5 Simple Steps To A Super Blogatude

I published my first blog post on a brand new, free WordPress site early in 2011, and although I moved to a self-hosted site a year later, I’ve published new content consistently since that first post. Does it get old? Oh, yeah. Blogging requires a time commitment. Did I get discouraged early on? YES! When I first started I had huge anxiety around what to write about. Did I do it anyway? Absolutely. I eventually got more organized, I created a strategy, I focused my posts, and it paid off. Here’s the process I use to run my blog. Consider this my “model for success.” If this approach helps you look at your blog in a new way, my work is done!

Note Paper1. Know why you’re blogging
Why do you blog? If your answer is “because I think I should,” your reply just may increase the odds that you’ll quit. There are lots of reasons to work at building a successful blog. If you’re an author, blogging is an important tool in your book promotion tool box. Blogging sells you, meaning your unique voice. It teaches you about social media and the online world, it helps you forge alliances with other authors and bloggers, and it brings traffic to your website, which lets people know about your books and enhances your name recognition with readers and search engines.

2. Commit to posting new content regularly
Blogging takes time and discipline. People who blog know that, and it’s actually what keeps a lot of on-the-fence bloggers from jumping in. Time – or the lack of it – also keeps bloggers who’ve started from continuing. Starting with a single post every week makes the mountain easier to climb. I actually committed to posting once a week early on in my blogging career. Later, I incorporated the strategy of  hosting guest posters once a month, which means I’m responsible for only 3 monthly posts. That is so doable! Just keep in mind that a successful blog can be built without posting three times a week!

3. Decide on several overall subject categories
I blogged wildly for over eight months before I smartened up and focused on 3 or 4 subject categories (each houses a range of topics). Categories can be general, such as personal essays (yeah, that covers everything), posts about your books and writing processes, and one or two non-fiction topics you use as themes in your novels and that you’re passionate about. Examples: Cooking, nature, gardening, personal growth, or environmentalism. Establishing categories will focus your efforts, draw readers who relate, and help you organize your blogging time. If you struggle for ideas, check out my popular post, 101 Fabulous Blog Topic Ideas.

4. Here’s my secret: Outline the chapters of a non-fiction book for each subject category
Once I had my general subject categories, I identified three future titles and outlined the content of each one, chapter by chapter. Now, most of my posts cover one of those chapter topics and act as a first draft for the book I’ll publish (sometime!) in the future. That way, each blog post helps move another project forward. I’m flexible, of course, about these outlines. Topics can be added at will. This means my blogging time =  future income via potential book sales, or an important freebie I can use as a subscriber incentive. This element also became another important reason why I blog.

5. Look at everything you learn, do, or research as a potential post
If I learn a new process, I write down the steps as I go and turn it into an article. If I attend a webinar, I take notes, put my own spin on it, give the presenter credit for the content, then turn it into a blog post. If I trip while I’m going down the stairs – yeah, you got it. Of course, you’ll be viewing your activities through the lens of your own subject categories, but you get my drift.

I can’t help you create more time to post regularly, but I know the time you spend writing and publishing posts pays off. Whenever I question the time my blog eats up, or I run out of steam about my intentions, I revisit my commitment strategy. It helps remind me why my blog is an important tool in my author/writer’s toolbox.

Readers, what’s your blogging strategy? Is your blogatude “full steam ahead” or “abandon ship?” What tricks do you use to make the process easier? Leave a comment and share!

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26 Responses to 5 Simple Steps To A Super Blogatude

  1. Anne R. Allen February 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Spot-on advice. I love your 101 topics for blogging!

    • Molly Greene February 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

      My pleasure, thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Molly Greene February 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

      Thanks, Anne!

  2. Debbie Johansson February 17, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    Great advice Molly. No.4 is an interesting idea – I’ll have to try that one. I’ve also found your 101 topic blog ideas very helpful. Thanks for the tips!

    • Molly Greene February 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

      Hey Debbie, thanks so much!

  3. Elizabeth Ducie February 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    Another great post Molly. Your 101 blog topics is one of my favourite resources. I stumbled into No. 4 with my posts on Writing as a Small Business; in other words, I realised after I’d posted for a year that I had the makings of a book. However, I’d not thought of planning it like that in advance of posting. So thanks for yet another useful top.

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      My pleasure, Elizabeth! I needed a way to make better sense of the time I spent writing posts and hit on that idea. It works for me, so happy to hear it’ll work for you, too!

