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Blogging isn’t as simple as some people are led to believe. There’s a whole lot more to it than just writing a post and hitting publish, hoping that somehow it magically appears before everyone on Internet Land. In fact, the actual writing process is probably one of the smallest components.
When you take into account social media management, image sourcing and graphic creation, website maintenance, research, developing and maintaining relationships, giving a lot of love to your email list, working with brands and advertising…. There’s a whole lot that goes on in the background.
And, because I know all too well at how time stretched bloggers are, I wanted to create a snappy actionable list of blogging tips that you can come back to time and time again and implement quickly.
So here you go:
1 – Use a program like Hootsuite to help schedule tweets for Twitter. Avoid using it for Facebook if you can as Facebook tends to penalise non organic (scheduled) posts, particularly those from a third party.
2 – Stop everything you are doing (after you finish reading and sharing this post of course) and write for 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes. Brain dump ideas if you need to, write the opening paragraph to your blog post. Just write. Do this a few times a day and you’ll have a whole lot more written than you originally planned.
3 – Keep track of post ideas all in one place. Don’t keep them on scraps of paper or multiple sticky notes otherwise you’re bound to forget them. I keep mine in an excel spreadsheet with their topic in the next column. If I need to write on a particular topic but am coming up short I can filter to show all ‘blogging’ topics and pick from there.
4 – Ask for help. Don’t know how to do something and spending way too long trying to find out? Post a question to a Facebook blogging group. Chances are there will be someone out there who can answer your question in a flash. And bloggers are generally super generous with their time and knowledge.
5 – Stuck looking at a blank screen not knowing what to do or write. Get up and move around for 5 minutes. Change positions of where you are working and perhaps even open a window. Simple changes like this can add clarity to what you need to do.
6 – Write a to do list. Everyday. Even if there’s only one thing you need to do. Then when you’ve completed a task either tick it off or cross it off. This creates a sense of accomplishment that triggers our dopamine receptors. These are our receptors that tell us ‘good job, do it again’. They are also responsible for addiction…. So become addicted to your to do list and you’ll get a whole lot achieved.
7 – Send a blogger you like an email. The blogging world is big on connections. You can meet such amazing people and create brilliant friendships. Not sure where to start? Find a blogger you like and use their contact page to send them an email saying hi. It’s that simple.
8 – Use a program like Evernote to keep track of ideas when you’re on the go. You can download the app for your phone and Macbook and they will sync automatically. If I’m out and about and get a great idea I write a note in Evernote on my phone and then it’s already there on my laptop when I sit down to work.
10 – Buy Amy Lyn Andrews Knowtbook. This still counts as an actionable tip… this is probably one of the best investments I’ve made. There’s so much information in here and the best part is that she is always updating it so the information is always relevant and up to date. Amazing.
11 – Start growing your email list. Now. Make sure you have at least 3 places on every page where a reader can subscribe to your list. Think pop ups are annoying? While that may be true – they work. Your list is GOLD – it is the only contact platform you own. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter could change their algorithms at any point and your reach could be lost. Do it. Now.
12 – Clean up your sidebar. Take 10 minutes to review what you have floating in your sidebar on your website. Do you have badges from a few years ago? Does it look cluttered? Do you NEED to have everything that’s on it there? Have a look around at some blogs you like and see what they have – then cull. Clean blogs are easier to read and easier on the eye.
13 – Comment on 5 other bloggers posts. Everyday. Admittedly this is somewhere I fail at a little too often but this is my goal. Remember what I said about connections? This helps build them too and can help drive traffic back to your site. Not sure where to find posts? Have a look on Bloglovin and follow bloggers there or head over to Pinterest and click through on some pins you like.
14 – Update your image for an old blog post and repin. With programs like Canva and PicMonkey creating beautiful graphics is easier than ever. Drive traffic to your older posts by updating the image and repining and re-promoting it.
15 – If you want to create a unique look for your blog, use Creative Market to find premium fonts, themes and design elements. You can even buy complete design packs that are great value for money and have everything you need to create your own unique designs. But be warned… it’s addictive.
16 – Head over to Twitter and reply to 10 tweets. Again – making connections. Be genuine and sincere. I’m learning more and more about Twitter and it’s becoming a new favourite social media platform. It’s a big mistake if you’re only using it for self-promotion because there’s so much more potential to it than that.
17 – Respond to the comments on your blog. If someone has taken the time to stop and write to you personally, then the least you could do is respond to their comment – even if you’re just agreeing with what they say and thanking them for stopping by.
18 – Create a content calendar. Give yourself goals of how many times you want to post each week and stick to them. Consistency is essential in blogging. Whether you can commit to 1 post a week or 5 it doesn’t matter. Map out what you what to write about and when and you’ll be more likely to stick to your goals. Co-Schedule is the BEST way to do this – I’m converted to being a Co-Schedule lover!!
19 – Feeling a little overwhelmed by your to do list? Pick just one thing and focus on that. Even if that is the only thing you achieve for the day. Successfully completing one task is better than half starting ten.
20 – Batch your work. It is a game changer. Do like styled tasks together. For example, rather than just writing one post, then creating the image and everything else that goes along with creating a single post, do all your writing in one go. Then do all your images. Then schedule your social media. This way you’re not breaking up the ‘zone’ you get in and you can work more efficiently.
21 – Needing to find some inspiration? Go for a walk, read a magazine or spend some time on Pinterest. These are my ‘go to’ places for inspiration. When you read an article you like ask yourself ‘what’s my take on that?’ and ‘can I offer another unique opinion on this?’. You’d be amazed at how many posts can come from these questions.
22 – Don’t be afraid to give yourself permission NOT to write. If you’re in a bit of a blogging funk and not loving what you are doing, take some time out. Forcing yourself to write can only make things worse. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to take a break.
23 – Keep a folder of images you can use on your blog. Rather than searching out a single image each time you write a post, batch search. Do you write about parenting? Find 10 parenting photos and save them rather than just 1. This will save a bunch of time in the future.
24 – Use BoardBooster to automate your pinning on Pinterest. I cannot imagine how I would cope without this tool! It allows me to always look like I’m on Pinterest, without always having to be on Pinterest. I started with their free trial and signed up within the first few days. Now looping is my favourite feature.
25 – Take a break. Blogging burnout is a real thing and happens to even the most dedicated. Even if it’s just one day a week that you step away from your blog.