Give me 31 Days and I’ll Give You a Better Blog… Guaranteed

Check out 31 Days to Build a Better Blog

Give me 31 Days and I’ll Give You a Better Blog

Check it out

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…

FREE Problogging tips delivered to your inbox  

5 Ways to Make Your Blogging Life Easier

Posted By Stacey Roberts 16th of February 2015 General 60

Blogging is serious business - and can take up much of your time! We share five ways you can make your blogging life easier.Blogging. It goes a little something like this:

  • Think of idea
  • Write a post
  • Take/source/edit a photo for the post
  • Format the post
  • Schedule or publish the post
  • Push the post to social media
  • Respond to comments

But that is just the beginning, right? That doesn’t include planning, goal-setting, editorial calendars, blog design, design tweaks, multimedia, multiple updates on social media, a social media workflow plan, guest blogging, networking, sponsorships, affliliate sales, creating products, launching products, email marketing, creating newsletters, being part of the blogging community, going to events, keeping up with trends…

There’s so much to do.

In the five years I’ve been blogging I feel like I’ve made all the mistakes. One of my biggest ones was wasting time. When you’re blogging on top of work and life and other responsibilities, that time you have to spare is is finite. After crashing and burning with my poor habits, I learned very quickly what would work to cut down wasted time, and I then created strategies to be more efficient.

Blogging is serious business - and can take up much of your time! We share five ways you can make your blogging life easier.

5 Ways to Make your Blogging Life Easier

Batching

Batching is when you complete the same or similar tasks in one period of time. Instead of writing a post with a headline, image, post body, etc, you might like to write all posts for the week in one go, edit and upload all images in one go, etc. It means you’re in the right headspace for each task, rather than switching between what you need to do, then the next task, then back again.

Batching is also super-useful for returning emails, scheduling social media, general writing, researching, image sourcing, and the menial task you hate but must be done (accounts, anyone?!).

I’ve even gone so far as to choose which days I batch process. Mondays was content creation, Tuesdays was email and images… I’ve had to make some adjustments this year, but picking days when I was most useful was actually the most successful strategy I tried.

Scheduling

This applies to both time and content. I schedule my time when I have it, and I schedule content.

For example, if I have a few hours spare, I’ll spend a couple of minutes before I get started prioritising my tasks and adding them to blocks of time. I usually try and “eat the frog first”, i.e. doing the thing that’s the hardest to do, so the rest is easier (and also can be added to tomorrow’s to-do list if I get interrupted, as they’re not as time-sensitive as the frog).

My frog is usually content creation. I need to do that when I’m motivated and have space to think. Image processing I can do later, and with less brain bandwidth. So I schedule creation first, then other tasks.

Darren's low-tech editorial schedule

Darren’s low-tech editorial schedule

Scheduling content is super useful for when you don’t have time to blog every day, or you’re taking a break. Scheduling content on your blog and scheduling your social media means less hands-on work, and more time to work on other things. Like binge-watching Netflix and eating popcorn.

If you’re scheduling your social media, do make sure you pop onto the platforms at certain times to respond to people. It’s best if you can post and respond in real time, but if that’s not always possible (I know for me it certainly isn’t), then schedule the updates, and respond when you have time. Or when you’ve scheduled time in your day to respond!

Figure out when you’re most efficient

I’ll never forget one morning I woke up before the birds and wondered if I should just study for my upcoming test seeing as though I wasn’t going back to sleep anytime soon. I was soon surprised to realise how clear my thinking was and how well I understood what I was reading. My attention was focused and things made perfect sense. I felt like I had mastered some pretty difficult concepts (it was a third-year psychology exam, after all) and was well on my way to acing a test – all before breakfast! I knew right away I was a morning person.

While working in the early hours hasn’t been achievable for me in the last few years (two kids who don’t sleep, heaven help me), I do know I’m more efficient for brain tasks in the morning, and can satisfactorily respond to emails and requests, upload recipes, and do admin later in the afternoon. I’m pretty fried by night and can barely string a sentence together, so I don’t even bother.

