard to design a schedule ect.... but once you have it all in place it's pretty easy to stick to x

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  17. Well done for getting so organized, I really need to take note to the organizing and labelling of photos, I spend way too much time searching for the one I need.

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    1. That is like me! A few extra minutes when you upload your photographs really does make a huge difference in the long run x

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  18. I work on a mix of scheduled and spur of the moment posts depending on what's going on in my life and what I want to share. It does make life easier to know you've got some stuff scheduled but at the same time the point of my blog was to keep a record of our lives - so i want it to be true to time if I can manage it :)

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    1. Mix of scheduled and spur of the moment sounds great - I'm not sure I could ever go back to spur of the moment now so if I ever have a tight deadline that might be challenging for me!

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  19. Awesome, I love having lots scheduled ahead as it takes the pressure off and helps if you get a paid post that needs to be done. I LOVE twitter lists and can't believe there are some people that don't use them. I adore this post, it is organisational perfection to a geek like me. Thanks for linking up to #TheLIst x

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    1. It's great to be organised and feel on top of everything isn't it - I remembr a few times last year feeling swamped at times by it all - hopefully that will never happen again. Also really helps when I'm providing deadline dates as I can easily see when I have a space in my schedule that needs to be filled x

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  20. I do already implement most of these but I think I definitely need a checklist as I tend to only share when I remember/get a few spare minutes too! x

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    1. A checklist feels great - definitely worth trying, especially if your computer is on all of the time already

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  21. Loving your list 'Monica' ;) I seriously need to sort myself a spreadsheet now!

    I've been much better at keeping a note in my diary of when I want to publish things but I still feel that sometimes I've neglected the 'sharing' side of things. And I definitely need to reply to comments and read more blogs! There's soooo much for us all to think about isn't there?! Eek

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper

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  22. Thanks for sharing your tips like this. It's hard for a new blogger without people like you showing the way :)

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  23. Love this post. Thanks for sharing. Must try and get better at this.

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  24. Hope you don't mind that, as a new blogger, I'm pinching some of your ideas on your checklist. Many thanks x

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  25. Great post, thanks. It is exactly what I was looking for. Trying to be more organised with my blog and this will help me loads x

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  26. How have I only just seen this now. Amazing tips x

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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