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Looking to 2013: A Commitment to Blogging Smarter … With a Little Help

Feeling a little run down? At this time of year, many of us are. It’s been a big 12 months, and I think most bloggers are looking forward to some down time over the coming weeks.

If you’re like me, you might be thinking of using this time not just to recharge the batteries, but to give a little thought to the year ahead, and how you want to handle it. Perhaps you’ll make some blogging resolutions for the new year, in addition to those resolutions you might be making in other areas of your life.

Blogging resolution: work smarter … with a little help

If there’s one resolution I could encourage any blogger to make for 2013, it’s to work smarter.

There’s always more to do on a blog—the work never ends!—and as many readers mentioned on our recent post about social media mistakes, time is a critical issue. Working longer hours can’t be the solution.

For me, one of the keys to working smarter has been delegation. I’ve got help with blogging, which has given me more time to focus on the things that really need my attention.

Looking back, I’m sorry I didn’t delegate more earlier in my blogging career.

You don’t have to be on a five- or six-figure income to make the most of someone else’s expertise, and give your blog a boost. Nor does it have to be a long-term arrangement.

Over the last few months, we’ve published a few guides to outsourcing different functions on your site. If you haven’t seen them already, have a look. They might just give you some food for thought over the holiday period.

Working with WordPress contractors

How to choose the right WordPress contractor for your blog, by John Bonello.

If you’re on WordPress, and your blog’s not performing at the level you’d like, it might be time to call in the pros. A good WordPress expert will be able to implement new designs, apply plugins and patches, take care of your backups, and more.

For those who aren’t technical, getting a WordPress contractor to do piecemeal work—or look after your blog on a continuing basis—could be a good way to go.

This post is also worth reading if you have a blog on another platform, as it’ll help you assess any blog platform developer you’re considering working with.

Working with other techies

How to work with technical contractors, by Neil Matthews.

Whatever your blog needs, it seems there’s a developer for every occasion! In this post, you’ll learn what’s needed to find a good developer to implement all kinds of changes on your blog, including things like:

  • adding forums, communities, gamification, social integration, and so on
  • customised backend features that give your blog a competitive advantage or point of difference
  • online store and shopping cart integration
  • specialized tracking or research
  • migration of blogs, mailing lists, etc.
  • security and privacy-related work to protect your blog’s and your customers’ details.

Most of us need help with these kinds of tasks—especially if we’re going to apply them to to our blogs with some degree of depth and reliability. A pro developer may well be the answer.

Working with designers

How to work with designers to design your blog, by Rob Cubbon.

Plenty of blogs use off-the-shelf themes, but those that stand out usually entail some kind of customization, or perhaps have their own unique design.

Of course, you don’t need to be undertaking a complete redesign of your blog to be able to use the expertise of a quality designer. They can also help you with:

  • campaign- or launch-related communications
  • designing the visuals for products, like the cover of an ebook, or an eye-catching branded intro for your video series
  • designing newsletters, ads and other communications like infographics that you’re hoping will go viral
  • illustrating your posts, and more.

…and the rest

Over the last year, we’ve published a few other posts in this area, which I’ve listed here:

Making it pay

Outsourcing aspects of your blogging—even as one-off projects—can be expensive. While the resources above should help you avoid being ripped off, many bloggers will be asking how they can justify the expense in the first place?

I think the answer to that question is to adopt the mindset that the work you outsource will need to pay for itself somehow.

That might mean you set a conversion goal for the new online store you’re having developed. Or it might mean that you spend the time you’re not having to dedicate to redesigning your site on creating and launching a new product, or boosting conversions through your email subscriber list. Whatever you outsource, plan to recoup the costs through the time that’s freed up. Make either the work itself, or the extra time you have, pay for the outsourcing fees.

Put a monetary goal on your work, and a timeframe by which you want to have recouped the cost. This is a great way to make sure you’re not just throwing money at your blog—instead, you’ll be investing it, and you’ll be able to track your return on that investment over time.

How does that sound for a new year’s blogging resolution? And what others do you have in mind? Let us know in the comments.

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. I am surprised you didn’t have something in there about hosting smarter too. I’ve been on a kick for 2012 to get my clients on high performance hosting. Before/during a lot of the great things you outline they need to make sure they have a great user experience – a lot of which involved speed.

  2. Joe says:

    Certainly agree with doing your research. It can be time consuming especially with regard to competitor backlink analysis but many of those sites might have crumbled with new algorithm updates. Do not email blind.

  3. Excellent new years resolution Darren,

    One thing I would add is identifying a new skill that you will learn so that you will NOT be 100% dependent on contractors.

    Everyone is facing budget restrictions so you may not have enough money to hire all the help you need.

    You’ll do best in 2013 if you can learn a critical skill that will help your blog.

    Make a commitment to master WordPress, or become effective with adobe photo shop, or some important skill that you know you’ll need to have for next year.

    This will empower you AND save you money and frustration.

