For a while, every Sunday on the blog I did a “weekly wrap up” post. It became a firm favorite with my readers and people often emailed or left comments letting me know how much they enjoyed it. So, would you like to make a regular wrap up a part of your blog too? Here’s how to go about it. Note, this may get a little basic at times in order to help out the less technical of us. ;)
1. Decide what categories you want.
It’s a good idea to have a weekly wrap up follow a kind of “set format” or order. It makes it easier for the readers – they know what to expect each week. You can choose any kinds of categories you want – be creative. You could choose to wrap up what has been going on in your life, perhaps little things which didn’t rate a blog post of their own. You can break down some of the categories into smaller chunks, for example my Must Reads section has extra categories within it. My weekly wrap up includes –
Funny Search Terms This Week –
Must Reads – Post of the week – Funnies –
Great Stumbles this week –
Here On The Blog –
Blogs Added To The Sidebar –
Coming Up –
2. Never be afraid to add to your categories –
This week I am going to be adding a new section where I highlight an old blog post of mine each week. I’ve written some great blog posts in the past and newer readers to the blog may never have read those. If you think of something new don’t be afraid to try it out – and if it doesn’t work out that’s ok too. Some categories you might want to only use from time to time when something fits in them instead of weekly.
3. Create a weekly wrap up text file – with formatting included.
This is the key secret to writing the weekly wrap ups – the formatting part is a secret I only recently discovered. How do you do it? I do mine in blogger but what I’m about to say can be done with almost any blogging platform.
– create a new post
– put in your category titles
– format each category title as you want them to appear (larger text, bold, color etc) note you have to do each title separately because you’re going to add text in between the titles later.
– copy the HTML (in blogger just click edit html and copy that – wordpress users, how do you do this in wordpress?)
– paste the HTML into a text file
So now, you’ll have a text file which will look very strange to you because it has odd code in it, eg – (span style=”color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;”)
Save this text file as the BASE file. Then save it a second time as blogwrap(date) and use blogwrap(date) as the file you put your links in as the week goes by – this way once you’ve done a wrap up you can open the base file and then save it as blogwrap(next week’s date) and start putting links etc aside again without having to delete last week’s work. This saves you time and effort!
If you looked at the file, you’ll note I have html in there for the links to posts etc. That’s important when you get to number 4.
4. Have your weekly wrap up text file open when you’re online.
I’ve mentioned Editpad Lite here on the blog before as one of the best free things available on the net – a great little program that allows you to have text files in tabs so you can flick between them.
I always have Editpad running on my computer and I now always have blogwrap(date) open so when I find a great blog post or an article or anything I want to mention in the wrap up, I can add it – this is where the HTML comes in – (a href=”link”)text(/a)
– copy the link and paste that where it says link
– copy the title of the post as written by the author to where it says text.
Once you’ve done that, you have a link ready for posting in a weekly wrap up. Don’t forget to click save whenever you add in a new link – I lost a bunch of links one time when the power went out.
5. Write your thoughts as you go.
When you copy a link, make sure to put a little bit of text next to it on the spot, so you don’t have to spend time re-visiting the links when you’re writing the blogwrap post. An example from tomorrow’s upcoming blogwrap – with the html brackets changed to ( ) so you can see how it looks in the file –
(a href=”http://heritage.stsci.edu/gallery/gallery.html”)Hubble Heritage Gallery Of Images(/a) Sites like this are why I love Stumbleupon.
6. Comment before you leave the link.
I usually like to let bloggers know I’m going to be linking to their post in my next weekly wrap up, sort of as a heads up. This is a polite, considerate and friendly thing to do and a very good habit to get into. Sometimes I forget due to lack of talent, organization or skill. Apologies in advance, I never claimed to be a perfect blogger! ;)
7. Communicate updates to your blog.
The weekly wrap up is a great time to mention new widgets and gadgets you’ve added to the sidebar, as well as any changes you’ve made to the “face” of your blog and any new blogs you’ve added to your sidebar links. When you make a change, note it in your wrap up text file on the spot, so you don’t forget about it.
8. What’s on the horizon?
The weekly wrap up is a good time to let your readers know what may come their way over the next week – however be careful. Blogging happens all on its own sometimes, and sometimes I’ve said things were coming up but those things still have not arrived. I’d generally advise not to say too much, just a brief overview of potential possibilities and topics. However do make sure to let them know if you’re going to be participating in things like the Hump Day Hmmm or various other weekly type things.
Blog wrap ups are good for many reasons but the most important could be helping you to build relationships with other bloggers by showing them you like their work enough to link to it – and generally you will find the link love comes back to you over time.
We all find ourselves amazed, happy, excited, possibly a little scared when we start blogging and get our first comment, and we begin to connect with people. It’s a great feeling. It is a great way of showing your blog readers blogs that you enjoy – and a great way of showing bloggers you love their work which is something bloggers enjoy and like.
10. Click on the links.
Once you have published your weekly update, my advice is to click on all the links in your post. This gets the words out to bloggers that they have been linked to because all bloggers tend to check where incoming links are coming from, and generally they will drop over to your blog and check it out, sometimes leaving a comment, sometimes adding *your* blog to their list of blogs to read.
Pick a day! Let people know.
You should choose a day of the week that you’re comfortable with. I chose Sunday because it was a slow day here at the blog – it’s not anymore. ;) People drop by just to read the wrap up. It’s also made Mondays busier, too.
So there you have it –
How to create the blog wrap up and make it easy. Are you inspired? If you’re going to add one to your blog, make sure to comment and let me know, and send me a link when you write your first one, I’ll drop over to check it out.
Work Smarter –
Until recently my weekly blog wrap up was taking up a fair bit of time at the end of the week to put it together. While I was putting links and search terms aside during the week, it was more of a mish mash of stuff I’d put aside rather than anything organised. I would leave it till Sunday to format the post and lay out the links in some kind of order and in general it would take over an hour to finish writing it.
Now that I’ve decided to work smarter instead of harder, the blog wrap post comes together over the course of a week, and is ready to post on Sunday with only five minutes of checking and editing.
In Conclusion –
How many of us take the time to encourage other bloggers on a regular basis, and let people know we enjoy their blogs and enjoy their work? A weekly wrap up gives you the chance to do that – if you don’t want to do it weekly, you might consider once every two weeks, or even once a month.