A friend of mine is the opposite – she doesn’t really get her writing groove on until late afternoon, and will write up until bedtime. It’s all about knowing when you’re the most efficient so you aren’t trying to write a 2000 word post on Facebook algorithm changes when you’re dog tired and fuzzy. When you’re efficient, you don’t waste time –  and as a bonus, you complete tasks faster.

Automate

Bless you, internet automation tools, where would we be without you? They are fiercely discussed, loyalties are strong – it’s hard not to love something that makes your life so much easier.

There’s been plenty of discussion here on ProBlogger about what kinds of tools everyone loves to use for automation – everything from social media scheduling apps to creating reports in Google Analytics so they’re sent to you regularly and it saves you going looking for them.

You can automate plenty of things for your blog: If This Then That (IFTTT) is huge for automated behaviours. It can do anything from posting your Instagram pictures to your twitter account (thereby bypassing that pesky issue of Instagram images not showing up in newsfeeds), you can be emailed when someone mentions you online, you can “like” a track on Soundcloud and have it directly downloaded to your Dropbox – plenty of things you can set up to automatically happen after a trigger of your choosing.

I had to giggle when I saw this automation for parents:

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 3.02.30 pm

Email canned responses are a wonderful thing if you find yourself answering people with the same information over and over. Gmail in particular is useful for this – it will send a pre-written response as a reply to inquiring emails. You can automate the responses to be sent based on the criteria you choose – often sender, subject, keyword, etc. Very handy for freeing up your time.

Automation doesn’t get much better than apps that manage your social media. No longer do you have to wait for posts to go live before you manually update them to your Facebook! Or set reminders for when you wanted to tweet out your link based on when your audience is online. There are plenty of places to go where you schedule a bunch of posts to go out at a time of your choosing. Darren uses Sprout Social (see his social media scheduling workflow here), I use a combination of CoSchedule and Buffer, and there are plenty that will help you out when it comes to Instagram and Pinterest, too – namely Schedugram, Latergramme, Viraltag and Ahalogy.

Veggie-Mama-Planning

Planning

I cannot recommend this enough! I haven’t always done it, but it made a huge difference to how I spent my time, and how efficient I was when I finally had the time.

After I nailed the planning of time, I moved onto the planning of content. It was important for me to take a step back and see the bigger picture of what I needed to do and what I wanted to achieve when it came to blogging. It was no longer enough to just show up every day and do what needed to be done, I had to plan first so I could be in control, rather than always running to catch up. I hate running.

The first thing I did was figure out when I was most efficient now that I couldn’t do the early mornings any more. Then I figured out which parts of the day would be used for which tasks. Then I made the holiest of holies: the editorial calendar. Even if I didn’t know exactly what day I’d be blogging that pot pie recipe, knowing I had a post to write about pot pies (or creating achievable blogging goals) meant I wasn’t faffing around wondering what to do or what to write. When I finish one post, I look at my list and move onto the next. I move the calendar around when I write spontaneous posts, but having an overarching framework with which to reference has been the breakthrough for me.

You can listen to the webinar Darren and I did with Darlene of Digital Photography School where we discuss how we approach editorial calendars on each site, and how to plan one for yourself.

I use good old pen and paper plus CoSchedule for Veggie Mama, and I use a Google Doc and Google Calendar for content here on ProBlogger.

Bonus tip: Outsource

Sometimes it’s just necessary. Here’s 44 Things Chris Ducker Thinks Bloggers Should Delegate to Virtual Staff.

And there you have it! Five (well, six) ways you can streamline your workflow to get more done.

So what about you? Have you found some shortcuts that help you blog effectively? I’d love to hear them!

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie MamaChat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

About Stacey Roberts
Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama, follow on Pinterest for fun and useful tips, peek behind the curtain on Instagramand Snapchat, listen to her 90s pop culture podcast, or be entertained on Facebook.
Comments
  1. Very helpful post. Currently, I am trying to figure out automation techniques and tools for my blog and your tips on the topic are very useful for me. Thanks!

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/16/2015 at 8:22 am

      I think it’s a case of trial and error until you find out what works for you. Good luck!

    • Brian tracy and eat the frog-great book!

      We are exactly the same and try to do our content creation first thing, when the brain is at max and the caffeine is just kicking in!

