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Blogging 101, Day Twenty-Eight: Create a New Feature

Today’s assignment: develop a regular feature for your blog.

One of the best ways to inspire loyalty is to publish regularly. And the best ways to make sure you publish regularly are sketching out an editorial calendar for yourself and creating a recurring feature — it’s like making a simultaneous pact with yourself and your audience. You’ll do one today, and the other tomorrow.

Today’s assignment: develop a regular feature for your blog.

Why do this?

  • Because creating a regular feature means your readers have something specific to wait for at regular intervals — in other words, your blog has a hook.
  • Because it’s always a good idea to work on healthy blogging habits, and regular features help you stay on track.

When you go serial, you ensure there’s a steady stream of content.  We’re all creatures of habit, bloggers and readers. Adding a recurring feature — or simply planning posts at regular intervals — helps your writing stay sustainable in the long run. Even a purely personal blog of random musings benefits from a hint of structure.

Some of you are already toying with the idea of publishing a regular post around the roundup you wrote on Day Twenty-Three. That’s fantastic — and a smart, time-efficient feature idea to boot. What other options do you have? We’re glad you asked.

  • A weekly photo post (or even better: a weekly photo gallery post).
  • A monthly Q & A with one of your blogging buddies.
  • A Music Monday, featuring the song that rocked your weekend.
  • A Flavor Friday dedicated to the recipe you experimented with over the previous week.

Your features don’t have to alliterate: a Tuesday Rant is just as good as Snarky Sunday. If a weekly commitment is too much, that’s fine: a monthly book review or current events-inspired reflection works just fine. Or devote a day — weekly, bi-weekly, monthly — to unleash the latest installment in your long-term fiction project (or senior thesis, or memoir).

Unless you want to, in which case: shoehorn away!

Whatever feature you decide on, it should fit neatly into your blog. We’re not asking you to shoehorn a weekly photo into your poetry blog, or a post about food into your book review site. The topic and type of feature should be something that makes sense giving your blog’s focus and your blogging goals.

Once you decide on a feature, publish the first installment. If you’re not ready, publish a post announcing the feature to let your readers know what to expect, when. Once you’ve got a few installments in the bag, add a menu item or widget to highlight your feature.

Not sure about your feature idea? Head to The Commons to chat.

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    1. I would be interested to give the answers if you are looking for someone to start with. I am a fashion blogger out of Alaska. Alaska is said to have the worst dressed people. Thus, there may be a hook to your blog with the featured places. Have a look http://www.highlatitudestyle.com. If you are interested in a collaboration send me an email using my contact form.

  1. Wow haha tbh having a feature is quite a challenge. You not only have to plan the content, but also your schedule and other commitments as well. I’ve been having a lot of drafts that I have simply no time to develop into full-length posts at the moment, so there wouldn’t be time for an editorial calendar obviously haha. I will try this someday tho, as a challenge by itself.

      1. Yeah I agree with easter. See how it goes for you. I tried a picture with some text in it, relating to my header. I may play some mix and match.. Good luck LHU:)

  2. *nod nod*. This is definitely a challenge for me too! But even if I can’t manage a structured calender now, this will be a fruitful exercise some months down the road.

  3. I like the music idea and the weekly photos I think i’ll start working on some version that fits into my blog thewaltersword.wordpress.com

  4. I have a feature called Snippet Sunday where I post short excerpts of fiction writing, flash fiction or bits from my various novels in progress. A lot of people talk about writing without writing (myself included in the past!)

    I also have another called Wrong Word Wednesday where I write about when people confuse words (less vs fewer etc). It’s been popular so I can definitely attest to the fact that regular features work.

  5. Hard challenge for me! Since I am blogging about make up, recipes I have tried and books I have read :(
    Maybe music or photos…any suggestions are welcome! TIA

      1. That’s a good idea! I’ve seen other makeup blogs do favorite products of the month kind of posts. You could maybe do that with makeup or even books of the month? It’s a great way to give people ideas. I’ve been known to try a product or read a book because of a blog.

      2. thanks for the idea! So you suggest I have pictures of the product on me rather than just a swatch or something? I am already posting pictures of food I am making :)

    1. For makeup: An idea could be a tutorial. I know there is a lot of those already out there, but maybe you could do it a little different, making it your own.
      Regarding your recipes: I had an idea. Maybe you could team up with another blogger that comes up with a recipe and you could try it out and do a joint feature together, either offering other bloggers to link up their recipes (getting more people visiting your blog) or just having a post people can read. On my everything blog (that’s on blogger not WordPress), I plan on adding my recipes that are more unique/creative, ones that aren’t overdone, which let me tell you is hard to do in the blogging world.

      1. I will keep your ideas in mind…I am actually copying and pasting this to my evernote so I can keep these suggestions handy!

        Thank you for taking your time and giving me the ideas and suggestions!

