There are any number of reasons that someone blogs. This is not about why someone blogs.
There are a wide selection of platforms that can be used to publish a blog. This is not about where someone blogs.
There are many types of bloggers using blogs for entertainment or communication. This is not about who blogs.
There are as many content types as there are stars in the sky. This is not about what someone blogs.
There are all types of schedules that a blogger maintains. This is not about when someone blogs.
This is a blog on tools to help you blog.
- I do not know what to blog about.
Blog about what you know.
It is the basic of all creative writing. Write about what you know. Share your knowledge with others.
Decide what topics interest you and make a list. Decide what topics you want to share with others.
Do not over-think this.
If you like purple ice cream, and you want to share a great recipe for huckleberry ice cream, then do so. It does not matter if five of your eight friends do not like purple ice cream, three of your friends do, and they may know three more people who would love purple ice cream. Never underestimate the power of networking and the incredible tool that the Internet has become.
Even those five who do not like purple ice cream will share your blog post because they are your friends, and they want your purple ice cream recipe to be shared with everyone.
- I cannot get my thoughts organized.
There are tools to help you get organized that will be shared at the end of this post. Until then, keep a tablet or notepad next to your keyboard or in your pocket and write down what interests you. If you jot down notes continually, you will find a full list of new ideas at the end of the day.
If you are going about your daily routine, and you see fresh huckleberries at the grocery store, you may decide that a bin of those will make a great purple ice cream. Write yourself a note right there in the grocery store to write about purple ice cream. Whether you decide to pick up the huckleberries or not is immaterial; the idea that you have created a topic is much more relevant.
See the end for organizational tools.
- I do not know how to organize my blogs.
Regardless of where you host your blog, you need to keep them organized if you have more than one. There are several stand alone software programs that will help in that regard.
Many bloggers write in word processing software before they publish. The articles or posts may be written in Word, but remember that Word is full of contrary coding that can blow a blog template out of the water. When you use a stand alone editor to do your blogging, you do not need to be online to write. You can schedule and connect your blog posts to your blogging platform as long as it is one of the standard platforms, like Blogger or WordPress.
When you write offline, you have a back up of your posts as long as you save them in drafts periodically.
LiveWriter by Microsoft – the editor of choice for many with support for many blog platforms. Windows. Free. – This blog editor will work with Artfiire blogs if you copy and paste the contents. That includes photos and their links as long as you insert them into the post in Live Writer.
BlogJet – the second most popular stand alone editor that works on many blog platforms. Windows. Paid
BlogDesk – good, recommended blog editor, but not as good as Live Writer. Windows. Free. *** If Live Writer is discontinued from the Microsoft stable, this will be the preferred alternative.
RocketPost – another recommended blog editor. Windows. Paid.
MarsEdit – the favorite among Mac bloggers. Mac. Free.
MacJournal – journaling editor that with blogging capabilities. It also contains an internal journal for personal use rather than publishing. Mac. Paid.
Ecto – an extremely popular editor that can post cross-platform. Mac. Paid.
Artfire bloggers: A personal pet peeve about inserting photos in the Artfire blog keeps it from being user friendly. As you enter more photos, you duplicate the photos by the number of photos inserted, which makes this a pain in the rear to use since you have to remove the duplicate photos as you work. This is why using a stand alone editor like Live Writer is a bonus. You only need to add the photo once.
- I do not know how to maintain more than one blog.
Some of the editor software will help you to maintain more than one blog across a variety of platforms. If you have WordPress attached to your website, but do all your other blogging on Blogger, you can use Live Writer to flip back and forth between blogs regardless of the platform. This makes it very easy to sit down and complete all your blog posts offline or at a time that is convenient to you. Then you simply schedule the post.
In addition to editors, there is a number of sites that offer blogging notebooks and other tools. Of course, it is all up to personal preference, but I have found that like the little notebooks that I keep, I keep a running excel spreadsheet that keeps me organized. I print out what I need and add to the list as I organize my daily notes.
If I have a mini notebook full of notes from a trip, I will come back to the spreadsheet and jot them down. My latest venture has notes like: blueberries, spearmint, peppermint and pears – these are some of the many signs I saw along the highway as I passed through farms in Washington. I also have a note that says Forks and a photo of the red truck used in the movie Twilight. I have a note that says Sully’s. This was a hamburger joint in Forks. These are only a couple of my newest ideas.
Here is how I set up my spreadsheet.
My posts are categorized into groups.
I try and add at least one of each to the week, although I do not always manage to get that done. As you will see, most of my posts are either Marketing or FYI.
This post will be considered an FYI post, just like any post that I do on travel or other fun things.
