Armchair BEA: Blogging Tips

Today’s Armchair BEA topic is to discuss blogging tips!

I’m SO not an expert, I don’t think really any of us are. What I’ve come up with is a list of suggestions and things that help me to not get burned. As well as a few that help me stay organized, because like I explained in the Twitter party I’m really big on organization!

Blogging Tips
  • You don’t have to blog everything you read. Take some time and read “fun” books periodically. If you read them and choose to review later – fine, but reading something for pleasure and not stressing in the tiniest bit makes it all so much easier. I typically read one a week, sometimes two. If you don’t read fast you might need to do one every few weeks.
  • Schedule posts: Once a week I sit down and schedule everything for the upcoming week. Sometimes, if I’m extra adventurous I work on the next week or even further out.
  • Extra content: This may sound crazy but I try to keep “on hand” a few extra posts. When I hit a blogging or reading slump I post those instead of stressing! These are usually books I read for fun and really enjoyed so I felt like sharing them. You could do guest posts, giveaways, or discussion posts!
  • Breaks: If you need a break, take it. There’s nothing wrong with it! Last year I took December off and then ended up extending my break to include January. If you know something is coming up, you can always plan ahead. For December, I wanted to take off for the holidays. I managed to write a few reviews and fill most of the rest with guest posts and other content. In January, I had a death in the family so instead I just took a hiatus. I scheduled everything I had and just dealt with life.
  • Blogging isn’t a competition! Have fun, don’t stress about who gets what books or who has more traffic. We all are working together. Think of it this way – that new ARC WILL be released eventually. It’s not going to go away and, trust me, there are plenty more books to read in the meantime. (Especially if you are like me..ahem.) Traffic comes and goes, all you can do is do your thing. No one else’s opinion matters.
  • Comment. Yes, this kind of contradicts the last point, but comments are what we blog for. They make us feel good! So, when someone leaves comments on your blog, respond. I reply on my blog, but I also make an effort to check their blog out and comment there. It’s not always easy, but I try! I also attempt to make an effort to comment on a few blogs every day that I don’t regularly visit. Who knows, that blog you visit could become your new favorite (or be your new blogging buddy).
  • Make backups! Regardless of what blogging platform you use there is no sense in not making backups! You don’t have to be as crazy about it as me: I save each review on my computer when I write it AND I back up my blog daily using a plugin. I also have an external hard drive that backs up everything nightly. But the point is, you can’t be too careful! Computers crash, technology fails, and sometimes blogging platforms loses posts. If you don’t have them backed up, then they are gone.
Organization
  • Create a schedule! Not everyone wants to work this way, but it makes my life so much easier. Even if you aren’t strict with it, it gives you a guideline. You could even just list the books you need to read that month! I use Google Calendar and have separate color for each type of post. I can easily drag and re-arrange all of my dates this way. Plus it syncs with all of my devices!  Some people opt to use a paper calendar, I did for a while. I quit mostly because if I wasn’t home and forgot it…but needed to look, I couldn’t. (Tip: If you use an online calendar, save it every so often! I do this just in case.)
  • Keep records. If you decide to request review books or if you get people requesting you to review – make notes! Most email programs have “note” sections. What I do? I save the addresses under the publisher name then contact name. I then also include any pertinent book info. I also make notes of any dates and EVERYTHING else I could possibly need. This helps if in the future you want to ask a favor, you know what you’ve discussed with this person before. This also works with business cards – if you get some with books, make a note of the book title on the back. (It also makes it easier to remember who to send the review link to!)
  • Organize your email. Make use of folders! I’m a bit excessive, but for all reviews/tours I make folders. I make a folder for each month, then sub-folders for the dates. The sub-folders are called things like “June 10th – BOOK TITLE – REVIEW” This way at quick glance I know what the post type is and for what book. Then in that folder I save all related info until after the tour is over. Sure, I keep all of this on my calendar, but this way when I’m looking for a tour button or guest post I can quickly find it in my email. Most tours end up having to send out more than one email, this way I have everything we ever discussed and I can quickly reference it to make sure I don’t miss anything.
  • Email filters – I have a specific filter set up for “review requests”. Ideally, when an author or publisher goes to my blog they use my form (or my review request email I have set up) those all go to one folder. It makes it easy for me to make sure I don’t miss anything! I also use filters for other things like tour groups or Twitter.
  • Inbox! I hate having any email unanswered in my inbox. I created a “To Do” folder with things that I need to do. Every night before I go to bed I move all emails that don’t automatically filter to where they need to go. This way I wake up with only the new emails in my inbox! (I also have one for things I’m waiting on from other people.)
  • Sticky notes! Yes, physical post-its are great to go inside of real books (e-readers? Use the highlight and note tools!) but I’m talking about this nifty little computer that came WITH my computer called “Sticky Notes”. I use these things for everything. I make lists of upcoming books I need to read, little reminders to email people, etc. I even store coupon codes that I know I’ll be using soon! They stay on your desktop, so while I’m scheduling things I can easily click to them and there they are. You can have as many as you need (I usually don’t have more than 8 regularly).
  • WordPress users: Check out plugins that can help you stay organized! WordPress Editorial Calendar helps show you all posts you have scheduled, then you can easily see where there are blanks.

