Are you spending too much time on blogging activities?
Has it been months since you updated your blog due to time restraints?
Have you avoided starting a blog because you can’t figure out how to squeeze it into your already busy schedule?
You’re definitely not alone.
In a Facebook group for bloggers, I asked, “What is your biggest blogging challenge?” and by far the most common answer was “making time to blog.”
I’ve been blogging at least once a week for over ten years, and I’m happy to share a few of the methods I’ve used to make this rewarding activity part of my regular routine.
Consider first that there are multiple tasks involved in writing a blog post, and you don’t have to do them all in one sitting – in fact, I don’t recommend that you even try.
Let’s break those tasks down into five phases: Planning, Writing, Illustrating, Publishing, and Promoting.
The Planning Phase
One of the worst traps you can fall into as a blogger is sitting down to write a post without a plan in mind. You can easily waste valuable minutes, or even hours, considering different ideas and finally starting to write about a particular topic, only to realize you need to do more research or you’re just not excited about it. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening with a little planning.
Start an Ideas List
Do yourself a favor and keep a running list of blogging ideas using a program like Evernote, a paper notebook, or a simple text document on your computer, tablet or phone – whatever works best for you.
Create a Schedule
Next, plan what you will blog about in the coming weeks. Sometimes I find it helpful to select a theme to focus on for a few weeks so I’m not just churning out random ideas. Doing this also creates a kind of flow from one post to the next, increasing reader engagement.
There are a lot of different tools you can use to keep track of your blogging schedule. The one you choose is a matter of personal preference, but here are a few options:
- the Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress – nice because it’s integrated with your blog, but not convenient if you often get ideas on the fly
- a paper planner or calendar (monthly view) – maybe the one you’re already using!
- a Google Sheet – convenient because you can access from all your devices
- a free downloadable Excel calendar template
- a free printable blog schedule or the CMI editorial calendar template
Knowing what you’re going to blog about before you sit down to write will give you a huge jump-start.
The Writing Phase
Many bloggers are paralyzed by perfectionism. Spelling, grammar, and clarity are important, but don’t let them interfere with your writing process. When you’re working on your first draft, just let the ideas flow. It’s okay to use point forms, abbreviations, or even doodles at this point.
If you have an idea and it’s not going well, just set it aside. Don’t waste time and energy agonizing over it. When you come back to it, you may be feeling more inspired, or maybe you’ll just decide it wasn’t a good idea after all. That’s okay, but don’t discard what you’ve done. You may be able to use it for another post in the future.
To keep yourself from getting carried away during the writing phase, try setting a timer. As you’re getting used to this new way of blogging, you’ll probably want to have the timer go off at regular intervals as you work, say at every 15 minutes, rather than just at the end of the allotted time. Otherwise you may find that your time is up and you’re nowhere near done.
Only when your ideas are fully fleshed out should you go back and edit for spelling, grammar, and clarity. It’s even better to let someone else look it over, because it’s easy to overlook your own mistakes.
The Illustrating Phase
These days visuals are an important component of blogging, and you can spend hours looking for just the right photo for your post. This is especially true if you use some of the free photo sites that don’t have very good search tools.
You may be reluctant to fork over your hard earned money to pay for stock photos, but you have to weigh the value of your time ($$ per hour) versus the $1 or $2 it might cost for a decent stock photo.
Read Fabulous free and inexpensive photos for your blog for my recommendations.
The Publishing Phase
Many bloggers love to write, but struggle with the technology involved with sharing their articles with the world. If this sounds like you, you should seriously consider outsourcing this task. Many of my clients receive this service through my Helping Hands or TLC Care Plan, and are grateful they don’t have to fuss over proofreading or formatting their photos to make sure their blog enhances their professional image.
The Promoting Phase
Your work isn’t done once your post is published! All that hard work you’ve done planning and writing will go to waste if nobody reads it. In fact, blogging experts say you should spend more time promoting your post than writing it!
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to promote your blog posts, and many of them don’t take all that much time. Here are just a few possibilities:
- Use Jetpack or IFTTT to automatically share your new posts on your social media profiles
- Use Buffer, Hootsuite, or eClincher to schedule additional social media posts (once is not enough, especially on Twitter)
- Use Hiplay or Recurpost to automatically repost the content you select
- Join a blogging community where members are committed to sharing each others’ posts – there’s power in numbers!
Please share your thoughts and comments!
Which of these strategies have you tried? How did they work for you?
Which one will you try next?
Photo © zurijeta/Depositphotos