    2. Pictures of it on you would be good :) if you’d like to do a tutorial make sure to personalise it, make it completely yours because there’s so many of em out there :) I’ll be following and looking forward to whatever you have in store!

      1. Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate it!

        BTW, I love the concept of your blog! I look forward to reading from you!

      1. wow! I like the way you think! I love music…albeit Bollywood ones! I am sure I can figure out a way to incorporate that? What do you think?

      2. I’m so glad you liked the idea! Bollywood songs are the best! Hmm… How about Saturday shake-down, Bollywood style? You could put a fun video and talk about why you like the song or a life-experience you’ve had that it reminds you of.

    3. You could do a monthly favorites and list the makeup products, recipes and books you’ve been loving that month. That way you get to summarize your month and give a little review of each item for quick consumption.

  6. Regular features for me that I have planned are my 52 Week Challenge which is a photo challenge that I post every Friday. Also, I joined Random Moments of Delight and plan on publishing that every Wednesday. My middle school students are a constant source of entertainment for me so I may try a weekly feature revolving around my many Middle School Moments. It would be similar to the post I wrote called Cool Tricks I’ve Learned from My Middle School Students.

    I completed my blog roundup which I really enjoyed compiling. It focuses on bloggers I’ve “met” who live outside of the U.S.
    http://amforte66.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/around-the-world/

    1. I think it’s a wonderful idea to post the entertaining things that your students inspire you with. I have enjoyed your posts on this in the past. :)

    1. All the suggestions that Michelle has made are great aren’t they? I cannot believe how inspired I have been over the past few weeks. I’ve been knocking them out of the park (so to speak)

  7. I post an inspirational quote every Friday and also post a workout or goal each Wednesday. I find that it really helps me with my content – mostly because those two days are very easy to come up with.

    1. Those are good ideas! It’s easier to make posts if you have designated things to do on certain days. I’ve been trying to do something similar, but it’s still a work in progress.

  8. It’s such a good idea. Something that your blog is known for. The one that I’ve chosen over the past five weeks is one of my photographs with a nice quote underneath it. I think it is user friendly and short and simple to read. In today’s one, I encorporated a tiled Galley into it. Have a look if you like:

    http://tigerpawsjnrsstories.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/heaven-is-right-now/

    I received such a nice comment the other day: It read – Hi TPJ: I have to say that your blog is amazing, not only because yoou encorporate funny facts and reader friendly posts, you actually give to your readers a fresh breath between all the chaos called ‘world’…huge hugs for you.

    It’s one of the nicest comments we’ve received and it makes all the hard work we put into the blog worth it, Happy blogging to all of you,

    TPJ x

  9. Oh, haha. I kinda got ahead of the class and inadvertently started a feature last week. I made my first post for it last night. The feature is Lyrically Inspired, which is my reflections on songs that inspire me or otherwise make me stop and think. I didn’t know at the time that I was creating a feature, but it works perfectly.

    Here’s my first one: http://wp.me/p4oGXE-4z

    1. Wow – I am so impressed – you write so very well and you are so emotionally honest and open to sharing the hardest times. I have so much respect for that. What a great post with a truly inspiring song and story.

      1. Oh, thank you so much Ellen! I appreciate that. I don’t even remember what I wrote, to be honest! haha. Guess I was in the zone. :)

    2. You’re just a clever clogs :) in the nicest possibly way. I really can’t think of anything that I’m going to be able to do. Haven’t listened to this song yet, but I will.

      1. Clever clogs….that’s one I haven’t heard before. But I like the sound of it. So whatever it means, I didn’t take any offense to it. :) You could do a photo feature maybe. You have lovely photography. Just a thought. Not that you asked for thoughts. I’m sure something will strike your fancy, though. You have so much to share!

      2. Christin, clever clogs means you are smart, think well, and are an all round bright person. Usually said by an envious person. :)
        Have actually just had an idea and am about to post about it, so stay tuned, and thanks for your suggestions, always open to ideas, as my brain tend s to get in a rut.

  10. I post a short list of the things that I am grateful for every Sunday. I’m considering adding a second feature — it does make planning both the writing and the photography much easier.

  11. I read a lot and sometimes I come across lines that are beautiful. I think I’ll start a weekly quotes/lines post that is in line with my blog’s theme. Any ideas for something more fun?

    1. I think this is a great idea.. for the most part, your blog is light, so a more serious feature like you suggest, could be a really nice contrast.

    2. I think that’s a good idea, I like favorites lists. Maybe a weekly favorites? It can be as random as you want and include all kinds of things. That often allows you to branch out to different topics. Good luck!

      1. It is! I wouldn’t even know where to start! I’m not great when it comes to taking photo’s either. I’ll have to sleep on it.

