I don’t know about you, but it’s around this time of year when I start thinking about all the things that didn’t quite work out over the last 12 months in my blogging efforts. Things I got wrong, things I didn’t try hard enough on, things I know I should do better. In short, it’s time to re-evaluate how I blog, so I can blog better.
And what I know for sure is: Next year, I want to blog smarter, not harder. I want to slow down and focus on the priorities and make sure they’re being done properly.
I’ve developed a few bad habits over the years, and from what I’ve heard, I’m not the only one. Let’s refine our workload and jettison these ways of thinking that don’t serve us well. Let’s swap them for a more intelligent strategy that will make our blogs stand out from the crowd and provide use to our readers.
Are you guilty of any of these?
1. Thinking an email list isn’t such a big deal
Well, I hate to break it to you, but it is. It truly is the only method of communicating with your readers that you are in control of. Your words, straight to your reader. No algorithms, no fast-pace feed, just your information they can access at their leisure.
I revamped my site earlier in the year, and didn’t bother putting my email subscribe boxes back in because they didn’t fit the new theme. I didn’t have time to redesign them, and I didn’t want to pay for something I knew I could do myself. My laziness has cost me hundreds of valuable email addresses, and the ability to share what I have with interested people.
I know some bloggers wonder what the point of an email list is, and wonder if its only people with something to sell who would concern themselves with having one – but it’s invaluable for any blogger who want to reach their audience. Even if you think you will never need email subscribers, offer your readers a way to sign up anyway. You won’t regret that.
2. Forgetting to share your posts on social media
I try to share my posts at the same time each day, both because those times get the most engagement, and also to provide some consistency for readers who get my updates. But often real life got in the way of manually updating my channels, and sometimes it meant I didn’t get anything up all day. I resisted using scheduling tools for a long time, for many reasons, but in the last few months I’ve experimented with a few. I cannot believe how much better my blogging experience is now that I’ve settled on a schedule that works for me, and the ability to schedule my post updates across all social media (except Instagram and Pinterest, I still prefer to do those in the moment) has become so much easier.
I’ve been using CoSchedule for the last month or two on my personal blog and I don’t know how I ever lived without it. An editorial calendar plugin that keeps your content organised and also allows you to schedule social media posts from right within your WordPress dashboard before they’re even published. Your post goes live, and your scheduled social media updates follow after, at a time you’ve pre-chosen. Genius.
3. Wasting time
Oh boy – this has been a big one for me. I work from home with very small children, and I have limited amount of child-free time each week to get a lot of things done. I couldn’t afford to waste a second – but I was wasting lots of them. I found myself either procrastinating or getting caught up in less-important tasks, which left me little time to get the big stuff done. I felt behind the 8 ball for a lot of 2014 until I sat myself down with a big task list and a determination to be in charge of my schedule, instead of letting it be in charge of me.
Some of the biggest things that has turned my productivity around:
- checking email at certain times only
- doing specific tasks only on specific days
- having an editorial calendar
- timing myself to see exactly how long tasks would take so I’d stop underestimating the time it would take to do something
- organising tasks in order of priority
4. Failing to have an editorial calendar
Who needs those? I mean, unless you run a themed blog that creates content in line with the holiday calendar, right? Wrong! Part of the problem was that I was wasting time because I didn’t know what to write about. I found that once I sat down with either a headline or a topic, I could write a post no problem. But if I was sitting down to a blank slate, I wrote less than half of the posts that I needed to.
It didn’t take long – just a few minutes of brainstorming, and a few more minutes shuffling that around to certain points on the calendar. I always know in advance what I’m expected to do, so I find that I waste less time and get more done. I challenge you to come up with 12 post ideas right now – and you will know at least one thing you will be writing per month next year. Or create a theme a month and write to that theme as the year goes by. Go on – you only need 10 minutes, a pen, and a piece of paper.
