Plan for Success!

Did you read my 10 Tips to Make Blogging Enjoyable. Traps to Avoid? If not, it’s still there…waiting. Why do I mention it, other than hoping those of you that missed it go and read it? There is actually an 11th Tip. Unfortunately I didn’t think of it in the 11th hour, I thought of it after that. But that just means I get to write another Blogging Tip article.

Plan, Organize, Organize, oh and Organize!

We think we organize, but we don’t. We have some categories we click the little box next to for each post but we begin to write things and come up with random categories. Before we know it we have countless categories or we have posts in an existing handful that don’t make sense.

Organizing from the very beginning of blogging makes for a lot of great benefits.

  • Easier Reader Navigation
  • Better Reader Enjoyment
  • Easier SEO Results
  • Less Headache and Mess for You, The Blogger

This isn’t my first go around with an article about organization. My 3 Best Blogging Tips for a Successful Blog  was one year ago discussing menu structures, how to do drop down menus and create real PAGES and fake ‘pages’ as headings for drop down menu sections. Yep, step-by-step.

Now, if you’re new, the Category is basically like a folder you place a post in and you can then actually make a page in your menu using that category. You can look at my menu around my header image to see what I am talking about.

Mine looks simple, right? In reality, mine is a mess. I have over 1300 articles now, posts, poems, tips, videos, and whatever other random things I’ve come up with. I tell you that so you know when I talk about a need to organize I know from experience.

The problem? The mess?

I realized too late my system for organizing was not adequate. Why? There was no system. For someone who spent years organizing and mapping out things for Plan Your Blog for Successlocations around the country, I can’t stand the condition things are in. But the process of correcting all the mess is overwhelming. I’ll do it, slowly, but slowly is the key word.

If you are a veteran blogger, take a handful of minutes a day and do a page of your content in the Dashboard each day. No more than that. If you do more, you get tired of it, disgusted, and it becomes work. Blogging should be an enjoyable part of our lives, even if we do it as a job.

Now, I have great articles, and I’m not tying to be all boastful. People have truly enjoyed some of my work, but people can’t find those articles. I can’t sometimes unless I go into my Dashboard. (Sorry, Dashboard is blog-speak for where all of our tools and useful things are.)

So organization leads to easy Reader Site Navigation.

To organize your content you need to:

  • Look at what the post you’re doing is at its general level. Is it a Tip, a Writing Piece, Music. What is it? Now you have your Headings/Page Names.
  • What is the post specifically about? Is it a Love Poem, a SciFi story, or a Blogging Tip? Now you have your Categories.
  • Now, for Tags, you go into all the wide and varied things people might think of when looking at the post; Poem, Romance, Desire, Paris, Ocean. I only mention Tags because we are talking about naming of things. This has nothing to do with organization so much, but does in a way when people do a search of a word or you use a Tag Cloud. (For WordPress, don’t use more than 13 Tags or your post might not show up in the WordPress Reader.)

There are countless tips out there about how to organize and boost traffic by managing your content. Not long ago I met Janice Wald of MostlyBlogging.com. The topic of blogging seems to be something she is passionate about and seeks out things to know. As I wrote the article I thought it would be great to ask her for some articles she thought might be of use about the subject of blog organization. Here are some related articles from her site you MUST READ:

The first thing you need to read is; How to Build the Perfect Blog Even if You Don’t Know How This will give you a basic checklist to go through to make sure you have prepared a post worth posting and being read. What you post is your reputation, image, brand. You want to get it right from the beginning. Some readers will never come back if you are bad from the beginning.

Perhaps you are wanting to know if you are doing things right. You think you are but how do you find out? Well, teacher Janice has a report card for you to go by. How to Grade Your Blog  (By the way, I got an A.)

What is another form of organization? How do you know for sure you are doing a good job of it? The report card above won’t tell you if you are getting the results from your efforts. And really there are some less technical aspects that you need to look at. How to Get Loyal Visitors to Repeatedly Return to Your Blog Here you will find a real success  story from a real success blogger.

Now, one final thing from Janice I like is, How to Increase Blog Traffic with Content Curation. It’s not about organizing but how to get more out of those old posts you wrote that no one sees these days. No amount of organization will get all of your work seen. But if you know how to spread that content around, you can get results, maybe even better ones at times.

But not all success of a blog has to do with organization or spreading the word. I for one can vouch for that on some level. Sometimes a blog achieves success not by organization but by personality. My friend Hugh Roberts of Hugh’s Views & News focuses more on the personality and feel of blogging, a blog, and the blog life to be successful. Yes he does the organization but he likes to provide tips on a personal level. One popular article to check out  is, Is Your Blog As Friendly As You Think It Is? It is one of his most recent but high on his most popular post list.

