How to Have a Successful Blog without it Taking Over Your Life

Thursday, March 27, 2014



How to Have a Successful Blog without it Taking Over Your Life

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Anyonita Nibbles shares 9 tips for having a successful blog without it taking over your life Image Map
Success is the motivation behind many a blog today. Bloggers talk about it pretty much all the time and people who are thinking about blogging base their aspirations around it. 

Being a success doesn't necessarily equate to profitability and monetization. Not for everyone. So it's important for us to establish what this post will and won't do upfront.

This isn't the equivalent of a pyramid get-rich quick scheme. I'm not going to initiate you into an esoteric cult and whisper blogging secrets to you. I'm not going to say, "do this and your traffic will increase by xxx" and I'm not going to rope you into purchasing an "ebook" that's really a Word document full of my opinions.
I am going to show you how I don't let my blog take over my life. I will give you practical advice on how you could do the same or find your own ways to do the same. I will be open and honest and I will try my very best to explain things as clearly as possible, and lastly, I'll let you decide whether you think my blog is successful or not. 


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How to Have a Successful Blog without it Taking Over Your Life
When I surpassed my first year blogging, I began to think of my blog as being a success. I have been writing on various blogs since I was 11 years old, but I have this really annoying issue with follow-through. I was never writing about anything I was passionate enough to see through, until I started writing about food. (Figures. Lol.) 

Then, when I started receiving regular work from brands and companies, I thought I had reached another level of success. Finally, my recent blog success has manifest itself in the form of traffic. I told myself at the very beginning, "You'll have cracked it when you're getting thousands of page views a day." Thankfully, I've been in the thousands of pageviews a day bracket for over a year now and it feels great! But those are my requisites for a successful blog. Yours are probably completely different. 

