31DBBB Day 31: Plan the Next Steps for Your Blog

create a blog planThis is Day 31 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.

A little over six weeks ago we started a journey together in the pursuit of becoming better bloggers.  Congratulations to everyone who has made it to this finish line.  This has been a worthwhile project for me, not just for the practical advice and wisdom I have received in the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog material, but because of the friendships that I have made along the way.  So many of you have spoken truth into my life through your respective blogs and I am grateful to you for your willingness to share your lives with me through blogging.

Today’s lesson deals with developing your “next steps” in blogging.  Darren recommends mapping out what you intend to accomplish in your next month of blogging.  Basically we are being encouraged to put into practice the different concepts we have learned over the 31 days.  Putting together a game plan that includes developing potential blog topics, developing a variety of different types of posts we want to write, and allotting time to participate in forums and commenting on other blogs will definitely help us all become better bloggers.

In short, following a well thought-out plan is one of the essentials for building a better blog.

I am a planner by nature.  Working within the confines of a structured plan is very comforting to me.  While the task may seem a little daunting to those of you who may have a little more of a “free spirit” when it comes to your blog planning, I want to challenge you to give it a try.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you follow a plan.  For example:

Less than a year ago, I had a dream to become a runner.  Now, when you see me, I probably would remind you more of an offensive lineman than than your prototypical track team member, but for whatever reason, I had this desire deep down to start running.  Smart people would have probably chosen a mile race or a 5K to get started.  I chose a half-marathon–that’s 13.1 miles for those of you keeping score at home.

How does a fat boy get ready for a half-marathon? He finds a good plan and sticks with it.  Although I knew very little about running, I began following a plan recommended to me by some experienced runners.  There were days I wasn’t able to complete a training run for a variety of reasons, but keeping track of my training and following the recommended running strategy as closely as possible helped get me ready for my first half-marathon.  Having the discipline to run even when I didn’t “feel” like it prepared me to run well.  My plan caused me to log the miles and gain the endurance that I would need make it to the starting line with the courage that I was as ready as I could be to complete the challenge ahead.

I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to finish that race!  In fact, I finished my second half-marathon in March and just began training to run a full marathon toward the end of this year.

I am still a fat man, but thanks to good planning, I am now a “fat man on the run!”

Blogging seems to be a lot like distance running to me.  Both are challenging and rewarding, and those who work hard and plan ahead tend to finish well.

I look forward to seeing you regularly as we continue to run the blogging trails together!

Discussion:

  1. What value do you see in setting up a blog calendar a month ahead?
  2. Do you think planning ahead stifles or increases creativity?
  3. Which bloggers have impacted you the most over the last 31 days?

The Extra Mile:

  • Complete a month of your blog calendar and post a link where we can check it out.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Complete the 31DBBB feedback survey by midnight tonight (Monday)

[image by jonnygoldstein]

After 15+ years as a paid pastor, Nolan Bobbitt found out how to do real-world ministry…by getting a job as a barista at Starbucks!  He blogs about his journey of faith, family, and leadership at www.nolanbobbitt.com.  You can also follow him on Twitter (@NolanBobbitt).

26 Responses to “31DBBB Day 31: Plan the Next Steps for Your Blog”

  1. Yes blogging is like long distance race that rfequires planning and stamina.

  2. Hey Nolan, good ending to a great group project.

    and what a time it was :)
    really great to have connected with so many great people.

    I think, for me, I will take these lessons and apply it to a new personal blog I am currently creating. I will still keep my filmmaking one going. My personal one will basically be everything else and will be a better platform for discussion than SynapticLight.

    I will need to set up a plan and a schedule for that one. It keeps the momentum. It also helps creativity because when you formalize it you, more often than not, have a pen on hand to write the ideas down. Blogging on the fly can be erratic and have you forgetting the great ideas you had. Happens to me all the time.
    But like you said – blogging it is like long distance running; and so it will be with developing a schedule.

    Hope we continue connecting as bloggers, sharing and helping each other out :)

    • Seconded Phillip – if you look at my below comment I'm thinking about planning the opposite to you but probably fo rsimilar reasons.

      I too hope we continue to connect.

  3. Great read Nolan.

    Wow, 31 days. We did it! The information I have received while being a part of 31DBBB in invaluable. I have found many great bloggers in my niche whom I would never have found had it not been for 31DBBB. Not only have I found many in my niche, but many different styles of blogging within my niche. I will continue to be watching these blogs because I believe that "iron sharpens iron". (Prov. 27:17)

    I need to work on a blog calendar. I do this somewhat, but not in a calendar format. And not for a month in advance.

