…blogtober day 23 :: making the most of blogtober as a reader and a blogger…
Three weeks in, I am having the most fun I have had for Blogtober in a long time. It’s been so lovely watching my Feedly explode with new posts and new follows. I’ve loved meeting so many new people in the comments section. You’ve all made this month so very inspiring, in a month when I’ve had the pandemic fatigue dragging at me at every turn. It can be an overwhelm, though, daily posts coming from so many directions, and trying to keep up, and comment on everyone’s updates can be A Lot.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been streamlining my own processes so I can support my fellow blogtoberers, get my own posts up daily, plus get the podcast edited and uploaded, three blog posts a week for it posted, creating on my projects so I actually have something to share, and of course, parenting, homeschooling and housewifing. Here’s some of my top tips for surviving blogtober for readers, and for bloggers.
AS A READER
I love love love the rush of new posts in my feed reader each morning. I will sit down in the quiet, watching the sun rise out my back door, coffee in hand, and pull up my app to enjoy the posts that have come in overnight (I also tend to check it of a night also before bed). My app of choice is Feedly, which I have used for a billion years since Bloglines closed, though I know bloglovin’ is also quite popular. I tried it back in the day, but I must confess, the rush to claim blogs and the insistence that being on bloglovin’ was the only way for people to follow you was off putting, and I have resisted it ever since. I even wrote a post on how to add external blogs to both bloglovin’ and the WordPress feed reader! That was from 2015, so possibly the process has changed, but I’m a huge fan of supporting people to read their favourite blogs in a way that makes sense for them. I prefer Feedly (and the WordPress app for a couple of blogs that I seem to have trouble commenting on any other way), but have also, finally, dusted off up old bloglovin, and updated it all so it links to this blog, and migrated the followers from my old blogs to the new.
I love my feed reader. It’s like a custom algorithm curated by me, for a morning hit of all the inspirational goodness around the blogosphere. If you are trying to keep up with a million different blogs this month and don’t yet have a reader, I highly recommend getting one! I’ve also added buttons over on my sidebar so you can easily add my blog to either Feedly or Bloglovin with the click of a button.
As a blog reader, I’ve been also leaving a lot of comments this month, and constantly typing in my email and website on my phone has been super annoying. In the end I decided to make life easier for myself – I created keyboard shortcuts! I now just have to type “tbcemail” or “tbcurl” into the appropriate boxes, and my phone will autocorrect it to my email and url (as will my laptop, I just discovered when adding those shortcuts to this post!!). If you find yourself typing the same info in over and over, this is a super easy way to streamline the process, especially in times like this where there are a lot of posts to get around! I use shortcuts for my regular instagram tags, and for weekly messages I need to send. If it gets repeated, it gets a keyboard shortcut!
Another great way to keep on top of posts without checking in daily, is to see if the blogger has an email list. I used blogtober as an excuse to finally get mine up and running! While I do offer a post subscription option, daily emails could quickly become too much, so I’ve also created a round up email, highlighting some of my favourite posts from the week. I’ve signed up to a couple of other bloggers who do similar. Even if I have them in my reader, I might miss a post on a particularly busy day. The newsletter is a great way to see what I’ve missed – and also it’s interesting to see what the blogger’s favourite posts are, compared to what I enjoyed. (More details on my email at the bottom of this post!)
As a blogger, it can feel overwhelming to commit to blogging every day, when that isn’t your usual practice. I generally start prepping for blogtober in early September. In my dashboard, I have a plugin that pulls up a calendar format page, and I can slot posts in and move them around. It doesn’t take long to fill up, and as I get new ideas, I can pop in just the header, and come back to it. As much as I was moaning yesterday about not knowing what to blog about, I also backed that up straight away with a photo of my editorial calendar brimming with post ideas, acknowledging how ridiculous it was. This planning though, is key to not feeling overwhelmed by day two.
As I’m scheduling it out, I also look for recurring features I can pop in to make it easier to come up with posts. Alliteration is your friend here – Sunday Snippets, WIP Wednesdays, Tip Tuesday, Thoughts on Thursday, Friday Finishes… you get the idea! A running theme gives an easy starting point for the day’s post. I also try and balance simple with more involved – if I know my Thursday thoughts are going to run long, for instance, I might do a Wordless Wednesday the day before, or a Five Photos On Friday the day after.
The other great thing about blogtober, is all the other ‘tobers going on. Things like Inktober, or 31/31, or Frocktober, or whatever it is your particular brand of hobby does as a ‘tober. They make October content easier, as generally most have a prompt list to get you started, and each day you have a drawing or a photo to share and talk about. If you are newer to blogging and aren’t quite sure what you have to share, this is a great way to start easily generating content and projects to blog about. Tell us about your dress! What inspired your sketch? Lots of ways to do simple posts, without having to reinvent the wheel each day.
Finally, make it easy for your audience to follow and support you. Have comments turned on – preferably with a few ways of commenting that don’t require your readers to be logged in to a single platform. Have follow links or subscribe links accessible. One thing I’m trialling this month is a digest email. In our busy lives, daily posts, and daily emails for people who subscribe to posts via email, can be A Lot. So I’ve jumped on a free trial of a new email provider, and am going to be sending out a weekly round up of my favourite posts of the week. Post-Blogtober, I will do something similar, but on a monthly basis. I’m updating my sidebar almost daily to make it easier for people to enjoy my blog in ways that are a fit for them!
Have you found a new blogger to love this month? Drop me a link in the comments so I can check them out!
If you would like to follow along my Blogtober adventures in one single place once a week, pop your details in the box below! You’ll receive a welcome email (check your junk folder!), and then after that, it will be coming your way each Friday this month, and after that, just once a month, in the last week of the month. I’m planning on sharing recent favourite blog posts and podcast episodes, things I’ve found that are inspiring me, a peek at what I’m reading/watching/listening to, and a little almost-blog-post, sharing some thoughts that don’t make it to the blog.