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Beach Cottage Blog Tips…10 Ways to Find the Time to Blog

Thu 24th, Mar, 2011

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G’day BC’ers!

So, here we are, you have a blog, you’ve found your blogging voice but how on earth are you gonna fit this in with doing the laundry, running the kiddos around, working part-time, painting things white, buying ballet flats?

And if you are like me you will find it difficult to get that balance right…the house, the family, life and a blog…it can be tempting to spend way way too much time on your blog…checking traffic, checking comments, replying to emails, replying to comments, loading photos, writing the next post, tweaking the design and the list goes on…

But* and I learnt the hard way and still get this wrong all of the time, you need to find a time that 1. suits you and 2. doesn’t interrupt other things in your life…when I found that blogging was getting in the way of important stuff in my life, I stepped right back and didn’t post for a while…no-one in blogland noticed particularly, but we all did…

This is something that for me is definitely a work-in-progress and I struggle with this to be quite honest but I’ve been working on different ways to get it happening and experimenting with different ideas to make blogging fit…below are my ten ways to find the time to blog

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Ten Ways to Find the Time to Blog

1. keep focused when writing a blog post – I am terrible at flicking in between things…oh I’ll just check my Facebook, ooh I wonder if so-and-so has replied to my emails, I wonder if my fave blog has posted yet…. but recently with other stuff going on in my life that I am working on more I have had to cut blogging time down…and the best way I have found to be productive is to sit down, quit wasting time and get on with it…turn off my email, phone on silent, internet browser well and truly not open, door shut, head down, cranking...this is the single most important thing for me in finding blog time...using the time I do have without filling it up surfing blogland & oohing and ahhing at the latest fantabulous-I-wish-I-had-one-ruffle-covered-linen-chair

2. The Scary Target Word.  Just about everywhere you go on those Professional Blogging Sites, target setting be the thing!   But who’s writing those blogs I ask myself?….mostly bloggers who are blogging for income, as a business & spending most of their working day doing it…bloggers who need targets to hit targets.…I have read a lot of places that say this is the rule for successful blogging…but key for me is not to set yourself a big rigid target.  …if you have 3 children, a busy real life to lead, some days you ain’t gonna be blogging baby…and if you feel tied to a pie-in-the-sky target you’ve set yourself this is the first step to failure…

…blogging for girls in my view is about fitting it in to suit your lifestyle and though it’s well known the more you blog the more your traffic goes up, that’s kinda obvious, in this niche there are plenty of gals blogging just a couple of times a week with a huge following…working their blog into their real lives, blogging in their own voice about their passion and having a ball while doing it.

Expecting yourself to post every day when you are starting out, I believe, is a quick route to Blog Burn Out  … in the early days when you are thinking about how to take pictures, what to post, how to write, a two to three high quality posts per week, is do-able ’til you get into your Blogging Groove…


3. Scheduled Events

Look at any of the big blogs and most of them will have some kinda scheduled thing going on..set up blog events…this is a new one for me and I am finding it has given me so much more focus in my blogging…and this is turn has given me more time….and in turn I am enjoying it more…I resisted the whole scheduled linky events thing because some blogs seem to be just about linking to other places and the whole feel of the place is lot…but actually I am loving the focus an event has given my blog and I have had a lot of feedback on it too…

I know now that Wednesdays I am gonna be blogging about the Good Life and all through the week if I see something that catches my eye – a scene from the beach, a cafe au lait cup or a nice bunch of flowers I think ‘oh that’d make a nice stop and smell the roses thing’…having a theme keeps you focused increasing the chances of you being able to deliver…
Think subject and themes… it gives you a way to keep your own interest rather than randomly blogging, though of course I lurve random blogging too…a subject will help keep your blog together….for example you love flowers…so Friday is flower day on your blog and every week you blog about different flowers…whether you have one reader or 10,001 they will enjoy the consistency, they will love to come back the next Friday and see what flower you’ve got to show them this week.

Don’t over-schedule though…nothing worse than panicking that oh no your Flower Friday has come around, it’s 8pm on Friday night, and not only do you not have a bloom to your name, it’s dark outside and you won’t be getting a decent photo anyway.

A feature on the same day each week keeps up your momentum and will offer your readers something to look forward to and something to come back to…

4. Get an Ideas Book & Store Up Draft Posts…I have an ideas place…mine is online but it doesn’t matter where, just find a place to write down/store ideas…you’ll be standing there doing the laundry and think wowza a blog post about my new stripy socks would rock the world…get it down on paper…some of the best inspiration will come when you least expect it…& it’s much easier to blog it in your own voice when it’s fresh.