5. Ignoring networks
I get it – you’re shy. Or you think your blog isn’t “big” enough to play in the big leagues. Well, I’m not sure how you expect to get in the big leagues if you don’t chat with the people who are either already there, or trying to get there too. While you might think there is a hierarchy of people out there in blogland, the reality is there’s room for everyone. Get chatting with other bloggers, no matter who they are. Jump in on Twitter conversations, start discussions on your Facebook page, join a linkup or blog hop, lend a hand to a fellow blogger in a group or forum asking for advice. Share other bloggers’ posts, link to them on your site, invite other writers on your blog, and offer to guest post for other sites in your niche.
If you ask any “big” blogger what was a turning point for them, or how they managed to grow their traffic, more often than not, you’ll hear them say that another blogger bigger than them linked to their content. It’s a world of collaboration, and it will get you further than where you’re going on your own. Make a friend!
So I dare you to ditch these bad blogging habits before the year is out. Replace them with smarter ways of driving your blog forward and increasing the enjoyment you get from it.
Which ones are you striking off your list this year? What will you do instead?
Stacey was the Managing Editor of ProBlogger: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama.
This post was first published on Dec 23, 2014 and updated Dec 9, 2021
It is excellent post which you have written
Great tips – I found myself learning the value of having an editorial calendar this year myself! I use a combo of google cal and KanBanFlow but I tried Coschedule and think that’s a beautiful solution that I may treat myself to this year!
One thing I plan to work on this year is building my email list – I’m steadily learning more so fingers crossed I make some gains there.
I’d be lost without CoSchedule! It is genius. good luck with your email list!
The money is in the list. Having that list is one of the most important things you can have on your blog. I have heard so many bloggers regret not putting an opt-in form on their blog. Those that opt-in are the most important because they have already bought into what you have to offer to some degree.
It’s such a shame, but I’ve heard it a lot too.
Far and away, #5 is the most important step I have taken this year.
Far and away, far and away, far and away. Building a list is all well and good but until you have power brokers on your site, promoting you, you’ll attract tire kickers to your list, and tire kickers are luke warm folks who never really spread your brand’s word, or never hire you or never buy your product or service.
Get power brokers on your side. Last year I spoke at NYU and my eBooks were endorsed twice by a NT Times Best Selling Author. Networking works amazingly well, and you best believe that if power brokers endorse you, that your sales will increase, your trust factor will jump and that you’ll gain some serious clout online.
We tend to be viewed by the company we keep. If you keep influential company you’ll become an influencer yourself, and you’ll reap the rewards of being an online influencer.
I cut my networking teeth through blog commenting but I also used social media to spread my word. I also vibe with sharing my friend’s posts on social media. Social works for bloggers if you promote others because then, good old karma works in your favor, and you’ll find scores of people ready, willing and eager to promote you.
So give freely, through blog comment and through promoting other pros, and all good will come back to you, and you’ll have established a very inspired, effective habit which builds your blog like nobody’s business.
I also feel that NOT wasting time is something I’m getting better at daily.
Like now, I’m spending a few minutes each day posting really in depth comments on authority blogs, relevant blogs at that, to target my audience. No more running around to post in-depth comments on non-relevant blogs, or on blogs which lack that star power.
I may still comment on these blogs but I am pruning my networking blogging tree as we speak, to make room for the big dawgs of blogging. Yes, like Pro Blogger.
I’m also going heavy on my eBook review pages, revamping them with endorsements and more relevant information. I really want to make them count so more folks buy my eBooks and so more folks Blog from Paradise. So far, so good, and I think it’ll be onward and upward as I move into more effective action each day.
Loved this post Stacey and I so vibe with your delivery.
Tweeting soon…..have a fun day!
I think wasting time is my biggest challenge for the next year. I need to make better and more productive use of my time!
oh boy did I learn that the hard way!
One of my blogging goals for 2015 is to find an editorial calendar that I like and to use it! So I will definitely check out CoSchedule.
And I should probably do something about my non existent email list too!
oh definitely look at CoSchedule! I still like to map everything out on paper, but CoSchedule is insanely good for busy mums who want to schedule all from within the WP dashboard!
