Here I am – sitting in my local cafe where I’d come to spend the morning working on my blog using my mobile broadband modem…. which today decides not to work.
I spent 15 minutes trying to connect…. 5 minutes complaining about it on Twitter…. another 10 minutes trying to get it working…. 3 minutes grumbling to the waitress….
And then I decided that I had better do something productive.
But what can you do to improve your blog when you don’t have internet access? Here’s a few ideas:
- Brainstorm Post Ideas – one of the things I enjoy doing in these moments is coming up with ideas for new posts. I usually do it with a little mind mapping on a notebook that I usually have with me.
- Design an Editorial Calendar – Once you have your list of possible ideas to write posts about – slot some of the best ones into a calendar for your next week (or month) of posting. Add to it some other tasks that you want to achieve in the coming days and weeks (promotional activities etc).
- Write Posts – while it can be handy to have access to the web while writing posts to help you with research writing posts while offline forces you to have more original thoughts and not rely upon things you’ve previously written or the ideas of others. I particularly find setting myself the challenge to start writing a ‘series’ of posts a good idea in times where I know I’ll be without internet for an extended period of time.
- Strategic Thinking and Review – spend some time doing a little strategic thinking about your blog. How has it been going? Who’s been reading it lately? What types of reactions are you getting from readers? How are your energy levels as a blogger? What opportunities are their in your niche at present? Don’t just ‘review’ and ‘reflect’ – as part of this construct a ‘to do list’ of things you need to achieve once you get back online.
- Write a Guest Post – guest posting on someone else’s blog in your niche is a great way to grow your profile and find new readers. So take some time out while you’re offline to write a post for someone else’s blog. Alternatively write a helpful tutorial or opinion piece for a forum in your niche so you can post it when you’re back online.
- Clear your Inbox – depending upon your email system you may be able to spend some time clearing up your inbox. I use Gmail and can work in offline mode get a lot done in that mode.
- Write a ‘Report’ for your Readers – why not take a little time to write some kind of a free report or bonus article for your readers. One great way to incentivize people to signup for your RSS feed or newsletter is to give them something for free for doing so. Choose a topic that you get a lot of questions about or that is a good beginner topic in your niche and write an extended and helpful article on the topic. Put it into a pdf so when you can get back online you can add it to your blog.
- Record a Podcast or Video – one of the main reasons that people resist creating video or podcasts for their blogs is a lack of time. Recording or editing these kinds of media can take time and effort. So now that you’ve got some time on your hands get going, video and audio can add new depth to your blog and add a personal touch.
- Come Up with Poll Topics – coming up with new polls are another thing that I find myself putting off on my blog. I’m not sure why but it’s a task that often slips my mind or that I struggle with coming up with questions for. Put aside 15 minutes and come up with as many questions for future polls as you can. Save them somewhere so you’ll have a ready supply over the coming weeks and months.
- Design a Competition – Competitions are a great way of creating buzz on and around your blog. They can deepen reader engagement and help find new readers for your blog – but they take time to come up with. Take some time to plan one for your blog. It need not be a big one with a massive prize, even a simple competition with a cheap prize and a low requirement for entry (like leaving a comment on a post) can work well.
- Write up some Interview Questions – interviewing someone in your niche is something that takes a fair bit of work – spend some time identifying someone that you’d like to interview on your blog and construct a list of questions that you’d ask them.
- Take a Break – perhaps the universe is trying to tell you something by conspiring to bring your internet down. Why not go with the offline thing and go for a walk, play with your kids, take your better half out for a coffee, have a sleep, read a book….. your blog will still be there when your internet is working again.
Of course the above activities can all be done whether you have internet access or not – however many of them are things we put off for ‘one day’ and never get around to.
While having your internet go down can be frustrating – the key is to snap yourself out of the frustration and to do something productive and worthwhile with the time. Don’t just sit there trying to connect for hour after hour – get something done.
What activities do you do when you don’t have access to the internet?
PS: My internet is still down but I’ve managed to be productive. I’ve written 3 posts (including this one), planned 4 more, edited a post from one of my writers on DPS, answered 30 or so emails and am now going for a walk.
PS2: Spookily, just as I was about to shutdown my computer…. the internet came back!