Store Up Draft Posts…get some drafts going…this is something I don’t do enough of…most of my blogging, indeed most of my life is spontaneous…and I blog that way too…but if you have readers expecting you to post, whether you have one reader, hundreds or thousands and you don’t post your regular days, even if that is only once a week…the chances are that you’ll lose a few along the way…and if we’re talking hundreds here you don’t want that to happen.  So have a few drafts of ideas up your sleeve…even just a headline is a great way to buy yourself some time…you store ‘em up when you have a clear window of time & when you need ‘em they help you get that post hitting blogland right on time


5. Do the tweeking later. Sometimes, the things that take a long time about blogging are not the writing of the post….it’s the taking of images, the editing, the loading up of the images, the links etc….don’t think you have to write a full-on perfect post every time you sit down to blog….you can always add them later….get the bulk of the idea and post done and store it up as a draft…

…or for me I very often do it the other way around…I foof around with something in the house or I am painting something and I take the photos then and there when I am feeling all enthusiastic, I load ‘em right on up into my blog in draft and come back later to actually write about it…

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6. Location, Location, Location…..Ok well it’s located on the internet, duh, I can access it anywhere…yep but where’s the main place you go to blog?  where are you productive?…I like to be on my own, in the study, with a drink, doors open, fan on…where’s yours?

Do you blog while with the family sitting on the sofa…is that a good idea or is it just too tempting for the blog to take over your life..are you constantly doing ‘blogging’ …are you getting blog saturated? …if so move your blogging location and watch your productivity increase…and putty polka dots help

7. Rituals..….get yourself a ritual when you blog…..so here’s my Blog Ritual…I take the kiddos to school, have a coffee, go for a run, come home put the house back together and then do some blogging…the house is quiet, no-one needs me, and I am free to sit at the computer in peace…or on a busy day when I am not at home, I do it the other way ’round…my ritual switches to later on in the evening…the beverage of choice accompanying me changes too ;-)….I don’t blog Sundays or after school/early evening…that’s the time my real-life is in full swing


8. Keep it Simple…it is very tempting to think I am gonna post this absolutely fantastic makeover of that old rusty chair I have had in the garage for the last two years…I will make it over, I will paint it the most amazing shade of vintage white and re-upholster it in white linen with piped edges…and I will get all this done by tomorrow when my next post is

…oh and I will vintage process all the photos so they look all tinted and dreamy and gorgeous and I will add a little swirl to the corner of each and perhaps I’ll brand them too with my blog name

….yeah…I have been there…try not to get carried away by this…keep your blogs as simple as possible and in a format that you can handle…one of the biggest time wasters for me is that I come across a look I love in photo processing or blog design and I think ooh yeah I want that…and proceed to waste time on it…

9. No Worries.   Lose the blog guilt….if you are not a professional blogger and are fitting this blog, as many women are, into a real life, right from the word go you have to not feel guilty about not blogging…you have to find a Blog Groove that works for you & your life before anything else……and never start a post with ‘sorry I haven’t been here for a long time, blah blah, blah’  …the number of times I have seen that…it says nothing really…start positive about what you do have to say…keep the reader on the page reading about your Blog Voice…so you haven’t stopped in for a week cos the dog has been sick…get over it and blog

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10.  And the biggie as ever….Blog What you are Passionate about in your own Blog Voice – this is the biggest one for me…I have had a lot of people ask me how on earth I find the time : simple :  I wanna do this :  I really wanna blog about vintage crochet and adirondack chairs, it’s part of me and I want to get it done…if you feel the same way about your hobby, you’ll find the time..

That’s it from me

Now here’s an interview with Julia from Hooked on Houses

1. When did you start your blog?
January of 2008.
2. Do you blog full time?
Yep, I quit my day job and became a full-time blogger in January 2010. It’s my dream job. Love it!

3. What did you do in the early days to get your blog out there?


After I had been blogging for a few weeks, I sent an e-mail to all of my family and friends, telling them to come check it out. Then I had business cards made with my blog address on them. I regularly read and comment on other “house blogs” that I like and have made lots of friends in the blogging community that way. I feature other bloggers whenever possible and try to spread the link-love around. I’ve been to a couple of blogging conferences, which was helpful for making new connections. And I have paid to advertise my site on other blogs here and there.