  4. Wendy February 18, 2014 at 1:27 am #

    Another of your posts printed off for closer reading. Always good advice, Molly, Each element full of sense,

    One of the joys of my life is your suggestion 5. Life is full of these inspirations and it adds spice to daily experience to see blog essays flowering there,

    My subject categories would be: my own books, the writing publishing process, old style taken for granted feminism, art and history.. I imagine you mioght say this range was too wide, but this is my life, wx

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2014 at 7:43 am #

      I’m not in a position to say that any range is too wide, Wendy, as one of my categories is personal essays – and that pretty much covers anything, anywhere, anytime. Thank you so much for your lovely comment!

  5. Norah Colvin February 18, 2014 at 2:56 am #

    Hi Molly,
    Another great post with timely reminders – thanks! I have been blogging for (I was going to say ‘only’ but changed my mind) six months now and have learned a lot, much of it via your useful advice; but I am also learning for myself. When I started I set a goal of two posts a week and with only a few exceptions have kept to it. I am thinking of reducing it to once a week soon, so that I can spend more time on other writing also. Using guest posts and re-blogging others’ posts will aid this also. I like your idea of writing the posts as chapters to culminate in a book. I’ll have to think about that and see how I can incorporate it. I am ready for the next step in my learning curve and excited about where it may take me. I don’t see this adventure drawing to a close yet – indeed it is just beginning!

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      Norah, blogging is an incredible adventure in introspection, discipline, the craft of writing, and learning to navigate online. Congrats to you on your blogging path, and I’m sure this is just the first of many chapters!

  6. Stephanie Faris February 18, 2014 at 3:41 am #

    Great tips! It’s funny–I now spend my life writing blogs and articles for other people (mostly businesses). I often am required to come up with ideas for their blogs and I don’t seem to have too much trouble doing so. But when it comes to my own blog, I usually have no idea what to write about!

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2014 at 7:46 am #

      Thanks so much, Stephanie. I struggled with blog topic subjects for a long time, as well – but those days are over for me now, and I hope this article helps you through that phase, too!

  7. Sally Jenkins February 18, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    I love point no. 4 – what a great way of drafting a non-fiction e-book without too much extra effort!

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2014 at 10:37 am #

      Thanks, Sally! It really changes the way we look at writing blog posts, doesn’t it?

  8. Tyin C Krysset February 18, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Great Post Molly! I just realized that I always enjoy your material each week, but never say so…….. Just wanted you to know! Looking forward to more…

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2014 at 11:27 am #

      Thank you so, so much!

  9. Laura Zera February 18, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    I still get tired of blogging sometimes, but overall, I love the benefits of community, information and feedback that blogging has given me. To me, having a long-running blog is the foundation of all the other things you do on the web. It’s home base. And, like you said, it’s your voice.

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

      You are so right, Laura – a blog is home base. And since I spend half my time on my blog, it feels more like my living room 🙂

  10. A.K.Andrew February 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    As always an extremely helpful post. I like your idea of scaling back and making things doable. Having a guest blogger once a month is a great idea. It’s hard to spend the time responding & commenting on top of actually writing the blog, but without reciprocation then what is the point? How do you choose whose blogs to comment on?

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

      Thanks, A.K.! It’s true, engaging with commenters takes a chunk of time, but that’s part of the point of blogging! As for which blogs to post comments on, I read a huge amount of posts every week but only leave a message when a subject is so compelling I can’t NOT comment. I don’t expect my regular readers to take time to comment every week, I just appreciate it when they do and hope the rest of the time my topics are helpful!

      • A.K.Andrew February 18, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

        Thanks Molly – that’s a good rule of thumb in terms of what to comment on. Garnering readership is one thing, but being disingenuous is another. Again, you hit the nail on the head – the subject needs to be compelling, and that’s really the only thing that matters.

  11. Gale Roanoake February 21, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    Molly, as a fairly new blogger I am beyond thrilled to read your great advice! I actually just shifted the focus of my blog, visioningwomen.com, a week ago to my nonfiction book-in-progress, and I love your suggestion about using posts to test (my interpretation) early drafts of its chapters/sub-sections. I also committed to write a post every week. So appreciate your other ideas and encouragement also!

    • Molly Greene February 21, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      Thanks, Gale. welcome to my blog and congrats on your WIP! If you’re seeking trad publishing keep in mind they may not want you to pre-publish chaps on your blog. Check into it. If you’re self-pubbing, it’s the only way to go!

      • Gale Roanoake February 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

        So happy then that I plan to self-publish!