The most important thing though, is I want to stress again…blogging is FUN! If you prefer not to organize, don’t do it. These things work for *me*, just because they do doesn’t mean that they’ll work for you. Find your own groove. We are all different and will each find out how things work for us as we blog.

Does anyone have suggestions for staying organized or blogging tips in general that I forgot? Have you ever tried any of these? Did they work?

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Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    Great post!! It was great to read what others are saying the importance is and the blogging tips!
    http://lovesbooksreviews.blogspot.ca/2012/06/armchair-bea-day-5-future-of-book.html

  2. elena says:

    WORD on commenting! I am very into interacting and having convos with people so I really like it when people take the time to reply/visit my blog. I’ve never seen blogging as a competition so it’s weird to me when people do. It’s such a generous and helpful community that being competitive isn’t necessary at all. Love, love WP plug ins. Definitely one of the perks of switching over from Blogspot!

    • Amanda says:

      I never did see it as a competition either! It’s a hobby! But then I see things that some bloggers say that is just appalling.

  3. Liviania says:

    You’re far more organized than me! (I do like to schedule ahead, but that’s as far as my planning goes.)

    • Amanda says:

      I kind of go above and beyond, but I’m one of those people that HAS to be organized. Otherwise I’d stress or forget something…or both. Hahaha

  4. Wow, Amanda I’m like blown away! SO much good advice that I copied a lot of it into a document so I can easily refer to it later. I especially like your way of keeping records, and it’s good to know that other people also try to keep “extra” content on hand for when they need it :) Unfortunately, I used up all my extra content during exam times, haha! Thanks so much for the great advice!!

    My “Ask the Experts” post

    • Amanda says:

      You do the extra content thing too?! Hahaha. Every time I’ve ever mentioned it in the past people have acted like I’m nuts, but even a couple of extra reviews can be so helpful.

      Hope you are able to use some of the tips!

  5. Roxanne says:

    These are some great tips.

  6. Looks like you put a lot of thought into this post. I think it’s wonderful, thank you

  7. Great tips re email – i try and keep mine organised similarly, but its overdue for a clean up!

  8. I love this post!! I think I’ll have to bookmark all posts of today!!! >. http://bookpics-reading2alba.blogspot.com/2012/06/armchair-bea-ask-experts.html

  9. wait!!
    Please tell me this thing didn’t eat my ENTIRE comment T_T PLEASE PLEASEEEEE tell me it didn’t eat my previous comment!!!! I’ll be MAD!

  10. yes it did :’( and I was SO inspired :’(
    Worpress always eats my comments :(

  11. Oh, wow!! This is a beautiful post Amanda!! You’ve highlighted everything important! I still think I won’t scedule my blog post, though :P – I mean, if my blog represent me – then hell, I can’t be organized :D I am a person who doesn’t make plans, because I like to go with the flow. As in, I never know when I’ll be back home from somewhere. You never know what happens on the way :P :P I don’t need order to feel good. Actually I feel better withuot it, becuase it stresses me :/

    Great, great tips!! Enjoy!

    • Amanda says:

      Scheduling doesn’t work for everyone! Gotta do what you’ve got to do. ;) It works for me, but I’m the opposite and HAVE to be “organized”

  12. Jenny says:

    Do you know how to back things up on blogger? I haven’t been doing that and I need to!! But I don’t know how.

  13. Amanda says:

    Great tips! I never thought about keeping posts on hand, just to make sure you have something for every day!

    You must stay up late, you’ve been in the top 10 comments the entire week, whereas I have gone to bed at 9:30 every night! HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA Good job, you!

    Amanda

    • Amanda says:

      It’s so handy! When I first started blogging, I was posting more than once a day. I started saving the extras and it’s just stuck.

      I do stay up late…and wake up early. I barely sleep. LOL! It goes up right around my bedtime, so I’ve been staying up so I can link up.

  14. Jae says:

    Excellent post! I schedule a lot of my posts in advance and am new to WordPress so wasn’t familiar with that plugin. It sounds great though so thanks for mentioning it!

