A few days ago I had a conversation with a friend who recently started a blog. She eventually wants to take her blog to a professional level, but was getting distracted by all of the bells and whistles that surround the platform.
She inquired as to why the workflow for my blogging was so effortless. Why it seemed like my blog posts just seem to go out, without hours of labor on my part.
I don’t spend a lot of time blogging, because I don’t need to.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the social networking options, WordPress widgets, let alone deciding on what topic to write about.
This is why I subscribe to a minimalist approach to blogging: do only what you need, when you need to do it. This is a philosophy that I stand by.
There are far too many ways to get distracted while blogging. It’s important to stay focused and not waste timing taking actions that aren’t productive. You should be out in the world living your life, not spending hours in front of a computer gaming the blogging industry.
Focus on what is important for your blog. Don’t worry about what is important for other people’s blogs.
I’ve noticed that there are a lot of people trying to make money blogging. I think this approach to blogging might help them find success. If you know an upstart blogger who is spending too much time blogging, perhaps send them this article?
This is my minimalist philosophy for blogging.
I hope these observations can help you with your blog.
- Make each tweet important. I only Tweet when I feel that it’s contributing to my reader’s lives. I don’t tweet about my stories multiple times a day, because I assume if my readers are interested enough in what I have to say they will find my Tweet or subscribe to my RSS feed. The most important aspect of Twitter, for me, is sharing stories with my readers that other bloggers in my niche are writing. I never tweet about what I ate for breakfast.
- Automate what you can. Many aspects of blogging can be done automatically. Why tweet your morning story, when you can have WordPress do it for you? I have as many plugins as I can enabled that share my blog stories with the world. This way I don’t have to manually share each story on every social networking site.
- Set aside time for writing. I make time to write my posts, usually this is around 5pm. I have the biggest ideas around that time, so this time works for me. Other people work better in the early morning, or later at night. Write at a time when your brain works best. During my writing time I turn off everything and just write. I use a program called WriteRoom, which turns my computer into a simple word pressor. I don’t turn off WriteRoom until I’m done writing for the day.
- Do your research before you write. If I need background information for my stories, I make sure to fetch it before my dedicated writing time. This way I don’t get sidetracked during my writing process.
- Check stats once a week. I know, stats are addictive. I try to check my blog stats only once a week, on Monday morning –okay, sometimes I’ll cave midweek and check in just in case, but I’m trying to be better. I take a quick inventory of which stories did well in the previous week, and which did not. You don’t need to stress over stats, they inevitably fluctuate, there’s nothing you can do about that. Spending the time you use on stats on writing, and I promise you the stats will get better.
- Write only posts that are valuable to your readers. I sometimes have bad ideas. Just because I wrote something, it doesn’t mean I need to actually post it. As a blogger, you are responsible for your reader’s time as well as your own. Ask yourself if the story you’re writing is valuable to your readers. If it’s not maybe there is a way to make it more useful. If there’s no hope, scrap it. There will be other ideas for blog posts.
- Don’t mess with the template. Once you get a good template set up, don’t change it! I’ve struggled with this in the past, because I love tweaking a design until it’s perfect. I spent a week at the launch of my blog making the template perfect and now I just leave it. When you make changes be sure to think them through and execute them decisively. Don’t change your entire template unless absolutely necessary, this will confuse your readers.
- Don’t write about your frustrations with monetizing your blog.Making money from your blog is hard. Instead of venting your frustrations, maybe consider spending that time writing up a business plan, visit Problogger for tips on making money blogging, or check out some of the tips at Leo Babauta’s A-List Blogging Bootcamp.
- Keep posts short. Long posts take time to read. Try to condense your information into the smallest space possible. A short post that conveys an equal amount of information as a long post will do many times better.
- Blog less. I find that three posts a week on Far Beyond The Stars is plenty. Sometimes I might have a big idea and just want to get it out there though, but most of the time three posts is more than enough. If you need to post twelve times a day to keep the traffic coming, that’s a sure sign that you’re not contributing value to your reader’s lives.
- Let your value do your marketing. I don’t spend time marketing my blog. I don’t spend hours commenting on other people’s blogs in the of chance their visitors will take an interest in me. I don’t add 10,000 people on Twitter and hope they add me back. I see people doing this, and I don’t understand why they would want to. They may get followers this way, but few of them will really care about the content. Instead, spend as much time creating insanely valuable content. This way your content will do your marketing for you. When your writing helps people, they will share it for you.
This is how I blog. I can get all of my blogging done in under an hour (or two, if it’s a particularly challenging post) a day. Because I get the blogging over quickly, I have more time to spend cooking dinner for my girlfriend, exploring the world, and generating ideas for my blog while sipping coffee and people watching.
If you enjoyed this post, please send it to a blogger that you know. Thank you!