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:
- How to outsource your blog, or part of it: a general guide to outsourcing by Georgina
- Fiverr outsourcing tips for bloggers: a realistic guide to shoestring outsourcing by Rhys Wynne
- How to hire writers for your blog: my recent post on my own experience outsourcing writing tasks.
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.