  4. I have always relied on one important thing in blogging. Working smarter than harder. Loved the post! Would certainly take steps to follow the resolution

  5. Justin says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you Darren. I am thinking about taking a Holiday from my blog until after Christmas. I have been thinking about hiring a trusted WordPress pro that can help me with the technical stuff on my blog and fix anything that needs it.

    I have learned a lot about WP but sometimes it is just better to pay someone who already is a pro at it.

  6. hey,
    excellent post. This is a true that every blogger is looking to do some thing extra ordinary but i would suggest that all should do some thing big !
    Thank you

  7. Jade Craven says:

    I would love more posts like this and have them organized together on the one page :) This is incredibly useful.

  8. Jatin Sharma says:

    “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”

    If we want to blog smarter we have to do something that is extraordinary, something that we have’nt done yet than only we can get results that we want.

  9. Daniel says:

    Very good points, Darren.

    The work smarter not harder approach is something that requires some initial planning, and testing over time, then actually putting it into action ….

    If we start to feel we are stuck on a tread mill, then we may need to step back and take a good look at our current approach….

    That look from the outside, may give us the insights that we need to make important choices for our future success….

  10. RobG says:

    This method is one that works in everything we do and always has a great out come, planing our new designs and structures, will have an impact on our websites. Thanks for another great post

  11. Felix Lee says:

    I know learning to delegate can be hard because I used to want to do everything myself. But like you said, it’s better to work smarter. I agree that what you spend on your blog should be treated as an investment.

  12. Great tips! My goal for the new year is to focus on quality photography.

    I’ve always thrown up pictures on posts but they’re usually just from a snapshot with my phone. I’ve determined that the quality of a photograph can make or break a blog so that’s my biggest focus for the year.

  13. Kent says:

    I appreciate that you’ve outlined the important things we could have missed out. Outsourcing is not my specialty but I think your tips will make it worthwhile. Thanks Darren!

  14. Sunny Adaji says:

    Thank you Mr. Darren. You have given me an an idea to reflect upon. The urge to do everything by myself as a blogger is always there. But looking at the long-term benefit, I find one can actually work smarter by delegating rather than doing everything by oneself.

  15. Dedy says:

    Work smart means you make a plan and minimize mistakes and also risks that can be happened when you’re taking action for your plan. For the fist time you will need to work hard for your plan, but in the process you will understand that all difficulties that you’ve found while you execute your first plan will eventually make you more smart to find solutions and answers for your next plan.

  16. DJ says:

    Outsourcing is good idea for some things, but I highly recommend trying to learn some of the skills yourself as well. You don’t want to completely outsource every element of your blog. It will save you some money and give you a feeling of accomplishment. The main aspects of my blogs I outsource are design and advanced coding. I’ll try to design things myself first or do some custom changes, and anything I can’t figure out I look for help. The great thing about WordPress is there’s a vast amount of free help you can get through forums, blogs, and watching YouTube videos. Same thing with coding. Unfortunately doing designs and animations is an entirely different beast for me.

  17. Kumar Gauraw says:

    Darren.
    Thank you for these awesome year-end thoughts. I am thinking about next year and I am not in a mood to take any break. In fact I’ve decided to use this time to build my plan of action for next year and give some boost to my blog leveraging these holidays.

    I have been thinking about hiring a trusted WordPress pro that can help me with the technical stuff on my blog and fix anything that needs it. I’m still working on that and that is one of the projects I’ve planned for myself to finish ASAP.

    Regards,
    Kumar

  18. panbran says:

    I’m a new blogger. I write blog posts about personal development tips on my native language since January 2012. I’m not expert on it. But now, it comes to my mind that, what I write on should changes my habit first. And this is a big challenge for me in 2013.

    Darren, thanks for your posting. I frequently read yours and guests’ posts, but this time I dare to comment. :)

  19. Saif Afridi says:

    indeed informative article.love to stay here

  20. Donald says:

    It will be a new experience for me started out as a novice blogger. But I hope to achieve the level attained by many professional blogger like yourself, Darren, one day. I always believe that nothing is impossible as long as there is sense of determination guiding the path. I’m will rely very much on that.

  21. Taran says:

    Excellent post.I really like this post, you have shared such a good post.To become successful we have to do something different.I will try everything that I can.

  22. Lucy says:

    Thanks for sharing! You have put it well there. Research is the key to blog successfully. Setting my facts straight and gearing up for 2013 is all I am looking for. A thought-provoking post which has put me into thinking and rightly so with a little outside help, the blogging gets better.

  23. John says:

    well, This is true that you should give a commitment to blogging and If you are good enough then you should take the blogging in a smart way !
    I have learned that blogging can be really great if you are dedicated to it. Most of the bloggers leave it when they are on the middle of hard work !
    Never leave blogging !
    Thank you

  24. Joan says:

    Great post! I just hired someone last week to do the little things to make my site look better. I always wanted to do everything myself and figure it out b/c that is how I am. But the two hours to do some simple change can take an expert two minutes. Already I love the new look of my blog. We are still making changes to get it “perfect”. My next step is to get more and more traffic to it.