Should you schedule WordPress posts?

I recently read a post by a blogger who mentioned he had posts ready for publication and scheduled on his blog for several months ahead. The comments to this statement were mostly appreciative but is that really such a good idea? Should you really schedule WordPress posts?Should you schedule wordpress posts

I can see the appeal. After all, content plans are important. This blogger was so organized, he made the plan and followed through right away. Now he has all the time in the world to work on site promotion without worrying about content. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

There are pros and cons to writing your posts in advance and using WordPress to schedule publication. It’s a great feature to have but one that can be overused to the point of becoming counterproductive. Let me explain.

The benefits of writing posts in advance

Writing your posts in advance and setting them to publish on certain dates certainly has its advantages.

1. Generate content at regular intervals

Consistent posting in regular intervals is good for a blog. Your audience learns to expect a certain frequency of updates be it a daily, weekly or monthly installments. Providing that helps establish your blog as a dependable presence in their online lives.

Preparing your content in advance can help you provide that level of consistency. It won’t matter if you’re busy working on another project, have to travel or if you’re experiencing a temporary writers’ block. Your content is there and gets published on the day, according to your content plan.

2. Take a break from writing and focus on other projects

Some people like to work in “batches” that last several days or weeks. They dedicate one week for writing, filling up their post schedule for the coming weeks. Then they can take a break from writing and focus on design, promotion or writing their e-course. The blog still keeps on churning new content.

3. Go on vacation!

This is my favorite reason for using scheduled posts! If you’re away for several days or weeks that does not mean your blog should suffer. Schedule posts can keep your readers engaged while you’re away, sipping cocktails on the beach.

A couple of bloggers on a typical day
A couple of bloggers on a typical day

(Wait, isn’t that what all bloggers do all day anyway while their blogs keep making them money? No? Whew, so it’s not just me working here).

4. Just relax.

Writing can be stressful. If you blog, you probably enjoy writing but if you have to write on a deadline, the pressure can make it less fun. If you’re a prolific writer, you can prepare several posts in advance and always have something ready for the days the muse fail you.

The drawbacks of writing posts in advance

Writing posts in advance isn’t a bad thing in itself but it does have its drawbacks.

1. Content can get stale

This really depends on the topic of your post and on your niche. If you write about SEO, your content needs to be fresh and up-to-date. If you schedule a post for one month from today, you could have a Google update two weeks later which affect the accuracy of your post.

Sure, this can happen even if you post as soon as you write. Your post can become less relevant two weeks later. However, your readers assess your content based on its publication date. It’s not ok to post information that’s old and irrelevant to begin with.

In other niches, content may be more evergreen. You should still watch out for things like links which may change between the time you wrote the post and the date of publication.

2. You’re not around to promote each post

Once you post, you should promote that post. Sure, some of that can be automated but a hands-on approach is often more effective. Even if you auto-tweet, you should be around to reply and interact with your followers once the post is published.

When you schedule posts for future publication, it becomes much easier to forget about promoting each and every post.

3. Your content’s just lying there, doing nothing

I think this is the most important argument against scheduling posts for future publication.

You’ve already gathered your information and crafted your post. It’s there, all tingling and ready go get out into the world. Why let it wait?

It could be doing something today: Helping a reader, making a sale, getting linked to by other bloggers. If you wait, you’re missing out on something that could happen today, and possibly only today.

In a previous post I used the fishing lines analogy. It’s appropriate here too. You have your fishing rod ready and your bait is wriggling at the end of your hook (poor worm…) Why not throw it in the water? The longer you wait, the more fish pass you by and swim away never to return.

Finding your balance

I’m not saying you should not schedule WordPress posts. I think it’s a powerful tool that should be used in moderation. You shouldn’t let it take over your blog and you shouldn’t become a hoarder of unpublished posts.

I think it’s up to every blogger to find the right balance for his/her blog. It could mean scheduling posts for two months ahead, or it could mean never scheduling anything. It depends on your niche and your own work style.