      Don’t forget also-if you have 2 frogs to eat, eat the ugliest one first!

  2. Very cool Stacey, very nice way to explain the simple thing
    Thanks,

  3. This is a very helpful post. This well help me and lots of others to make blogging easier.

    I need to apply point number one about batching. Thanks for the wonderful post.

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/16/2015 at 8:22 am

      That was a hard lesson to learn (it seemed less intuitive than doing a whole post from start to finish!) but it works so well.

  4. This post just come in time for me.. With kids and other things to take care of, my blogging life has never been so easy ;) Thank you for this helpful post!

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/16/2015 at 12:42 pm

      Oh yes, kids are quite the interruption! Lucky they’re cute :)

  5. I’ve tried batching content writing, but I find it doesn’t really work for me at the moment with a one year old toddler tornado demanding my attention all day. I find it much easier to write at night when she’s asleep, but I only ever really have enough time to write one post at night. If she goes to daycare later on though I plan on changing that.

    Images used to take me sooo long to source or create, but over time I’ve gotten much better at it and picmonkey is really helpful for creating my own images from scratch. So glad I use it because I used to spend almost as much time, if not more sourcing images as I did writing the post (perfectionist much?).

    I really need to look into the social media automation more though because that could really save me some time. At the moment I only really schedule some facebook posts and upload photos from IG to facebook simultaneously.

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/16/2015 at 12:45 pm

      I hear ya! It’s tough to balance blogging with family, there’s just no way round that. I definitely found it hard before I structured my time better (and before the kids could play independently. That was so tough!). I know I can get a bit perfectionist about images but they are so important. I always got better at doing a whole bunch at once though, and picmonkey is super-helpful. I like Canva, too – I use it a lot!

      I was a bit funny about automation of social media for a while, but it’s saved my life. I am so much more efficient with my time now! I don’t know why I waited so long.

      good luck and let me know how you go!

  6. I’m a new convert to CoSchedule. But I do wish it could remember my preferred times for social media scheduling and automate it that bit further. Unless it does and I just haven’t looked that closely into it yet.

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/16/2015 at 12:45 pm

      I love the new thing they’ve just brought out where you can schedule multiple times into the future. I may have kissed the screen.

  7. This information is really great. I have been blogging for over a year and I still having issues with managing my time in order to get things done. Thank you so much for the tips.

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/16/2015 at 12:46 pm

      I think we learn many, many lessons in that first year! I hope you find something useful in the post going forward :)

  8. I recently read “The Lean Startup” and it actually explains why batching is wasteful…

    One explanation is that if for some reason you can’t use the extra products (posts in this case) you’ve completed ahead of time, you totally wasted your time and sometimes money as well.

    That’s why producing exactly what’s needed is more efficient, but I guess if it’s a series of posts on the same subject it makes sense.

    Thanks for the other tips tho, good post!

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/16/2015 at 12:47 pm

      Oh that’s an interesting idea! I can’t say I’ve ever not used a post I’ve written, and now I’m wondering if it’s because I’ve been following the editorial calendar so I was writing exactly what was needed. I can see if you’re creating content just for the sake of it, it’s probably wasteful but that hasn’t been my experience.

      Glad you liked the rest of the post! I hope some of it was useful ;-)

  9. These are great tips. I was much better at planning last year but have been so spontaneous this year which is doing my head in. Must get some time to plan and organise. Batching is a great idea.

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/16/2015 at 12:48 pm

      I find I used to ebb and flow… sometimes I was efficient, sometimes I flew by the seat of my pants. While my nature wants to be spontaneous, it actually makes me quite anxious and overwhelmed, so I had to put on organised pants!

  10. Thanks Stacey. This is useful, informative and a bit hair raising all at the same time. I’m a big believer in systems for efficiency but I feel a way off getting to the whole scheduling thing. I will get there though! Will bookmark this article and work through your suggestions one step at a time.

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/16/2015 at 12:50 pm

      I think when you’re producing 10 posts a week for two blogs, scheduling is necessary. If you’re feeling your way with your own blog, you can do what you like until something fits! I wouldn’t worry – but yes, do bookmark and when the time comes you can learn from five years of my mistakes ;-)

  11. Stacy,
    I love your excel schedule!!!

    I’m going to have to do the same, it’ll make things so much easier.

