I’ve been blogging since 2013, and like many people, my life has only gotten more hectic. Since I started blogging, I started teaching high school, quit teaching, had 3 surgeries, started and finished grad school, started one job, left that job, and started another. Whew! But my blog has only grown since then, which tells me that I’m doing something right. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together my method for blogging with limited time, a process that I’ve honed over the last few years and one that I feel good about. Whether all of this will work for you or only parts of it will depend on your life and your blog, but regardless, I hope that this will help you take your blog to the next level.
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My Proven Method for Blogging with Limited Time
Work in spurts – This is hands down my biggest tip. You do not need to have a few hours at a time in order to get serious work done! Work in spurts when you have the time. Once I’ve decided on a topic and a title, I outline my post, which enables me to get right into the thick of it when I have a moment. If I have a spare 15 minutes, I can crank out a few hundred words for my post. It might take me 5 or more days to write a single post, but that’s with only spending chunks of minutes to work on it on each of those days. After I’ve written the post, I make the images for it. Now, this will change depending on what type of blog you have or the topic of the post. If I’m doing a post that requires taking images specifically for that post, I might do that before I write the post itself. But if it’s a post like this one, getting the images for the post is one of the last things I do. Making the images is another thing that can take me no more than 20 minutes. I use Photoshop Elements, and I have folders of stock images for posts. Some are images from sites like Unsplash, and others are my own stock images that I’ve taken. After I’ve made and added the images, I proofread the post, and then I schedule it. Again, all of this is done in spurts. This way I can work on my posts in the mornings before I go to work, but when I don’t have a spare hour.
Plan ahead – Planning ahead is important for all bloggers, but it’s even more so when you’re dealing with another job and/or anything that takes up a huge chunk of time. I plan way far in advance. I use Google Calendar to get a big-picture overview and label what type of post I’ll do on what day literally months in advance. This is especially helpful for the last quarter of the year, as I’m thinking about gift guides, a blog vacation, and what needs to be done before 2018 ends. Some posts I know the exact topic at this point, and others I figure out when I get closer to that date. But I always figure out the exact post topic at least a week in advance, if not 2. This helps me do that work in chunks that I just mentioned. It’s also helpful because I can figure out if I need to do anything special for my posts well in advance, such as take specific photos. Spending time figuring all of this out (which can take no more than 10 minutes once you’re used to it) saves me a massive amount of time in the long run.
Schedule social media in advance – This has saved me so much stress over time! I schedule my Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest content in advance. I make sure to post questions, inspirational quotes, another blogger’s post, or some combination thereof on my Twitter and Facebook pages every day. This helps me interact with my audience, which, at least on Facebook, ensures that my posts reach them more in the future. It’s also great because then my Twitter and Facebook pages do not only post my own content. If you went to someone’s Twitter page and saw the only things they posted were their own blog posts, you would only follow them if that’s how you wanted to reach your audience. If you saw they posted other things and were engaging with their followers, you would have another reason to follow them. Making sure that my pages do not post my content only has helped grow my pages, which then gets more eyes in front of the posts that do share my content. I schedule my Twitter and Facebook content with Buffer.
As for Pinterest, it’s important to keep in mind that Pinterest is more than just a social network: it’s a search engine. Pinterest has brought in around 50% of my blog traffic for the entire year so far, and that’s because a) I share posts that, once again, are not just promotions of my content and b) when I do share my own content, it’s with SEO in mind. I also use Tailwind to schedule my Pinterest posts, which has been a lifesaver. It saves me so much time – I don’t have time to be on Pinterest 3 times a day, sharing posts to grow my following and such – and it is so worth the money.
Cut down on your posts for higher quality ones – This is something I did first when I started grad school and then again when I started my current job. Way back in 2014, I wrote 4 blog posts a week, but most of them were shorter (less than 500 words) and not awesome quality. I cut back to 3 in 2015 when I started grad school. Then, when I started my current job in June 2018, I cut back to 2. I like to think that I’ve been writing better and better posts every year, but in order to do that without sacrificing my stress levels, I’ve needed to write fewer posts. I want to like writing this blog. Now that I’ve been blogging for about 5 years, I know that I won’t like it 100% of the time, but I don’t want to dread blogging or wish that I wasn’t doing it. And I know myself well enough to know that that means writing fewer blog posts.
Devote an afternoon once a week or so – If your schedule permits it, devote an afternoon or so to get a ton done. Find your ideal productive behavior/situation and hunker down! This is a great time to focus on the aspects of blogging that maybe aren’t your favorite and/or you need to make yourself do. For me, this looks like putting on my working playlist, putting on headphones, and either sitting at my desk or go to a coffee shop.
Schedule your blog time – If your life is busy, your blog isn’t going to get written unless you dedicate time to it. By this I just mean make sure you have time to work on it. Scheduling your time can mean 30 minutes here, 30 minutes there, but make sure you have the time. This is helpful because you won’t be stressing about whether or not you’ll have the time to work on your blog. Additionally, this will help you get stuff done because you’ll be prepared to work at that time.
Wake up earlier or stay up later – Which one you do depends on whether you’re a morning or a night person. For me, I get up a bit earlier than usual, unless it’s a day of early appointments. I’m a morning person and also don’t feel well at the end of the day, so I make sure to set aside time earlier in the morning. This is super necessary if you’re working a 9-5 day! When I was teaching, I didn’t get up early because I was already getting up at 5 or 5:30 AM, but I also got out of work in early afternoon. I would go home and do some blogging and then do planning or grade, or vice versa..@kmitchellauthor's proven method for blogging with limited time. Click To Tweet
Have an out-of-office message – The one aspect of my blogging system that I’m not awesome about is staying on top of my inbox. It’s something that I’m aware of and am actively working on, I promise! But one way I’ve started doing to help this is to have an out-of-office message set up for the days that I know I won’t be able to get to my inbox, mainly days I work. It explains that I’m not a full-time blogger and includes earliest day that I will get return emails. It also includes one of my biggest blogging policies: I will not return emails that are asking for free work, including those asking for me to place a link in an existing post. I get so many emails asking for free work and a) I don’t work for free and b) I don’t have time to respond to emails asking for free work. I barely have time to respond to my other emails, let alone the 7-10 emails a week asking for me to work for free.
Find a rhythm that works for you – And all of this is to say that if you work best in a different way that I do, all of this might not work for you! But I do think that at least some, if not most, of these will. Try them to find what will work for you and if it doesn’t feel right or it doesn’t seem helpful, then don’t worry. Find the rhythm that does work for you, your life, and your productivity style.
What are your tips for blogging with limited time?
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