    New post- It is finished – http://www.ronniespoon.blogspot.com

  4. I agree with Phillip and just want to second his comment of "being able to connect".

    I've thoroughly enjoyed my time, redaing other blogs, partially getting to know some folks and interacting with you all – but if I'm honest (and that' sme to a fault) I'm tired of this.

    My blog is 2yrs old now and whilst I always state I didn't get into this for fame or fortune (and that is still true) I would like to see that my efforts are better recognised and the only way that happens is that your fellow bloggers and in particular those in the same niche as oneself interact more.

    Maybe it's a trait of my fellow geeks that they don't feel they need to say "well done" or "good post" or "how about this subject" but I fer after 2yrs of tech blogging that most don't seem to give a monkeys.

    So my plan is to seriously consider dropping my CT domain and just stick to the very occasional personal blog wihich gives me much wider scope to do / say what I want and when I want.

    But thank you Paul for hosting this – it's been educational and inspiring but maybe just not in the way one hoped :)

    • My SynapticLight blog has not been as successful as I hoped in terms of page views and comments. But then again, I'd probably be unsatisfied that I am only getting 1000 page views a day at 20 comments per post. lol.
      However, SL is my hopes and dreams blog (filmmaking) and the kind of connections and relationships I have made thru it are amazing. So I' push on with that (hopefully documenting the films I make) even if I don't get many comments of high page views.

  5. I AM A 31 DBB SURVIVOR!!! :)
    http://greeninventionscentral.blogspot.com/2010/0

    Okay, but really I am thankful for the project too. Such commitment on your part. Thank you!

  6. You all rock! This has been a great experience, and I'll continue to cyber-stalk all of you in fond memory of the experience ;-)
    Calendars make me cringe, but clearly they're helpful. Also going to agree with Phil that it's hard to figure out when we've made it and done enough or done well enough. I'm going to take a couple of days to let the past month sink in and realize it, but i've started taking the first steps to getting my blog calendar organized and put together. http://wp.me/pRIWc-52
    Because you can't know where you're going until you know where you stand :-D

  7. Hey Nolan, thanks for writing today's post.

    I think today's is assignment is one that really separates the boys from the men and the girls from the women. It's one that is easy to talk about, but the bloggers who actually do it and stick to it are the ones who are really going to see continued growth both numerically and in terms of influence.

    I have not done this assignment yet for either of my blogs, but…

    One thing I absolutely know I'm going to put on the calendar for Christian Web Trends is a weekly post about blogging. This series seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people, and I have really enjoyed learning and interacting with all of you. It would be a shame not to continue this in some form. So, what do you think about a post every Wednesday at 7 AM that touches on some facet of blogging?

  8. 31DBBB here at Christian Web Trends has been educational, inspirational, and relational for me. Since I am newer to blogging that most I had a lot to learn. I gained a few tech tricks, format methods, and post ideas. I have been inspired both vocationally and spiritually by many of you bloggers. And I have begun relationships with some that I hope will be mutually encouraging.

    I already follow a plan for my posts but I will need to develop a plan for promotional tasks and admin tasks as Darren recommends. My purpose in starting 31DBBB was just to learn more about blogging and to be more intentional about it. That much has been accomplished. The calendar will help it continue.

    So thanks, Paul, for inviting me to join, for encouraging us all along the way, and for setting such a positive, helpful tone for the whole project.

    Now I need a vacation! http://junctionforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/06/need

  9. Wow. This has been a great 31 days and I have learned a great deal. Like justapen, I tend to be allergic to calendars and schedules, but over the years, I have learned their value. I used to hate the word "discipline," but disciplined people accomplish a lot more. I think the sweet spot for a creative person is that place where they are able to schedule the things they have to do so that they can have time left over for the things they want to do (and even schedule the things they want to do sometimes).

    As I write this comment, I'm still cooling down from a P90X workout. I'm a musician, not an athlete, and sticking to this has been difficult, but I know that good results are coming and will come from the discipline. The same will be true with blogging.

    I'm at the tail end of one of the busiest periods I've ever been in, and I hate that it had to come in the middle of 31DBBB. I was already planning to revisit things I'd learned in the 31 days, and I'm glad that today's assignment is just that.

    I think what I especially enjoyed, as Phillip pointed out, was connecting with all of you, even though during these last two weeks, I haven't interacted with you as much as I'd wanted. I will continue to read your blogs and comment – moreso when I'm done with my giant project. Again, it's been great to find so many people who write so well about so many different things. This has been the best interaction through social media that I've participated in.