Making editorial calendar is one of the best way to increase traffic on business. When it comes to traffic, email marketing and social media marketing is crucial things. So additionally I would recommend to project management tools to reduce time waste.
Yes I can imagine they’d be very good for teams and things but I never seem to use them!
Darren, i once tried building a list but i had never success with it :-(
And i always try to post things on Social Media but the main problem with me is that i waste a lot of time when i sit online. i.e chatting with fb friends, watching funny movies etc ..:-(
haha sounds like we all do that :)
ME too, Anabelle, me too.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s amazing how many people still don’t see the value in an email list. I suppose it’s hard to see just how useful an email list can be until you’re actually getting results from it, but almost every blogger I’ve talked to wish they started their email list from day one, including myself. I’d be so much farther along if I had taken list building seriously from the beginning.
These days “the money is in the list” circles my head like a mantra, and I do whatever I can to get people onto it. The results have been phenomenal. I love having my business in my own hands, and like you said – not having to worry about algorithm changes and the like. It’s a comforting sense of security.
I also have a big issue with time wasting that I’m hoping to improve upon in 2015. I do a lot of work other than my blog that requires a lot of attention. Stock trading, e-Book writing, eBay (and soon Amazon) and a few other smaller jobs, and juggling time between them leads to a lot of wasted minutes. I know I’d be more productive if I just allocated set time intervals for each task, but I just can’t do it haha. I suppose if I take on too many new projects, I’m going to have no choice but to adapt!
Thanks Stacey, here’s wishing us all a successful 2015!
That’s exactly what I did = allocated set time intervals and boy did it make such a difference! I stopped wasting time on things that didn’t need my attention jus then. Wish I’d done it sooner. Good luck!
My biggest bad habit is forgetting to outsource the tasks I know I should let go of. It never fails. When I’m in the middle of a should-be outsourced, I remember what it’s really costing me…
ah yes, time is money!
I’ve tried with an e-mail list before but it didn’t really work out for me as I hadn’t had the time to manage it. I’m going to retry it in 2015 as other social media outlets like FB has already lost a lot of traction with the changes in algorithms.
I think it’s still useful sitting there building until you can figure out how to harness it to your advantage! I wish that’s what I had done.
Great post. 100% agree about the email list even if you are not selling anything. It is the very best way to communicate with your most engaged audience. Send out a quick email and speak to the people who love your blog the most.
Here is another tip – Make sure you plan each day in advance.
Write a quick to-do list at the end of the day an plan your next day in advance. Put down your most important tasks at the top of the list. Any tasks that are overwhelming then just break them up into smaller tasks. You will be surprised how much more productive you will be with just a little bit of planning.
Here’s to a productive and successful 2015!
You must have read my mind – that’s exactly what I had started doing! And my housework was getting done too, bonus ;-)
Creating an editorial calendar is definitely on my list of habits to start this year. Thank you for the reminder about the importance of this. I am striving to be much more intentional and strategic about my content creation.
Well good luck, and I hope it’s as successful for you as it has been for me :)
Nice article. Thanks for the recommendation Co-schedule. Im defiantely guilty of ‘wasting time’. The amount of time I can spend surfing/facebooking/twittering when i should be writing is ridiculous. Definitely something i want to improve in 2015.
I hope you manage it! I feel so much better now.
Brilliant – you have encompassed all our woes into a sleek blog post! #HUGSS
I have been postponing the launch of my new website, but I finally did some brainstorming about how to start. I am determined to take more purposeful action in 2015 – (and learn to say NO when I am clearly swamped!)
Thank you so much
oh boy, saying NO is very difficult for me too!
There’s alot to work on in the new year. There’s always going to be a way to make money online, while improving overall health. The new year will help keep everyone inspired to “do the transformation work.”
