Bloggers feel me here: blogging is much more time consuming than it looks! Rarely does a post just pour out in 15 minutes and you're good to go. If you're feeling truly inspired it can happen, but when you're blogging with the goal of consistency there is much more planning and behind the scenes work than that. To run a great blog you have to plan for good content, write the content, find or take great images, edit the images and make sure to promote your posts on social media. For every single post. Remember that whole "work smarter, not harder" quote? I like to think of it as "work smarter, not longer". Unless you have a gigantic popular blog that needs a team, I truly believe that most of us can run a great blog in one hour a day! I've been blogging for over five years now, not consistently or mega successfully by any means, but I have a handle on what goes into maintaining a blog. If you're finding yourself short on time or just wanting more time for other things, rather than scatterbrainedly (totally a word) moving around getting everything done, come up with a schedule where you work on your blog for just one hour a day. This can be at 5am before work or at 10pm if you're a night owl with a spark of energy before going to bed.
Truthfully, I haven't tried the exact schedule below with any true consistency, but I do know that batching my work has greatly increased my productivity and focus and has reduced the amount of times I spend on certain tasks. Below is a basic outline that you can follow (or adjust to your needs) to blog in just one hour a day. And you get weekends off, if you want them!
Side Note: The Blogging in One Hour a Day schedule below only takes into consideration physically sitting at your computer working on your blog. If you're a food blogger and need to create, test and photograph recipes, for example, that's something that you will most likely need to find time to do. This hour a day plan is truly just for running the blog itself.
One of the most important things you can do for your blog is to PLAN! At the beginning of each month I try to create a quick editorial calendar. My goal on this blog is to post three times a week. Your goal may be less, or you may not have a structure (I do recommend it!). Have a space to write down your ideas as you get them whether it's the notes feature in your phone or a little notebook that you keep handy at all times. Then when it comes time to plan you'll have plenty of ideas to start with!
- Plan your posts
- Plan your projects
- Plan your tasks for the week
- Research for future posts (Limit yourself and be careful not to get too distracted!)
My favorite planning tool for Wordpress is CoSchedule. CoSchedule is a paid service ($10/month per blog), but you can not only use it as an editorial calendar, but also schedule corresponding social media posts and tasks for yourself! Am I willing to give up 2-3 drinks at Starbucks a month to save myself time and have all of that in one place? Yes! Truthfully CoSchedule not only saves me a few hours each week, it also saves me from not getting certain things done (planning my editorial calendar and sharing my posts) because I don't have the time or patience to be jumping all over the web to do it on my own.
Tuesday: Create Content
Content is king. How many times have you heard people say that? Without content you wouldn't have a blog. Without good content, your blog will probably suck. Let just be honest. Since you spent time planning and know exactly what kind of content you need to produce. Sit down for an hour and crank it out. Don't stop to check email, social media, etc. Set a timer for an hour and DO THE WORK. Once you get into a groove of just focusing on content creation it'll come so much more easily than it would if you were trying to multitask or if you were allowing your brain to jump from task to task. Depending on the type of post I can usually draft one or two blog posts in an hour.
Wednesday: Social Media
I cannot say enough about scheduling out your social media posts. Let's just all agree that social media can be a total time suck. You think you'll just hop on Twitter for a couple minutes to share your blog post, but suddenly 15 minutes have gone by and you're just realizing it. Here are my personal guidelines for promoting on social media:
- Day of new post: post to facebook, post to twitter (three times!), pin to pinterest
- Daily: share posts from others, share your own posts
- Check your social media accounts and reply/interact regularly
To schedule social media I swear by CoSchedule and Buffr. I use CoSchedule to not only help me put together, and visually see, my editorial calendar, but you can also schedule social media posts! Since it's right there on my post editing page in Wordpress, I'll just scroll down sometime during posting and schedule my content to post on Facebook and Twitter several times for the next month. Set it and forget it! When you do this for every post you make, you eventually will have a pretty full social media posting schedule without having to think to yourself "what post(s) should I share on twitter today?" and then getting stuck in the time suck of social media.
I use Buffr to schedule posts that aren't related to my posts such as retweets from others, regular tweets from me, etc. With Buffr you can set a schedule such as posting 5x a day and the times it'll post. Then you just load up your Buffr account with posts and they'll go out at the given times.
Note: You can even link your CoSchedule and Buffr accounts so that those posts you're sharing from CoSchedule get posted within your Buffr schedule time slots. These two are amazing for helping me streamline my social media scheduling, seriously.
Thursday: Create Content
See Tuesday. Create more content today!
Friday: Blog Management
From emails to design tweaks to plugin updates, today is your day to catch up on all those little things that aren't covered in the previous days of the week. Truthfully, you'll probably check your email more often than once a week, but try and save the rest of those other little tasks for today so you don't get distracted on days specified for Planning, Social Media and Content Creation. Have you been wanting to revamp your blogs sidebar? Do it on Blog Management Day. Need to add some new adspace? Do it on Blog Management Day. Have to email your sponsors with info on participating on an upcoming giveaway? Blog Management Day! As you think of things throughout the week that you want to get done that aren't content, social media or planning related, write them down for Blog Management Day.
Blogging is time consuming, but it doesn't have to be life consuming and frustrating! Schedule your blogging time and stick to it, you'll be amazed at how much more productive you will be. I recommend being consistent with it for about a month before you'll see results.
If you try my Blogging in One Hour a Day Schedule I'd love to hear your experience and if it's working out for you!