Tuesday, 3 September 2013

How To Blog - Productivity


Learning how to blog well quickly is an incredibly valuable skill.

It's very easy to spend ages on your blog without feeling you've much to show for it.

Plus if your personal blogging goal is to grow readers and page views, seriously successful bloggers like Ruth Soukup,  Bob Lotich and Darren Rowse say, you must blog frequently.

Earlier this year I felt I was spending far too much time on the blog and not achieving my goals.

So I have adopted some simple techniques that I've used lots at work. These have really helped me work out how to blog more ... and hopefully better ... in less time.

The first thing I did was go back and re-visit my goals. If you haven't done this recently, I really recommend you check out my post on Why on Earth Do I Blog? and give it a go.

The next stage basically involved creating routines, prioritising ideas, allocating strict time boxes to each activity and then practising, practising, practising at sticking to the time box.

Now, if you are blogging for absolute pleasure with no concern for the size of your audience, that may sound very dull. But it really helps cut out wasted time frittered away on completely random stuff and I've found it's a great way to learn not only how to blog better but to write better.

If you want to try it out ... these were the 10 super simple steps I followed .... do give them a go and let me know how you got on. And if you're looking for more blog planning ideas, check out the links from other bloggers at the bottom of this post ...


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1. Create a Routine of Must Dos


  • Write down daily must dos e.g. pinning, link parties
  • Identify time sinks that only need doing weekly, monthly or less e.g. check stats
  • Don't forget dull stuff like backing up your blog
  • Write up on one page as daily, weekly & monthly must dos
  • Allocate a day to each weekly activity and a week to each monthly activity 


2. Capture All Your Ideas


  • Keep a bucket list of blog post ideas
  • Keep a separate bucket list of ideas for blog enhancements
  • You could put these in Excel but I just write them long hand in an A5 folder


3. Justify Your Time!

  • This is a biggy! 
  • Work out your maximum justifiable blogging time. Oh my, what's that you say? But it just means the most time you can justify spending on your blog to achieve your personal blogging goals.
  • Decide minimum time you can spend on must dos & still get them done
  • The time you've got left is the time you've got for blog posts & enhancements

iBlog Magazine for Professional Women Bloggers


4. Prioritise Your Ideas

Go through your bucket lists and highlight
  • Anything urgent e.g. topical posts, guest posts, performance issues
  • Most important ideas that best fulfil your blog goals e.g. deliver most page views or revenue, best show case your talents, promote issues you care about
  • Valuable quick wins i.e. anything fab you can do in 15-30 minutes - but be honest about whether they are really valuable, if they're not don't do them


5. Plan Your Week ... Urgent Stuff & Quick Wins First

Each week take a little time to ...
  • Work out what time you've got available for blog posts & enhancements
  • It should never be more than your maximum justifiable time less must do time!
  • Select most urgent, important and valuable quick win ideas for the week
  • Divvy your ideas up by day
In an ideal world we would spend most time on the important stuff but as we're all multi-plate juggling mamas other stuff gets in the way so I always plan to do urgent stuff & a few quick wins first and then whatever else happens I've achieved something!



6. Plan Your Day ... Roughly

Each day take a few minutes to ...

  • Confirm your targets for the next day from your routine & weekly plan
  • Allocate a target time for getting it done
The actual timings don't have to be exact ... stuff happens, you don't have control of ... it's the amount of time you spend on each activity that is important.





7. Stick to the Time Box!

Now this is the bit where you've really got to get disciplined!

The routine stuff is easier. If your routine says spend 2 minutes pinning 5 times a day ... a remarkably effective strategy if you've got very little time! ... then that's what you do, not a minute more!

Writing blog posts & making enhancements is harder. But the more you practice, the easier it gets.

Set yourself a target time to finish a first complete draft. And when I say finished, I mean ready for you to press publish including images, links, Pin buttons etc.

Now set your timer and go! You may have a million and one great ideas but just get down the bare minimum to make it interesting, funny, useful or whatever else it is you're trying to achieve. 

The first draft will almost certainly not be perfect ... no where near ... but it should be finished.

Now set the clock again for just a short time ... no more than 15 minutes ... and finish a complete edit.

If you're still within your overall time for the blog post, set the timer again for one final edit.

Then publish! (Or at least schedule it).


PicMonkey Photo editing made of win


8. What To Do If You Blow the Time Box

It is really hard to stick to a time box and there will certainly be times you blow it and don't finish on time.

If you blow it, finish as quickly as possible.

And cross something else off your plan that you won't get done.

Under NO circumstances, put it to one side and start something else. This is the path to a big pile of unfinished stuff.

If something is really blocking you ... e.g. a photo, a particular paragraph, a piece of HTML ... ask yourself if you really need it. If you can, drop it and finish your post or enhancement in a simpler form.



9. Just Keep Practising!

Right at the start, time boxing may seem seriously dull. And just too hard.

But it's like any kind of practice. The more you do it, the better you become, until you just master that art of writing well ... or at least well enough ... in a very short space of time.

And then you just get into the flow of doing it. And boy that feels good!



10. Get Better At Spotting Great Simple Ideas

But there are weeks when I just get bogged down in something I thought was a great idea which was really just too fiddly or didn't play to my strengths.

So when I do my weekly planning and pick topics, I keep asking myself if there is a different, much quicker way to deliver on an idea. Could I do a fab post ... that still got pinned! ... in just a few paragraphs? Or with a single photo. Or split the idea up into a series?

If you're looking for more tips on how to grow your blog do check out these books from bloggers who make six figure incomes from their blog ...





More Blog Planning Tips





12 comments:

  1. Lots of sensible, common sense advice here - thanks. I really need to get better organised with my tasks & time when it comes to blogging.

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  2. Thanks for the great time saving tips - I feel like I get so easily distracted when blogging that I have a bunch of half finished projects but nothing complete! Can't wait to start using these tips

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  3. Oh my word....do I need this. I am turning this into the screen saver on my laptop....now....to ATTEMPT to stick to it!

    stopping by to visit from Fluster’s Creative Muster Wednesday Linky Party
    Carolyn @ iamthecraftylady.com
    I hope you will stop by for a visit!

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  4. Thanks for sharing. I am new to this and I have to say that everything takes longer than I thought it would. Great tips!

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  5. Great tips. It's funny, I was thinking about some of this stuff just today, but you put it into concrete ideas that I needed! Thanks!

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  6. Thank you so much for great tips. Pinning it!

    Ellya

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  7. Great tips! Thanks so much!

    Found you via: Link Party Palooza!

    Em :)

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  8. Such a brilliant post. Thanks! :)

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  9. My blog is such a timesuck - mainly cause I just keep tweaking this and that - I do have a blog planner now though, and I am sticking to it about 80% of the time. Need to get to 100% of the time and get myself on a strict time schedule - my husband is about to ban me from the wifi!

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  10. Great advice! I like the linky with other ideas on the bottom (so smart!) I'll have to pin this so I can come back.

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  11. Stopping in from Keeping It Simple Crafts linkup - love the tips, pinning for sure :)

    Have a great day!

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  12. Thanks for the good advice & the other blogging tips.

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