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Even More Blogging Tips From a Beginner

Welcome to another blogging tips post. While not all inclusive, some of these blogging tips can help you work smarter and not harder on your blog.

It’s been several months since I last wrote a blogging tips post. The previous two blogging tips posts have been successful and have resulted in me receiving numerous questions as to how to start a blog and what are some things that I’ve learned since starting it. Frugal Rules has been around almost five months now and I can still say that I learn something new about blogging nearly every day. I love to learn and when it comes to blogging I know there is much more to discover. The blogging tips I’ll share here are not all-inclusive; for more ideas, I encourage you to check out my other blogging tips posts.

A Blog Editorial Calendar Can Be a Life Saver

Seeing as Mrs. Frugal Rules has been an advertising and marketing copywriter for ten years now you’d think that I would’ve learned this one from her. Sadly, I did not listen to her the first few months in regards to a blog editorial calendar. I read a post from L Bee about a month ago and she had mentioned the importance of an editorial calendar. You could say that’s when the light bulb went off in my head. I now compose an editorial calendar for my blog a month out and it has been an immense help. Not that it’s set in stone, but it provides something for me to hang my blogging hat on and helps me avoid scrambling for ideas when it comes time to write blog posts. I know there are Word Press plugins that help with this, but I just use plain ole’ Word. I also pair this with a running list of 40-50 post ideas so I have a go-to when I need topics. I know an editorial calendar might seem like too much work, but it is probably one of my favorite blogging tips and generally only takes a few minutes to come up with one for each month. Another benefit to the editorial calendar is that it frees up time so I can focus on other blogging needs like SEO or research.

Blogging Tips Can Often Be Found By Reading Old Posts

I look back at some of my first posts and shudder. It’s amazing that I even have people come visit my site on a day in day out basis. My thoughts were aimless and had no sense of SEO in them. I look back at some of them now and I can easily pick up some valuable blogging tips such as having catchier headlines to ideas for new posts. As I look back at some of the older posts I see vantage points that I did not pursue or see someone’s comment that opens up a new train of thought. Most importantly, this going back allows you to do some important self-analysis that can be most helpful to you and the health of your blog.

 

Always Be Reading

I often find new blogging tips through simple reading. I know, if you’re a blogger then reading other blogs is pretty much a given. While there is a place and time for that, you have to also be reading outside of other blogs. I love to read and often don’t have the time to do it as much as I’d like. However, when you read other sites online like news or finance websites, magazines and books you open yourself to many ideas. This practice also helps your creative flow. Running a blog myself, in addition to our advertising business, there are few things as important as getting your creative juices flowing. It opens you up to new ideas for topics you can cover and can make writing much more effective. This can result in smoother text for your readers and they’ll thank you for it.

Welcome to another blogging tips post. While not all inclusive, some of these blogging tips can help you work smarter and not harder on your blog.

Take Time Off From Your Blog

I’ll be the first to admit that blogging can be a HUGE time suck. There are many tasks you must complete if you want your blog to go somewhere and there’s almost always something to be done. I know that the suggestion to take time off from your blog seems counter-intuitive, been it really does help. In terms of blogging tips, this would rank very high on the list if not at the top. I’ve read that for many bloggers the six to twelve month mark is a common time to burn out. I can understand that as you can always find ways to be busy with your blog if you choose. Taking time off from your blog is one of the best ways to guard against burn out. How you take time off is up to you. Whether you only publish on certain days or take a day or two off throughout the month is up to you; just find what works best for you. Unplug from your computer and go enjoy something fun (of course while being frugal) and you’ll generally be much happier for it. Not only will that break be good for you, but it will be good for your readers as well as it can help keep your content fresh. Taking time off is something I am still forming my thoughts around and something I am looking to implement more as we start the New Year.

How to Start a Blog

For those of you  looking for ways to supplement your existing income but haven’t started a blog yet because of the possibility of technical difficulties, would you change your mind if you found a step-by-step guide helping you set up your blog? If you want to partake in the blogging community and make money online but don’t have a computer science background, check out this incredible guide on how to start a blog at StartABlog123.com. The author does a great job of explaining the concepts of blogging, how to pick a domain and hosting company, and then set up your blog in under 5 minutes.

 

Thank you for sticking around for a 1,000+ word monstrosity. What are some of your latest blogging tips? Do you have a blog editorial calendar or is there something else you use to give structure to your posting habits?

 

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to U.S. News & World Report, Investopedia, Credit Karma and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

83 Comments

  • Just this Christmas I created my version of an editorial calendar, and it’s helped some. I always had been in the habit of writing my post ideas so it wasn’t new to me, but it was nice to have it in an electronic file for reference. In particular I am planning ahead because I will be out more than a week with no internet access in February, so getting ahead is a must.