As for myself, that point of balance keeps changing these days. I currently manage eight content websites, six of them are the blogs I report on in the Blog Revival Project. They have different publishing frequencies but in total I need to produce 12 new articles every week.

I used to have content lined up for up to a month in advance but now I try to avoid scheduling posts for more than one week ahead. For me, this is a good balance between not getting stuck with zero updates and hoarding unpublished posts.

To be honest, this past month just keeping all of the blogs in-line with their planned posting frequencies is proving to be a challenge. It’s the combination of summertime and needing to improve my time management.

I know I’m going to use scheduled posts a lot more next summer. We have a big road trip planned and when that happens, I won’t be around to blog. That’s when WordPress’ ability to schedule posts in advance will become most useful.

How about you?

Do you schedule WordPress posts at all? How far ahead do you usually schedule your posts? I’d love to hear from you in a comment!

The one key to generating traffic that nobody talks about

New to blogging? Been doing this for two months now and still nothing? Only a trickle of traffic coming in?

Hardly surprising. Most bloggers give up during the first few months of blogging because they’re not seeing results, so you’re not alone if you feel like throwing in the towel.

Don’t give up just yet. There’s one thing that your blog is missing: The right amount of content. The good news is that as you keep blogging, things should improve significantly!

The key to generating web traffic

Let’s say you wrote a really good blog post. It’s engaging and fun to read. It’s relevant to your audience. It’s well-SEO’ed for your keywords. You promoted your post on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Let’s say you’ve been doing that twice a week. Religiously.

Two months after you start your blog, you have a total of 16-18 excellent blog posts.

That’s simply is not enough.

How much content do you need?

As much as possible, obviously. The number depends on your niche and what the competition is like.

I have one website which gets millions of pageviews a month. It has 293,000 pages indexed in Google. A smaller website (a blog, this time) gets 15K pageviews a month. It has 5,220 pages indexed in Google.

This blog you’re reading right now – Yeys.com – is a new blog. One of the six blogs in the Blog Revival Project. It has 888 pageviews a month. Which makes sense, considering Google only indexed 41 pages here.

See the pattern?

Your traffic is directly related to the number of pages available for consumption on your site. In more ways than one, as I’m about to show you.

Casting your fishing lines

Let’s say you’re going fishing. You get your hook and cast your line in the water. Hey, you may even catch a fish!

Fishing with one hook

If all you want to get out of fishing is some peace and quiet by the lake, good for you!

Our metaphoric fish here are the users – or web traffic. The hook is your web page, most likely a blog post. You may catch a few people with it everyday, but probably not enough to feed you with sufficient revenue.

Now, if you were to throw in seven more hooks, your chances of catching fish are so much higher!

fishinglines

The more hooks you have in the water, the better your odds for catching fish! Lots of fish!

lotsofhooks

How does having more posts increase your traffic?

In more ways than one!

1. It increases your odds of hitting the jackpot.

Just like with a roulette, the more chips you have on the table, the better your odds of winning.

In our case the jackpot is a ranking high for a desirable key phrase. Another possible jackpot is having one of your posts go insanely viral.

No matter how well you research for keywords, you can never know which way the Google gods will play the search results. After all, a lot of it depends on the competition and you don’t really know how many backlinks they generate for their competing post.

With social media, unless you’re already an established blogger with a large following, you’re going to need some (a lot!) of luck for your post to go viral. That’s just basic epidemiology. 

The most posts you have – the better your chances of hitting one of these jackpots. Each one of your hooks has a chance of X to win you one of the jackpots. As you cast more lines into the water, those odds add up and you have an overall better chance of catching a big fish.

2. You have more to offer visitors, so they stick around and generate more pageviews.

We all want our blogs to be sticky, right? Quality content is like super glue. Entice your visitor with more on-topic content and they’re likely to stay and read that as well.

