Regular Doses of Common Sense™

How to Plan Your Blog Without A Plan

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No blogging plan? No problem?

I expected at least one WordCamp session to focus on how to plan your blog.

I was in for a shock!

The very first session I attended at WordCamp Atlanta, a two-day WordPress conference designed for bloggers, designers and developers, featured speaker Wade Kwon, a journalist and blogger behind Magic City Post, a website focusing on Birmingham, Alabama (which is nicknamed the “Magic City”).

Kwon began with a very important truth everyone who has ever had a blog already knows:

You cannot predict what will do well.

Makes sense. If we could always predict which posts would “pop” with readers, every post would.

Wade’s suggests focusing on Three Bs:

  1. Don’t Have a Plan
  2. Cover Everything
  3. Measure, Measure, Measure

I started this blog without a firm plan in place for two primary reasons. First, I feared that the more structured I tried to make it, the less fun it’d be. I felt I should get in there and try my best to make it work, learn along the way and keep going. The second reason, however, was that I wasn’t entirely sure that I would want to keep it going once the initial newness wore off the blogging candy. I had a healthy dose of skepticism about those who were blogging and claiming to enjoy it so much. So the less planning involved, I thought, the more I’d like it for the few months I was willing to actually put effort into it.

I also rejected the idea of a niche. Not because I think niches are bad, but because I wasn’t sure what topics I’d want to commit to writing about longterm, and I didn’t want to choose a topic that might completely run out of steam after about six weeks. A wider range of topics seemed more fun, and more likely to offer readers something they were interested in. Diversity is good.

So I had the first two down pat. Not having a plan was my plan. No niche, no posting schedule, no writing schedule.

I didn’t measure, measure, measure. That came much later.

My primary method of measurement initially was reader comments alone. But as we know, many readers won’t comment unless they are really motivated.

Google Analytics is your best blogging friend. You can measure not only how your blog is doing day to day, but over longer periods of time. You can also measure which posts (as well as pages, categories and tags) get the most views. This can help you find out what’s popular with the audience you’re building, so you know what to do more of.

You build momentum when you take topics that score the best, then hit them hard.

Still skeptical? Newspaper readers voted Kwon’s Magic City Post the Best Website of Birmingham in the local newspaper after only one year. Yeah, I’d call that a success story.

Did you go into blogging with a plan, or did you wing it from the start as I did?


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8 Comments on "How to Plan Your Blog Without A Plan"

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1 year 2 months ago

Patrick, you have been to my blog once upon a time. I always wing it. Or I start out with a topic, but it ends up covering several. I rarely have a specific plan, other than a sudden realisation that something I’m cogitation get about needs to aired – so, I do.

3 years 6 months ago

WadeOnTweets Thanks, Wade! I appreciate it!

3 years 6 months ago

patricksplace You’re welcome — thanks for your RT, too.

3 years 6 months ago
Patrick, I began my blogging journey on tumblr. It was through tumblr I decided to venture out into the blogging community. Beginning on tumblr gave me an idea about what was expected and needed in blogging, but it did not prepare me for all the reading I would being doing.  I am constantly reading other blogs, learning about WordPress and looking for ideas. There are so many things that bloggers need to know that it is a never ending learning curve.  I work hard to understand that not everything works or will work on my blog. I will give things… Read more »
3 years 6 months ago

I have no plan in my blogging world. I think I need to start calling it as blogging career so I can be really focus on things I want to develop, as if people are paying you salary and that you should not fail. I need to check Kwon out to find out what makes him a superstar and maybe I can learn a thing or two or more to be successful. cheers!

3 years 7 months ago
Hello Patrick,  I won’t exactly say I started blogging for fun. I needed something to get myself thinking in the English language again, I had been living in Germany and Holland and besides the languages I developed the mentalities which sometimes shocked people who thought they knew me it was quite mind boggling to them I guess. After a while I knew that I loved blogging but got too caught up in the whole having a niche which often caused bloggers block. I do have a niche blog now but it’s a bit odd I tried writing about technology for… Read more »