    Oh: "Fat boy on the run." GREAT line! Good post, Nolan. This was a great wrap-up.

  10. One thing that I am sure we are all faced with is finding balance in our lives (God, Family, Work, Friends, etc) Blogging (that includes research, reading, commenting and promoting) take a chuck out of that time. One needs to spend some time setting out a schedule – both for blogging times and what you need to blog about.
    Least you find yourself dipping into God or family time to write that very important post.
    Yes, that is me.
    Planning will certainly help in keeping that balance.

  11. This was a much more challenging project than I anticipated on the front end. I am glad that I continued to participate even though I still have several incomplete assignments that need my attention down the road. It has been a deep honor to have many of you stop by my blog over the last six weeks and leave comments and it has been a privilege to see how many of you are wonderful writers who have made your way onto my rss feeds and I look forward to your continued encouragement. I have not planned my month out yet, but have set aside time to do it later this week. Here is my latest blog post: http://www.nolanbobbitt.com/welcome_to_nolans_wor

  12. I've learned quite a bit from this experience. The main thing I learned is that if I don't set a schedule to blog I don't do it. So now I'm working on a M-W-F blog post each week, each with a different category or point to them..
    http://www.guardraildamageahead.com

  13. I have learned from this experience mostly to be consistent and that blogging about fun things as well as just simply informational stuff is better than journaling or just talking. Have also learned about keywords and the community that I gained and learned from this experience has been great. I hope to stay connected in the blogging community through our blogs and online.

    Setting a blog calendar for me sounds great, though I change it often. You can plan what you're going to write about for a month or for a week but when you're trying to follow God and blog what he wants daily that often gets changed. I have an idea of what to blog about today as well as lots of ideas that I could use for this week and the months ahead.
    I see value but mostly see the most value in having ideas and being consistent.

    Planning for me creates and stifles activity. Planning is at least having an idea of what to blog on, but planning too strictly like what I'll blog on for a whole month stifles my creativity and such.

    The readers who have impacted me and the blog most during this project have been Richard Sipes, Jennifer Janes, Lara, Kevin Weatherby, Larry Westfall, L.L. Barkat, Stuart, Janis, and a few others who have not been a part of this project.

    Blog post for today is "Choosing to Forgive" http://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/choo

    Also..I've had requests to blog on "Toys That Are Not As Fun As The Box They Came In" a post that relates to the ones I did on cheerios and community last week. If you have ideas for this post how to approach it, what toys you or your children have that are not as much fun as their box, or any other suggestions feel free to comment here and let me know. Would love to hear them!

  14. Hi Everyone,
    I've missed the last few days because we have been out of town and today I was training for a new position at the University of Arizona. Will check back later tonight with an update and am looking forward to tomorrow.

    Shouldn't we have a party? Virtual brownies and lattes?

    It just doesn't seem right to end without celebration after all of this time.

    Blessings,
    Janis

  15. It has been an excellent learning experience. I would recommend it to anyone interested in improving their blogging. I agree with Nolan that this was a much more challenging project than I expected. However, it was worth taking the time in order to learn from and be inspired by everyone who participated. Thanks Paul.

  16. I have really found the challenge of following through for 31 days to be a personal motivatior. The information learned, whether new or a review of previous knowledge will continue to shape my blogging for as many years as God keeps me at it. Finding so many people in my niche has been a much needed break out of isolation and finding people who care (community) finally restores my faith in part of the dream God has give me in developing a School of the Prophets that is community based but highly web connected. It would be unfair to list the people who have most helped me, but many many of you have even though I did not tell each of you so! Thanks Nolan. And thanks Paul!

  17. It's been great getting to know you all, and I hope we'll continue to cross one another's paths. And Nolan, I am almost persuaded to think about trying to conceive of running a half-marathon. :lol: I'm impressed — totally. Great last post.

    I can't possibly plan ahead that far. I tried planning a week ahead, and I didn't follow the plan because God gave me other things to write about. There's just no point. My problem isn't finding things to write about, but finding time to write them. Nevertheless, I feel I've gotten a lot out of this exercise, not least of which is getting to know some of my fellow travelers.

    Blessings, Cindy

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention 31DBBB Day 31: Plan the Next Steps for Your Blog « Christian Web Trends Blog -- Topsy.com - Jun 14, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by OurChurch.Com, Seiji Yamashita. Seiji Yamashita said: RT @OurChurchDotCom 31DBBB Day 31: Plan the Next Steps for Your Blog by @NolanBobbitthttp://bit.ly/90lsID [...]