Of course, you should present that sticky content in strategic places. Related-posts plugins are a good way for keeping visitors glued to your blog. Placing “ads” for your best posts in the sidebar is another. Just linking to other posts from within your post is great too. The point is you have to have something of value to link to.

3. It turns you into an authority site.

Visitors will see a post on your blog then move on to read something else. A couple of days later, searching for something else in your niche, they come across another one of your posts. And then a third. Hey, you’re all over the place!

This has an accumulative effect. They realize you’re an authority in the field and will be more likely to bookmark your site, sign up for your mailing list or spread the news about your site.

Reaching “Critical Mass”

Every blog and website has a “critical mass” point. Once you reach that point, you begin to feel the accumulative effect of becoming an authority site.

At that point, people will be far more likely to follow you. These followers will then be more likely to share your content and link to it. See where this is going? Your traffic begins to perpetuate more traffic.

In my opinion – and I don’t have any research to back this on, only my 18 years of experience – Google picks up on these signals. I’m not sure how they factor into the algorithm and I don’t think it’s something you can manipulate. It does mean that on top of everything else, you stand a better chance at ranking high in the search results.

So, should you just create more posts?

Should you perhaps increase your posting rate to 14 new posts a week instead of 2? Well, yes and no.

Don’t start spamming people (or search engines) with trash posts just to crank out new content on your site more quickly. More hooks is important but just like in fishing, you should invest in quality ones. And not all hooks are made the same.

Invest in quality hooks

What constitutes quality content changes according to your niche and audience. Whatever that elusive component may be – stick to it. Don’t lower your standards just so you can publish more often.

And just like with hooks, offer some variation. Don’t stick to the same kind of posts at all times. Some posts can be lists, others can be stories, and then some may be quizzes or photo posts.

Don’t give up!

 

I like to read success stories by other bloggers. Most of them say that there have been blogging for months on end before they started generating a significant amount of revenue. Many mention how close they were to giving up.

In my exprience, it takes a solo web publisher or blogger an average of 1-2 years before they get to a semi-decent level of income. Sure, if you invest in buying content and hiring people to promote your blog or if you’re very lucky, you can reach that point sooner. For most of us, a year makes more sense. Possibly two.

It’s taken me three years before I made enough money for it to be considered a respectable “salary”. My mother-in-law kept suggesting that I give up this “Internet nonesense” and become a school teacher. Fortunately, her son backed me up and provided for both of us (and a couple of babies later on) while I was shoveling more plutonium into my web publishing engine. Once I reached critical mass, I never looked back.

Do not despair. If you enjoy blogging as much as I do, stick to it. Your own critical mass point may come sooner than mine, or it may come later, but it will come. Just keep on producing quality posts and doing everything you can to have the best blog you possibly can.

So, how about you?

Where are you in your journey? Have you reached critical mass, or not yet? Leave me a comment to let me know. And if you found this post encouraging (I hope you did!) help me push towards the critical mass for this blog and share it around! Thanks!

What makes a blog post really great?

Everyone knows that great content is crucial for the success of a blog. By creating awesome quality posts, you’re far more likely to get social shares and organic incoming links. Sounds like an easy-to-follow formula?

Ahh, but only if you can identify what makes a blog post really great for your readers. And trust me, that is not easy.

What makes a blog post truly great?

Why great content matters

Whether you are trying to get your traffic through social media channels or via Google SEO, there’s one rule that always holds true:

~ Offer great content ~

Great content pretty much markets itself. All you need to do is jump start viral sharing. If you have enough of a following, that will pretty much happen by itself. Once great content starts “making the rounds” it becomes viral because people want to share the awesomeness with their friends.

Great content is also the cornerstone of SEO. Ideally, other bloggers will link to your post just because it’s so absolutely and irresistible awesome. All of these organic links will eventually make Google realize what a gem your post is, pushing it up in the search results. Bingo!

What makes a blog post really awesome?