Truthfully, it doesn't really matter how each of us defines success. What matters is getting there and being able to honestly regard our blogs as being successful. So here are nine ways to have a successful blog without it taking over your life.
  1. Set boundariesAfter you've been blogging for a while and you start to notice that your personal preliminary markers of success are being met, you may find yourself getting sucked in. The momentum of a very nearly successful blog has adrenaline of its own that draws you in. Set boundaries and make clear rules about when you will and will not blog. I approach my blogging professionally. It is my job and as such, I engage in no blogging activity whatsoever on the weekends. If you see a post from me on social media or even a blog post on a Saturday or Sunday, it is because I have scheduled it through the week. At the very most, you'll find me on Pinterest on the weekend but that's because Anyonita Nibbles's Pinterest account (follow me!) doubles as my private account.
  2. Realize your expectationsWhat do you expect a successful blog to look like? Does it have x amount of followers? Do its blog posts consistently dominate search results? Do its readers leave comments and interact? Pinpoint what you expect a successful blog to look like and write these down and tape them to the front of your blogging notebook or create a Pinterest board or an Evernote centered around them.
  3. Accept your limitations and make them benefits
    Everybody can't spend 8 hours a day on their blog. You may only have a spare 1 or 2 hours each day for your blog. Don't see that as a negative thing. turn that into something beneficial. Acknowledge your limitation, accept it and put it to work for you. If you're a food blogger who can only spare an hour each day, then focus on recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes. If you're a craft blogger with only two hours to spare, start a series on knitting or crocheting projects people can make in one evening while watching TV or something. Identify your limitation and be defined by it in a positive way.
  4. Forget what other people are doingRemember when we were kids and someone picked on us and said something that wasn't true? More often than not, our response was, "So what?" That's the approach bloggers need to take regarding what other bloggers are doing: So what, if this blogger says that they post 4 Facebook posts a day and 6 tweets all 102 characters long and 3.2 Instagram photos and that they leave 6 comments on new blogs everyday. If you've not got time for that or it just doesn't appeal to you, so what? Bloggers limit themselves and hinder themselves from achieving success by being caught up on emulating exactly what another blogger does. You don't have their followers. You don't have the same amount of time they do or their wit or their subject matter or a hundred other possible things that can separate you two. Forget what they do, have the confidence to find your own way and stick by it. Whatever the "standard" is only became the standard because someone came up with a new way of doing something. They didn't do what everyone else did and expect a different result.
  5. Find your own rhythmFind a way that works and make it a routine. Blogging requires consistency. You cannot do one thing one time and expect it to sustain your blog. The SEO html markup you apply to one post isn't going to magically transform the others. You have to put the work in and get in the habit of putting the work in.
  6. Organize, organize, organizeWhen you're pressed for time, the last thing you want to do is spend ages trying to decide what to write about each day. Get organized and plan your blog posts up front. I've created a year long blog organizing kit you can download for free that will help you with this. It's that important. Each month, I plan out exactly what I'm going to post for the upcoming month. I tend to plan about two months ahead so I already know what I'm going to talk about on the second Thursday in May. I know when I'm going to publish seasonal and holiday posts and I know when I might have breaks in my content schedule to accept sponsored posts et cetera. I also keep track of my social media numbers: likes and followers and circles.
  7. Take advantage of scheduling programsEven with spending most of my time on the computer, I do not manually post each blog post or social media update. There's just not enough time in the day for that. Being organized and knowing what you plan on posting and when means you can take advantage of lulls in activity or days when you have more time and write two or three blog posts and schedule them to publish. You can do the same with social media.
    I swear by Hootsuite, it's perfect for scheduling tweets and Facebook page posts and even group posts, they also have a G+ function, too. Email platforms like MadMimi* are great for staying engaged with your RSS subscribers. I don't send out a newsletter yet, but I do send out weekly recaps of my posts via RSS. I set this up last year via MadMimi and I've not changed a thing. I don't have to do anything at all and every Monday morning, MadMimi pulls the last week's posts and inserts them into a beautiful email template that I created. The email then gets sent to all of my RSS subscribers and MadMimi sends me an email letting me know if the emails were sent successfully. Easy, peasy and flawless. Don't kill yourself trying to stay on top of posting to every social media platform: schedule it and forget about it until you have time to act on it.
  8. Prioritize promotion over content creation
    It seems like a weird thing to say because without content, no one would have a blog at all, but it's true. I heard a quote once that says "The best bloggers spend 25% of their time creating content and 75% of their time promoting it." It might seem daft, but it does make sense. If you think about, it takes a bit of time for a blog post to really take off and start raking in the pageviews. People need to read it and share it before you start to see any increase in momentum.
    Half the time, my posts get the lowest views on the day they were published. After a day or two, I really start to see the post take off and by the end of the week, I've reached my current post view plateau. Current blog posts age well, especially holiday posts. For instance, for the end of September and all of the month of October, while I will most certainly be posting new Halloween recipes and posts, I'll spend more time pushing the Halloween posts from previous years and using those to drive traffic to my new posts. This is why blogging takes a few years to catch on. This is why you can't expect to have 40K followers in your first year and 500K pageviews a day. This is why getting back links and getting people to pin and stumble and +1 your content is the best thing you could ever do. Promote promote promote and then create. If you get this idea down, you could post less if you wanted to and still sustain the traffic to your blog.
  9. Recognize your achievementsDon't allow yourself to get so focused on where you want to be that you fail to see where you came from. Remember how I was saying my first idea of success was getting through the first year? And then it was getting sponsored posts? And then it was getting thousands of page views a day? That's me recognizing my achievements. Using a blog organizing kit and keeping track of my social media increases is me recognizing my achievements.
    Have you seen all those bloggers who have cash giveaways when they reach 1,000 Pinterest followers or something similar? That's them recognizing their achievements. Blogging can seem daunting and it can be hard to juggle everything, but the point of this post is that you don't have to. If you use your blogging resources, set goals and find a rhythm that works for you, you won't have to feel stretched to the limit. 
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What's your attitude toward blogging?
Do you feel swamped and as if you are drowning in all the things you "have to do" and can't keep up?
What other tips do you have to have a successful blog without feeling suffocated by blogging?
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49 comments:

  1. More great advice. .many thanks as always. I hope the sun shines on ya and the birds sing to ya!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn! :) You're more than welcome!

