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July 9, 2015

Set a blog schedule

by Donna Huber

I strongly believe one of the reasons Girl Who Reads is as successful as it is is because I use a calendar and schedule posts. I started keeping a calendar of sorts early on and with each passing year I get better at keeping the calendar and scheduling posts in advance.

One of my blog goals is to scheduled at least 90% of the posts for the month by the start of the month. I have not been able to accomplish that yet, but I'm getting better with getting a week's worth of posts scheduled by the start of the week. Once I finish this post I will have all the week day posts done.

Having a calendar and a plan for each week has really helped me accomplish this. When I sit down to put together a post I don't have to spend timing thinking about what I am blogging about.

It is a BIG time saver.

Here's a look at my calendar for July.

As you can see most of the dates have a topic already assigned to it. I had this set up by the end of June and I've put some feelers out as to what might fill in the last few days. I actually have an interview lined up for the last week, we just have to work out the date.

How do you start a calendar?

The first step to setting up a blog schedule is to determine what day(s) you are going to blog. Whether you blog 7 days, 5 days, 3 days, or just 1 day a week, it is important to consistently blog on a set day. Keeping a calendar will help you with that consistency as well as you will never have the excuse of "I don't know what to blog about today".

It is even more important if you blog multiple times a week.

I start with filling in the calendar with my feature columns. Alison, Chris, Heather, Ross, and Kathleen all have a set day each month that their posts appear so that's easy to put on the calendar. I also know that the monthly new releases column will come out at the first of the month so that goes on the calendar. And then there are my tips posts. I know they will be on Thursdays, but I'm trying to plan out what the topic will be for the entire month.

Next, I put on the calendar any guest posts, interviews, blog tours that we have set dates for.

Finally, I consider the books I have to review. If I have a book on my list that is coming out during the month I will pencil in the review for the day of the release. I also look at books that I have read and haven't yet posted a review for and put them on the calendar. If Elisabeth or Claire have sent me reviews I put their reviews on the calendar or I ask them about their review plans for the month.

Then for any holes in the schedule I put a call out to authors for guest posts/interviews or think about other content - lists, memes, etc.

You need to determine the types of posts you want to do and then assign them dates.

Now comes the real work of making a blog calendar work for you:

Scheduling your posts

Set aside time each week to work on your blog posts. I use the early mornings on Saturday and Sunday when I'm still waking up/eating breakfast and Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday evenings. I find that it is better for my schedule to get as much of my blogging done on the weekends. It is much more difficult for me to blog weekdays. I sit at a computer everyday at work so coming home and sitting at another computer for an hour isn't really productive. I rather do the yard/house work during the evenings.

You will need to find a time that works best for you.

I try to do two posts at a time. I pair a post I have to write (my tips posts or a review I'm writing) with a post that I'm just formatting (promo posts, guest posts). I've recently started posting 7 days a week, so I need at least 3 blogging sessions to get all week done. Occasionally, I do 3 or 4 posts if  I have a larger block of time. Like on Sunday, I had a bit more time because of the rainy weekend so I wrote my review, my tips post, and formatted Alison's and Claire's posts. (Granted it took me Thursday, Friday and Saturday to write Sunday's read along post).

Start small. I aim for an attainable goal. I don't always get all my posts schedule in advance. Then I'm scrambling the night before and my posts suffer for it.

A goal may be to set up the meme posts you are doing that week in advance. Or format all the guest posts you have. You don't have to focus just on the upcoming week. I really need to start writing my reviews as soon as I finish a book even if I'm not going to post the review until next month. The more posts you set up and schedule in advance the more time you will have for other things and the better your posts will be.

By getting posts done ahead of time you will have time to go back over them and catch those pesky typos.

What do you do with your blog to save time?

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  1. I have two weeks worth of my free romance meme reviews and regular reviews ready, and I add in a few things as they come along (random memes or non-review but talking about book type-posts). I have the bad habit of posting reviews on goodreads as I finish them, but saving them to put up on my blog when the next week comes along. Wondering if I should do the opposite and let my blog be the 'first' with that kind of stuff :/ still trying to figure out this blogging business lol!

    1. I typically write up a short review (2-3 sentences) on Goodreads as soon as I finish the book. Then when the full review is live on my blog I go back and put a link to the full review. I get a bit of traffic that way.