  12. I have been blogging over a year, i searched so many infornation about blog. But this article is really helpfull.
    Thanks Stacey,
    Great Job.

  13. Very useful article to us that they learn blogging, and good luck always for you !

  14. I am also a morning person and work best in the early hours of the day. But at the same time i also have two small children who don’t sleeo out haha. So i also had some problems with making time for my website. But making a weekly scheduele worked for me.

  15. Hi Stacey,

    Amen on batching!

    I write 1K to 2K words daily to cover my weekly posts. Usually I end up having my post all ready to go 2-3 days before i publish on Wednesday morning since my posts are in the 7,000 -8,000 word range. The secret is to be diligent about batching. I like writing mid-day when my energy seems the highest; this vibes nicely with your tip about working at peak times.

    I’d add that knowing why you’re blogging helps you blog more easily. Example; if you blog to free yourself and to free your audience you can’t help but to do the freeing but uncomfortable things it takes to run a thriving blogging community. For me this means writing in-depth content and networking aggressively to expand my reach steadily.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  16. It sure can get tough to find time to blog on top of all your other commitments! I’m working full-time and trying to have something of a social life, on top of running two websites. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to put these tips into practice – because one blog post a week, which is the pace I’m currently going at, just isn’t going to cut it long term. In fact, I’m already seeing a drop in traffic.

  17. Stacey, one of the best tips I’ve found regarding my blogging is to be extremely organized, especially when it comes to creating files and folders for them on my laptop.

    In fact, I wanted to talk to you about this topic privately, and so am going to email you with my proposal. ;)

  18. Hi Darren Rowse,
    Useful Post thanks!
    But What content schedule do you find the most effectively to use?

  19. This is great. Really helpful.

    I would like to learn more about automation. I’m still new to blogging so I think it will take some time to get there but it is good to start thinking about it ahead of time.

    Also, I wanted to mention for Google Apps I use scripts to schedule emails. These enable me to to send emails at a specific time and date. It is great and free.

  20. I would have never been here if someone hadn’t shared this Article on my timeline (not my niche). A good content for blogger like me, stacy, with lot to take care of my blogging life has never been easy. Thanks for the boosting tips!

  21. ” I usually try and “eat the frog first”, i.e. doing the thing that’s the hardest to do, so the rest is easier…”

    This is the biggest problem I’ve had recently. I’m definitely going to start scheduling the harder tasks first. Thank you so much for the information.

  22. [ Smiles ] I think as bloggers, we could never plan enough.

    Also, I manage a personal blog; so outsourcing for me is entirely out of the question.

  23. This information is really great. I have been blogging for over a year and I still having issues with managing my time in order to get things done. Thank you so much for the tips.

  24. Great list of tips Stacey! Thanks for sharing them. I couldn’t agree more with your comments about scheduling, and having a good old fashioned note pad to write things down and cross them off. I also use Coschedule and Buffer, which I love.

    I wrote a list of apps and services like Coshedule that help me with my blogging and productivity on my own blog here if you’re interested:

    http://shotkit.com/increase-your-productivity-in-2015/

    Thanks again,
    Mark

  25. What a great article.Thanks for giving this precious information.

  26. Stacey, batching similar kind of tasks together makes so much sense and arranging them in the order of toughness makes the more doable. Really If I tackled all the tough tasks in a batch during morning, when my mind is fresh and attentive, I will get the best results. So kind of you for sharing with us a sample of your schedule.

  27. And don’t forget the part where dedicated bloggers bring their laptops along with them everywhere they go and have speech recognition installed.

  28. Wow, when I started blogging 5 short months ago, I had NO IDEA how much was involved to be successful You have really opened my eyes, and I appreciate your tips. Must get my Excel skills up to speed. Thank you!

  29. I loved the tips on automating. Their are so many options in can be extremely overwhelming to disseminate what will help. Thanks for the tips!

  30. Outsourcing is always the smarter choice for busywork. If you know what you are doing, you will make the money back in no time. Chris Ducker’s post is great.