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  2. Thank you for this post!! Such a great one about balancing blogging. I definitely need this.

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    1. You're welcome, Katelyn! :) Writing it was a good way to remind myself, too!

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  3. This is great - really fresh and thoughtful advice. I agree it can definitely take over your life if you let it so it's important to be mindful about maintaining a balance!

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie! :) Being mindful; yes! That's a good way of putting it!

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  4. Being organized is key! Also, I use Sundays as a day to take all my photos. I edit at night, writing in the morning. I have a system that works and isn't overwhelming!

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    1. That's a neat idea about taking all your photos in one day! :) Wish I could do that! I always seem to have backlog of photos needing watermarks. Finding a system that works for you is definitely 1/2 the battle :)

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  5. It helped me to figure out what were really "work" (ie. money making) activities and what was just busy work that wasn't really advancing my blog.

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    1. Oh! Good insight, Kelly! :) No point spending ages of time & then not profiting from it in some way! Thanks for sharing that!

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  6. It's taken me a while to figure out exactly what works for me. It's a continual learning experience but gets better and better!

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    1. Yes, April, it's certainly a continual learning experience! I need to remind myself of that every now & then, too!

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  7. Awesome Post Anyonita! OMG I so needed to read something like this. I do feel like blogging is sucking me in! And all these tips could be my biggest help! Thanks so much!
    XOXO

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  8. Another excellent blog post! I love reading your blogging tips Anyonita :)

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  9. Hi, found this through the Pinworthy Projects Link Party. I've had my blog for awhile but have only become serious about it in the last year or so. This post has been really helpful. Thank you.

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  10. Honestly, I kinda fly by the seat of my pants! I take a break when I need to and family definitely comes first. I need to get organized. That's for sure! Thanks for this ~ esp #6. I'm printing now! Julia

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  11. Great advice... I have less time than I used to for my blog and it is hard to accept that.. your post helped.

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  12. I have finished reading a book about blogging, and your tips are helpful too. Thanks!

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  13. This is brilliant. I haven't been blogging too long so reading this right now is great reading and perfect timing for me. I shall read your other posts on blogging now. Many thanks.

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  14. I think recognizing what you can do and finding your rhythm is such great advice! I have a word document I keep each month and I add goals and ideas to them and cross them off at the end of the month and reevaluate!
    I am curious as to how you've gotten sponsored posts while living abroad..I mean the UK is obviously not Chiiiina...but that interests me because most of my readers are from English speaking countries and notably the US...

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  15. Great advice. Success is so subjective- at the beginning, success was people reading what I wrote and relating to it in some small way. Then it was about stats and all of that nonsense and now it is about ME reading what I've written and being proud of it. Since I started over three years ago, my blog has taken me on a wonderful journey and in the last year it has been the reason why I walked away from my career and set up on my own. My blog has led to 100% of the work I do now and I love it! I don't win awards but I am successful in my own way. Sorry for rambling :D
    x x

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  16. MY NUMBER ONE TIP: Do not compare yourself to any other blogger - you are unique in your own way, you have a different niche, you are you - Leave it at that! You cannot define your self worth based on other bloggers "successes"!

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  17. Such great advice - and timely for me. I've been pouring lots of "me" into my blog and have been putting some thought into achieving balance. This is just one little pocket of my life and it can't suck in too much of me… Thanks so much! Pinning this one. :)

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  18. Some great tips there Anyonita! his is exactly what I needed to read right now! Thanks for sharing!

    Rahul

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  19. this is great to read, especially as I am very new to blogging! thank you! xx

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  20. What great tips - you've given me food for thought (pardon the pun!)

