As I’ve been on my blogging journey and started helping others with there journeys there have been several of the same questions that come up – How do I stay constant? What should I blog about? Why do I need categories if I am a lifestyle blog? How many categories do I need? Should my blog have a niche?
All these questions may feel unrelated but they are in fact so closely tied together. We wont have time to talk about them all today but we will focus on creating categories for your blog because that will help being to answer all these questions!
Blog Categories are so important. They keep your blog in line with your mission, they provide readers with guidance & direction, and they help you define your blog in a clear concrete way. They also keep you insanely organized and accountable, and help you fight that dreaded writer’s block. Strong Categories are a win-win all around!
LOOK AT YOUR BLOG MISSION STATEMENT AND DIRECTION
(Don’t have a mission statement for your blog? Click here and do that first!)
Go back to your mission statement and blog direction. MAKE CATEGORIES of blog posts that will fit underneath your blog direction. From now on every blog post will need to fit into one of these categories so keep that in mind (It will help your ideas stay on brand and also help you continue coming up with great content – I promise!) I recommend keeping it between 5-10 categories.
If you have too many categories your readers will not know what you are going to talk about or may not even be bale to connect with your brand. For example Life Style blog on Knitting, Reading, Style, Recipes, Random Posts, My dog, People, Nature, Travel, Photography, Things I’ve learned, Lists I Make, Passions, Decor, My house, etc…. Where are all these posts going? How do they all tie together? What are you able to offer your readers? ( Head back to Creating a Mission Statement if you find yourself here.)
If you have too few, you are not dividing up enough. For example, a photography blog with only one category – photography. How about instead you break that into several topics: Lifestyle Photography, Tips & Tricks, Weddings, Gear, Inspiration, etc
Put your categories somewhere on your blog so that new readers & older readers alike can browse your categories. If I am loving one of your Mimosa Recipes, I would love to look around to see what other drink recipes you have! This also helps you category every post you publish – you know it is going somewhere to continue to be useful content. I have mine in a drop down menu at the top of my blog but you can share them anywhere you would like!
Having categories doesn’t make your brand stronger or your blog more organized but utilizing them well does! You’ll be able to keep readers on your website longer and also be inspired to constantly promote new and helpful content.
Have a list with you at all times (either a paper planner or a phone on your app) so that you can write down blog ideas at all times! Sitting down to write a blog post is always when writer’s block sets in. Think of ideas in class or during a conversation with friends and write it down (5 reasons to do your homework even if it doesn’t get graded.) You don’t need to write a whole post or even have an outline – Just write down ideas as they come to you! You’ll have a list of ideas in no time – not all of them will work and some will sit there for months before you write about them but it is good to have something to draw from!
Make a schedule for blogging. Do you want to post 5 days a week (M-F) or 3 days (M, W, F) or two days (T, TH), or once a week (on Fridays)? Whatever it is is great! Just make one. This will help keep you accountable to posting. “Well, I post every Friday, I need to get that post ready this week or I’ll get off schedule.” Of course there is grace with this, but it is good to have a schedule to keep you accountable!
Fill in that schedule with post ideas (at least a week out!) I use Google Calendar so I can move things around (and place things later in the month if need to) but when it comes to crunch time, I love having ideas and plans already in my calendar! Use your idea list to fill these in. When you write an idea down, make sure to also write the category that it fits in so that you make sure to stay on brand and on mission. Because every post MUST fit and if it doesn’t, then don’t write about it!
STAY ON BRAND
There are so many great ideas out there and so many things you may want to blog about but blogging about all the things will not do you any favors. It is so important to stick to your mission and stick to your categories. Make sure that every post you are about to click publish on has a home. The one for example is going straight into my “Blog Tips” category (that way you can check out all the other post I’ve shared on the topic if you are eager to learn more 😉 ) It is an easy way to keep you on brand and focused.
If you have a really great idea for a post but it has no home, try to figure out how it can be changed to have a home. Example photography blog wants to share a recipe but they don’t know how that fits. They can either a) not post it b) Turn it into a “How to Shoot Food Photography” post that will nestle under tips & tricks or c) They can just create a Food Photography Category if they want to frequently share food photography posts.
It is okay if overtime you need to change your categories and refine your brand. Don’t feel stuck, instead feel empowered to dream, share, and create organized content that your readers can enjoy and you can continue producing!
Do you have blog categories? How did you make them? What are your thoughts on staying focus and organized? Do you appreciate that in a blog? For more Blog Tips, click here!
Photo by: Stellar Propeller Studios