How I Plan and Organise My Blog
Ever since childhood, I've always been an organised and meticulous person. I love having everything in its right place and my mum often reminds me that when I was little, she once put my textas away only to find me redoing it myself because they weren't in rainbow order. I even used to go over to my friends' houses after school and tidy up their bedrooms! It's something that's always amused me because I'm the only one in my immediate family who's like this (I'm trying so hard to teach my dad about decluttering!) and now, as an adult, it's carried onto my blogging and digital life. Being the real life Monica Geller that I am, organisation is something that I actually find really fun, so in today's post, I thought I'd give you a peek into how I plan my blog content in my bullet journal, as well as a look into my computer files to show you how I organise and store all my blogging documents. If you're looking to clean up your digital life, hopefully this post can inspire you to finally clear that messy desktop once and for all.
The bulk of my blog posts are planned out in my bullet journal (a white Leuchtturm 1917 A5 notebook), which is dedicated just to blogging. Having a regular Moleskine diary for my general day-to-day life suits me just fine, but I like having a blogging bullet journal where I can organise my thoughts and ideas a little bit better. I feel so much more productive and I'm more likely to remember things when I put pen to paper, plus I love the creativity of bullet journals and being able to customise them any way you like as we all have such different blogging processes. Evernote seems to be the way to go digitally, but I love my stationery too much.
My blog post ideas usually come to me randomly and when I'm away from the computer, so I have a page in my Notes app called Blog Stuff on my phone. As my ideas come to me, I jot them down before I forget and I'll later refine and work on my ideas in my bullet journal. The first two pages of my bullet journal are where I write down my blog post ideas (one page for beauty content and another for lifestyle - I've blurred out a lot of them because I don't want to give away any spoilers for future blog posts!) and under the Notes section, I'll write down blog post titles and make a list of sub-headings, as well as the products I want to photograph (one of the worst things is forgetting to include products in your photos!) and write about. If there are ideas I'm unsure about or little things I don't want to forget, I'll add them to the Brain Dump page of my journal.
Once a blog post idea is in fruition, I'll write down the name of the post on my Checklist page and tick off the things I need to do to create the post. These include: photos, writing, links, scheduling, promoting on Twitter and pinning to my Like Neon Love Pinterest board. Of course, no one needs a checklist as extensive as this, but as I mentioned, organisation is fun for me, plus I used to always forget to promote my posts on Twitter and Pinterest before I had my checklist. Even with my checklist, I can occasionally still forget! Once everything has been ticked off, I then also tick off the blog post in my Blog Post Ideas and Notes pages of my bullet journal.
As a slow blogger, I don't find an editorial calendar necessary and apart from my Life Lately posts scheduled for the last day of each month, there's no rhyme or reason as to when I publish my posts. When it's finished, I publish it! If it's too late in the day, however, I'll schedule it for the day after. I try to post once a week (or four posts per month), but I still enjoy the "old school" style of blogging spontaneously and I also don't like to force or rush my content to ensure I'm only publishing posts I'm really proud of. For the most part, I like things to happen organically, but there'll be times when I'm feeling uninspired and that's when I'll have to push myself or nothing will ever get done. It's a good reminder that I'm a lot more capable than I think I am.
I love a good list; there's something so oddly satisfying about being able to tick things off them. Apart from my aforementioned Notes and Checklist pages, I have several others in my bullet journal too. They include:
- To Do list: for general blog stuff and updates I want to do. If I need to do things for specific blog posts, I'll write them down in my regular day-to-day diary.
- To Buy list: occasionally, there'll be products I want to include in blog posts I'm working on or limited edition items I want to buy, so I'll prioritise these over other things on my wishlist.
- Beauty Products Bought in 2017 list: this helps me keep track of how much I buy and also when I'm putting together my annual Best Beauty Products posts at the end of the year.
- Products to Trial and Review list: if I've bought something new, but haven't used it extensively, I'll jot it down on this list before I review it on my blog. Sometimes I also have products that I'm not sure how to incorporate into posts just yet, so they go on this list too.
- Instagram Ideas list: I don't like having my Instagram only made up of photos I post on my blog, so to keep things varied, I have a list of photo ideas exclusive for Instagram. I've only just started this list, so there isn't much on there right now and it's not very "insta", but it's there to help me post more often. Instagram is still fun when you stop caring about the algorithm and followers.
I organise my blog posts into five categories; beauty, interiors, lifestyle, style and travel. Unfortunately, my travel category hasn't been used in a while, but it's there! My beauty blog posts used to be categorised into makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrance and nails, but I realised I don't blog enough to warrant heaps of categories, plus I think it's sleeker and easier to navigate my blog now that things are more condensed.
The mere thought of a messy desktop full of files and photos is enough to stress me out, so I like to have plenty of folders and sub-folders to keep everything organised and categorised. For my blog photos, I have separate folders for each year that I've been blogging and in those folders are sub-folders containing every photo I've ever uploaded to my blog. I name each sub-folder by the date the blog post was published, followed by the name of the post, so that everything is in chronological order and easy to find and reference back to if I ever need to. I do the majority of my photo editing in Camera RAW, so I like to keep my RAW files along with my JPGs just in case.
The good majority of my blog documents are photos, though I do store other other blog related files. In my Layout folder, I have some Squarespace and Disqus coding copied into TextEdit files, as well as separate sub-folders for favicons, my blog header, profile pictures, product images for my shop pages and another for my Twitter header. In my In Progress folder, I store notes for upcoming blog posts (mostly links for the Around the Web section of my Life Lately posts), as well as sub-folders of photos for posts that I'm still working on and are yet to be published. Once the post is published, the sub-folder will then be moved into its respective year folder. Also in my Blog folder is a text file of the HTML code for my comment signature. I tend to comment on people's blogs in bulk, so I just copy the code each time I'm commenting, rather than having to type it out all the time.
Backing up files
Every good organiser will regularly back up their files, though admittedly, this can be one area where I slack on. I don't even know why because literally all you're doing is plugging in a hard drive and leaving it to do its thing. I think it's just one of those boring, mundane tasks that we tend to keep putting off, but it's worth it for the peace of mind if your photos and other documents are something that mean a lot to you. I learnt this the hard way when my house got broken into and my laptop was stolen back in 2012. I like to keep the original high res copies of my photos as I work really hard on them and are something I'm quite proud of, plus you just never know when you might need them. Depending on how often you post on your blog, you should back up your files accordingly.
How do you plan and organise your blog?