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How to be a Ruthless Blogger (and Become More Productive and Focussed)

Sometimes to grow your blog you need to be ruthless – otherwise you’ll become distracted, unproductive, lazy, unfocused and or lose your passion for blogging. Here’s 7 areas that I’ve found myself becoming more and more ruthless in in my blogging:

Ruthless-Boundaries

Image by LLimllib

1. Declare war on comment spam

Letting comment spam get ahold of your blog’s comments area can really hurt your blog. It has the potential to impact your brand and even how your blog ranks in Search Engines.

2. Set yourself deadlines

At the core of every good blog is regularly posted fresh new content. Sometimes it gets hard to keep yourself motivated so setting yourself posting frequency deadlines can help keep your blog ticking over. I don’t set myself deadlines for particular posts do have a posting frequency and some general times of the day for new posts that I aim for every day.

3. Develop an effective email system

As your blog grows you’ll get a more and more cluttered inbox. As a result it’s really important to think about how you’ll deal with it ahead of time. Develop a system of filtering unimportant emails, highlighting important ones and get a system in place to keep your inbox down. I’ve outlined some of my own email system here.

4. Develop default email responses

Related to managing your email is developing a system to answer the most frequently asked questions and requests that you get. I have 7-8 draft emails stored in Gmail that I am constantly opening up to use as responses to readers. Also helpful to cut down the number of FAQs that you get asked is to develop a FAQ page and link to it from your contact page. Even if people don’t use it before contacting you it’s a useful link to point people to.

5. Develop standards for guest posts

If you choose to go the route of featuring guest posts on your blog (or hiring bloggers to write for you regularly) it’s important that you set some guidelines in place to ensure that the quality of content stays high. This is something that you need to first work out in your own mind and then to communicate to your guest posters. The more guidelines you can give them not only about quality but also how you want posts formatted the less time you’ll need to spend editing posts. I have developed a page for my Guest Posters which has been very helpful.

6. Eliminate distractions from (and protect) your ‘Golden Hours’

I find that there are certain times in my day when I am more productive than others (for me it’s mornings). These times need to be kept as ‘sacred’ times that you reserve for those activities in your life that are core to the running of your blog. I reserve these times for writing the majority of my posts. In these times I switch off Instant Messaging, Twitter, Phone, Email and often get offline and out of the house altogether so that I am able to be completely focussed on the task of writing.

7. Take time off

Being a ruthless blogger is not all about driving yourself harder or making yourself more productive – sometimes it has more to do with when to take a break from blogging. Blogger Burnout is a problem that hits many bloggers when then immerse themselves in blogging. As a result it’s important to take time off. I like to attempt to do this on a number of levels including each day (I take time off for lunch, exercise and in the evenings for family), each week (I have a much much lighter weekend and attempt to have a complete day off on Sundays) and periodically (taking a week or more off blogging every now and again is where I find myself most refreshed).

Each of the above are about developing ‘boundaries’.

Boundaries about what you’ll do (and won’t do), when you’ll do things (and when you won’t) and where you’ll allow your blog to go (and not go). The purpose of the boundaries isn’t to make you more inaccessible or insulated but to make you more productive, focussed and to serve those your blog is for more effectively.

As I write this post I realize that there are plenty of other areas that this ‘ruthlessness’ is important in. Quality of posts, responding to comments/reader questions, spelling/grammar and even the topic of your blog (and when/if you’ll go off topic…. etc

What other areas do you think bloggers need to tighten up, establish boundaries in and become more ruthless in? What rules and practices do you work with in your own blogging?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. mr.eims says:

    Watch your video on the making of this post.. its realy nice.. :)

  2. Sarah C. says:

    Excellent tips! Off to read about your email system. Thanks!

  3. Jan Richards says:

    Great post.

    Simplifying, creating rules, setting clear boundaries, tightening focus, growing flow, increasing results.

    Love it.

  4. Abeer says:

    This is very useful information as meeting deadlines is always important. Here we are our own boss thats why we are lenient to our selves but we much realize it. Thanks

  5. supaswag says:

    THIS IS THE BLOG INSTRUCTOR!!!!

    GET YOUR LAZY BLOGGER ASS UP NOW!!!!

    1! – 2! – 3! – 4! – 1! – 2! .. 3!!! – 4!!!

    WRITE POST!!!

    WRITE POST!!!

    WRITE POST!!!

    WRITE POST!!!

    WRITE POST!!!

    ..and now take some time off.

  6. Supaswag: I like the last bit… :O)

  7. Scott B says:

    Excellent post – very useful for all levels of bloggers!
    Scott

  8. Scott B says:

    Excellent post – very useful for all levels of bloggers!
    Scott

  9. Darren, I know you probably get hundreds of comments a day. I hope this one reaches you personally. You mentioned the comment spam as the first thing, which probably means you see too much of it… Have you ever considered adding some code to your site to completely eliminate bot spam? It won’t even be able to come through to Akismet. It’s really incredible. It’s just some code in a few key places to make fake fields that bots see. There’s not a single risk of legit comments going out the window with this one! And best of all, it’s not another plugin to bog down your server. If those fake fields are filled in, the spam is immediately rejected. If you’re interested, visit Fighting Spam Without Captcha on InspirationBit.

  10. Pentad says:

    Number 6 is a must. Another things is not to promise everyone favors, as time is easily eaten up by it all.

  11. Vanessa says:

    Great topic. I always find something here that is inspiring and useful no matter how far back in the archives I go.

    I use my personal email program to write. I don’t share this address with many and avoid too many interruptions. I can work online or off and save it to draft or copy and paste to my blog. I use Yahoo or Google e-mail for everything else and take time during the week to go through the mail to keep it up to date.

    Quiet time is important to me to just get away from everything and getting back to going to bed at a decent hour to get the sleep I need to wake up refreshed really helps.

  12. Penstalker says:

    Thanks for the post Darren. I’m rather new at blogging and your posts are very helpful. There are a lot of topics on my mind and I really want to write, write, and write. It will take some time before my blog hits it big time. I’ll be looking forward to your posts.

  13. Darren,

    I hadn’t though of the default email responses so I appreciate that tip. I’d also be curious how you work the converse of ‘being productive’ which is having more posts written than you should really use? I have pre-planned posts in my head or outlined for everything from tutorials to the creative process to real-life experience. i could spend all day writing but then I worry that I would bury items and they’d never be seen. How do you plan ahead to post something at ‘the right’ time and not let the idea go stale while waiting?

  14. Mr Rob says:

    Taking time off is not an option, having a life is.

  15. Carol says:

    The focus of my blog is genealogy, and so I try to adhere to that topic all the time. There may be a public service blurb now and then, but for the most part I stay on topic. Rather than trying to always be a resource for genealogy-related information though, I include some personal stories that tie in with genealogy. It brings in more comments and keeps my readers coming back for more. Also, any ads on iPentimento are geared towards social networking, or somehow genealogy related. I am not getting rich (yet) writing my blog, but I am having fun!

  16. It helps to know there are others who are still trying to find topics that will produce feedback!

  17. Lipton says:

    My wife and kid are going on vacation out of the country next week… Its my mission to go “hardcore” ruthless on my blogging duties with all my extra free time ;)

  18. Christina says:

    I am interested in how this can help blogs whose intent is to help market or define a business.