How can you tell if a post is really awesome?

Lots of recipes for writing great blog posts out there. I’m going to briefly cover the most commonly discussed aspects and then tell you why they’re not necessarily important. They mean absolutely nothing when it comes to determining how great your post is, and I’m going to show you why.

First, the attributes which people often mention as important. These aren’t meaningless on their own. It’s just that following these rules won’t necessarily help you.

1. Post title

We’ve all been told that a great post title can make or break a post. People have short attention spans, so you have to carve out a title that will be compelling enough for them to click. There are tons of tutorials out there on how to craft the perfect post title. Here’s one of my favorites, an oldie but goodie!

2. The length of your post

The Yoast SEO plugin recommends 300 words as the minimum length for a blog post. I’ve seen successful posts that were shorter. I’ve also seen many which were much much longer.

I think the current trend is to write extremely long blog posts. I guess there are SEO experts out there who think a lot of verbiage might convince Google that your post is truly awesome.

3. Readability & voice

There are ways to determine how easy it is to read your post. I’ll mention Yoast SEO again because its free version comes with a built-in readability checker. Which is kinda cool, really. It means you can instantly see how your text measures up to commonly accepted standards of readability.

Your style also reflects your  writing “voice” though that is a more intricate concept. Finding your voice goes beyond issues of grammar or the average number of words in a sentence.

4. On-page SEO

On page SEO is basically a question of having the right amount of keywords and key phrases in your text. Finding that goldilocks zone of not too little and not too much. It’s also about where these keywords are placed in your text and in the page code.

5.  The Visuals

A picture is worth a thousands words. And an infographic has those thousands words in the picture. Surely having such great visuals in a post will make it go rival, right?

It’s all about providing value

The bottom line of these parameters? They all try to gauge the amount of value a blog post provides for the readers.

Because in the end that’s all that really matters: Was the post valuable to the reader? Precious minutes were spent reading it so were they time well-spent?

We tend to equate value with money. Hardly the case here. Yes, an awesome post can help your readers get more money. For example, it can teach them how to place ads in the way that gets them more revenue. Or it can offer a list of the best-converting affiliate programs in their niche. These types of posts certainly can have monetary value attached to them.

However, posts can offer other kinds of value.

A blog post can warn you about something. For example, it can tell you about the latest recall of baby food or warn you about a disease in a travel destination you were considering.

A blog post can offer you just cool trivial information which you can then tell your friends about and look really smart about it.

A blog post can simply make you laugh and help you pass the time while you’re waiting in line for something.

These are all valuable posts for those reading them. At least they can be. It depends on who’s reading them and when.

Which brings me to my main point –

Who determines what really makes a great blog post?

Who’s to say what makes a post awesome? Your audience.

They – and only they – are judge and jury to this question. Not your colleagues, not your friends, not our Mom and definitely not you.

Find what’s valuable for your readers.

One of the things I’ve learned is that what I see as valuable in terms of content can be very different from what the blog’s niche audience sees as great content.

Let me give you a few examples.

Example #1

Posts that try to scare you about something, especially those with an emotional title, can be great for some audiences.

“Just One Bite Of One Of These 17 Foods Can Give You Cancer” is a post that can be great for some audiences. Some people crave this kind of information and will gladly pass on to their friends any post that explains how lemons are 1000 times better than chemotherapy.

Now, if you ask me – or any one of my skeptic friends – these posts belong in the trash bin. A very literal trash bin. They should never see the light of day. They are nothing but stupid clickbaity scaremongering.

But hey, who am I to judge? For the right audience they are super quality posts. The kind that gets shared and linked to.

(I would never write them myself, mind. I’m just saying many people find value in them).

Example #2:

I really don’t like LOL pictures. I mean, I like some of them but I think most are garbage. When LOLCats started out, I was appalled. Surely everyone will see these are low-quality images with terrible typography and horrible texts?

