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One Minute with Lorelle: Planning Your Blog

In this first of a new series of articles, I’m starting “A Minute with Lorelle.” These one minute videos and articles will take you through the process of planning, writing, styling, customizing, and setting up your WordPress blog one minute at a time.

Whether you are new to blogging or ready to make some changes in your blog, these one minute sessions will help jump start your blogging efforts.

In the first episode of The Blog Plan series, you are asked, “What are you going to blog about?”

While this might seem a simple question, it’s actually the place where you begin to do the work. We usually have a blog topic in mind when we decide to put fingers to keyboard and head over to or , so let’s test out that topic before you even click those links.

Planning Your Blog Step One: Begin with a Brainstorm

The first steps in planning your blog is to brainstorm. Write down all the words and ideas of the things you want to blog about.

There are two ways I recommend for structuring your blog brainstorm process.

  1. Timer: Set a timer for no less than 25 minutes. Sixty is better. There is something exciting that happens around minute 20, so you want to push yourself past that point.
  2. Countdown: Set a number of items on the list as your goal. Make it at least 25. If you feel daring, make it 50. Write until you meet that goal.

Planning Your Blog Step Two: Group the Results

When you have your list, put it to one side or save it and make a new list, organizing the first list into groups. Look for commonality under specific words or titles. Look for synonyms and group them together.

When you are done, you should have no more than four to seven groupings with a title that describes the group. In my hypothetical blog about Star Trek, I went from dozens of ideas to only four groups of content: Star Trek Series, Star Trek Movies, Star Trek News, and Special Effects.

Your list will shift and change as you go. That’s part of the process. If you find yourself struggling, stop and ask yourself if this is really what you want to blog about. If the immediate answer is yes, go with it. If it isn’t, then take time now to reconsider your course.

In the next article, we’ll take that list and start to generate content ideas. See you in a minute.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.

25 Comments

  1. Posted April 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    That was brilliant.
    Got my attention and gave me some info all in 59 seconds.

    Looking forward to next one minute vid.
    Don’t keep us waiting too long.

  2. Posted April 27, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle
    Am soo glad you’re back on the publishing track here!…4 months and something without Lorelle nearly got me cold turkey:-)

  3. Hirvine
    Posted April 27, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Good thinking. I can watch your one minute informative video just anytime. You don’t need to reserver time as as most webcasts do, but just watch a minute and get yourselves in the right direction. Thx.

  4. Posted April 28, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I loved the graphics. Cool idea to keep videos to one minute.

    Rob

  5. Posted April 28, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    That’s good advice Lorelle. There’s nothing worse than the stress of knowing that you should have a new article this week but not knowing what to write about. Planning the subjects well in advance is the way to go.

  6. Posted April 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Glad you are back. WP wasn’t the same without you.

  7. Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    i’m starting reading ur blog since earlier this year and hv been wondering whether you’ve abandon it.. btw, i will try ur one minute planning..

  8. Posted May 15, 2010 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love that. I followed your advice and created categories (Parents and child) I am stuck though with a problem now. How to make Parent category only show on home? Is it possible to make Main subject/parent categories menu list on Home page Example> Categories

    Fruit
    Soups
    Veggitable

    And not show sub-Categories on home page?
    What I would like to achieve is show only parent-category on home page and when click Parent go to (parent category page) and on that page will show only child-categories of that Parent in the menu list and none of the other Parents
    Example Parent Category page for > Fruit-
    Apples
    Coconuts
    Dates

    This would allow keeping each Parent and sub category 99.99% relevant without unwanted loss.

  9. Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely fantastic Lorelle. Thank you so much for you clear and succinct explanations.I need to take a “leave out of your book” as I am often way to wordy…but that’s just me I guess.
    Thanks again and I have already book marked your blog to follow your next post

  10. Posted May 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Hey Lorelle,

    Great site design and graphics. The one minute video is good also. Keep it up. Look forward for the next one.

    All the best

    Louis

  11. Posted June 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    It’s great to see you on the blog again.

    I love the idea of the one minute videos. With the short attention spans and time crunch everyone seems to be under these days, your idea is spot on.

    And…the graphics in the video is cool, too.

