Blogging 101: Writing a Blog Post, Part 1 of 2

A few of you have requested more posts about our daily life, specifically to include what we do and how we do it.  Writing blog posts is certainly a large part of my week, so I thought I would share my basic process.

You may recall in my previous article, "How To Start A Blog", I shared that starting a blog is quite easy.  Today I'll share the more challenging aspect of blogging - writing the posts.  After beginning to lay out this particular post, and trying to cut it down {I'm wordy by nature}, I decided instead to make this a 2-part series.

Why Do You Blog?
While I initially became a blogger to share our life with family and friends around the globe, I now find myself blogging for 3 additional reasons:  1.  to connect with others who have similar interests, 2.  to share what we have learned/are learning as well as bits of our life with others who may be interested in a similar journey, 3.  to promote our business.

Figuring out why you blog is an important part of the process.  If you are simply sharing with family and friends, you will write in a laid-back way, not necessarily explaining processes.  If you're writing to connect with others with similar interests, you may change the title of your posts to make it something that will show up in a google search, as well as focusing more on your interest and writing out specifics.  If you're sharing what you've learned, you'll likely throw in more how-to's/DIY posts.  And then, if you're blogging to promote a business, your posts will likely focus on aspects of your business, including links to your products.

I love blogging, I love writing, and I particularly love that writing in this space pushes me creatively.  I've shared before that blogging has greatly helped me to improve my photography.  Well, it has also helped me with writing.

Writing and the process of taking and prepping photos for posts is time consuming and can be very challenging at times.  I find it easiest to write about our life and lifestyle.  This is where my passion lies.  If you've hesitated in starting a blog because you fear writing the posts or don't think you would have anything to say, you would be amazed at how effortlessly they can roll off your fingers once you stop over-thinking and over-criticizing and write as you speak about whatever is your passion.

To Plan or Not To Plan?
I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I'm a Virgo, therefore, I'm a planner.  I love lists and organization, so it's no surprise that I plan.  Whether you have decided to plan out your posts or not, it's important to stay flexible.  For instance, my week break-down is roughly like this:

  • Monday = recipe
  • Tuesday = "Three" and sometimes an additional post such as ingredient spotlight for Cobble Hill Farm Handcrafted Soap
  • Wednesday = tutorial/informative
  • Thursday = recipe or tutorial/informative
  • Friday = chicken-keeping
  • Saturday = no posts
  • Sunday = weekend update + photos
As you are aware, I don't always follow this.  I didn't set the outline to follow religiously, but instead to give me somewhat of a plan.  If something comes up that, on a whim I want to write about, then I do.  If I don't have time to write or finish posts, then I only post once or twice that week.  

Choosing Topics
It can be challenging to constantly think of things to write about.  I've found it's much easier if I don't think of it in that way.  Instead I allow topics to organically come to me.  Many times I actually have the opposite issue.  There are so many things I want to write about but I don't have time to do so.

I have a notebook that I jot down ideas in.  I found it easier to write on paper, as opposed to keeping it on my computer, because I can carry my notebook with me.  My list is broken down into DIY/Tutorial post ideas, Informational ideas, and Recipe ideas.  The topics include things we do regularly or things we've tried and like as well as things we'd like to try.

For me, personally, first and foremost I write about what I want to write about.  What I'm passionate about.  If I tried to write about things that didn't really interest me, it wouldn't work.  It would be painful to write and equally painful to read.  I pick topics based on our life - what we do.  If I've made something that I think turned out well {ahem.....provided I've remembered to take photos} I post about it.

I take topics from everyday conversations or questions from others.  Often times, when I'm speaking to someone my mind is saying "hey, this would make a great post".  So I jot down notes after the conversation.  I also choose topics by reading other articles, whether it be online or in print.  Many times I'll read something and it will strike an idea.  Or, I may have a different take and think that would be interesting to write about.

Let Your Post Marinate
It's common for me to have a handful of posts started and saved as "draft" at any given time.  Why?  Because I like to try and take time at writing them.  I let the post marinate, if you will.  I think of things I want to write at the strangest of times - while doing dishes, while driving, while grocery shopping....strange.  The initial post that I write often changes either in format or wording before I actually hit "publish".

Although this is the way I write most posts, there are certainly times that I sit down, write out a post, and hit publish.  Done.

Adding Photos
Think about blogs and/or posts that you've enjoyed reading.  Most likely they've been accompanied by beautiful photos.   People appreciate aesthetics and, therefore, enjoy seeing photos as part of a post.  I try to make sure the photos in some way compliment the post/post topic

If you're new to photography, the easiest thing to do is experiment.

  • I take almost all of my photos during the day {which is why it's harder to take food pics in the winter} in natural sunlight.  
  • Read your camera's manual to find out about aperature, ISO, and other manual functions.  
  • Try different angles when photographing.  Take a photo the way you would typically take it and then try turning the camera.  
  • Try to keep a clean background.  Sometimes that means you have to change position when taking a photo.  For instance, when I'm taking photos in the garden, I try to take photos of the veggies/plants with the sky or a building as the backdrop so my focus object doesn't get lost in the mounds of green.  This means I may be laying on the ground, kneeling, or standing over my subject.
  • Clean it up.  My photos very rarely go straight from the camera to the blog.  Instead, they make a pit stop at PicMonkey for a touch-up or two.  The site is free and has wonderful little fixes available to you.  You can adjust the lighting, color, sharpness, etc.

What are some of the ways you prepare to write a post?

Part 2 will include the anatomy of a post, types of blog posts and when to write a series.

Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.


daisy g said...

I'm so glad you started blogging. I find so much valuable information on your blog.

I love writing too. I start with the photos and write from there.
Things do come to you in the strangest places though.
Thanks for your constant generosity.

Nanna Chel said...

I am a bit haphazard with my blog post writing, Staci and am certainly not as organised as you are. I find that editing the photos does take some time and I just have a Point and Shoot camera at this stage but hopefully will get a better one sometime in the future. Your photos are just lovely I must say.

Michaele said...

Well written and thought out post. Still wondering why I blog...

born imaginative. said...

I find it so interesting how others go about it. I have no idea what I do, I tried planning, but it seems that I do everything on a whim. Whatever you do is working! :)