Blogging Routines

Note: This post was originally published on Dukeo when I was a contributor there. 

Whether you’re new to the blogging scene or a veteran publisher, it’s important to establish a strong grasp on what to do after you’ve finished writing your new content. Perhaps even more important is keeping circulation high for older content. There’s a trick to this dynamic, though. The  first aspect is easy enough to handle. Finish your post or page, assign your category, make sure you set up SEO and share to the appropriate networks. This is a task that easily only requires 5 minutes, and we’ll break it down further later. On the other hand, those older posts that may not have been set up correctly because of what you didn’t know at the time can be daunting if there’s a number of them. Further, which ones would be best to promote first? Answering these questions, along with establishing ways to set up your blogging routines correctly will be our challenge today.

Let’s first dive into the problem of creating your blogging routines. We’ll be following some basic steps that can be achieved with any number of plugins or tools on your blog. I recommend starting with a new article instead of going back and doing this with an older post right away. If you have the time, it’s worth a quick write-up to get an actual feel for the full routine, which can help create more consistent habits. Ready, then? Follow these steps and you’ll immediately start seeing more traffic on your newly published articles.

The Blogging Routines

  1. SEO
    • Ugh, the dreaded term. There is controversy over the effectiveness of some search engine optimization strategies, but it does pay to do a little work on each blog post to ensure that it reaches the rest of the web safely. Make sure you’ve used your article title at least a couple of times in the content itself, set up a meta description, include some outbound links when appropriate and fill out those alt tags on your images. This is basic SEO that goes a long way.
  2. Share to 3 Big Networks
    • You can share to other audiences if you want, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re stretching yourself across 7 different social sites. If you don’t have a significant presence on all of them, just choose your most engaged audiences. If you don’t have 3, choose the one that is most regular for you, but begin concentrating on other opportunities. If you’ve got Facebook in the palm of your hand, turn some attention to Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. All of these options have a high potential for getting you more readers.
  3. Engage the Blogging Community
    • There are others out there that are just like you. They’re trying to spread their own articles. There are multiple communities online that allow you to share within groups. Triberr, LinkedIn and Facebook all have a collection of fellow bloggers who can help give you visibility and feedback.
  4. Submit to Directories and Feeds
    • Sites like StumbleUpon and Digg give bloggers a unique opportunity to add their own articles to the list of publications that can be discovered. There are also social media directories like JustRetweet that can help circulate your posts to other users.

These steps can be done in order, but they seem to be most effective when there’s a sequence. I’ve listed these in an order I’ve found to be especially effective, but you have to do what works best for you. The reward of establishing a habit of getting through a checklist like this each time you publish an article comes back to you in the form of improved search results, better web presence, more traffic being driven to your site and potential for new opportunities each time you expand your audience. The examples I gave for each are just that, a couple of things I’ve used in the past. You should certainly explore every option for yourself, and try to discover some new outlets that work well with your content.

Next, let’s get to those older articles. You’ve got so many you don’t know what to do and it’s scary to think of how much you missed out on when you first started your blog. Well, not all is lost. There’s an excellent chance that most of these posts have salvageable potential. Greater still is the possibility that they have, indeed, generated at least some traffic. Let’s break down the most apt way to approach weeding out your most successful blog posts. You can start by asking yourself and answering the following questions. Your Google Analytics report is going to come in handy, here.

  1. Does this post trigger popular key terms for my blog?
  2. How often do people visit for this particular article?
  3. Is this post receiving more comments than others?
  4. Are people actually sticking around on my site to read this (i.e. bounce rate)?

Cleaning Up, Organizing and Sharing

You probably already have a good grasp on which articles are most popular on your site, but this is a good way to narrow things down if there’s some competition between posts. The next step is simple, because all we’re going to do is run through our new publication checklist. Is there any SEO work on these posts at all? If so, touch it up and make sure it’s accomplishing what it needs to for your post to appear appropriately on the web. Chances are, you’re doing something right already if the post is getting attention, so just make sure everything is in order. Now we just need to share, engage and spread the post to new audiences.

A common question about this strategy comes with concern from those who have hundreds of publications, but an uncertainty about whether or not any of them are effective. A good way to test this is to take a few steps backward and see if your blog gets any significant traffic whatsoever. If you’re disappointed in what you find, don’t be discouraged. Let’s say you have 100 posts. Now compare the first 10 to your most recent 10. This is a good way to remind yourself that you have been getting better at writing. The point is that it becomes fairly simple to identify which of your writings is most worth the reader’s time, and in return, an investment on your part to make it more visible. There’s no sense in tackling everything you ever wrote. Pick your strong points and highlight them as much as possible.

For WordPress Users

If you’re using WordPress to host your blog like most, you’ll be able to find lots of tools that make this entire process easier. There are a vast amount of choices available to you to help with SEO, publicizing, sharing, site stats and so much more. Specifically for the older posts, there are automated services that allow you to send articles older than a certain amount of time back out to your networks. This cuts away at least a portion of each step you take to make sure that what you write is actually being read. If you have any questions about specific plugins, I’d be happy to answer in the comments below.

Break Down Your Goals

If things have gotten out of hand on your blog, this is a good time to reflect on what we’ve learned today. If you’re frustrated because you’re not getting any traffic, let’s face it, it can be easy to give up and move on. Oftentimes people even start anew; a fresh attempt at doing things right. However you approach the problem of bad blogging routines, I highly recommend breaking down your goals. If your first priority is to begin seeing more traffic on your newest articles, your task for tomorrow should be an attempt at going through my list, or creating a system of your own after your post goes live. Unfortunate as it is, we can’t realistically expect mass amounts of traffic on a blog overnight, and the process of cultivating your readership isn’t something you’ll complete in a day. Once you’ve created good habits, start going back through a few posts per day and really tighten up your blog’s best features. With some patience, determination and time you will see results.

All that’s left is to try. I hope what I’ve done in my own experiences can prove useful to you in some way, and I heartily encourage you to seek out multiples strategies. A few minutes of research can turn around your entire blogging experience, and something as simple as blogging routines can be the difference between rushing out the door in an unorganized frenzy and calmly taking on the rest of your day.