Turns out, most people love them. They couldn’t care less about the images being low-quality. They love catspeak. They even love the use of the Impact font. For the right audience, LOLcat pictures rock. They make awesome content.

It’s not just the images. Turns out people are ok with texts that are barely legible if you pretend they were written by a cat. There are successful bloggers out there who write blogs from their cat’s point of view. And these cats aren’t really good at grammar or spelling either. So much for readability.

These posts get shared like hotcakes in social media (assuming you’re the kind of person who loves sharing his hotcakes!) There is obviously a wide audience who finds great entertainment value in them.

Know Your Niche & Your Audience

That’s really the bottom line.

Don’t try to measure up to what blogging tutorials tell you are the golden standards.

There are no golden standards. You can have a post that has –

  • The worst OnPage SEO
  • A title that doesn’t meet any of the criteria for writing catchy titles
  • No visuals.
  • The wrong length of text (or none at all, if you’re going with visuals only).
  • Terrible grammar and spelling.

It would still get shares and incoming links and land you tons of targeted traffic.

In that sense, it would a GREAT blog post! Your audience loves it – even if it doesn’t meet the strict criteria placed by other bloggers.

And in the end, that’s what matters.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you should start producing posts which you feel are junk. More likely than not, your audience will think they’re junk too and you can kiss your returning visitors goodbye.

What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t stick to blogging standards someone else tells you about while ignoring your audience’s preferences. Experiment with types of posts that seem popular in your niche. See what people actually like and try to provide them with that they feel is valuable.

 

Asking the right question: How to get your expert roundup topics in focus

There are many excellent blog posts about how to put together an expert roundup post. They cover all aspects of the project but seem to focus on marketing and promotion. After reading dozens of these posts, I’ve tried to distill the essence of one particular aspect: Asking the right question.

After all, it’s always important to get the foundations of the post right and only then worry about promotion. In the case of expert roundup posts, the cornerstone of your foundation is that brilliant question that readers crave reading the answers to and experts can’t resist answering.

Asking The Right Question

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know what an expert roundup is. In fact, with this being a blog about blogging, I think I can safely assume you’re probably sick and tired of expert roundup posts by now. Fair enough. There have been way too many of them in the blogging and SEO niches. If that’s your niche, you may as well stop reading here and go find something more interesting to do. Maybe go read my post about the blog revival project and leave me a comment there?

So why would I be doing an expert roundup post now?

Expert roundup posts can still be very valuable.

I believe it all comes down to the value you’re providing for your audience. People are always looking for authoritative answers to their problems. Basing the answers on the opinions of actual experts in the field is a good way to lend authority to whatever it is your post or article are saying. Believe it or not, it’s not been done to death in other niches. Readers are still interested and experts are eager to participate.

With that in mind, I’ve read a couple of dozens of posts and guides about how to create the perfect expert roundup post. I’ve sifted through a lot of advice and come up with the golden nuggets of guidelines for asking the right question.

What an expert roundup post is truly all about

An expert roundup post is a transaction.

The product is solutions to problems. The potential sellers are the experts. The buyers are your readers. You’re the mediator. The real estate agent that’s taking your readers to view various possible homes in the hope that one of them would be just the perfect fit for their need.

As the mediator, you are the expert on finding experts in your niche. That means you have to know your market and know which assets (experts) are best fitted for your home seeker’s needs. In the end, it’s why you get paid for your efforts in that precious currency of blog traffic.

That metaphor oversimplifies things a little but the principle is true. And just like a real estate agent, the key for putting together a good deal is by understanding the needs of both parties – buyer and seller – and creating the best possible real estate tour in a single blog post. No need to go anywhere else but to your blog because all possible quality solutions are there for your reader to look at. No need for experts to list their solutions elsewhere because your blog is where things are happening and where their potential buyers will be!

Asking the right question gets you two things –

  1. It entices the experts in your niche to participate and show their goods on your blog.
  2. It promises (and delivers) real solutions for your readers.

