Sometimes, your blog can be left a little neglected. Despite promises to blog consistently, things can happen in your work or personal life, or you might just be experiencing writer’s block. It is understandable, however, with the availability of free online blogging tools, blogging and keeping a schedule has never been easier.
This article will follow the blogging process – from idea generation to publication – and give you free tools to help with each step. This way, you have no more excuses to not blog consistently and get that traffic to your website.
1. Get That Perfect Idea with BuzzSumo
Have you had that problem where you want to blog consistently but you just don’t know what to write about?
It is a problem that can really prevent you from publishing content on a regular basis.
Next time you open a document up to start writing only to draw a blank, check out BuzzSumo.
BuzzSumo is a great way to check out what is trending in your specified industry. Then, you can see what topics your target audience is most interested in (but bear in mind, the free version only lets you see the top 4-5 posts).
Add your own perspective or approach to the subject, and you have a winning idea.
2. Manage Your Editorial Calendar with Google Calendar
One of the methods to ensure that you blog consistently is to create and follow an editorial calendar. This means that you have all your blog posts planned out in advance, avoiding the scenario of getting to publication day and realising that you have yet to write a post.
Google Calendar is a free tool that can help you keep track of important dates in your schedule. As you can see, I like to start posts a week in advance but you can do fortnightly or monthly depending on your preference (or even a few months in advance if you are super organised). You can easily change the colour of the label depending on what the reminder is about, e.g. writing the post, editing the post, for better organisation.
It gives you an overall view of your editorial calendar as well so you can easily see everything that is happening and what you have to do on any given day.
3. Track Your Progress with Trello
Now that you have your editorial calendar all set up, it is time to track your individual blog post progress.
Depending on how you work, this could mean breaking down the blogging process into sub tasks such as writing the content, sourcing/taking images, editing content, editing images, etc.
Trello is a very easy project management tool to use. As they say on their website, it keeps “track of everything from the big picture to the minute details”.
They even have an editorial calendar template that you can use as a supplement your Google Calendar. While you cannot easily see tasks at a glance by their due dates like in Google Calendar, it helps you keep track of where you are up to in the blogging process.
For example, their template is categorised by “Research”, “Writing”, “Editing”, “Graphics” and so forth. However, you can change it depending on your preference and what best suits you. I have used Trello before with the headings “To Do”, “Doing”, “Pending Review”, “Done” which worked really well.
It is a great collaborative tool to use because it comes with the ability to use independently or with a team and you can assign a task to a specific team member. You can also add attachments, graphics, links, checklists, and comment on tasks, making it a more in-depth management tool to use alongside Google Calendar.
4. Write Your Post Using Google Docs
There are many great tools to use to help write your posts. If you are like me and you like to write your post on a separate document before exporting it to WordPress or the CMS that you use, then I am sure you would have used Google Docs one time or another.
Google Docs is an easy- to-use word document tool that has everything you need to completely format your post, ready for publication.
5. Export Your Post with Wordable
Now, if you have used Google Docs, you would have also noticed that it isn’t the best tool to use to copy-and-paste your post into another system. The formatting almost always goes wrong, especially if you have images.
It can be really annoying having to fix everything up and make it ready for publication again, which is where Wordable comes in.
In just a click of a button, you can export your document straight to WordPress without having to fiddle with the layout or fix anything up. It appears just as you left it, which saves you so much time (as well as a headache!).
Please bear in mind though, you are only given 4 free exports per month.
6. Edit Your Post with Grammarly
Now, there is nothing more off-putting than typos in a post which is why I recommend using Grammarly.
Grammarly is a free tool that you can install in your extension and it automatically checks your content for spelling and grammar errors.
Now it isn’t perfect. Sometimes it can get things wrong because it doesn’t understand the full context of your sentence but it is a great starting point to help make your post perfect.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on Google Docs so I suggest using the Doc spelling and grammar checker there, and then once you use Wordable to export the post, check it again with Grammarly. It works in WordPress too!
7. Capitalise Your Headings with Title Capitalization
Here is a fun fact about me. I am very lazy when it comes to capitalising headings including titles and subheadings.
Whether or not you like to capitalise each word in a heading really depends on your preference, though this is a practice that I do adopt myself.
But like I said, I get pretty lazy so I use a tool called Title Capitalization (American spelling).
All you have to do is type your title into the bar or even just copy and paste one in. It will then automatically capitalise the appropriate words. Then just copy and paste it back into your post.
It is as easy as that!
There are different styles that are available such as AP Style and Chicago Manual of Style. The option I choose capitalises words with five or more letters.
However, it doesn’t really matter which one you choose to use, as the key here is consistency. Whether you want to keep your headings lowercase except for the first word or capitalise words with four or five letters, make sure that you stick to it.
Readers generally won’t notice which one you choose but they will notice if the format keeps changing.
8. Schedule/Publish Your Posts with WordPress (or any other CMS)
The only CMS I have used is WordPress. However, I am sure that the scheduling and publishing tool is pretty similar across all systems.
You can easily set the date and time to when you want your post to be published according to your editorial calendar.
This way, you won’t have to worry about remembering when to publish posts because this will all be taken care of, making it that much easier to blog consistently.
With our busy on-the-go lifestyles, it can be very challenging to make the time to blog consistently, even when we want to. Factors such as writer’s block can prevent us from maintaining a regular blogging schedule that can really help drive traffic to our website’s and establish a loyal following.
With these online tools available, hopefully, this will make it easier for you to be able to blog consistently.
What other methods do you use to keep a regular blog schedule? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to know!