From me you can check my Most Popular list at the bottom of the blog, currently. There are two that seem to get attention the most over time, How to Survive the Blog Life. and Blogging Personality: The Key to Success.

BONUS TIP!

While I was writing the above and reading old articles of mine another tip came to mind.

Leave Your Post to Marinate

We write a post and want it out NOW. Big problem with that is the ugly word TYPO. Nothing worse than doing a Writing Tip article and you have typos everywhere.

Let your article sit a few days, a week or more if you can. Then you come back and read it and you see the problems, and read it in the Preview window, like it would be on your blog, NOT in the Post Editor. Post Editor windows allow for easy skipping over words and even sentences. Our eyes are more accustomed to truly reading something on a Blog page as opposed to the Editor page.

(All images created by Ronovan unless otherwise noted.)

REBLOG, TWEET, FB it, or GOOGLE+ it. Share it however you like so all those linked get clicked.

Much Respect-Much Love

Ronovan



Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

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My 3 Best Blogging Tips for a Successful Blog

My Best Blogging Tip

I can give anyone is to be honest in everything you put out. If you have something you don’t like or are not feeling, then don’t post it. If that means you go a day without a post, then fine, save your readers the suffering of mediocrity. My apologies to my readers.

I feel responsible to put out a lot of content in order for there to be something for each type of person that visits. I know not everyone likes each and every piece I come up with so I try to have a little bit of variety. This does not mean a piece is bad just because a person does not like it. You can’t make everyone happy with your writing.

The foolish thing about the idea of my massive amount of content output is . . . I have so much content on my blog that people already have plenty to see if they want to see it. But there is a problem with backing off my content output and just letting people check out what I have already. And that’s where my,

Third Best Blogging Tip comes into play and that is . . .

Blog Organization & Navigation: Get it right Sooner than Too Late.

No, you didn’t miss the number two blogging tip. Not everyone is like me for content output. I am a serious writing fiend. This has put me in a bad spot. I need to organize but it will be a very long process and that is time intensive and tediousness I can’t handle. It’s just something I literally cannot do at this point in my life medically.

lego_juggler

How did I get so unorganized?

Whenever we start blogs we want them to look great and put out creative things without a look to the future because we often times don’t think about what happens if we really enjoy it or if others enjoy our work. Great. But one thing you need to think of is organizing. We use Categories on that sidebar thing for that and it works perfectly fine. But then again . . . it doesn’t.

How are your visitors going to find your great work? How do they navigate your site?

You might be saying to yourself,

“Ronovan, I write poetry, or I have photos so people are just going to see that by clicking on my Photography category.”

  • I don’t like every subject matter of photography.
  • I don’t like every subject matter of poetry.
  • You know there are even triggers for some people these days. Triggers are words or sounds or images or anything that causes some reaction from another person and often times in a negative manner.

Triggers have been an issue with me of late. There are blogs I don’t visit now because there are things I know might be there. Even a warning is a trigger. Even the idea of the site itself is a trigger and the person attached to the site has become a trigger. So what to do to help this not happen? This isn’t to say you need to try and avoid every trigger ever because that’s impossible.

The Category way, a MUST

Sure, Categories are a start but then you have to think about things like . . . well let’s take poetry. I have a lot of poetry on my site. All of it is under the Category of Poetry which I now have as a drop down box under ‘My Writings’ page. But there are different types of poetry and different topics.

So what I need to do is slowly move my poetry into more Categories. This is great if you want a long list of Categories on your sidebar.For me the Drop Down Menu looks a touch more professional as long as it is done properly. I still need to work on mine. But if you are satisfied with a list of categories in your sidebar then by all means do it.

There is nothing wrong with having poetry categorized as Love Poetry, or Depression Poetry, or Funny Poetry, or even Sensual Poetry.  You would be using those adjective words in the Tags anyway, so why not use them in the Category name instead? That means one less Tag you use.

The thing to know here is to go ahead and make these Categories as you make your posts. It will come in handy later when and if you want to do drop down boxes/menus.

If I had done the above to start with the next option I will mention would be a breeze.

My Nightmare

Waiting until you have almost 700 articles published is a bit late in the game to be taking another stab at organization but it is a must. I’m going to try but it will be slow going. I advise you to do it now. Do it a little at a time if you need to. But get it done so people can visit and check out more of what you have to offer. Just imagine people don’t even know about my poem ‘Snack Attack‘.

Doing Drop Down Menus.

You might be wondering how to set up the Drop Down Menus under or atop your header photos. Go to your Dashboard, for WordPress users, then to Appearance near the bottom, and then Menus.