  31. I’ve tried batch content writing, and the reality is I can only manage two posts before my brain is fried and I need to turn to something else. Still, two posts is better than one!

  32. For blogging you need time, this post surely would save some hours a day to spend with my family. Keep on sharing !

  33. Very helpful post indeed. many bloggers get overwhelmed with success and then they neglect their health. They get too much obsessed with success.

  34. Very nice post! As a starter I think this post will help me a lot for making my blog more successful. Thanks…

  35. Great tips. As avid bloggers we are always looking for ways to save time. We especially like the one about batching.

  36. I think I’d be lost without batching. I’m a little bit moody (my fiancé might say a lot moody) and I really need to be in the right mood and right frame of mind to write. When that strikes I make the most of it and just write, write, write. I know I can do graphics later and all my other bits and pieces. It’s nice to see that it works effectively for others also. :-) Thanks for the great post – you’ve also reminded me I really need to get my butt into gear and stop wasting precious time :-)

    • Stacey Roberts says: 02/26/2015 at 11:39 am

      Oh my gosh, I’m the same! I try to just work when I have to, but if I’m not in the mood, it’s so much harder.

  37. Absolutely brilliant, Stacey! #HUGSSSS

    I am horrible at idea generation. Give me a topic and even if I don’t know the ‘ABC” of what you are talking about, I will research the heck out of it and deliver a good article.

    But ask me to come up with articles and my mind goes blissfully blank. After a year of procrastination, I decided to start working on a new site this week. But when I tried to come up with topics, I can SEE crickets in my head :P

    Thank you for such a bookmark-worthy article #HUGS

    Kitto

    PS: I LOVE your writing space

  38. So helpful, and so good to see I am not that off with the planning. I just started to plan but I am customizing my own and placing it on a binder. It has been working. Today I a had a little guilt since I posted something outside my planer. But I guess it is not that bad. Thank you so much for the tips.

  39. Hey Stacey,

    I can really relate to not having enough time. I don’t have kids, but I work a full time job and it does take me over an hour to get there and from work. So I have to squeeze in time to write, publish, and promote my post.

    One thing I do is use automated tools like Revive Old Posts which is a wordpress plugin I use to tweet my posts. Also I have Facebook linked to my twitter. Sometimes I would use Buffer. I have heard of IFTTT many times but have yet to try it.

    I usually write a little each day of the week. It usually takes me about 7 days to complete a blog post, Then of course you share it and you have to go back and reply to emails and your comments on previous blog posts. I have a schedule to do all of this on the weekend. And if I have time, I squeeze in some time to do during the weekdays.

    Yes it takes a lot of time! But it’s well worth it!

    Thanks for sharing what you do Stacey to stay on top of things! Have a good one!

  40. Detailed and Informative,
    Time management and Niche selection is an important part, also running 2 or three blogs and updating one of them daily is best strategy worked for me, providing multiple opportunities to grab good money and different CPC Rate as well.

  41. I do batching and scheduling. Working out which days I worked best on took me a while and then setting asside time on those days also took a while but I got there in the end.

    Now, to write my three blog posts…

  42. I never thought like that, I always repeat the stages of publishing a news multiple times a day, thanks for submitting this guide – now I can submit more quality content for my readers.

  43. This is definitely one to bookmark! I thought the batching idea was so efficient and some of the others I need to look into more carefully. Thanks for sharing this!

  44. HI Stacey,

    You’ve crafted a wonderful post for the bloggers by sharing your experience. Find the time, when we could do better, will work for sure in blogging. I used to write blog posts during the night with no distraction. Not only you, content creation is the most difficult task for every blogger and it should be done perfectly to please the readers and search engines as well.

    I’ve already tried batch processing, but it didn’t work for me. Sure! eating the frog first is the wise way to get the job done easily. I too wanna finish the hard tasks early so that I can manage other tasks without much effort. Automation is indeed needed, but it should be in a limited manner.

    Enjoyed reading your post and have learned something new today, have a wonderful day ahead.

    Nirmala.

    • Thanks Nirmala – isn’t it interesting how different we all are? What works for one doesn’t work for another. I love it. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Comments are closed for this post.