    • John says:

      I started doing mine around the same time. I’ve always had a running list of ideas, but I like how the calendar plans out when things are to be written so I am not left scrambling.

    • Something I am not currently doing, but a great idea! I have a lot of ideas in my head, but I get writer’s block about the time I am ready to write a post. Thanks for the tips!

  • Also you shouldn’t shudder about your first posts. People aren’t going to visit a brand new blog as much so it’s more important (in my opinion) to just start putting content out there vs. trying to make an SEO friendly post.

  • I agree about all of these. I really need to implement a calendar of some kind. I have a million posts written and sometimes I forget about them. If they are time sensitive (about the holidays, etc) then they get outdated and I can’t use them! What a waste of time!

    • John says:

      I would definitely encourage it as it’s helped me out a lot. I am almost through February now and starting to look at Mach. I have a few of those posts myself…at least I can use them this summer. :)

  • Savvy Scot says:

    I started my calendar about 3 months back,… I laugh at my old calendar-less self now!!

  • Thanks for the mention! I think the last rule : take time off from your blog, is one of the most important. I know I don’t do this enough and I got really burned out by the end of the year. Taking that week off was immensely helpful!

    • John says:

      I could not agree more. I loved the ten days I took off and it was refreshing to be de-tethered from my computer. I took it as a good sign that I wanted to come back though. :)

  • Michelle says:

    I don’t have an editorial calendar, but definitely need to do that! And yes, taking time off is very important.

  • Pauline says:

    I have started to use a calendar in the new year, I had a rough idea of a weekly pattern but it sure helps to write it down. Now I need to queue 15 timeless posts I can use if I want time off!

    • John says:

      It really does help out Pauline. I am looking to do the same thing myself so if I am not feeling inspired or simply do not have the time I can just use it.

    • Ian says:

      That’s a good idea. I usually have a few extras around but a few weeks worth completely edited and ready to go would be great.

  • Running multiple blogs, I something wouldn’t know where to begin without an editorial calendar.

  • Cat says:

    Sounds like a great idea – I really need to get more organized and prepared in advance!

  • I will use an editorial calendar on and off and what I use is Google calendar. It works well for me!

  • Mackenzie says:

    Blogging burn-out is a real and true thing; I’ve experienced it myself. Taking some time off is a requirement as a blogger, I feel. The blog will be there when you get back :)

  • I need to start to use a calender. I have a lot of draft ideas and I was going through them yesterday and found that I lost the opportunity to post 2 ideas because they were holiday related. I also agree with reading your old posts along with other people’s. This can spur many ideas, or at least it does for me.

    • John says:

      Like I’ve said to others Grayson, I would HIGHLY encourage it. It’s been of immense help to me and I basically have my posts pinpointed for the next six weeks. It has been a huge time saver.

  • Boris says:

    John, I’ve been reading your blogging tips (all parts) and they’ve been invaluable. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. As a new blogger it really helps out.

    • John says:

      Not a problem Boris! I am glad to be of help. Truth be told, they’re really things I’ve learned from other bloggers or just picked up along the way.

  • The blog is a huge time suck. I’m always spending time on my blogs now. I’ll need to schedule some time off soon.

  • I don’t have an editorial calender but it does sound like a great idea. Perhaps I should give it a shot…

  • AverageJoe says:

    Another reason for an editorial calendar: advertisers are interested in certain topics, and when you can share with them “what’s coming up” you have a better chance of including them.

  • That is why I love using my Blog Planner John!

    The editorial calendar is setup on a weekly basis with room to include lots of details. But I also love being able to keep track of all of the other things that need to be done once the post is published as well as all of the other work that goes into blogging.

    It is great to work a month or 2 in advance instead of day by day or week by week.

    Way less stressful and a lot more fun!!

    • John says:

      As you should Sicorra! What you came up with is pretty awesome. I am still looking it over and seeing how I can implement it for the administration of my blog.

      I could not agree more about working a month or two in advance, it does bring the stress level down significantly. I am currently about six weeks out and about ready to get started on March

  • Leslie says:

    Thanks for the tips! I don’t do any of them officially, so by implementing these I hope to see improvement in my blog success.

    • John says:

      I think you will. At the very least the ability to streamline things so it makes the day to day management much easier. Thanks for stopping by!

  • I use the WP Editorial Calendar plugin. I wish it had some more features, but it’s great for scheduling posts. When you get to the point where you are writing 2-3 weeks out, what day is Friday in 3 weeks? I also use it for holiday posts. I had a great idea for a Thanksgiving post about 3 weeks after Thanksgiving. I know have a drat scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving this year.

