I remember reading once that being organized isn’t about perfection, rather it’s about efficiency and minimizing stress, and I couldn’t agree more with that way of thinking. For those of you not familiar with blogging, you may think that blogging is just typing up a post and hitting “publish,” however, there’s so much more to creating content and a blog than just that. Today I’m going to share some of my go-to online tools that help me be organized and accountable with content creation. Oh, did I mention that these tools are totally FREE to use (do you like free as much as me?!). Check ’em out!
Need to plan out your blog’s theme, write down target audience descriptions, or blog post titles ideas? Evernote is here for all of that! I remember back in July when I was debating whether or not to start a blog, I had already been using Evernote for my personal organization (think grocery shopping checklists, notes from podcasts and online classes, books to read, and more). I sat down, titled a new note, “Blogging Plan,” and haven’t looked back ever since.
How I Use Evernote
As I mentioned above, for my blog I have a note called, “Blogging Plan,” where I have my blog’s mission statement, theme, target audience, blogging schedule, and the themes for each day that I publish a post. Below that, I have all of my blog’s categories with blog post ideas listed directly underneath each idea.
Before I actually purchased my blog’s domain, I sat down and wrote out 15 blog post ideas for each category to make sure that I was excited enough to write about each topic for the long run. I actually reference my Blogging Plan note all the time and add more ideas to it as they come up. Logistically, once I have used a blog post idea from the note, then I change the color of the font from black to green as a sign that it’s been used.
For each blog post that I write, I create a new note with the title of the blog post and then draft it in Evernote. Once I have completed the draft, then I copy and paste it into WordPress, fix the formatting, add images, keywords, preview it, and schedule/publish the post.
Overall, Google Drive has been my saving grace in many different situations when I have forgotten a link or username. I love the ease of use and how you can access the drive from any mobile device. I have a “Blogging” folder on my drive where I upload different resources for my blog, and today I’m going to focus on the editorial calendar. An editorial calendar gives you a high-level overview of your blog and is a resource to plan content creation.
How I Use Google Drive
I downloaded a free, blank monthly calendar template from online. Because I write about a variety of topics – from personal development to lifestyle – I write my blog topics directly underneath the name of the month and right above the monthly calendar view itself. My goal is to publish 4 posts a week, and I have themes for each day: Monday Motivation (career/personal development/goals post), Tuesday Tips (relationship/beauty/blogging post), Beautiful Thursdays (style/home design), and Fitness Fridays (food & drink/health post). Having these themed days makes planning pretty straightforward because I know what topics to choose from for each day, and my audience can predict what kinds of posts I’ll be publishing consistently. From there, I like to fill in National holidays on the blank calendar and then use my blog post ideas from my Evernote list to fill in the days of each week. Once I have the month planned out, I go back through and plan a targeted Instagram post based on what I’m posting for that day or what I’ve recently posted (if I’m not publishing a post that day). I write out what I want to post on Insta at the bottom of each day’s rectangle.
Great blogs have great content, designs, AND images. Here steps in Canva. This is a free graphic design tool with easy-to-use features and functionality that allows anyone to create a variety of engaging content to share. The platform has thousands of different layouts, elements (think free photos, frames, shapes, lines, illustrations, etc.), fonts, backgrounds, and the ability to upload your own files.
How I Use Canva
Right now, I use the free version of Canva, although I have heard that the paid version is great and pretty affordable.
In Canva, I create a new “design” for each of my blog posts, Instagram posts, and Pinterest pins. Each one of my blog posts have a title image and then supplemental images for whatever I’m writing about. For ease of use, in Canva, I created a blog post template that is clean-looking and easy to read, and I just copy it over to a new design and then change the words from the old blog post title to the new blog post title for each blog post.
I can also edit the images that I use for my blog posts within Canva. It automatically saves my design every few seconds, which I appreciate, and with the free version you get 2 folders that you can use to organize your designs. All of my blog posts go into my “Blogging & Teaching” folder.
Canva has so many design templates pre-made and has done so much of the heavy lifting for you. It was so nice not having to go research the appropriate sizes for Instagram images and Pinterest pins – Canva already has done that for you! You get to focus on the fun part, which is creating an engaging design.
I could go on and on about online organization tools, but I’ll leave it at that for today! These are 3 of my favorite free online tools for keeping my blog organized. I would love to hear what other online tools ya’ll use to stay organized. Comment in the box below.