Good points in this post, Stacey. I knew the importance of mailing list but have been neglecting it, but it’s true. Looking forward to a better blogging year of 2015 by following your tips. Just one question about the editorial calendar, .. do you actually write down in detail what to write on the dates?
no, not really – it’s more of an at-a-glance overview, so I know what’s going where and what needs to be written. If there’s extra notes I need to add to remind myself, I do that – but on the whole it’s just for overview’s sake.
I really need to start an email list! I have been meaning to forever, however I have never got around to it…which brings me to point 3. I have been wasting time! Thanks for the useful read. Cheers, John.
haha do it!
Wasting time is a big problem with me.
It seems like we all have the same problem!
I strongly believe that a blogger has to be organized otherwise he/she would waste his/her time. Instead of spending tme to get as many as backlinks, a blogger should spend time on the posts.
Oh yes I’ve learned the lesson of organisation! I can’t say I’ve created backlinks at the expense of my posts, but I guess it does happen elsewhere. It doesn’t seem common among my peers though – they all agree that content (and useful content at that) is king.
Getting rid of the bad habit of eating past 7 pm and doing more cardio is always a good new years resolution. And, making more money online from affiliate programs too. :-)
well, priorities ;-)
A very useful and informative post for new bloggers and for people who dont bother about the the list which has been listed in this post.
i personally have wasted a lot of time not working on my blog and not doing social media.
thanks for showing the importance and the value that i am losing.
I hope it was motivating :)
It has been said that, “Bad Habits are never eliminated easily”. Still will try out to solve this problem! Let’s see what is waiting in the next year!
I’ve found this year I have just needed to reorganise my day. For some reason everyday at 2pm my site went down for close on an hour whilst it did its backup. That was Amy last hour of piece before school pickup. It took me a couple of months to realize I should use that time to check emails and not the first hour of the morning when I first sat at the computer. By just a small rescheduling of my activities as a provided me with more productive time.
isn’t it funny that we do things that don’t necessarily suit our purpose because that’s what we’ve always done? I’m glad you are working more in line with your circumstances now.
You made some valid points.
Of all, I think the last one is most crucial. Networking in the right way yields instant results and makes stronger links. It’s definitely something that I have come to learn well recently
Thanks for the tips.
Yep, networking has been the best thing for me!
hi, your post is very nice thanks for sharing.
I am running a tech blog since 2.5 years and still haven’t focused or worked on having an email list. Somehow I did not feel the need to. I get good traffic from social media and search engines.
I don’t see any potential in future too! Am I going right way?
I would say no, but if you don’t think you need one, then you do what is comfortable for you! It depends on what you want for your blog, I guess.
Nice post. I think we should try to leave our all bad habits with this passing year.
Stacey – every one of these resonated with me–not typical for a blog post! I’ll be bookmarking + sharing + revisiting to be sure I’m not persisting in these bad habit for 2015–thank you!
haha well that is bad and also good! Thanks for sharing :)
Wasting time and not having an email list. Sounds like you wrote this about me :)
well at least we’re not alone :)
I need to work on the email list. I started using mail chimp but I have 2 on my list. How do you guys get people to sign up on your list?
Read this – I’m sure there will be something in here that will help get you started! https://problogger.com/9-world-class-bloggers-share-their-1-email-list-building-tip/
I use mail chimp and its very easy. What is hard is making new newsletters every two days!
two days? why so often?
Thank you very much for writing this. It was just what I needed to hear and gave me some valuable ideas :D x
Thanks for posting this. These are good reminders.
Awesome post! I think I am going to invest in Coschedule this year.
Ugh, I totally need to do an email/subscriber thingy…see so tech savvy here!
I don’t think I forget to post on social media, more so don’t have enough hours in the day to get that done more often!
I am DEVOURING your posts today, Stacey – BRILLIANT again! #HUGS
OODLES of love
e mail never drive a lot of traffic.
The procrastinating part was so me… I agree with you 100%. You just need a proper plan to execute and you would easily be done with all the important tasks.
Really good points to start a new year with. And making money online is really an awesome idea while improving overall health. Good one just keep boosting up in the same way….