4. What are your best ideas for getting/increasing traffic?


T
he more often I post, the more traffic I get, so I try to publish something at least 5-6 days a week. It’s hard work, but it pays to post a lot! I also stay very focused and on topic. I learned over the years that if I talk about anything besides houses, I hear crickets. Finally, I make my post titles very specific and concrete so that search engines are more likely to pick them up. (It’s also good to label your photos as specifically as possible because search engines will find them more easily, too.)

5. Three tips for great blog design?
I’m no expert on blog design (I hired someone to do mine!), but I can tell you 3 of my pet peeves: 1) dark backgrounds that make the words hard to read, 2) music that turns on automatically when I land on the page, and 3) photos that are either so huge they take forever to load and don’t fit entirely on my screen or are so small that they make me squint to see the details.

6. Do you plan your posts?
I’m definitely a planner. That’s how I maintain my sanity. I have 30-40 drafts I’m working on at any given time, and I usually try to plan out each week in advance so I know which ones I need to have ready to go.

7. How do you interact with readers and get them involved?
I try to answer all of my reader e-mail, but I get so much of it now that I sometimes wonder how much longer I can keep it up! Half of my day is now easily spent on responding to readers. I also enjoy chatting with them throughout the day on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hooked-on-Houses/55680190818) and Twitter (@hookedonhouses).

 

On the blog itself, I like to ask my readers questions that will spark discussions. The conversations in the comments are more interesting than the posts sometimes! I think of blogging as a conversation, and I work hard to keep up my side of it.

thanks Julia, I love your tips!  I need to do your number six lol :-)…head on over to Julia’s place for some serious House Candy

And that’s it from me and my blogging voice from my old cottage

…I have so much time today cos I planned this blog post hahaha

see you again, Kindle Giveaway ending soon, I’ll be back later with a winner!


you can find other parts to Beach Cottage Sweet Blogging Tips for Girls here


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31 Responses to “Beach Cottage Blog Tips…10 Ways to Find the Time to Blog”

  1. Lisa says:

    Agree 101% with all these points, and enjoyed Julia’s points too. I’ve been there done that and learned the hard way, and am now enjoying blogging even more. It helps to have someone whose had more blogging experience confirm you’re on the right track. I’ve been guilty of apologizing for not posting etc, and realized that was just silly. I think in a year or two I will look back and shake my head at some of my posts. (Either that or years down the track I’ll have grandchildren doing the same thing lol). But, isn’t it all a fun learning curve?

    Cheers,
    Lisa x

  2. beachcomber says:

    thanks so much for the great tips from 2 experts!

  3. Sarah my girl, i have to say this is one of the most excellent posts you have written (for me personally) because I am needing the proverbial kick up the backside to get blogging again. I have lost my bloggy mojo but you have got my little brain cells clicking over again and I am refocusing (which I might add takes some doing at the moment considering I have been virus infested by Autumn lurgies for a few weeks now). Most excellent! Am going to save this bloggy post and refer back, very helpful indeed ~ lots of smiley faces here :0))))
    Particularly liked the line “doing the laundry, running the kiddos around, working part-time, painting things white, buying ballet flats” made me laugh out loud (lol) and then have to blow my shnoz!
    Alicia

  4. deborah says:

    I’ve gotta say it, you are the queen of blogging.. everything you said in your post today is on the nail, I was reading and nodding my head, so true and such great advice, thanks x

  5. Jem says:

    Sarah,

    Once again some great, practical advice. I do have one or two drafts but I plan on upping it to a week’s worth if I get the chance – worth having a few in hand! An ideas book was another fantastic suggestion – I have so many ideas buzzing at any one time but then I’ll get a great one, not write it down and thus forget it completely – need to stop doing that!!

    Thanks again for great tips!

    Jem xXx

  6. Wonderful advice from 2 of my favorite bloggers…xo
    Robin
    All Things Heart and Home

  7. HRH Sarah says:

    Really excellent advice. I started a blog, and have left it abandoned, but I might be able to start up again if I can find my blog voice. I have been inspired by your blog, but I have to admit I am totally intimidated by the quality of the photos and the page design. A little perfectionism going on, I believe ;)

  8. Alima says:

    Great post Sarah! Love these tips!

  9. Ginger says:

    Haven’t commented for a while round here, but thought this might be as good of a time as any. I beat myself up because I just can’t seem to get the routine down. I’m still tryin. Thanks for the tips, very encouraging.

