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Prepare Your Blog For the Festive Season: a Step-by-step Guide

Over the weekend, we ran a short series of interviews with bloggers of different types, to get a feel for how they’re preparing for the festive season.

Christmas

Image courtesy stock.xchng user danyba


We spoke to the owners of:

If that series made you realize how underprepared you are for the coming weeks, don’t worry. Today’s post is a checklist for getting ready.

1. Have you worked out when you’ll take a break?

The first thing to do is get out the calendar. Work out when you won’t want to be blogging, and block those days (or weeks!) out.

Now you know how much time you have to work with.

2. Do you know what you want to get out of this period?

The benefits of setting some goals up front are two-fold.

First, goals will help you set your priorities for the next few weeks. Second, they’ll help you assess your efforts when you come back to your blog in 2013. They might even help you improve on your work when the festive season rolls around again in a year’s time.

Set a few goals. They might be as simple as maintaining regular posting and social media schedules, or as detailed as setting expectations for sales and tracking the sources of traffic that converts.

3. Do you know what you need to do to get there?

List the tasks you’ll need to achieve your goals.

If you want to maintain a twice-a-week positing schedule, how much writing time will you need? How much editing time? Will you work any affiliate promotions into those posts? Which ones, and when will they run? When’s the best time to promote those posts?

Make a list of all the things you need to do. Then, schedule them. Think a long time in advance, and get right into the details. Don’t just make a note to curate ten tweets to autopublish over the festive period. Schedule the time you’ll need to find quality content to include in those tweets.

Without taking your plans to this level of granularity, you’ll run the risk of underestimating the time and energy you’ll need to do everything on your list. Which leads me to…

4. Have you prioritized your priorities?

This is an extra step, but one you may well end up doing. You may already have found that your eyes were bigger than your stomach, so to speak, when you set your goals for the period. If you can’t fit everything in, check your top priorities and consider whether you’d be happy if you just achieved those.

This should help you focus as the inevitable distractions and schedule-changes come up in the coming weeks … and you run out of time!

Tip: Consider making your own checklist for every one of the tasks you need to do, so that you can avoid waking up in a panic because you forgot to find images for a post, or to encode your affiliate links in that email you’re autosending.

5. Have you got things ready for your return in 2013?

Getting ready for the festive season isn’t just about getting through to January 1, 2013. It’s also about hitting the ground running when you get back to your desk.

The lead-up to the break, at a time when you’ve just set all these goals, is to write a to-do list for Day 1, 2013. Include:

  • checking emails, stats, and social listening to find out what you missed while you were offline (assuming you were offline!)
  • goal-setting for the new year (if you haven’t done that during the break)
  • reconnecting with others who you can help—and can be helped by—in the coming 12 months.

This is the basic checklist I use to make sure I’m on track through the festive season and beyond. What about you? Share your tips and advice for keeping your blog going through the silly season below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Ian says:

    Is this one of your scheduled posts for the holiday season?

  2. I have seen my uncle preparing his blog for every season we have in India. I thought I too should have do that with my blog but later I dropped that idea as my blog is not that kind of blog. I write tutorials and tips & tricks it would become a joke if I do so.

    But when I read the title here on your blog I thought like reading the article and that’s the reason I came up with it. But, still I believe not to do this with my blog us it could ruin its image. What you will say, Darren?

  3. Pauline says:

    I haven’t thought about what to do with my blog over the holiday. I am thinking a few scheduled posts and automated tweets, with minimal online presence on other blogs. I offered a few guest posts to other bloggers too, although I think the exposure will be reduced.

  4. Sreejesh says:

    My basic checklist would be, researching topics for next few weeks in advance and write only when inspiration strikes, I don’t like to follow a stick time table to write but a basic plan is a must though. I would also want to carry a special handbook only for the festive season, to take down thoughts.

  5. A plan is always a great way to make sure that you don’t over work yourself during the festive season. Also it allows you to have better goals than simpley ‘don’t eat to much’

  6. best.step.to.better.profesional.blogger

  7. shamsudeen says:

    The coming weeks for me is going to be a very busy one with my blog,considering the fact that my blog is a new one and presently i blog per-time .So the holidays will allow me to blog full-time.
    Am not taking any day off from my blog,i’ll used the opportunity to increase the frequency of blog post and do more research on how to improve the over all quality of my blog.Thanks Darren,i take along with me your third point,that really hit my brain.

  8. Wade says:

    I am a sucker for fixing my blog up for the holidays! I love the festivities and I will use these tactics to help my blog!

  9. Brad says:

    I recently decided to launch full-time into my blog, starting with a series of educational posts. I wrote my entire educational series up as an outline, so that it would follow logically, and I type up 2 or 3 posts each off day to schedule for the next week. Then, inbetween my scheduled posts, I do quickie little editorial things as they occur to me. The main thing I’m doing for the holidays is getting my affiliate links in place for the shopping season. I haven’t achieved the level of guest-posting and email blasts, yet (my highest day so far was under 30 page views). I have to say, though, I’m really glad a buddy of mine turned me on to this blog!

  10. abbhas says:

    but we can change the static page for festival seasons also knw which may look professional

  11. Tom Clark says:

    You can’t beat the autopilot feeling! This year in going to be scheduling posts and arranging guest posts across the two niches I work in- making money teaching guitar and beginner guitar tuition. Great stuff!

  12. Great tips on blogging for the holidays. Business-related activities often slow down around the holiday season because people often take vacations. Bloggers should know how to get back on track as soon as the New Year comes in.