Do you write and publish your posts in one sitting? Many bloggers do. Unfortunately, this kind of posting habit presents a number of problems. For example:
- You won’t be able to develop a consistent posting rhythm. Your publish times will vary depending on whether you’re inspired, whether you have writer’s block, or whether you have time to write.
- It’s difficult to be relaxed as you write when you need to publish your post quickly.
- You’ll find yourself forced to publish what is really still a rough draft when your post takes longer than expected and you need to go somewhere, meet someone, or do something.
Writing hand-to-mouth can also hurt your blog’s traffic. If your posts appear whenever you’re able to write them, your readers will never be sure when to check your blog for an update. They’ll find it difficult to develop the habit of checking, and those that haven’t subscribed might start to forget you.
In this post, I want to outline a few methods you can use to develop the habit of writing posts in advance. It’s a habit that will save you a lot of stress in the long-run.
Write this week’s posts in one sitting
Instead of writing posts just before you publish them, try setting aside one day to write your posts for the rest of the week. It could be a few hours where the rest of the family is busy and you’re not, or the time and day when you tend to feel most creative.
Once you’ve written one post, you’ll find yourself able to write more smoothly as you tackle the next one. Your writing muscles are already warmed up. As you tick off posts, you’ll grow more confident in your abilities to produce good content, making each post easier to finish than the last.
Writing without the pressure of immediately having to publish what you’ve just written will also help you to be more relaxed as you write.
Once you’ve finished your posts for the week, you don’t have to think about producing content for seven days (unless you want to write for other blogs). You can publish your posts at the same time/day each week, meaning your readers will soon start to develop their own habit of checking your site for updates on those days when you regularly publish a new post.
Write one extra post per week
If writing a bunch of posts in one sitting is something you can’t imagine doing, I’d suggest developing the habit gradually by writing one surplus post each week. If you usually publish 4-5 times a week, you’ll be one week’s worth of posts ahead after a month.
You can use the head-start to write next week’s posts the week before, at whatever time suits you — whether you want to do them all at once or write a post every few days. Once again, you’ll be able to publish your posts in a consistent rhythm when it’s time to debut them for your readership.
Finish your drafts and half-written posts
Another quick way to get a head-start with your content is to finish off all those drafts and half-written posts saved inside your blogging software. If you’ve started them, and you have an idea of what you want to write, the hardest work is already done. You might find it takes very little time to finish off a number of posts that have been sitting in your drafts bin for weeks or months.
Photo by Mike9Alive.
Start posting like clockwork
Once you have a week’s worth of posts written in advance, you can publish your posts at the same time and same day each week. Your readers will start to know when to look for an update at your blog, meaning you can expect to receive nice spike of traffic at that time.
How to set your posts for timed release with WordPress
Check to see if your blog software allows you to set posts to future-publish. If you use WordPress, you can auto-post via the ‘Write Post’ screen of the article you want to set for timed release. Expand the ‘Post Timestamp’ sidebar heading, tick the ‘Edit timestamp’ box (important!) and set the time and date for when you want the post to appear on your blog. Then hit ‘Publish’.
Don’t worry — it won’t actually be published until your WordPress account’s clock reaches the time and date you’ve set for it.
A note: make sure your WordPress account’s time is the same as your own. From your Dashboard, go to Options –> General. You can change the settings under the ‘Time & Date’ subheading.
Use the habit to build a safety net
Once you’ve developed the habit of writing in advance, you can use it to start building a safety net of content to use when you’d like to take some time off blogging (or if something keeps you from blogging).
Very few bloggers have a team of guest-posters just rearing to write something as soon as we need them to. If we want to take time away from our blogs — or are forced to — many of us will have to earn it.
I strongly recommend that you have at least one week’s worth of posts saved in case of a blogging emergency. This will allow you to keep your blog running like clockwork for a week, even if things are a little chaotic for you during that time.
Food for thought: if you post four times a week and you write one extra post per week for three months, you’ll have enough content saved up to run your blog on autopilot for three weeks!
If you feel like a blogging holiday would help refresh and inspire you, you can use the habit of writing in advance to earn one. Why not start today?
Skellie is a regular writer for ProBlogger. Subscribe to her feed for more useful blogging advice.