When you’re asking the right question, readers feel they must keep on reading and find out the answer and experts feel they can easily provide that answer based on their experience and expertise. It’s all about transferring information from expert to layman. Make your article the vehicle for a successful transfer and your post will become invaluable to your readers and have the potential to go viral.

11 guidelines that guarantee asking the right question

1. Cover a problem that your readers are actually struggling with and the solution can save them time, money or aggravation.

2. Target a problem where professional authority matters and expert knowledge is needed for the solution.

3. Address a problem that can actually have answers in the form of general advice. If they need individually tailored advice to solve a problem then you’re not asking the right question.

4. Ask about something the answer to isn’t too obvious.

5. Find a question with diverse possible answers. If there are only three possible answers to the question, it could get dull after the 5th expert’s answer.

6. Choose a topic that’s not too controversial. If experts end up providing conflicting answers, you’ll end up frustrating your readers. Ideally, your readers should come out with a clear conclusion and a solution to their problem.

7. Where applicable, consider a question where experts reveal their own personal way of handling the problem. “Monkey see, monkey do” is a legitimate – and highly attractive – decision making tool for all of us.

8. Formulate a specific and concrete question. Avoid questions that are too vague or general. Asking for their favorite tool for task X or a list of top three items helps focus the question.

9. Find a question that an expert can answer almost effortlessly. It should be something they can answer from their own experience and expertise without having to look up data.

10. Look for a topic that’s original and interesting for the expert to write about.

11. Pinpoint your topic to a question that can actually be answered within a specific length. Something that they can elaborate about for no more than a paragraph or two and still get the message across to your audience.

Putting it all together

You know your niche and your audience. If you’re blogging about it, you are very likely somewhat of an expert yourself. Which means no one is better situated than you to come up with topics.

Find your topic – that problem that your readers are always asking about – and write down at least 10 different questions about it. Now, go over your questions and review them in light of these 11 guidelines.

Good? Bad? Awesome? Just horrible? No question will ever be 100% perfect but some will shine out like beacons of quality roundup questions while others will very clearly not answer most of the criteria and can be crossed from your list.

Once you hit that sweet spot where your expert can provide a concrete question about a topic in a couple of paragraphs on a topic your audience really needs a solution for, then you’re asking the right question. That’s the question that can help get you the best answers to your expert roundup, creating a resource so invaluable in your niche that it has the potential to go viral.

Why And How I Make Content Plans For All My Blogs (Except For This One!)

“If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.”

I spent a couple of hours today planning future posts for three of my blogs. The plans runs for 1-2 months (depending on the blog).

why and how to create a blog content plan

Why create a content plan for a blog?

The answer isn’t just a simple, “Why not?”

After all, creating a content plan is time-consuming. I’ll share my method in a minute, but for now suffice to say it takes me about an hour to prepare a solid content plan for one month. That’s an hour I could have been spending on actually writing content and promoting it.

There are several reasons why I choose to lay out my content plan in advance –

1. Applying my content strategy: Balancing types of content. 

Depending on the topic of the blog, I have various types of content items. They can be recipe posts, inspirational quotes, blog links roundups or photo posts.

A content plan helps me put turn these into action items, spacing them out as needed and making sure the overall balance is what I wanted to have on that particular blog.

2. Applying my content strategy: Staying on theme.

With some of my websites I have monthly themes. A content plan helps me focus on that month’s theme, making sure I have enough on-theme content items of different types.

3. Avoiding Writer’s Block.

Writer’s block is rarely a problem for me. However, most days it’s just easier to get my next writing topic from a pre-made task list. It allows me to start hitting the keyboard right away.

4. Getting my research done in time.

If I know I need to research a topic in advance, I can schedule the research as a separate task for the previous week or even longer. If it’s a difficult topic requiring reaching out to experts or surveying my readers, planning ahead is key.

