How to Priortize Your Time Blogging

Everyone these days leads a busy life! That’s never an excuse to not blog or to give up blogging. There are some prolific bloggers who have posted to their sites from hospital beds! If they can blog from the hospital, you should be able to blog whether you are dating, have a spouse, have kids, work a day job, etc.

So why is it that so many people stop blogging because they “don’t have the time”? Obviously, if you have no real passion for the topic or for writing and you feel it’s a chore, no kind of organization skills will help you. And if you started to blog just to earn money, you’ll quickly lose motivation.

So outside of passion and motivation, you are left with time management. You try to blog, but can’t seem to get enough done in the time that you have. Maybe you only end up writing one post a week or a month because it takes you two or three hours to write it.

Or maybe you wasted a lot of time one week trying to fix up the design of your site and didn’t get a chance to write anything. Prioritizing your time and maximizing the free time you do have are two essential skills you need before you can really make any money blogging.

Why? Because if you don’t prioritize and effectively use your time, you will end up neglecting your blog, which means you’ll lose money.

Firstly, you have to prioritize. If you are just starting your blog, you need to not worry about making your design look fancy and instead focus on getting up some good content. Here is the priority list I created for myself two years ago:

1. Writing Content – Content is king and I really do believe it. You must write useful material on a consistent basis, simple as that. It should also try to unique in that the same information cannot easily be found in 100 other locations. But just because it is king, does not mean you don’t have a queen or other important “positions”. That’s what 2 to 10 are for!

2. Responding to Comments/Emails – If you aren’t getting any comments on your blog, that’s OK, but when you eventually do, make sure you respond to comments and emails. Building a solid base of RSS readers and even backlinks is easily done by responding to your readers. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s totally worth your time. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth referrals, especially if you are selling someone on your blog.

3. Reading Blogs/Learning – If you’re staring out blogging, this should remain as a top priority. Once you become a seasoned blogger, you can move it down to 8 or 9. When I first started out, I religiously read Problogger, Daily Blog Tips, and other blogs in my tech niche.

I also read a lot of stuff about SEO and kept up with blogs like SEOmoz, SEOBook, Search Engine Land, etc. I read blogs on people like Matt Cutts from Google and Avinash Kaushik, who is a Google Analytics/Web Analytics god. All of this information was pivotal in learning how to setup my site, creating goals, optimizing, monetizing, etc.

4. Researching New Post Ideas – This is something you’ll always have to do as a blogger, unless you hire a bunch of writers. Coming up with new post ideas can be difficult for many people and the more time you spend finding good ideas, the faster you will be able to write posts later.

Also, the first few times you sit down to research ideas, it will take more time because you will have to find sources, etc. Once you have a list of blogs, websites, and forums from where you can get ideas, then it’s much less time consuming. In a future post, I will talk in detail about how to find new post ideas.

5. Networking – Super duper important! Some people may want to place this higher in the priority list and that would be fine. It is very important to network with other bloggers in your niche and in other fields, such as SEO, Internet Marketing, Programmers, etc. The more people you know, the easier it will be for your blogging career, I promise.

Unfortunately, networking is not something that comes naturally to most people, certainly not me. I am an introvert and really don’t mind being by myself most of the time. However, I really had to force myself to contact people and become friends with them. Luckily, it’s a lot easier being friends over the Internet than in person.

6. Marketing (Backlinks) – This can include tasks like writing guest posts, adding your site to directories, linking between multiple blogs you own, etc. It also includes other activities like posting comments on other blogs, setting up press releases, contacting journalists/PR agencies, and contacting the websites/people you’ve written about on your blog.

The last item requires a little more detail. On Online Tech Tips, for example, I write a lot of reviews of free software and Web 2.0 sites that I find interesting. Once these articles are posted, I will sometimes contact the owners of the software or the PR people for the website and ask them if they could link back to my post from a reviews, awards, or press page that they may have. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, but a few good links can help out.

7. Blog Design/Layout/Platform – Once you take care of 1 to 6, you can start worrying about the aesthetic qualities of your blog. Unless your blog is very ugly or you have a completely broken theme, you normally don’t have to worry about this too much.

It’s best to use WordPress and either download a free theme like the Thesis Theme or purchase a premium WordPress theme. Once your blog is doing well, only then would I worry about adding fancy features like flash slideshows, DOM tabs, Twitter/RSS feeds, etc. And only do a little bit!

The more minimalist your site, the more people will want to stay on it. If you want to make everything look fancy, make sure it does not detract from your content.

8. White Hat SEO – SEO is pretty low on the priority list simply because you should not spend a whole lot of time worrying about it. Optimize only what you can control. You can make sure you use permalinks on your site, deep link to older posts, redirect from non-www to www or vice versa, use a robots.txt file, install a plugin to create and submit sitemaps, use rel=nofollow and rel=canonical properly, make sure your content shows up higher in your source code, etc.

9. Social Networking – Lots of people live their lives trying to get on Digg, etc, but the only social networking I do is adding a few share icons below the post. I used to try and submit my own articles and do all that crap, but it’s a waste of time.

If your article is good, people will share it by themselves. Like I said, I would add some mechanism to make it easy for people to share an article, just as icons or links. Now these days, it’s best to have Email, Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and Delicious.

10. Monetizing Blog – You might be wondering why this is totally last? Well, if you worry about money from the onset, it’ll be really hard to maintain your blog unless you have supreme discipline or you have already started a successful blog in the past.

Once my blogs started making money (I only monetized them after 8 months of blogging), then I began paying more attention to placing ads, getting sponsors, joining affiliate programs, etc. If you’re not making any damn money yet, don’t slap up more ads…actually take them all down and focus on 1 through 9 first.

You may agree or disagree with the above set of priorities, but it has worked well for me. Obviously, you can change the order around depending on your unique situation, but in my opinion, it should only be minor tweaks.

For example, maybe you are a web designer and really know how to spruce up websites. In that case, maybe you can dump that up from 7 to 3 or 4. And you can move monetizing blog up a few once the blog has enough traffic to generate some income.How to Priortize Your Time Blogging

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