For some there might be different locations for Menus, as in where on your blog a menu or menus can appear. I’m just going to briefly or not so briefly do a run through of a basic drop down option.

MenuOnce in the Menus page to edit your menus you have sections called  Pages, Links, Categories, and then to the right Menu Structure. If you have your blog open go ahead and just take a look at it and  you will see it’s pretty simple and nothing all freak out worthy. You can’t mess up in here unless you hit save and even then you have to do something else first before anything you do now would save. And I’m not telling you what that is yet.  So check it out.

Before anything, look at the Menu Structure section.

What happens here is you move Pages, Links and Categories into this box and then move them around to how you want them to appear and function on your blog.

  • If a Title is all the way to the left in the box then it will function as a ‘Heading’, at least that’s what I will call it. Or perhaps a Section Title. I have Haiku Challenges on my blog RonovanWrites, well I don’t want a person to click Haiku Challenges and end up seeing every challenge I have because it then becomes confusing. Instead I want them to see the specific type of challenge, be it the Word Prompt Challenge or the Wordless Haiku Challenge.
  • If you want something to show up as a drop down option then you simply drag it slightly to the right, underneath the ‘Heading’ you want it to appear under. So for me the ‘Heading’ would be Haiku Challenges and the drop down options would be ‘Word Prompt Challenge’ and “Wordless Haiku Challenge’. So Haiku Challenges would be all the way to the left then the actual challenges would be lined up underneath each other just to the right and under the ‘Heading’.
  • You can even make subheading under subheadings by moving something to the right of ‘Word Prompt Challenge’.
  • Don’t do the sub of a sub thing, or I don’t recommend it as the deeper you bury things in your blog structure supposedly the deeper a Search Engine will need to search.

Pages:

Pages is the section that contains actual PAGES you have created in the PAGES part of the Dashboard. I will use all caps for real PAGES from now on so you will know the difference between a real PAGE and what looks likeLego_Blocks a page.

  • Click on the ‘Pages’ box and a list of your PAGES will appear. You can check the box next to what you want and then click Add to Menu. Did you catch that? You can actually, by using the Menus feature, keep a PAGE from appearing in the Menu while you work on it or until it is ready to be used.

Links is a bit different:

For links you have two boxes; URL and Link Text.

This is where I create the ‘Headings’ or ‘Fake Pages’ if you will.

  • Type in the ‘Heading’ in the Link Text field. For me it would have been Haiku Challenges.
  • Next you need a URL link to hold the ‘Heading’ in place so to speak. You see if you clicked on Haiku Challenges you might not find anything there because I just created a name, no content, no post or anything. What you do is simply copy the URL from the front page of your blog. This will make it so no one can click on it but when their cursor hovers over it the drop box shows up.
  • Once you have done this, click Add to Menu and place it where  appropriate on your Menu Structure.

Categories is the last on our list:

These are the Categories you created as you created your posts. And this is why you want to be a little specific about naming standards. In other words these are the Categories that show up on the Category list in the sidebar.

  • Click the View All tab so you can see all of the Categories you use for your posts.
  • You can now add any you want to the Menu Structure area.

Why be specific in naming standards? What if you have a Literary site that does interviews and book reviews and you have genre ‘Headings’ and then ‘Categories’ that are all the same names according to age of reader? You know what you end with for yourself? Confusion and delay. So be specific so you know what you are using at a glance and not out of trial and error.

Here is the part you need to know about making drop downs instead of a bunch of ‘pages’.

Once you’ve done all the Menu Structure you then want to make sure Primary Menu is checked at the bottom and then click Save Menu. You can click Save Menu throughout the process and check and see if things are going as planned by having your site open in another tab or window. Just hit refresh on that other tab or window and check out your progress.

That’s a quick rundown of how the Menus work and how to get organized. I hope it will be helpful and I will work on a more complete Menu article in the future with the images that you have become accustomed to, but to be honest, this article wasn’t going to be this, it just happened.

One last thing for the O/N Blogging tips you need to do and actually it’s the first is to sit down and think about your Category names, your ‘Heading’ titles, and even your real PAGES you want to have. You don’t have to have every single one, just what you need so you get a standard method in place.

Now for the number Two Best Blogging Tip I have

Have fun and ignore the number of views and followers you have. If you worry about those two things then you start forgetting about the Number One Tip, being honest. You start forcing things and people can tell you aren’t having fun or at least you are not putting your heart into it. When that happens, people stop visiting you.

So why are these my Best Three Blogging Tips? If you don’t have quality you don’t have readers and if you have a mess on your hands your new readers won’t see your quality content from before they found you. So make your life easier.
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Much Respect

Ronovan

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