Beach Cottage Blog Tips…10 Ways to Find the Time to Blog
Thu 24th, Mar, 2011
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
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…
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
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..
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?
The 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!