      2. I wouldn’t worry about the quality so much as what it is that your pictures say. Photographers out there are numerous and there are many talented ones, but you may have a message in your photos that could be said more strongly with the photos themselves.. or perhaps they are just important to you and you want to share. I would go for it!

  12. I’ve got over 100 pages of drafts sitting on my desktop, I just don’t have the time to pad them out. The ideas flow freely it is the determination to see it on the page.

    I’m trying to incorporate more touristy posts rather than just about my life living in the village but real life does tend to take over.

    Deep breaths people.

    Here’s my latest post:

    http://janeyinmersin.com/2014/05/12/soli-pompeiopolis/

    1. 100 drafts?! wow! I’m impressed! Usually I just have 2 or 3 drafts that I forget about but come in handy when I draw a blank near my deadline.

      1. Oh yes I’ve got so many drafts that I have started but they are certainly not good enough for publishing. I’ve got Christmas posts, birthday posts, Anzac Day posts. You name it, I’ve got it!

    2. It’s great that you’ve got so many potential posts ready to develop. I’m jealous!

  13. You read my mind! I just started a feature Tipsy Tuesday last week. I was an irregular poster last month so I’m hoping posting motivational tips for musicians will keep me consistent with my blog. I also created a calendar like you suggested, which is very helpful! So far so good.

    arpeggiovixen.com

  14. I already do a Ted Talk Thursday where I post Ted Talks that interest me. I guess I have that one checked off the list.

  15. I love this assignment, mostly because I already had ideas on what recurring features I wanted to do.
    My site started out simply a place to post my photography photos, since I didn’t have anywhere people could look if they wanted to see them. But that changed pretty quickly and now its a photo and writing blog. I use my photos as a beginning point and write my post from there, whatever it may be. My only rule, is that is has to positive, encouraging, funny, inspiring, etc….You get the point.
    Anyways, I am currently doing a 365 photo challenge. But what I will do for this assignment is make an Artist link up. I wanted a place other artist can go and share their post and/or stories. The artist doesn’t can be anyone from any where with as little or a lot of experience. The art can be in numerous forms like for example: writing, photography, painting, crafty stuff etc. I plan on making a post to being this challenge today.
    And another challenge I will be doing, is something I call Will Travel For Fun. I want to document all the great places I go so I never forget it, like last year going to the Patriots Game and Plum Island. Tonight, I will also be adding a post about this.
    These 3 challenges are the ones I am will be working on right now, but since things change fast, who knows what my blogging adventure has in store for me.
    http://seraireland.wordpress.com/

    1. It takes a little time to get your blog to look and function just how you want it to. Now you’ve got a goal to achieve once you’ve got the nuts and bolts sorted out.

  16. I like the idea of a feature. I’ll have to figure out something that would be a good. I have a few YouTube subscriptions that do things like this and they are fantastic. It gives me something to look forward to.

  17. I saw something on one of the Daily Post threads once about doing Features and building your presence and how Features can be an easy way to fill your blog and make it so you aren’t always trying to come up with things to write. Since one of my main focus is my son and his passion is Lego’s I figured I’d create a feature called 3L Wednesday Life, Love & Lego’s. I already take a ton of photos of his lego creations…now I just do them on a more “professional” level.

    I add in a quote and it makes my Wednesdays pretty painless. At some point I might actually get enough Lego shots that I can plan them out in advance. HA!

    http://masalaandblarney.com/category/3l-life-love-legos/

  18. I like this idea, but I’m already struggling with the Postaday challenges , which take up more time than I thought they would (they keep wanting to be little stories instead of straight-up responses!)

    1. Postaday is a fun way to join the WP community and connect. I am not so strict with myself in forcing myself to write when I cannot. I just do it as often as I can if the subject speaks to me. If you read through the responses, you will see that there are many who are good at taking the prompts and using a one-line answer, or a photo to post their own unique response. Just think of it from different answers. Although I have not yet answered today’s prompt, it could be a one-line answer.
      Have fun blogging!

    2. When I first started blogging over a year ago I was trying to blog every day. Now, I post twice a week (more often now that I am doing this challenge). I think the Postaday is great but if it feels overwhelming cut back. Write out your own calendar and use the prompts as inspiration. Keep blogging fun! I also find it easier to remain consistent when I am not burned out. Good luck!

    1. On the top right of your page, you will see your name and photo (maybe not photo) when you hover over it, you will get a drop-down menu, from here you can enter your dash-board, which you can post from.. or even easier, there is a place to add new post.
      Hope that helps!

  19. I have speaking with a fellow poet (that is incredible by the way), and she has invited me to write a duet with her. I think it is a great idea and although I am a little nervous, I am really looking forward to it. Other than that, I have started a new blog about a month ago called Today I can with God that has a devotional theme about getting over depression in baby steps with Gods help. http://todayicanwithgod.wordpress.com, it is slowly gaining an audience and the recurring theme is working.