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  21. I can't tell you how happy I am to have come across this post. I do spend too much time blogging and I'm still in my first year. I love your advice and I'm pinning this so I can return to it again and again! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

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  22. Good tips. I have a hard time keeping my blog from eating up all my spare time. I really need to focus on taking weekends off. You surprised me with the tip about spending more time promoting than creating. Still not sure what to think about that one since I've seen it both ways.

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  23. Excellent post. It's taken me a few years to get it right but I think I'm in a really good place with my blog now. I wish I'd read your advice years ago though!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

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  24. Great advice, as a new blogger it is really easy to find yourself living on the computer. I need to work on my balance for sure.

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  25. Well said and thanks for the advice. Still a newbie here and trying to find my balance.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  26. Great advice for a newby like myself! Thanks for the tips!

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  27. I love tip #8! I needed to hear that. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, so helpful! Enjoy your day!

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  28. Such great advice here! I've been blogging for a very long time and the one thing I can really stress to people is to NOT compare yourself to others. The Internet is a huge place and we all have different voices. Sometimes we find it right away, sometimes it take a few posts. When you see super successful blogs like Pinch of Yum that make $15k an average month now, its hard to remember it took them almost 4 years to get to that point. While using them as reference is great, using them to compare is not. There are so many wonderful bloggers opportunities out there that we are not all going to have the same experiences! Chrystal @ YUM eating

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  29. These are great tips! Thanks so much for sharing these. I've been blogging for 8 years this summer and each year I keep getting better... yet there's still more work to do! I don't think I'd ever define myself as "successful" because there's more to do. :) And that's part of what I like about blogging - it keeps on being exciting and interesting because there's always more to learn and do and other people to connect with and learn from. :)

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  30. Thank you so much for saying what I needed to hear! I haven't even started my blog yet and I am stressed out about everything that has to be done. I was starting to think I shouldn't even start. But you have encouraged me not to feel like I have to accomplish everything at one time. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it!

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  31. Thank you for all the great information! I have just started my blog and have Google AdSense‎ attached to it. It has been benefiting myself as well as my 2 boys. With my husband being disabled and me doing online college there is very little left for putting away funds for our boy's college funds, so I have Adsence deposited into my boy's savings accounts. Then for me, it's a nice outlet for my road to health with IBS and share recipes that aid in digestive healing. Anyway...Thanks again!

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  32. I'm pinning your post so I can refer back to it. :) I'm a blogging newbie and am still trying to find a balance. Thanks for the fabulous advice.

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  33. Some great advice here and thanks for sharing this. Ps - welcome to the NorthWest Bloggers Facebook Group :) #sharefriday

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  34. This is such a great post! Thank you so much for sharing these tips! I think you're right - setting limitations and boundaries are so important! I'm blogging full time now and more than ever I find it's creeping into every single part of my day. It's important to find that balance!

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  35. Good sound advice, Anyonita! I have let myself get obsessed by stats now and then. Thank you for sharing your insights and experience!

    Val @ artsybuildinglady.blogspot.ca

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  36. This is such a great post! Wonderful advice. I am so glad you shared at Link it or Lump it, I know many of my blogging friends will love this one... I am featuring it tomorrow morning. Come visit us and link up more of your amazingly helpful posts.

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  37. Sage advice, my friend. Thank you for sharing at the Clever Chicks. I shall try to internalize some of these pearls of wisdom. ♥

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  38. I am a beginner ad have found your points very helpful. Thank you!

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  39. Oh, Anyonita, this is great advice. I should read this post multiple times. It's so easy to get caught up in all the things I *could* be doing to help our blog grow. I need to get better about setting boundaries and recognizing my limitations with two little guys at home. Like you, though, I plan a few months in advance and am a HUGE fan of HootSuite. I've been using it to promote our scheduled posts on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. What a great tool!

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  40. Thanks for this thoughtful, smart and all around awesome post!

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  41. What a great post! I especially like the promotion part. Some bloggers think they can just post and everyone will magically find them. It takes a lot of time spreading the word about each one of your posts to be successful.

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  42. Great tips to use - love this, thank you!

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