  10. Nice of you to feature me in your fun series about blogging! I love hearing how other bloggers approach things. I really need to heed your advice on focusing when I’m writing a post. I’m all over the place usually, with about 100 tabs open on my computer, and it definitely slows me down!

    Also good point about how it’s different if you’re blogging as a hobby or as a job. It’s my job now, and that changes things, for sure. There’s no way I’d be posting 5-6 days a week if I was only working on it nights and weekends. Everyone has to find the pace and posting schedule that works for them. In some ways I think consistency is more important than anything. Readers like to know what to expect, even if it’s only one new post a week! :-)

  11. Sarah,

    Thanks for your tips on finding time to blog. It was kind of like a validation for me that it’s ok to not be prolific with the blog posts. I’m just starting, and have a family to take care of, so right now I don’t have a set blogging schedule – I just try to blog when inspiration strikes. For me, it’s more important that I take care of them. I liked your suggestion on getting a lot of draft posts on reserve. I’m doing that now, and it’s been helpful for me. Thanks for taking the time to share your blogging tips!

  12. Liz says:

    great tips. my meager blog is awfully time consuming. I have been making an effort to not blog as much. I found that i was losing memories and time with my kids. I need to refocus and reexamine what I am blogging for.

  13. Great post, Sarah. I’m a relative newbie and your tips were so helpful. I’ve been trying to get my etsy shops open again but have been really enjoying blogging and that’s been taking up all my time … besides remodeling my new house and shopping for vintage treasures! I’m a spontaneous blogger too but have been realizing lately I need to get more organized and try and plan a little more. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your expertise. I really appreciate it. Love your blog and I love participating in Good Life Wednesday.
    ~Lynn

  14. I really love these tips. Blogging is definitely a wonderful experience but it can be tough to strike that balance. I appreciate your insight.

    Love the interview with Julia too. I’ve been reading her blog for a long time but I still learned some things from your interview. Great job!

  15. Kathy :) says:

    Wonderful post…..I loved your interview with Julia, I’ve followed her from the beginnng ….she has a wonderful blog and she is just the nicest person !!!! Love her !!!

    All the best,
    Kathy :)

  16. Wonderful tips Sarah and Julia! Thank you to both of you! Your my heros!

  17. Julie Phillips says:

    I just happend to stumble upon your blog and I have to say you truly inspire me. I have three kids, three year old twins and a four year old. I’m obsessed with painting things in my house white… lol and I have so many interests that I would love to share with others, however I’m not quite sure where to begin. You made me laugh which is wonderful because I need that as surly as I need air and you made me think that I could blog and still keep things in perspective without going overboard. Thank you I admire you’re willingness to tell it like you feel it. Jule’s.

  18. Karena says:

    Thank you so much to Sarah and Julia!!

    I too need to work on preapring blog drafts in advance…that will relieve a lot of stress!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  19. Great tips. Love Hooked on Houses (and your blog, too!) been working on getting more posts ” in the can” so to speak; I do have about 20 drafts going, but most of them only have a sentence or two as a reminder. I’d LOVE to get to the point where I have about 2 weeks in advance written out…so I can take a bit of a break when I need it!

    I hear Julia about the emails…I have a pretty small blog still; but I’m SWAMPED with emails; I can’t imagine how she does it, with so many readers! :-)

  20. Jan says:

    Interesting read! I’ve just started blogging and your tips are very helpful! Thanks!

  21. acommonwoman says:

    I just came across your blog and LOVE it! I am a new blogger who began blogging after being dared by my son. Thank you for the tips.

  22. Jen says:

    Thank you for the advice! Very helpful to a new blogger :) like me!

  23. Christie says:

    Wow, your website is just beautiful Sarah! And the advice is great. Keep on blogging… I just love it!

  24. relojes tag heuer carrera precios says:

    Really good post!

  25. Mandi says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Love this! I’m new to blogger myself, and I have a very hard time getting any followers!! I hate to say it, but I only have 5 at the moment. I would love to get more followers and get my blog out there- I simply love blogging! So glad you wrote this, it really helped. I’m going to try the “weekly scheduele” thing with the days planned out so it’s more focused, and I’m going to try my hardest to get it out there! Thank you so much! (Love your blog by the way!! <3)

  26. Jules says:

    Gday Sarah
    Thank you for all the awesome sharing, I’m text book newbie. Blogging took over after years of playschool and wiggles…You’ve helped me re-focus, I’ve shut down my blog, as advised, prioritising and planning ready to launch again soon. Best step I ever took. Love your Blog such an inspiration.