Write Killer Posts in 15 Minutes Flat

Look at me.

On a Plane.jpg

Now look at my man.

Site Anniversary 3

Now back at me. I’m on a plane.

No, seriously — I’m on a plane. Traveling for business, with little time or wi-fi access to put out the thought-provoking posts I know you all come back for, day after day.

{{{crickets}}}

But there are a few things that I’ve learned over the years that not only make blogging more efficient — I think it makes me better, too.

1. Have Photos Ready.

I’ve explained how I take, upload and insert pictures into my posts here. But sometimes I don’t have photos that work well for what I’m writing about. I like to use stock photo sites to find good base pictures, then tweak them in my photo editor.

My favorite site for photos is 123rf.com — because you can search by lots of great keywords AND they offer a ton of free images that are perfectly sized for the Web.

I sometimes troll the site and pull down photos that I know I’ll have use for in the future — say, the blank notebook that I used for my Analytics post. I keep them in a folder on my desktop to browse when I’m in need.

Other photo options:

2. Use Planning Tools.

I recently started using the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin and it has made me 100% more accountable, efficient and focused. It lets me quickly add post ideas and assign them to a specific day (keeping them as drafts). It’s also a great way to organize guest blog posts, contests, etc.

Other planning tools:

3. Pre-Write Posts.

If you are a lifecaster, this may not work so well…but, if like me, you’re more of a topical blogger, the ideas don’t change over the course of 48 hours (usually). So I like to pre-write posts a few days before hitting publish, adding to them as I can. That also helps me be a better blogger, because the extra time allows me to edit, add new information and really refine the work.

4. Embrace Offline Editing/Posting.

At the first Healthy Living Summit, I was astounded at the number of people using Windows Live Writer. I’m a Mac girl, so I was a little jealous…until I found out about all the amazing tools that allow you to write posts from non-Web based platforms.

I’m actually writing this post from MarsEdit (a tip from Mara), a new program that’s getting a lot of attention. I can import media, quickly use HTML tags to format the posts and schedule for posting the next time I’m connected to the Internet. Or, in my case, in seat 27D.

(Sidenote: I love my husband, y’all — but he still hasn’t embraced #4. He writes posts in Word, copies them to his WordPress dashboard, reformats, adds links, etc. Shudder.

Other tools:

  • Ecto
  • WordPress iPhone app
  • BlogBooster iPhone app
    • **Yes, I realize that those two apps are not technically offline. But they’re GREAT for doing work when you can’t be near a computer.

5. Edit Once. And Only Once.

Ahhh this one goes against every grammar slammer cell in my body! But editing on the fly can be a total time suck. Rather than worrying about adding links or formatting your writing, just get it all into the post. Then in one fell swoop, go from paragraph 1 to the end, cleaning up mistakes, adding links, formatting, etc. When you’re done with that, read once from top to bottom and you’re good to go.

OK, I know I’ve missed some great tips and tools — so I’m counting on you to share your advice in the comments!

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Katy, this post was so helpful for me! I’m not a techy person so I need all the help I can get. I’m still doing exactly what you’re hubby is doing! I really hope you write more of these helpful posts because I think it’s the little things that can be so frustrating and eat your time up. Thanks for this!

  2. 3

    says

    I have to check out that calendar plug in; looks cool. I am guilty of editing a post over and over. Sigh. I have a very long word document that I started when I began my blog. It literally has pages of ideas for future posts. I also list all my past posts by date and title which helps me not use the same title twice (darn memory) and lets me quickly find something if I want to link to it in the future. And then there is the list on there of the drafts I have in progress and planned to write next. I am a “list” gal. And very organized:)

  3. 4

    says

    Great post. I started using Windows Live Writer about 4 months ago and it drastically changed my blogging experience. It’s so much easier and faster to use that software than do exactly why your husband is still doing – God love him!

    I was unaware of the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin. I’m going to look into it. Thanks again for being a great blogger resource!

  4. 8

    says

    I have the editorial calendar too. It’s also helpful to look back at the last month if you need to remember how long ago you mentioned something, how the weeks look etc. I just started using Ecto after resisting for a while because of bad feedback. But it’s alright! It is nice to be able to write offline. And the #1 reason I’m using Ecto is because the pictures size better for some reason than I can get from uploading from WordPress online.
    I don’t really like the WordPress iPhone app. I think it’s not user friendly to blog from unless you only use text.
    What do you use to size/retouch photos, and what are you doing to the photos? I don’t do anything to mine but maybe should. I use iPhoto.

  5. 14

    Michelle says

    I agree about only editing once. I think that when you write your blog you should just let it be where it is. If it doesn’t feel right after a quick skim of grammer/spelling you shouldn’t post.

    • 18

      says

      So far, I think they’re about equal — but the main thing that they’re built for (uploading photos) doesn’t really make sense for me, since I host my pictures on Flickr. Both platforms do have Flickr integration, but I still prefer the WP plugin.

      I’m not sure what the price difference is, because I’m only using the Mars Edit trial, but since I already own Ecto, I’ll probably just stick with that.

      You might want to ask Mara, because she *loves* Mars Edit.

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