How to Have a Successful Blog without it Taking Over Your LifeWritten by: Anyonita Green on
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
*an affiliate linkWhat'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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