Check out my new guide for starting a blog to learn how to go about properly creating your own blog.
When you set off on your blogging journey, you soon realize that there’s a lot more to it than just writing posts. That is just the bare bones of it all.
Marketing is almost as important so that your quality content is not wasted. Technical skills are important to ensure your blog is properly optimized for search engines and not holding you back.
The part that may be overlooked is the general managerial and organization skills that you need. Without those skills your blog may plateau prematurely and struggle to make it to the next level.
If you’re new to this series, check out some of the previous blogging tips posts:
- Honesty in Blog Advertising
- Blog Advertising Part II – Advertiser Tricks
- 10 Recommended WordPress Plugins For Your Blog
- Google PageRank, Not Just About Links
- Blog Link Building – Not All Links Are Created Equal
- With Blog Networking It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
- Importance of Blog Networking
- Advanced Keyword Strategy For Your Blog
- Effectively Using Keywords On Your Blog
- Optimal Blog Keyword Research for SEO
Now comes a topic that I really should’ve covered early on, but I’m just starting to get a better grip on it myself these days.
How to Develop Efficient Blog Time Management
In case you haven’t realized it yet, running a blog is a ton of work. Your early misconceptions have probably been tossed out the window as you start to appreciate what really goes into blogging. Learning all the necessary skills can be challenging, but you also have to find how to fit all of your priorities into the limited time you have available.
Since I have been involved in marketing websites for many years now, I’m fully aware how important time efficiency is. In order to compete with other websites, you need to find ways to fit in more marketing than your competitors. This is even more true when they have had a decent head-start which is almost always the case.
Taking this experience into blogging has been incredibly helpful, but being an efficient blogger is a different beast than being an efficient website marketer. I’ll share what I’ve learned so far.
With regular website marketing there does seem to be a lot more that you can automate, but if you look hard enough you can integrate automation into your blogging routine too.
First of all, consider using automation with social media. Refer to my previous post for some of the different ways you can make your job easier by automating social media. You don’t have to be a complete robot on social media sites, but you don’t have to do everything manually either.
On a more basic level you can automate some e-mail replies by at least having e-mail templates on hand. When I get certain types of e-mails (especially when they are generic natured themselves), I often just send them a generic reply. That way minimal time is wasted. Within gmail, I use ‘canned responses’ for stuff like this.
With various WordPress plugins you can automate other tasks on your blog such as backups, database optimization, image optimization, thank you e-mails to first time visitors and so much more.
Obviously efficiency and organization go hand in hand. If you’re spending time looking around for anything or rereading things, that is eating away at your efficiency.
The first area to address is your e-mail setup. Personally I like to have all my different e-mail accounts all streamed to a single account. That ensures I don’t waste time logging into different accounts and I can easily find previous e-mails. Having a solid folder or labeling system makes it even easier to stay on top of it all. For example with guest posts, I have labels for pending, declined and completed. At a glance I can see how many guest posts are in the queue and not forget about any.
If you do a blog of blog commenting, this needs to be as organized as possible too. Instead of randomly visiting blogs to comment on, subscribe to all of their RSS feeds and separate those feeds into priority level based groups. Then you can quickly check your top priority blogs without being distracted by the lower priority blogs.
Organizing social media efforts is a good idea too, but I have a feeling that most people have the least amount of organization in that area. Some people’s social media efforts seem rather random. I admit I could stand to be a lot more social on sites like Twitter, Google+ & Facebook, but at least I have a good system of sharing posts from my favorite blogs. With the help of custom software that I contracted out I can keep track of who has been mentioning me on social media, who’s posts I’ve been sharing and more.
Speaking of contracting out work, that is something I do a ton of when it comes to website marketing. Sure I could do the whole process myself, but with the help of a small team I can do vastly more and in far less time. Aside from making the important decisions, I try to outsource as many tasks as possible. With the time I free up, I can focus my time on the higher priority responsibilities.
Early on I thought there wasn’t a whole lot I could outsource with blogging, but I’m finding I was wrong. Things like networking with other bloggers definitely has to be done on your own, but virtually everything else could be contracted out to someone else. You just have to build up your blog to the point where that is financially feasible…that is unless you are confident enough in your blog to invest money beforehand.
Submitting to social media is one of the obvious tasks to outsource since it is easy work but time consuming. Think of how you can save yourself the most time.
Some people choose to outsource blog commenting, but in my opinion it is usually not worth the price, at least if you’re targeting the exact same blogs over and over. The price for quality comments is too high and the benefits are limited.
Outsourcing design and more technical tasks is a must for most bloggers. When a task is going to take so long to learn how to do yourself, the more efficient way may be to pay someone else to do the work for you.
As my blog has grown I’ve recently decided to hire both a virtual assistant and some staff writers. I feel that this will help me develop a system where my blog can pretty much run itself if necessary. In the meantime I can focus more on marketing and monetization. Or maybe I could even take the occasional day off from blogging 🙂
When there’s so much work to do each week, many bloggers simply do not know which tasks should take priority. I know I spent a while concentrating on certain areas for a while and then neglecting them for long stretches as my priorities jumped around. If I had just been more efficient with my time and prioritized better, I wouldn’t be bouncing back and forth so much.
First of all, quality content is extremely important. Make that one of your highest priorities, but I wouldn’t let that take up more than half your blogging time unless you’re outsourcing a lot of other tasks. If your post writing is taking up too much time, perhaps outsource the research side of it or accept guest posts from other bloggers.
Then you have to prioritize your link building and marketing. Refer to my post about not all links being equal. There are a lot of different marketing strategies that you can use, but you have to figure out what mix works best for your blog. Consider which blogs or websites are giving you the most benefits too.
Do the same analysis with your social media efforts. Building connections with other bloggers and readers on social media is important, but also pay attention to which social media platform gives you the most traffic.
On top of all this you have to somehow decide how important it is to monetize your blog, answer e-mails, fix technical problems and find other ways to keep improving your blog. Only you can decide what is truly most important, but you do need to fit it all in if you can.
What about you? How do you efficiently manage your blog time management? Any tricks?