    • John says:

      I’ve taken a look at the plugin myself, but decided against it as I did not want to install another plugin. I just use the calendar on my phone to chart out the dates and can usually have my ideas for the month in pretty quick fashion. I’ve had a few of those “Thanksgiving” ideas myself…oh well…one less thing I have to think of for the future. :)

  • Great post, John. There is so much to learn. I, too, find by rereading old posts and comments can stir up some new ideas. And I’m always reading, which is so much fun but takes a lot of time. I don’t blog as frequently as most of you do, so my “time suck” so to speak comes from reading all of your posts! :)

    • John says:

      Thanks Shannon! I agree with the reading takes time, especially if you have other distractions going on at the same time. Hopefully the “time suck” is worth it though. 😉

  • I’m a hands on type of guy so my calendar is all written in a huge calendar book. I like to see it and write in and it works for me. I track everything in it. Sure I could do it online but for some reason I started using the book and I like it. I book all my posts a month in advance so I know what I am posting and when. It all helps. Great tips .

    • John says:

      That’s awesome Mr. CBB! You have to go with what works for you. I do almost everything on my computer so that makes it so convenient for me.

  • Danielle says:

    I often have my own personal editorial calendar for my writing at work but don’t use it at home. This needs to change!

  • Melissa says:

    I used to find that my writing style would mimic whoever I was reading at the time. Now that I read so much, that doesn’t happen so much anymore, but lots of reading can definitely help generate ideas.

    • John says:

      I used to be the same way Melissa. Now it feels like I am constantly reading one thing or another so I really don’t see it happening much anymore.

  • krantcents says:

    I often use different magazine articles, TV, internet and others to stimulate ideas. In addition, I read a lot of books which definitely helps my writing.

    • John says:

      I like to use magazines and books as well. It’s a different medium and a different style of writing which helps balance out all the online reading I do.

  • I started a calendar with the new year, and even though it’s flexible, it’s nice to feel like I’m more like a month ahead then a couple of days the way I was there for a while.

    Also – if I get an idea for a post that’s seasonal, but not “in season”, I’m putting a note of it nearer to that date to write it and schedule it. Makes life way easier, but at the beginning I think I might have been too intimidated by something like that. I was just writing whatever floated to my head and couldn’t imagine planning a month in advance. =)

    • John says:

      I started late in December myself. It has been a huge time saver and I like how it allows me to have a plan as opposed to just writing whatever. I leave a couple of days a month just for that, but really like to have a plan. I do agree though, trying something like planning a month out would have been too much for me in the beginning.

  • I’m a huge fan of the editorial calendar. I have a WP Plugin for it, and I have my calendar scheduled out through March right now. I also have an unscheduled drafts sidebar on it where I can jot down ideas and then drag and drop them to fit into the calendar. I do this for all my sites to keep my on track and help manage.

    I also use Evernote to keep track of ideas for my sites. I have it on my phone so when I think of an idea, I can write it down where ever I am. It is very helpful.

    • John says:

      I am as well, it’s been a great find for me. I’ve looked at the WP plugin myself and I imagine if and when I am running multiple sites I’ll definitely be using it.

      I’ve downloaded the Evernote app recently. I need to figure it out a bit and start using it myself as I know that I am losing good ideas that pop into my mind.

  • Jordann says:

    Hey these are some great tips! I don’t have an editorial calendar, but I think I’m definitely going to make one, along with that running list of blog ideas, this seems like it would take a lot of stress out of blogging.

    As far as taking time off, I used to be great at that, but these last few weeks have been terrible. I DO however, always take Friday night and Saturday off. Those days are mandatory.

    • John says:

      I would highly encourage it Jordann, both have been a huge timesaver for me and make things much less stressful.

      I used to have the same time off schedule, but have strayed away from it. I need to get back to it…

  • I like the idea of catchier titles. And also making sure I occasionally blog for readers who might be non PF bloggers who might have stumbled on the site. As we all hope happens. I thing scaling back my schedule has been helpful, but it’s hard to stay away. I’m scared of losing my current readers if I don’t spend enough time reading their stuff and commenting, but something has to give. I’m not making money yet, so I can’t ignore the job that is bringing me income. All good tips!

    • John says:

      That’s a great point Tanya as we do want other non PF bloggers coming to our sites. Ideally it would be a decent mix of the two.

      I can understand about the fear about others coming back, I think a lot of us deal with that fear. But, at the same time, you do have to draw a line somewhere. In the end, you have to go with what’s paying the bills.

  • My mom recently started blogging, and I find that she really has to make some trial and error to learn. I tell her what to do all the time, but mostly she doesn’t listen until she finds out that what she is doing isn’t working. Blogging is difficult to tap into, because it seems so easy – until new bloggers find out that if you want your blog to be successful, it takes a LOT of work and knowledge!

