If you’re here reading this, you probably already know how crucial a blog is to helping people find your site. Blogging is extremely important for creating more pages to be indexed by search engines, more content that searchers can find, and useful or interesting information that people will share and link to. The problem is that unless you write some amazing post that instantly goes viral (hint: probably not gonna happen), a blogging strategy takes time to mature and show results. When prioritising tasks, it’s all too easy to decide to do the thing with the immediate benefit, and that’s why blogs so often fall off after a few weeks of posts.
Your blog also doesn’t have deadlines unless you’ve set them out for yourself. Even if you have done this though, writing the post will probably be the easiest deadline to break. When you have one of those crazy days where your to-do list turns into an emergency triage, you’re probably going to save the other tasks, and leave blogging to bleed out. And there’s a decent enough reason for this: There really isn’t that much urgency to blogging usually. Sure, you need to stay fairly consistent, but two posts per week doesn’t mean you absolutely must post on Monday and Thursday without fail.
Probably the biggest challenge to staying on top of your blogging duties is that it’s just not very easy. Sure, there are some people who find writing comes naturally and easily, but for most people this just isn’t the case. Writing well is hard and it can take a long time to write even a short post. So with all these impediments to consistent blogging, you may now be wondering how you can ever manage to do it.
The secret to consistent blog posting is to simply get in the habit of it. It’s not really so much different than anything else you do regularly, like reading and replying to emails. The trick is to simply make it a priority and stick to it. And the good news is that once you can do this, everything about it gets easier. From brainstorming a topic, to writing, editing and posting, a few weeks into keeping a firm blogging schedule, you’ll find the whole process has been sped up immensely.
You’ll have to determine for yourself when the best time to do your blogging is. If you really are a creature of habit, or are really worried about getting the posts written, you may want to set specific times for when you must write posts. But the best time to write a blog post really, is when you think of a topic. When inspiration strikes, you should write as much as time allows. If you can write the whole post, great, but even if all you can do is jot down a few notes, that’s fine too. Finding inspiration, of course, is its own battle.
Finding topics to blog about
There will be times when the topics almost seem to find you, and other times when you’ll feel so helplessly lost, or feel like you’ve already written every plausible post there is to be written. Inspiration is everywhere though, you just need to know where to look, and that means reading. You need to read what your intended audience reads, and that’s true whether you plan on blogging or not. If you have time to read RSS feeds, then great. If all you can do is follow a few industry thought leaders on Twitter, no problem. Just read their tweeted links.
You will probably be amazed at just how much topic inspiration you’ll find in reading. Rarely will a post or article address every question you have, and any unanswered question is a great topic for a blog post. Other people probably have questions of their own too, and you can find these by skimming over the comments. If you’re really stuck for inspiration, you can even just write a reaction to what you just read, basically like you used to do for your school English homework. You’ll almost certainly find an interesting angle once you begin, and if you can turn that post into a dialogue with the writer you’re responding to, even better.
When you have a topic but you just can’t write
We’re not going to call this writer’s block. Writer’s block happens to people working on novels, not bloggers. Sometimes though, you just can’t start writing no matter how hard you try. This is a common point where people abandon their blogging consistency. There’s a simple cure for this fortunately, and that’s to just write. Really. That may sound patronising, and we don’t mean it to be, but that’s all it takes. Just stop worrying about whether or not every sentence you write will be good enough for the finalised post.
Let’s say your blog post topic is ‘How to find new Twitter accounts to follow’ and you’re stuck for what to write. Write this: I don’t know what to write. I’m supposed to be blogging about the way to find accounts to follow on Twitter but I can’t think of anything to write. I know about this topic, but I just can’t think of what to write. When I want to find new accounts to follow, I start by opening Twitter in a browser and seeing their recommendations for who to follow. These are based on… And that’s it. Write what you know, and write it like a journal entry. Pretty soon you’ll realize you’re basically writing your post, and a slight change in tone and voice is all you need to make. The time it takes to write a few sentences you may not use later is nothing compared to the time you can waste staring at a white screen and flashing cursor.
Google looks for consistency in posting; a stagnant site looks like an unmaintained site. Hopefully your blog starts to build an audience as well, and even more so than Google, they’ll want to see new content regularly. Depending on what your blog is for, maintaining it could range from not-very-important to do-or-die. Some businesses, particularly those selling software products, ebooks or online courses get a majority of their sales leads through their blog. And that’s just directly. The backlinks a blog can generate can do wonders for a site’s SEO, meaning organic traffic from Google is also partly attributable to the blog. It can seem like a pain, and like something not that important, but if you’re going to keep a blog, it’s essential to stay on top of it. Luckily, once you get going, it’s not all that hard to do.