    Happy Vlogging! :)

  12. psychicjim
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I like your creative approach Lorelle, it something we can all learn from and apply to our own individual blogs.

  13. Posted July 26, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    What was the video editing software you used? Camtasia? Special effects? I would like to add some similar effects to my own videos.

    Also, great job getting the concept down to a minute. My videos tend to run long, so I am taking notes. Looking forward to next 1 minute video.

    • Posted July 26, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Honestly, this can be done in any video editing software. I don’t use Camtasia for editing as it is too painful. I use a variety, depending upon the program’s limits and what I want to do. This was nothing special and done in Corel Video Studio for this project. Thanks.

  14. Posted August 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Nicely produced. Your voiceover sounds very professional. I could imagine this being a slick presentation if done in front of an audience with a slower pace. Was this based on a conference presentation you did? If it wasn’t, you should base a conference presentation on this.

    • Posted August 19, 2010 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      Thank you. Hopefully I’ll see you at one of the many keynote presentations and workshops I produce around the globe. This is based upon my book, but I use similar techniques in my workshops and training programs.

  15. Posted September 7, 2010 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, what about momentum? It’s been nearly 4.5 months since you started this series. Where’s the next installment? (Nag, nag, nag. ;-) )

    • Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Momentum and health are two different things. :D Health is coming back, so I’ll be back with a ton of these. Wish I could plan health into my schedule, don’t you?

  16. Posted September 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Glad to hear the health is returning! (This has been one heck of a year for you, no?) Only good health and glad to hear you’ll be continuing this series, which really started out with a bang. :)

  17. Posted October 7, 2010 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle, thanks for your two valuable blogging tips: brainstorming and grouping the results. As a writer, the most difficult part is trying to come with ideas and then organizing those ideas into a meaningful content. I am yearning to learn how to write fast and as many article as possible without compromising quality. I guess there are just gifted people like you who could come up with fast writeup turnaround. Your one-minute video is quite crisp and made me digest the blogging tips easily. Keep the tips coming. You are such a great help to me. Thank you!

  18. Boomer
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Hello Lorelle -
    I am new to blogging and appreciated your article, one minute planning on blogging tips. You have written articles on many topics and I’ll never be able to read them all or I’ll never learn to write anything. Thank you.

  19. dan
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Hey,

    I found this useful. Thank you very much for helping straighten out my head. I have tons of ideas.

    Where are the rest?

    _dan

  20. EMMA
    Posted May 27, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Hi, forgive the long question, but here is the first place I have found someone helpful who seems to know a lot about wordpress! Ive tried posting this on the wordpress forum, several other forums..etc etc..nothing. So im giving it a go..

    my question is at the top, it’s about a travel site and how i would structure in wordpress. im figuring out how to plan this sort of sitemap (dashes indicate place in hierarchy):

    - Country landing page (with a featured tour, then links to the subpages below)
    —– Tailor Made Tours landing page (landing page, then underneath, an overview of all tours in this country with “read more” links, each clicks thru to tour page)
    ——— Individual Tour page
    ——— Individual Tour page
    ——— Individual Tour page
    —– Group Tours landing page (landing page, hen underneath, an overview of all tours in this country with “read more” links, each clicks thru to tour page)
    ——— Individual Tour page
    ——— Individual Tour page
    ——— Individual Tour page
    —– Special Interest Tours landing page (landing page, then underneath, an overview of all tours in this country with “read more” links, each clicks thru to tour page)
    ——— Individual Tour page
    ——— Individual Tour page
    ——— Individual Tour page
    —– Hotels in this country landing page (landing page w/overview of all hotels in this country with “read more” links, each clicks thru to tour page)
    ——— Individual Tour page
    ——— Individual Tour page
    ——— Individual Tour page

    i figured i need custom post types, and to make them hierarchical, i think.. but im unclear. some input would be really good if you click the link to my question on stack :)

    • Posted May 27, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      These are Pages and not custom post types. Don’t fuss around with the simple built-in functionality of WordPress for something like this unless you have hundreds of “individual tour pages.” And if you aren’t getting the help you need, honestly, hire a professional since this is a business site and you need an expert to guide you properly through the process with a strong user experience background.


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