Welcome to the 100th blog post!
As I like to read what the process and toolset from others bloggers looks like, I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about my own blogging workflow. Reading how others get stuff done is always an opportunity to learn and get better, or discover that little tool someone else is heavily using and you’ve never heard about it.
So here is how the Fresh van Root process looks like and which tools I use.
An idea is born (OneNote)
Ideas come and go, some stick out and some get buried. Most of the time ideas arise when reading or working on a client project. To keep track of all my ideas, on what to blog about, I use OneNote. Within my digital notebook I have a section where I add them from my mobile or laptop. Mostly it is only the potential title of the blog and 2 sentences or a phrase or link on what the hook or topic of the post could be.
Sometimes I quickly write down a paragraph or the basic outline, most of the time it is really only the raw idea.
Why is OneNote a good tool for that purpose?
- It is available on all platforms (and as a web app)
- It supports many different content types
- You can share your notebook or collaborate with others
- And specifically for me: Most of my clients use OneNote
Not every idea makes it through the full process to get developed into a blogpost. Every few month I click through the notes and delete the ones I am sure I will never work on.
Using OneNote or not, use something that loads quickly and syncs between devices fast and without errors.
If OneNote looks like overload to you, try Simplenote or any of the thousands of apps available.
From idea to Draft (Google Docs)
If I decide to work on a specific idea I open Google Docs and start writing the outline and the first few paragraphs. Often I set a timer to 20 minutes to get a feel of how far I can get within that time frame.
After that I do have a better feeling of what I am getting into. How much research is needed to actually be able to write the post, should I split it into multiple posts, or re-evaluate altogether if the idea is worth pursuing (within the hundred posts written here no single post was done in 20 minutes).
Getting the post ready in WordPress
Until a few months back this was really painful. I tried several tools for creating a WordPress post based on a Google Doc. Often these tools failed me and it was only solved once Automattic released a Google Doc Add-On. WordPress.com for Google Docs is saving me lots of time now. It not only does a good job copying the text, but also uploads images to the media library in WordPress.
In WordPress, I am proofreading and formatting the post. Take a look at the basic SEO check from Yoast, add sharing images and set all the needed meta information like categories, tags, permalink URL and so on.
Publishing the post (Multiple tools)
I am using Hootsuite (paid) and Buffer (free plan) to publish and monitor my social media accounts. I also reach out via chat apps to get a few basic shares and make people aware of the newly published post.
A few people have opted to get an email every time a post is published via the Jetpack subscription.
Basic analytics (WordPress Stats, Slack)
After a few days I check on the views the blog got, I have set an alert via Statsbot in Slack to let me know if the blog reaches certain traffic limits, this way I get notified if I am getting high traffic and should take a look at who picked up the post. When logging into WordPress I take a quick look at the overall traffic of the blog using the basic stats you get within Jetpack.
There are many modifications of this process, and it is very different depending on the topic and length of the post that is written, but the basics as described here are more or less the same.
There you go, ideas for the next 100 already exist!
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And some meta information…
Where do I spent most of the time when working on a blog?
- Idea stage: 10%
- Draft: Google Doc: 30%
- Editing: WordPress: 30%
- Publishing / Marketing: 30%
Which devices have been used
- Lenovo Thinkpad X220 (from 2011)
- Surface Pro 3 (from 2015)
- Surface Book (main device now)
- Smartphones in use since starting this blog
- Nokia Windows Phone
- iPhone 5C
- OnePlus One
- OnePLus X (current)