2 Powerful Ways To Streamline Your Blogging Process

The Haunted Housewife was polished recently, and during that time I completely changed the way I write blog posts.

One pattern I tend to fall into when it comes to writing blog posts, is procrastination. Writing is something I enjoy but it takes a lot of work. It’s not as easy as it was in school; turning in an essay because your grade depends on it is quite different from pumping out 2+ essays a week because you want to.

Getting Smart 👓

A lot of us use Google’s free services for organizing our blog data. The three that I use are Google Drive, Google Sheets and Google Forms. With the help of Google Forms and Google Sheets, recording ideas and writing posts has never been easier.

Let me show you how you can use Google’s free services to streamline your blogging process. The results are life-changing!

Developing An Idea

With Google Forms, I’ve created a form for my blog post ideas. When an idea strikes me, I fill out the form to develop the idea further. This helps me turn a vague idea into a solid plan.

Here’s what my Post Planner form looks like. I keep links to my favorite tools there for convenience.

Fields I Use In My Idea Planner Form
Google KeywordFinding the keyword is what I use to base my post titles on. They’re important for search engine optimization, so I’m sure to have my keyword planned right away!
TitleUsing the keyword, I create an awesome title. Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer is a powerful tool for writing headlines.
DescriptionThe description is a simple summary of what the post will be about.
CategoryUsing a drop down, I select the category my idea is a good fit for.
TagsI list any tags in this field, just as a reminder to my future self.

Once the form is complete, it’s a little more than idea but not quite an outline yet. The data you input here will transfer onto a spreadsheet, which is excellent for organization. I find it very helpful having all of my plans on a spreadsheet!

We’ve now got out idea documented and planned, what happens next? The next step is where the magic happens.

The Post Writes Itself

A super simple skeleton outline. Look familiar?

Now, I usually don’t write posts immediately after I use the Idea Planner form unless I’m in the zone. My method is to let it fester a bit, for no good reason, while focusing on other posts I’ve already half-written. As I said, when an idea strikes me…

The next step is creating an amped up skeleton outline builder with Google Forms. We ran into skeleton outlines in school, and we all pretty much have an idea of what they consist of.

The Skeleton Outline Builder form I’ve made is essentially a fill-in-the-blank version of a skeleton outline with a few extras. This form is far too big to show as a screenshot, but you can view my live example form here.

 

Fields In The Skeleton Outline Builder
TitleTitle of the post.
DisclaimerI use a handful of different disclaimers for my blog, so this is a drop-down list.
IntroductionThe introduction section is broken down into two parts; the reader’s problem and how we plan to solve it. This helps me focus.
Key PointsKey points as well as their supporting paragraphs.
ConclusionWrapping it up, call-to-action, etc.

The Magic

The information I enter in this form doesn’t populate onto a spreadsheet. Using a Google Forms Add-On called Form Publisher, I’ve created a Google Document template that literally turns my entries into formatted paragraphs ready for me to copy/paste onto my blog’s text editor.

Form Publisher is a genius add-on, great for invoicing as well. You can learn how to use it here. Don’t forget to download it before you start!

Check Out This Blogging Magic!

First, create your form in Google Forms and set up your template according to Form Publisher’s setup wizard. Once you’ve got the template created, format it to your needs. The bolded text in my template will be a subheading in the post.

After you create the form and set up a template, the next step is using your form. This is my form in action, with an outrageous example post. “How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting Against You.”

After I’ve submitted the form, the template is made. This is what mine looks like!

The End Result: The post is pretty much written; it just needs some fluffing. This is a solid rough draft, I’d say.


Advanced: If you know a thing or two about HTML, you can set this template up to populate your entries in HTML code. With this, you can copy/paste and have everything formatted for you. Headlines will be in place, your signature image if you use one, etc.

The Finishing Touches

Once I paste the text in my text editor for my blog, I’m nearly done. All that’s left is a little fluffing, creating the graphics, and spellchecking. Using this method has done wonders for my

writing process; being a computer geek makes this fun for me too.

Re-cap: 2 Powerful Ways To Streamline Your Blogging Process

  • create a form for developing ideas and turning them into plans
  • create a form that will turn your plans into rough drafts

If there’s anything we can automate in our busy world, we should pounce on it. While writing isn’t something we should ever automate, using a form and template to format it for us certainly saves us some time!

 

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  • Sarah Jean

    I love how you used Google forms. I am going to try that this week!

  • Annissa Slusher

    These are great tips to help organize a blog post. I’m queen of procrastination! I’ve never used Google forms. I need to check that out.

  • What a great way to do this. I have only started doing keyword searches and wow, it can make a big difference. I also leave intro paragraph until the end I used to spend so much time on it, that is slowed me down. Now it seems to write itself when I am done with the draft.

    • I’ve noticed that about the intro. I get stuck on it a lot. I’m going to try saving it for the end, too! 🙂

  • Jennifer Nordine

    Wow. This is a fantastic strategy! I love it – super insightful – going to try! Thanks lady!

  • My process is nearly identical, except I use MS Word instead of google. Love the post and I bet it will help a ton of bloggers.
    erin | sandsunandmessybuns.com

  • Vivian Tang

    This is a super useful strategy! I do something similar but never thought of using Google. Definitely worth checking out, thanks!

    xx, vt | viviantang.co

    • Welcome! I love google because I can access my stuff from any computer. Which is especially handy while traveling!