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How To Establish A Writing Habit for Your Website

establish a writing practice

Start by Breaking the Task Down

In 3 “Write” Ways to Boost Your SEO, we shared some tips about writing for the web. One of the challenges of having a website is creating new content on a consistent basis, especially for a blog. Breaking down the writing task over a number of days can help you establish a writing habit.

This 5 day plan can help you develop an effective writing habit that can support you in writing one post per week without feeling stressed and freaked out.

Day 1 – Choose Your Topic, Write Your Headline and Create Your Heading Structure

Choosing your blog post topic isn’t random. The work you have done in setting up your website and creating the ‘cornerstone’ pages using the Yoast SEO plugin process means you have a good idea about what to write about and the ‘angle’ and tone of your blog posts.

If you’re using the MonsterInsights plugin, you will already have a headline analyzer as part of the blog post writing editor. If not, you can also use their headline analyzer online. Knowing and filling in the keyword phrase you will be using for the Yoast SEO plugin, combined with using a headline analyzer will get you off to a great start.

What are the main points you are hoping to get across to your audience? Create a subheading structure (e.g. using H2) to ensure that reading these alone gives an overview of the main points you want to cover.

Stuck with subheadings? When Beth is staring at a blank page, she starts with ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ for the keyword phrase. You probably won’t end up with these subheadings when finished, but you have to start somewhere. An example for this blog post (with the keyphrase ‘establish a writing habit’) would be:

  • What is a writing habit?
  • Why establish a writing habit?
  • How to establish a writing habit.

Save the blog post as a draft and call it a day.

Day 2 – Fill in the Details

Review the title and subheadings you wrote yesterday. Ensure that they reinforce your basic structure.

Then, fill in the details as fast as you can. Don’t edit and don’t second-guess yourself. The goal here is to get all of your thoughts out so you don’t miss anything.

Spend some time writing the introduction and put the appropriate details under each sub headline, moving things around as needed. Write the conclusion, and include a call to action (CTA) for your readers. Do you want them to comment, sign up for your mailing list, check out a product or service?

Shitty First Draft (SFD): Remember that your goal is to get all of your thoughts out. Don’t edit. Just write. In fact, the faster you write and the crummier your first draft is, the better the final product will be.

When you’re done, go find your featured image (we cover finding and using images in our FREE mini-course.) It helps to find your image(s) when your head is filled with what you’re trying to communicate.

SAVE your draft and walk away.

Day 3 – Edit Using the Yoast SEO Plugin

Read the draft you’ve written so far in a monotone. Hopefully it still sounds engaging. Now is the time to edit! Edit! Edit.

Using the Yoast SEO plugin makes editing easier. Make no mistake, you still have some work to do but it’s easier using this tool. The Yoast SEO plugin analyzes your writing for both SEO and readability and provides you with actions to take to improve both.

You can also improve readability by writing short, easy-to-read paragraphs and using bullets, numbered lists, block quotes and images. The theme we are using here allows us to use our featured image at the top of pages and posts, so we already have one post-related image automatically.

That’s a lot of work! Hit ‘Save Draft’ and call it a day.

Day 4 – Publication & Promotion

On publication day, read your draft one more time and hit ‘publish’. You can also set it up to publish in the future if that’s what you want to do and if you’re working ahead of schedule! If you have a growing audience, you may find you need to be around to respond to comments!

Once published, you can share the link on your social media channels and via a newsletter. You can also share it to sites like Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon if you that’s where your audience goes for information. If you are connected with other bloggers, you can ask them to share it with their audiences. (Offer it to them as a “guest post.”)

If you’re using email marketing to get your posts out to your regular readers, Day 4 is also the day to get your newsletter formatted and ready to send.

Promotion is something you can develop as your blog grows. The challenge at the start is to get into a regular habit of writing and publishing. Consistency and quality are key to growing your blog audience.

Day 5 – Assess the Process

Record what has worked, and what didn’t, and make necessary tweaks for next week’s writing. Give yourself 4 weeks to get this system working for you, and then stick to it. You could even document this as one of your business systems!

Success Tips

  1. Set up your writing cycle and try it out for 1 week. Think about what day you want as the ‘Publish and Promote’ day and work back from there.
  2. We have outlined a 5-day plan, with room for assessment on the last day. You may choose to divide the days differently. The key is to break the work down so you aren’t overwhelmed and you have time between tasks for your brain to think about them.
  3. However you divide things, the best strategy is to assign the same day of the week to Day 1 every week to develop your writing habit.
  4. Habits require less energy than (in the moment) decisions!
  5. It’s possible that the days won’t follow one after another. You may need breaks between the days if you have weekends, or other work or family responsibilities on specific days.
  6. When planning your days, it’s important to note that some days in the sequence may require more time and mental ‘bandwidth’ than others (e.g. Days 2 & 3).
  7. Important note: Never write and edit on the same day. Each task uses a different part of your brain. If you must do both tasks on the same day, take a few hours away from your writing before you edit. Or if you can, have someone else edit your work with fresh eyes.

Consistency is Key

References & Resources

This process has been created from my notes on:

  1. Pamela Wilson’s blog post on CopyBlogger, A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week.
  2. Sonia Simone’s CopyBlogger FM podcast called, A Process for Content Marketing Success. It’s a 30 minute audio that can be found linked here:

Looking for more information on writing for the web? Check out Steve Krug’s excellent book: Don’t Make Me Think (Revisited) for organizing and writing effective web content.

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