5. Buying illustration photos in bulk.

I like to get the bulk discount when buying stock photos. Knowing in advance what I might be needing on several websites helps me do that.

Jotting down ideas.

When I get an idea for a post, however vague it may be, I put it down in writing. I keep a document for each one of my websites/blogs where I just type in all of these ideas. Good, bad, stupid, awesome, it doesn’t matter. I just write them down and then forget about them.

Ideas for posts can show up at odd times and strange places, so if I’m not by my desk, I use my phone to enter them. If I don’t even have my phone by me, well, in that case, it must be the apocalypse. Forget about blogging, I need to focus on zombie-smashing techniques instead.

Planning to plan: Setting up a content planning task

I try to plan my content for at least 2 months in advance. For some websites, it’s a quarterly plan. Whatever the time span, I have a task scheduled every two or three months, respectively, to start working on the next content plan ahead of time.

The spreadsheet.

I use a Google Docs spreadsheet for my content plans. I don’t think the medium is that important and I guess you could even use a notebook. I like the digital format because it allows me to easily shift things around as I work. I use the same spreadsheet for all content plans, one tab per website. I hide rows of past months so they don’t distract me.

Each item on my plan takes up one row in the spreadsheet. There are 3 columns: Title, Date and Post Type.

A sample content plan spreadsheet

The Title

I deliberately use a temporary title. It’s short and descriptive and not yet optimized for readers or search engines. It’s just there to provide me with the general scope of the piece.

The Date

I have different publication frequencies for each website/blog.  Usually it’s 2-3 times a week. For one blog it’s currently a daily post schedule and for another it’s weekly posts.

Post Type

These are often niche-specific. They can be things like product reviews, trip reports, recipes or special reports. They can be recurrent weekly or monthly features, or maybe a type of content I want to have occasionally and not on a specific schedule.

Populating the spreadsheet

The first column to be populated is the date column. I may mark special dates there (holidays etc.) Otherwise, I simply insert publication dates, as per the blog’s updating frequency.

Next, it’s the “post type” column. If there are weekly features that are supposed to be attached to specific dates, I enter them. Next, I fill in the remaining cells in the column with the types of posts I want to have on the blog. My focus in this stage is on balancing various types of posts. I tend to throw in more “easy” posts and fewer posts that need a lot of research, always keeping what the readers want and need in mind.

Only then do I start filling in the actual items, or title drafts. First, I use my notes where I have stored my post ideas. When I run out of these (it certainly can happen), I focus on the type of content I want and that helps me come up with more ideas. If I use content-themes for the site, I draw on these and beef up the plan with on-theme pieces, sorted out by the different post types.

I continue the process until the table if all filled up.

A good plan forms the basis for changes.

“It’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.”

My content plans are anything but perfect. That’s one reason why I blurred the actual titles in the image above. These temporary title drafts are not meant for public consumption. They’re a tool I use and as long as I understand myself, they work 😉

I write my content plans knowing they’re flexible.

I do mostly stick to the plans. I use them to create my monthly, weekly and daily task lists. I’d be lost without them.

That said, I will sometimes add, change, swap, mix and delete items. If a topic comes up which I need to address in a timely manner (like a news item), one of the existing items will be re-shuffled to the following available slot. And if I start writing about a topic and absolutely hate the result, then the post gets trashed and I pull up the next one from the list, again reshuffling things around a little.  After all, that’s one huge benefit independent bloggers have: We don’t have to report back to anyone and we’ll only be held accountable by ourselves and our readers.

My content plans achieve their goals, even if I implement them in a somewhat flexible way. They help me create a good balance of content on my blogs and churn out quality content quickly and efficiently.

So far, I haven’t made a content plan for this blog. I’m sure it shows too. I basically use Yeys.com as an outlet for my own notes and thougths about work processes, so for now, I just blog on whatever comes to mind. I hope you’ll still find this post helpful!

