Your big blog idea was amazing and as time went by, it took on a life of its own. You started putting an increasing amount of time into it and were left with no time for yourself. You feel overworked and exhausted. Friends and family complain that you’re always stuck to your laptop.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
In the words of Be A Better Blogger, “The more time you put into your blog, the more successful it becomes. The more successful your blog becomes, the more it demands of your time.” And so the cycle continues.
Luckily time management doesn’t mean desperately rushing through everything trying to get it done. Most of it is just getting organized enough to free up blocks of time when you can actually work. Organizing your schedule, organizing your thoughts and organizing your posts.
Whether blogging is your career or a part time gig, the question remains, how to make sure that managing your blog doesn’t take over your life? Fret not, because we’ve got you covered. Follow these 10 simple tips to ensure constructive and organized blogging time:
1. Set S. M. A. R. T. Goals
Remember when you first started out your blog? You knew exactly what you meant to do with it. You had a clear vision for it. And now it just seems like a mishmash of posts thrown together. So sit down, clear your head and figure out the goals for your blog. When setting goals, use the S. M. A. R. T. method i.e. your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
So e.g. if your goal is to increase traffic on your site, your S. M. A. R. T. goals would be:
Specific – Increase website traffic by 20%.
Measureable – Tracking the rate through Google Analytics.
Attainable – Derive traffic via increased number of posts, social media and email marketing and guest posting.
Relevant – Increased traffic will lead to increased exposure on social media.
Timely – Increase the number of posts in next 6 months, which will result in increased website traffic by 20%.
Keep in mind that these goals won’t be achieved in a week or two. This is your game plan for the next 6 months to 1 year.
2. PYOP – Plan Your Own Posts
An easy way to stop your blogging activities from taking over your life is to have a blogging planner or blogging schedule. Blogging is no longer just writing and publishing a post. It’s a whole industry of online publishing now. Plan when to research, when to write, when to edit, when to reply to comments, when to promote your content, when to read other blogs, when to comment on other blogs.
Now that you have your schedule sorted – stick to it! Focus on the task you’ve set for yourself and get it done. You can watch those captivating food videos later. There’s no use of creating a schedule if you choose to ignore it and do what you please.
3. Jot Down Those Ideas
Got an idea for a blog post? Write it down. Always keep a pen and notepad handy. Although many people now prefer note taking apps instead of the paper and pen route. If you’re a part time blogger, chances are you won’t have time to sit down and brainstorm ideas. Your best ideas are going to come to you when you’re making tea, eating out, commuting to work or buying groceries.
Use that camera shortcut key on your phone wisely. See something you could blog about? Take a picture! It doesn’t have to be perfect, with the best lighting – it’s a reference of what you saw and liked. Having an interesting conversation? Record it with your phone’s voice recorder. Although, be careful about this one. Many people may not like being recorded.
4. Research Starts With Friends
So you’ve chosen a topic to write about and are sitting down to do some research. Although the Internet serves as a good resource – fast and easily accessible, everything online is something someone has already read. In my opinion, nothing matches the quality of first hand feedback. One thing I like to do (and annoy my friends with!) is call up a couple of friends, ask them what they think of a specific topic and jot down their replies.
This way, your content will always have a fresh angle. Of course, if your friends threaten to cut all ties with you like mine have, it may be better to switch between various friends and members of the family to annoy, I mean, question.
5. Cut off All Distractions
Sign out of your email, close your Facebook and put your phone on silent. To focus, you need to cut off all distractions. Don’t get up when the doorbell rings, let someone else handle it. Turn off the TV, or close the door to tune it out. Don’t cook the healthiest dinner and order Chinese food instead. Don’t clean up the mess your kid made on the kitchen floor – let your husband (or wife) do it.
Basically, unless it’s an emergency, don’t leave your work mid-way. You only have a limited amount of time allotted for your blogging activities, don’t give it up.
6. Don’t Edit, Just Write
Finally, it’s time to write. Arguably, the most difficult part is how to craft that perfect opening sentence. The answer? Don’t. Wasting time and energy at the start will leave you demotivated for the rest of the post. Instead, focus on writing as much as you can – leaving the editing for the end. Nitpicking will only hamper your writing.
How I like to start is by creating an outline or template of what I want to write about. Then I focus on writing the rest of the post. Somewhere in the middle of it, I come up with the right sentence on how to start the blog post.
Write your posts in a way that makes even you want to read them. Relatability and ease in understanding is the key here. Of course, every blogger has their own voice and however objective or intense it may be – it isn’t worth anything if people don’t read your blog.
7. Don’t Try to Do It All
Don’t try to be the Jack of all trades. It doesn’t work. Focus on what you are best at – creating quality content. Instead of trying and failing to manipulate pictures, or edit video content, outsource it. Use freelancer.com, elance.com and fiverr.com to get the best quality work at the lowest price. You can even set up a virtual assistant who will take care of any projects you throw his way.
Of course if you’re a newbie, this may seem expensive. But since more and more people are opting for blogging as their side gig and a day job as their main source of income, more and more blogs get neglected just because people don’t have time to do it all anymore.
8. Schedule & Automate
Schedule that social media and automate whatever processes you can. For social media scheduling, a number of paid options are available like Hootsuite, Everypost and Buffer. These tools require you to sign in with your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr etc.) and then schedule what you want to post.
They have features for shortening URLs, pulling pictures from various online resources like Instagram, Tumblr etc). You no longer have to jump between Facebook and Twitter and Google+ – you can do it all in one place! If you want a free option, then TweetDeck is best for Facebook and Twitter – however it only has limited features for Facebook posting.
Got freelancers working on your blog? Automatically track their time and progress on your project with Minterapp or Toggl, tools meant for freelancers and startups.
9. Guest Blogging
Running out of blog ideas? Got writer’s block? Didn’t finish that post you meant to publish today? The answer: guest blogging. Invite your readers and other bloggers of your community to send in their views and posts. Once a week, feature a post sent in by your readers or other bloggers. Guest posting allows you to get a fresh perspective and new content on your website. This is an excellent strategy for extending your reach and boosting your reputation online – as writers will usually post these to their own social channels. Alternatively, you can get user generated content by inviting readers to send memorable pictures from their travels or of a favorite book and a small paragraph saying why. These save time and keep your content fresh.
10. Keep up with the Competition
Last, but not the least, remember to read what other bloggers are writing about in your niche. Reading other blogs will open you up to new ideas and help you develop your own writing style. While copying and plagiarism is strictly prohibited, you are allowed to check out what works (and what doesn’t!) with the help of your fellow bloggers. You never know, reading other blogs might give you your next big idea. It also helps you connect with like-minded people and we all know how important networking is, when it comes to blogging.
Kamil Riaz is a Writer and Digital Marketer. He has completed his masters in Administrative Science from the University of Karachi. As a writer, he wrote numerous articles on management, technology and health. You can find him on LinkedIn