Launching a blog isn’t as simple as typing up a few hundred words of brilliance, hitting publish, and suddenly you have thousands of people hanging on your every word. Successfully blogging takes discipline and tenacity — and that means not falling into the trap of wasting time on supposedly “important” tasks.
1. Checking Stats
Admit it: You check your blog’s stats every day, sometimes several times per day. You obsess over the numbers — where are people coming from? Why aren’t they coming? Why did so many people look at THAT post? And to an extent, your focus on your blog’s analytics is good. It can help you learn more about your audience and identify ways to attract a bigger one.
The thing is, checking your blog stats obsessively is not doing your blog any good or helping your productivity. It can even have a detrimental effect on your blog. Instead of posting fresh, authentic content, you might be tempted to just keeping trying the same things that worked before. Or, if the numbers aren’t great, (which they often aren’t right off the bat) you might get discouraged and stop altogether. So instead of logging in for the hourly log update, check your blog stats every few weeks, or once a month, which will give you a more accurate picture of your blog’s performance over time.
2. Social Media
Social media is an effective tool for blog promotion. It can eat up half of your day. This doesn’t mean you need to avoid social media, though.
When you are working on your blog, stay focused. Stay active on only two to three social media sites that your readers use, and maintain a schedule for using them. Separate your personal and blogging accounts to avoid distractions, or if that’s not possible, turn off chat and make yourself “invisible” to your friends.
3. Following the Crowd
Reading other blogs and social media feeds shows you what other people are talking about and gives you new content and design ideas. However, focusing too much on what others are doing can backfire. Not only can you end up devoting too much time to following others, you also run the risk of adopting too much of their style. Do you really want your blog to be a copycat of someone else’s?
Instead, identify a few influencers whose style and content you enjoy, and check out their pages every few days. Interact only when you have something valuable to add to the conversation, not just to promote your blog in the comments or on social media.
4. Not Planning Blog Work
Planning — with a little bit of flexibility — can help keep you on track and avoid feeling perpetually behind. You know what they say: Failing to plan is planning to fail. Most blogging experts advice bloggers to have at least a rough idea of what they plan to post on their blog over the next 30 days; some bloggers even work up to six months in advance. The idea, of course, is to have an idea of what you want to publish and when so you can have it ready to go when you need it — and you avoid scrambling for content at the last minute.
However, it’s also important to have a plan each day for what you want to accomplish on your blog. Making a list of the tasks that need to be done, and allocating enough time for each, helps you stay on track and avoid wasting time. Be specific with your tasks; for example, instead of just listing “marketing” on your to-do list, identify the specific tasks related to marketing, such as “Identify three guest posting opportunities.” Use the tools available on your blogging platform to help you stay productive and on tasks as well; often, the tasks you’re spending time on can be automated or at least streamlined.
5. Focusing on Aesthetics
No one wants an ugly, cluttered, or hard-to-read blog. But if you are constantly tinkering with the look of your blog, going so far as to change the layout or theme every few weeks, you’re wasting your time. Constantly changing the look of your site can actually drive readers away. Spend the time getting your blog looking the way you want it before launching, and then only tinker when absolutely necessary. Save the wholesale renovations for when you have loyal followers, and then you can share with them how you’ve made the site better.
Time management is an important part of blogging, and it becomes much easier when you focus on important tasks, not time wasters. Even those all of these tasks are important to a degree, understand how much time you should devote to each, and stay on track toward your blogging goals.