  20. I’ve tried to get something going with “Superhero Movies they Should Make” and I want to get more people checking it out, any ideas for how I could do that?

    Also if you’re into comics (even if not!), feel free to take a look, any feedback is hugely appreciated
    First edition:

    http://thehalfcastprince.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/superhero-movies-they-just-have-to-make-or-re-make-deadpool/

    Second edition:

    http://thehalfcastprince.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/superhero-movies-they-just-have-to-make-or-re-make-aquaman/

    1. I didn’t know they were planning to make Justice League into a film…I have the old 70′s or maybe 80′s version cartoons on DVD set and my son loves them.

      Of course that doesn’t help you get more traffic to your page that I’m not sure how to do.

    2. If there are some hashtags that are prevalent within the topics you’re writing about, you might try tweeting your posts out and include the hashtag so that they’re searchable and can be found by others on Twitter interested in that topic.

  21. This is definitly a good idea, now it’s just comming up with something that doesn’t go off my blogs topic…hmmm

    modisteword.wordpress.com

  22. Two WordPress bloggers go comment and tweet, comment and tweet, comment and tweet….

    Guess who’s back? Back again. Chris is back. Tell a friend. Guess who’s back, guess who’s back guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back….

    I know. I’m stretching here, aren’t I? Anywho, I’ve decided to write a monthly feature called “Month Since Monday” to poke fun at how often (or not) I blog. Feel free to chastise me here: http://wp.me/p1tzXi-pM

  23. I always like doing book reviews and have been thinking about doing one monthly. Especially since I read multiple books at a time. :)
    jmloftus.wordpress.com

  24. wow didn’t realize I was already caught up, now I still have a ton of work ahead of me. I can never work faster then I can think. So I have a couple ideas. And they all stem from what I like to do. I want to post a weekly song that was stuck in my head or has a memory attached to it. I also want to do book reviews cause I am ALWAYS reading. Surprisingly I only have 1 book right now. And the last one is my journey to being fit, once a week, or month, I would post my workouts, how it helped me and the challenges I had with food. And if I tried a recipe I could post that.

    See lots of ideas. So stay posted ya’ll. Also what do you think? To much?

    http://optimisticnewmom.wordpress.com

  25. Love this one. I tried to maintain a “Serenity Sunday” post when I first started on the blog and twitter, but it only lasted a few times, and Ive been looking forward to starting it up again.

  26. I have considered and listed out features in the past and got started on them a few times. Then life got in the way. I need to realize and remember that the world is not going to end if I miss a day or a week. Most likely, no one will notice. :)

  27. This is a very tough challenge for me, that I can surely say! Having a weekly feature is a huge commitment. I would love to have one, but still finding an idea. If I could just have a good camera, navigating for nature views would be great as my feature but sadly, my cellphones camera is terrible at best. Music can also be good. But I don’t have an ear on that one also. So, what could be it be? :thinking deep:

  28. I have a couple of features on my blog: my week in pictures, this week and movies I’ve watched during the weekend (I’m pushing myself to watch more movies, so I decided to create the feature to encourage that). Today I created another one that I think I can have fun with, it’s sort of like a “things in (insert color) that I own”, so I’ll post photos of stuff I have around my house in that color. I plan on taking pretty pictures and post it once a week. :)I know it’s not groundbreaking but I think it will be fun. And isn’t that the point? :D

  29. Okay, I have been giving this some thought through the day. It seems I tend to receive positive feedback when I do a round up post describing other interesting blogs that I have discovered. Also for some reason I have been thinking about my dad today and remembering how he liked to pile us all in the car and go for these long Sunday drives around the countryside. That was always very enjoyable. So that got me to thinking that I can go on a virtual ‘drive” around the blog world to discover and share new and interesting blogs. I think I will call it, ” Becky G’s Sunday Drive around the Blogosphere”. And so I would post it on Sunday. Does that make sense? I am also considering other ideas too such as a Friday Verse Journal in which I would post a favorite scripture verse on Fridays.

  30. I had a hard time thinking about something I felt passionate about writing about on a regular basis, but then I got an idea. I’m thinking about writing a post monthly on a “Mom of the Month” where I state what I think is amazing about them. I could also do a mini interview I could post and could do people I know personally, fellow bloggers, and maybe some randoms I hear about in the media. Does this idea sound too cheesy? I have a mommy blog so it fits. Maybe Mother’s Day is too fresh on my mind.

  31. I already have one and I’ve already posted three times! :) I call it “The Great 8″ which is a weekly list of random things. Since it doesn’t have any specific topic, just as long as it is always a list of 8, I’m planning to make another one. Maybe I’ll build on my music pages like Life Soundtrack and chaange it to Mix-Tape Mondays…

  32. I am new to blogging, in fact I haven’t actually started yet, but I like your info because it’s helping me to get started..