This post is guest blogged by Steven York of Seopher.com.
One of the things I face on a daily basis is answering why I spend time blogging; and I’ll let you in on a secret – it’s not always someone else asking that question. Sometimes I’ll sit at my desk with my hands behind my head wondering why I dedicate such a large amount of my time to this childish dream of “making it” as a blogger – and I know a lot of you feel the same.
Blogging for success is different than blogging for fun – but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. That may seem overly cryptic but it’s true. Because I’m trying to “make it” I feel a self-enforced pressure to post on a daily basis; and this is something I know a lot of others find too. The difference is that if you’re blogging for fun you post an entry whenever you feel like it. When you’re really trying to get somewhere it takes hard work and becomes more of a lifestyle than anything else. Here are my tips for making that lifestyle easier and finding inspiration when you need it.
1 – Write as far in advance as you feel inspired to
This is the best piece of advice I can give to ANY blogger – when you’re in the mood and writing good content – don’t stop. If you feel like you’ve got more to say just keep going because you’ll be thankful of it later. I have an “unpublished” section of Seopher.com where I can throw pieces of content for a rainy day (like drafts on WordPress) which is really useful because we all hit low days where you really don’t want to blog. On those days I cherry pick a piece of content and publish it – meaning the site doesn’t seem inactive but I’ve not really had to do anything.
2 – Schedule posts to go live in the future when you’re busy
If you know you’re going to be busy (or on Holiday, otherwise engaged etc) then I recommend combining the point I made in number one with the ability to schedule posts to go live in the future. This means that if I’m going away for the weekend I can take 1-2 posts out of my drafts and schedule them to go live later. I don’t use WordPress but it’s really easy to do (when writing a post click “post timestamp” on the right hand side and edit the timestamp to be some point in the future). This is a great way to give yourself “time off” from the blog without handing it over to someone else.
3 – Hand it over to someone else with guest posts
Sometimes you don’t have the time or inspiration to maintain a sizable catalogue of draft posts for future use, so what happens if you actually need some? Fortunately it’s not too hard to find people who will write a couple of guest posts for you (taking the strain off yourself). Clearly there are pitfalls with this because people came to your site to read your content but ultimately it’s a great way of keeping blogging enjoyable.
4 – Write a series of articles
This is one I love to use because it can be hard to find inspiration on cold, dark January evenings, so picking a suitably wide topic and turning it into a series of articles can really help things move in the right direction. This means that you already know what your next [however-many] posts are going to be about and you can think about them in advance. This in turn results in higher quality content (due to the extra thought gone into the post) and offers a valuable resource to readers. Eventually you could use the series as the basis for an (e)book.
5 – Post a summary / blast from the past
This may seem like scraping the barrel somewhat but there’s actually a good reason for doing this. How many of your readers have been reading your blog since it first started? Probably not many. Therefore if you have some gems in your back catalogue it can be worthwhile bringing them back to life for your new readers to look over. This is also helpful because content can be re-submitted to Digg when it’s over 365 days old, so older content can be thrown back into the social-news arena for more coverage. This is great because it can result in masses of exposure for seemingly little effort.
6 – Review something
They don’t even have to be paid reviews (shock, horror). Sometimes you can just review something for the sake of something interesting to talk about. If you stumble across something your readers would enjoy and you’ve been struggling to find inspiration, then go beyond just posting a link. There are a few advantages to reviewing stuff randomly: it can prompt people into asking for paid reviews and it can also open communications with the people who are involved with whatever you reviewed… It can be a nice opening to a lot of good things.
There you have it, 6 ways to make your life as a blogger slightly easier; from getting the right mechanisms in place to allow you to take time off, to finding inspiration when you really need it.
I personally find it really hard to spend time researching and writing posts alongside maintaining a relationship, freelancing/contracting as a web developer, holding down a full-time job and marketing my site too. The 6 points I’ve raised are how I manage my time to ensure that both myself and my blog are working at 100% efficiency.