    • John says:

      Blogging can be difficult to grasp, especially if you don’t have the time or resources to give to it. It does take a TON of time, now I just need more of it. :)

  • Now that I’m home more, I’m going to take more time with SEO. I downloaded Sicorra’s planner but haven’t done much with it, but that’ s on the list. I need to also have some “generic” posts ready to go for when I get busy. Those are some good goals for the next couple of months.

    • John says:

      I have been looking at SEO more myself and really want to start implementing a more targeted approach to it. I downloaded the planner as well and just need to sit down and take an in depth look at it. That’s a great point to the generic posts Kim, I need to do that myself.

  • An editorial calendar is a must-have! I’ve been planning my posts for about a year now and I don’t think I could live without it. Also, considering that I have all of the staff writers now, it makes it even more important that I plan ahead and use the calendar.

    • John says:

      I am with you there Jason. I jus wish I would’ve listened to my wife earlier. :) I can imagine that having one is a must have with staff writers as it just adds to the moving parts…which is something I hope to be able to do at some point in the future.

  • Great tips! I need to implement an editorial calendar. Right now I just have a running list of blog ideas. Recently I started using the ‘Notes’ program on my iPhone. I always think of post ideas when I am not home. At the store, local businesses, conversations overheard, so I just type them out on my phone. I know that if I don’t get them down right away I will quickly forget.

    • John says:

      Thanks Kyle! I would highly recommend using one. I have found myself in similar situations where I have a great idea and then forget it. The calendar now saves my butt. I also have the running list of ideas that I add to as well when I think of them on the fly.

  • Dustin Small says:

    Thanks for the tips John. When you mention that your previous posts paid no attention to SEO etc. what specifically did you do wrong? Are you referring to simply not having a focused enough topic?

    • John says:

      Not a problem Dustin. Yea, they weren’t focused and those I was focusing on were on terms not being searched for enough. Not that each post needs to be optimized, but I am focusing on it more now.

  • Buck Inspire says:

    Another set of great tips! The editorial calendar is critical in keeping you consistent with blogging. Mine went out the window with the baby. It has been challenging to get back on track. I have been stepping away more often to combat burnout and just plain fatigue. Thanks again!

    • John says:

      Thanks Buck! I could not agree more about the consistency aspect behind the calendar. It helps me see if I am focusing on one topic too much or not. I can relate to the baby aspect. Having three little ones running around myself it helps me keep my sanity.

  • Justin@TheFrugalPath says:

    A calendar is something that I really need to start. I just started a new job at the same company, but now my hours are all messed up. So it’s something that can really help me stick to producing better content.

    • John says:

      I would highly encourage it Justin! Especially with the work aspect you mention it’d help you keep better track of what you’re writing so you would not have to scramble to come up with solid content.

  • Kay Lynn says:

    Once again great tips. I was blogging a couple of years before I learned a couple of them so kudos to you.

    I wholeheartedly agree with taking a break. I took a holiday break that just happened and it was quite refreshing. Keeping an editorial calendar is a great tip. Give yourself the flexibility to change it but having an outline is useful for those uninspired days.

    • John says:

      Thanks Kay Lynn! Sadly I would’ve learned some of them even earlier if I would have listed to my dear wife. 😉

      I’ve found that taking a break is vital. Not just to get away from the blog and the requirements it brings, but being de-tethered from your computer as well.

  • eemusings says:

    I don’t have an editorial calendar! I have a ton of drafts (about 30 at the mo) and am always coming up with new ideas. I basically just sit down at times, finish a whole batch, then schedule them. Haphazard but it works. The one time I came close to drying up, I was about to go on holiday, and when I came back I was refreshed and brimming with creativity.

    • John says:

      You have to go with what works for you in my opinion. I’d imagine having 30 drafts ready to go at any point is a great backup to have. I ideally want to get to where I have 15-20 generic enough posts that could be put up at any time and still be applicable.

  • Sadly, every time I’ve left a blog go by itself for a week or two, the site grows. Sometimes, I’d wish that it would shrink into oblivion. But, it never happens. The sad truth is, your blog will be fine without you for a while.

    • John says:

      I could not agree more. I think this is especially true if you schedule things out, or just plain take some time off. Your blog will do just fine and probably fairly well in fact.

  • I had thought about doing a calendar before but never got around to it. Something about reading your post got me going. I spent the weekend thinking about where I want to go with my posts and now have the rest of January and February filled. Thanks for the push!

    • John says:

      Awesome! Glad to hear that I could be an encouragement Brian! It took me some time to get it started, but won’t look back now. I am in March myself and it feels good knowing I’ve got the next 6-8 weeks covered.

  • Chad says:

    I completely with the taking time off component. I actually came across this by accident as some other aspects in my life were drawing me in different directions. Once I came back to my blog I had this shot of energy and flow of ideas that helped with more content on my site.

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