Marketing posts include my Mother’s Day posts, mid-week posts on stones, colors or other things that I include links to studio and shop items.
Humor is simply humor.
Recipes are great things that I like to eat or create in the kitchen.
DIY is not really a tutorial, but a collection of things that I have found to try or would love to try.
Tutorial is something I show everyone how to make.
Since I have worked with editorial calendars, I use one to make up my blog post lists. I have converted an editorial calendar from Content Marketing Institute into my own editorial calendar. http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/CMIEditorialCalendarTemplate.xls You can download the template and revamp it to suit your own style. Those without excel will want to look for an open source that can open this type of file.
Here is what mine looks like:
|Be Careful What You Put Your Name On||BME|
|Glacier National Park||BME||5/2|
|The Price of Doing Business||BME|
|San Francisco Seals||BME|
|Carousels - Hershey||BME|
|How To Deal with Complaints||BME||4/25|
|Gold On Pants||BME|
|Double Decker Bathroom||BME||4/23|
|Springtime in Yellowstone||BME||3/28|
|Shooting the commercial||BME|
|Olympic National Park||BME|
|Twilite and Forks||BME|
I lost my hilites in the paste process, but you can see my published date and which blog (BME) that I will be posting it to. I have four blogs that I schedule posts.
|Sunday, April 21, 2013|
|Monday, April 22, 2013|
|Tuesday, April 23, 2013||Double Decker Bathroom||BME - General Fun||FYI|
|Wednesday, April 24, 2013||Mother's Day - Lavender||Promotional||Marketing|
|Thursday, April 25, 2013||How To Deal With Complaints||BME - General Fun||Marketing|
|Friday, April 26, 2013||MD-BlogHop11||Promotional||Marketing|
|Saturday, April 27, 2013||ckdin - 4-20 update||Guild Update||Marketing|
|Sunday, April 28, 2013|
|Monday, April 29, 2013|
|Tuesday, April 30, 2013||May Blu Print||BME - General Fun||Marketing|
|Wednesday, May 01, 2013||Mother's Day - Brown||Promotional||Marketing|
|Thursday, May 02, 2013||BME - General Fun||FYI|
|Friday, May 03, 2013||MD-BlogHop12||Promotional||Marketing|
|Saturday, May 04, 2013||ckdin - 4-27 update||Guild Update||Marketing|
|Sunday, May 05, 2013|
|Monday, May 06, 2013|
|Tuesday, May 07, 2013||BME - General Fun||Marketing|
|Wednesday, May 08, 2013||Mother's Day - Orange||Promotional||Marketing|
|Thursday, May 09, 2013||BME - General Fun||FYI|
|Friday, May 10, 2013|
|Saturday, May 11, 2013||ckdin - 5-4 update||Guild Update||Marketing|
My calendar from my scheduled posts.
|Tuesday, April 16, 2013||Shake Rattle and Roll|
|Wednesday, April 17, 2013||Oh, Snail Spit and Drama|
|Thursday, April 18, 2013||Wax Lips and Fingertips|
|Friday, April 19, 2013||MD-BlogHop10|
|Saturday, April 20, 2013||ckdin - 4-13 update|
|Sunday, April 21, 2013|
|Monday, April 22, 2013|
|Tuesday, April 23, 2013||5-Star Accommodations|
|Wednesday, April 24, 2013||Gentle Decadence|
|Thursday, April 25, 2013||How To Turn Unhappy Customers Around|
|Friday, April 26, 2013||MD-BlogHop11|
|Saturday, April 27, 2013||ckdin - 4-20 update|
|Sunday, April 28, 2013|
|Monday, April 29, 2013|
|Tuesday, April 30, 2013||May Blu Print|
|Wednesday, May 01, 2013||Give Me All Your Chocolate and No one Will Get Hurt|
My calendar from my completed posts. This includes the title and date. It will correspond with the above scheduled calendar. April 23 was the day I had decided to post my topic Double Decker Bathroom. When I finished the post, I logged the title 5-Star Accommodations.
As you can see, I am outrageously anal about schedules and timetables. I have calendars for my calendars. My daytimer has its own daytimer.
I use the planner/calendar to determine my monthly planning, and I created a page for my ideas that I highlight once I have done the blog post. That way I can see what I have done, and I can do follow up or additional posts on the topic if needed.
http://www.kingsoftstore.com/office/free-excel can open and create excel spreadsheets.
My blogging schedule was whacked for the summer as I had so many other projects on the boards, but now that fall is around the corner, I will get back to my regular blogging routine.
I hope some of these things will help you in your blogging future. If you do not need these ideas, feel free to pass them on to others who may. It’s that networking thing!
Julie and Blu