Last update: September, 2015.
As a new blogger, are you struggling to find a productivity balance? Once you have your site up and running, it can be tough to maintain a productive schedule without feeling overwhelmed. But there’s no need to worry. With these tips, you can streamline your blogging tasks and boost your productivity to get more done, drive more traffic, and make more money.
Start With a Plan, and Write it Out
Marketing guru and blogger Neil Patel offers numerous tips on becoming a more productive blogger. One thing he stresses is that you need to write down your objectives. Start big. What do you want to achieve with your blog? How will you achieve it? Then, go back and dig into your plan for each smaller task.
Let’s take an example. If your goal is to reach 10,000 subscribers by the end of the year, you might utilize influencer marketing to get there. But don’t just leave it at that. Write down which influencers you will attempt to connect with, and then consider how you will get each of them to share your content.
For instance, the first step of your plan may be to connect with them via social media, their newsletters, and by leaving a comment on their blogs once a week for two months before approaching them about your content. However, your later strategies may become more targeted as you consider which contact methods each influencer best responds to.
It sounds like a lot of work, but outlining this plan now will save you time since you’re more likely to get results. On the other hand, going out on a whim and having no influencers respond will render any time you put in to your strategy useless.
Write Tasks Down—and Work on the Most Important First
Another thing Patel points out is to write down tasks on a to-do list. This will keep you organized from start to finish to streamline each bigger project. To boost your productivity, start with the most important tasks first, and make sure your lists are realistic.
For example, you might start out with a long task list for every tweak your blog needs. Break it down into chunks based on how much time you have to work on your blog and how much you can accomplish during each session. This way, your to-do list won’t seem so overwhelming.
To keep your to-do list organized, consider working with a productivity app like Trello, which you can take with you on the go.
Image of Trello
Develop a Routine that Suits Your Lifestyle
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 50 percent of content marketers (which includes bloggers) find it challenging to produce content consistently.
While you should have a publication schedule, you should also be thinking realistically, and that will help you overcome this challenge and get into the swing of things to become more productive.
Let’s say your only free time to work on your blog is on Saturdays. By no means should you expect to publish a new post every day. Instead, you could publish a new post once a week.
But that’s not to say that publishing consistency is the only sort of consistency you should have. Monitoring comments and marketing are other tasks that need constant attention. It can all seem overwhelming at first, but the more you try to push it, the less productive you’ll be.
That’s why you need to work with your blog in a way that suits your lifestyle. If you can’t respond to comments while at work, then get in the habit of checking and responding to comments after you get home. If you’re more of a morning person, handle your administration tasks when you wake up.
Keep a Running List of Ideas Handy
One thing that can cripple your productivity is writer’s block. There’s no worse way to spend your time than staring blankly at a computer screen and making zero progress.
But you can beat writer’s block before it happens by keeping a running list of ideas handy wherever you go. Each time inspiration strikes—no matter how silly it seems at the time—write it down.
You might keep a list going on a notepad you keep next to your desk, or you can start a list on your smartphone. If you’re not already using it, consider downloading Evernote. You’ll be able to jot down ideas in text form, save inspirational pictures, or take and save screenshots so that the next time you’re short on blog post ideas, you already have a starting point.
Image of Evernote
Create a Post-Publication Checklist
To streamline your publication process, keep a checklist handy. That way, you don’t have to stress over what to do next.
Your checklist will vary depending on your blogging habits, but just a couple of tasks to add to your checklist include:
- Sharing on social media
- Adding your blog post to your newsletter
- Commenting on other blogs
- Syndicating your content
Some of this—such as syndication and social media sharing—can be automated, so consider that as a time-saving option.
Install Time-Saving Plugins
If you’re using WordPress for your blog, there are numerous plugins that will help reduce your time spent on administrative tasks. Akismet, for instance, automatically filters spam comments so you only spend time moderating those that matter.
Here are a couple of other good time-saving plugins:
Write your blog post in a Word or Google Doc, and then import it to your WordPress editor without losing any formatting. You’ll save time spent formatting from the copy/paste method.
Easily manage your editorial calendar from your WordPress dashboard. This is especially useful if you have multiple contributors.
This plugin makes adding meta descriptions and tweaking other SEO settings super simple and quick.
Check out these 28 other time-saving plugins when you get a chance.
A super easy way to shave off some time is to create your own templates, such as for text overlay on images. Save even more time by using templates already available through free programs like Canva.
Image of Canva
Another trick is to develop a blog post template where all the formatting is already done for you. Save it in your dashboard and simply replace the text when you start a new post.
Disconnect When You Can
“Distractions are probably the second most common cause of productivity problems when you are blogging. They are especially common as you will be sat on your laptop and you need to do some online research for your next post, but the location where you write can be distracting too, if you’re not careful.”
When you’re not working on Internet-based blogging tasks—such as if you’re creating graphics or editing videos—shut down the Internet to eliminate distractions.
This tip isn’t just about disconnecting from the Internet as a whole, either. If you spend too much time on Facebook or checking your site stats, consider blocking just those sites while you’re working on your blog. Use Cold Turkey to schedule times in which you block yourself out of websites of your choosing.
Delegate or Outsource Tasks
Finally, if you just can’t find the time to do it all, consider bringing on another team member or paying a freelancer or firm to help you with some of it. For example, if you don’t have any web design skills, you’ll save a ton of time hiring someone else to tweak your site because you won’t have to spend hours reading tutorials to learn how to do it all.
You might start at a freelance marketplace like PeoplePerHour.com to outsource some of your blogging tasks, you could ask an experienced friend for help, or you can do a quick search on Google or Twitter for freelancers or businesses in the field.
Blogging can take a lot of work—there’s no denying that—but it doesn’t have to suck the life out of you! What tactics do you plan to use to boost your blogging productivity?