  15. Wow! I wish that I was as organized as you are! That is so awesome! thank you for all of your advice.

  16. What kind of plugin do you use to back up posts? I wonder if it works for blogger?
    Thanks for the tips, and I agree about scheduling posts.
    Check out my Day 5 post if you’d like

  17. Leeanna says:

    These are super good tips — I’m saving your post so I can implement a lot of this stuff for myself. Thank you!

  18. I like your organizational skills! Especially making sure you use the folders … I do that and it’s made a world of a difference! I also agree with creating a schedule … I have review posts scheduled into the next months just in case I need to take a break, so I don’t drop off the radar completely!

    I tend to blog everything I read, just because that’s why I started the blog. I just try not to get too overwhelmed with books, making reading a job or it’s not fun anymore.

    Great post!

    • Amanda says:

      I think if people can blog everything – props to them! But when I do that I get bogged down…I read a lot though so, it’s pretty easy for me to fit in a little extra book or two when I need to.

  19. You made some really great points. I especially loved the ones about organization. I’m an organization junkie even though I don’t always follow through. I’m in a bit of a slump right now with my blog but reading through your tips is kind of rejuvenating me :)

  20. Laura says:

    Wow, you’re definitely a lot more organised than me! I always feel that, whenever I think I want to take a break, I sneak back over to my blog and start writing posts, without even realising it, which is fairly odd! But I agree with the keeping a few posts in reserve, because, you know, anything could come up!

    • Amanda says:

      I do the same about a break! I think the “break” thought-process makes me more relaxed so that I can write whatever I need to.

  21. Melissa says:

    Great post! I wish I could be as organized as you! I do use folders within my email as well as spreadsheets in google docs and the google calender for all my scheduled posts…but I am so bad at wring up posts in advance.

    PS I love the tip about filtering email…esp. review requests. I need to figure out how to do that!

  22. Cass says:

    Your organization list is going to be super helpful for me, thanks for sharing!

  23. Oh my god. Would you please come to my house and organize it all? I’m so envious that you can do this! I’m just not that organized – I have started to add my mails to folders but I still have more than 2000 mails in my inbox! Great tips!

  24. Haha! We said the same thing about treating blogging as a competition! Do I owe you a Coke?

    You are wayyyy more organized than I. Please come over to my place after you’re done at Christina’s.

    • Amanda says:

      Hehehe, I probably should’ve NOT mentioned my organization skills..now everyone will be trying to kidnap me.

      The bad part is, I’m only that way with my blog…hah! If only I could get that way with other things.

  25. Kailana says:

    I wasn’t so sure about the ‘expert’ term either. I think that is why I waited so long to actually publish my post! I have never been organized with my blog and am thinking I never will…

  26. Jillian says:

    What a great and thorough post! I have to say that I favor your first tip most of all. I need to remember to read sometimes without planning to write about it. :)

  27. Jenna says:

    Wow, what amazing tips. Thanks for sharing!!

  28. This is such a great post Amanda! I use email folders too for all my blog tours and review requests but I need to find a better system for my unanswered emails because I hate that too and when I get really busy with class and work, emails tend to get buried more than I would like. I also use google calendar to keep track of all my scheduled posts. it seems to work pretty well.

    I’m off to comment on your getting involved in the community post because I read it earlier this week and I LOVED it but I have not had a chance to comment yet.

    • Amanda says:

      I find that keeping my unread/unresponded ones sorted I’m more likely to respond to them, because I can sit down and work on just one section and not be as overwhelmed!

  29. .Ambur. says:

    Great tips! :) I especially agree about the whole not reviewing everything necessarily. I like to make sure I read at least one non-review book a week too. It keeps me sane, and that way you don’t feel obligated to review everything, and it keeps it from feeling forced. I also tend to review some things that I don’t initially think I will. ;) I’ve never thought of scheduling my week out, but that’s a good idea. I don’t like to keep a blogging schedule personally just because I don’t want to feel like I have to post everyday, but a schedule starting at the beginning of the week is a good idea. That way you can kind of wrap your head around what you plan to blog about in the week. I’m totally gonna write that tip down! :D

    I’m definitely not that organized personally…and I don’t think I could be. All that organization would probably stress me out, but I agree. You need to find that level of organization that you’re comfortable with and that works for you, and it sounds like you found yours. :)

    Thanks for sharing! :)
    Ambur

  30. Cayce says:

    Wow, I admire how organized you’re. I’m way too lazy to schedule posts ahead of time.
    Keep up the good work! :)

    • Amanda says:

      I only do it because otherwise I try to come up with reasons to not. ;) Of course there are those weeks I don’t even want to bother preparing them on my “assigned” days. Gotta love procrastination!

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