Why blogging about what you love is the key to long-term success

It’s true what they say. If you create a website solely for profit and don’t care about the subject matter it will be very difficult to make it into a viable long-term operation. Only by blogging about what you love can you create a blog which others will find interesting and you can enjoy running for the long term.

blogging about what you love

Things used to be a little bit different

First, a “back in the day” moment.

Over the years, I had literally hundreds of different websites. Some larger, most smaller. Back in the early 2000’s, topics were up for grabs and search engines were easy to manipulate. I confess: I was part of the big pseudo-SEO festival of the period. I even scored key phrases in some lucrative niches such as loans (and actually, lawns too, but that’s a different kind of niche and far less profitable in terms of Adwords bids 😉 ).

These weren’t negative experiences. Some of them generated an excellent ROI for the time invested in making them. I had a website about the thrillingly fascinating topic of DVD cases back at the time. It made hundreds of dollars a month from Adsense and Amazon. Making it was fun but creating content on a regular basis was impossible. It was the dullest thing ever. At least for me. I’m sure there are people out there who find the topic of DVD cases genuinely fascinating. I don’t know any of them but with more than 7 billion people on this planet, they must exist somewhere.

Blogging About What You Love Is No Longer Optional

Things have changed on the internet. It’s no longer about gaming search engines into sending you traffic. It’s about putting yourself forward – as an actual person – and delivering engaging content.

I’ve blogged about the what makes blogs so successful. The key elements setting actual blogs apart from general sites include having an real person at the helm and producing a constant stream of fresh relevant on-topic content.

And that only works if you write about things you care deeply about. Blogging about what you love is no longer a perk. It should be your key guideline and form the core of your strategic plan.

With that in mind, let’s look at the –

3 Key Benefits To Blogging About What You Love

1. Research becomes fun!

If you are passionate about soccer then you probably read websites and blogs about the game anyway. You do that because you enjoy expanding your knowledge and learning from others. Isn’t it awesome that you’re actually working while doing that? All it takes is getting organized, taking notes and bookmarking resources and you have the perfect background materials for writing your own fascinating post about the Euro 2016 Games!

2. Writing becomes fun!

And it shows. When you write about something you love, your passion shines through. When that happens, people listen. Just like when you talk with your friends about your favorite topic. Enthusiasm is catching and it can make your blog content more sticky. It’s hard to fake too. Blogging about what you love lends your style a degree of authenticity that can’t be achieved without passion.

3. Connecting with others becomes easier

Authenticity also makes it easier – and again, more fun – to connect with other bloggers. Leaving a comment on their latest blog post, you will probably go beyond the “thank you for your post” line because you truly will have something of value to contribute. It will also be easier to interact on Twitter, Pinterest or whatever social network is right for your niche. You are probably already following that topic there anyway and know who the industry leaders are. When your knowledge of a topic comes from the heart, it’s easier to reply, like and otherwise engage them. Which in return means you get better exposure and more traffic.

Blogging about things that I love

These days I focus on topics I enjoy. I’ve learned that researching and writing are my strong suits and so I focus on creating quality pages and posts on topics that engage my own interest.

My passions in life are pets and travel. Guess what? I currently have three websites about pets and two about travel. They cover different niches so they don’t compete with each other. Sometimes topics do align and when that happens, I try to give each blog its own unique flavor and perspective.

Oh, and I blog about blogging too! Right here!

So, no more “DVD Cases”?

Hmmm, I did say “most” of my websites, didn’t I? There are a couple of blogs that I manage which deal with topics that, shall we say, I am not entirely obsessed with. It’s much more of a challenge, let me tell you. Researching I can do. Writing I can also do, and I try to bring my own life experience and create my own “voice”. Connecting with others is a whole lot more difficult though.

They are part of my new “Blogging Re-launched” project which I talk about here. Will they be as successful as the other blogs? I guess only time will tell. For now, my advice to those of you who are considering blogging and wondering which niche to choose: Blogging about what you love is the way to go.