Guaranteed that when you started your blog you thought it would be a simple task of writing a blog post and posting it each week, didn't you?
If you are one of the lucky few that knew there was ALOT more to blogging than that, you are ahead of the game!!
Most of us were completely out of touch with how much goes on behind the scenes of a blog that is getting some views. Even the smallest blogs, if they want eyeballs on their posts, require more than simply posting.
And, for many bloggers, that extra stuff is where they lose it and get stuck in the weeds.
There just isn't enough time. Or energy. Or care.
You just want to write and have people comment and love what you write. Right?!? (ha, see what I did there :))
Here's the deal, you can get lost in all of the "should do's and could do's" that make a blog successful. Sure, you can grow your blog by thousands of page views. You can have a giant social media following.
Or, you can simply enjoy your blog, do enough work to have people come and read it, and get on with the other parts of your life you think are important.
You know...what you intended when you started the blog.
If you want to grow your blog into a side-hustle or business...stay with me. I"ll have some simple ways to start working towards that goal without killing yourself and your relationships, in the process. That will be another post.
Today, let me give you a simple idea for what your schedule could look like if you only have a few hours a week to work on your blog. What should you be doing with that time?
1. If at all possible, integrate your family in tasks that make sense.
As a food blogger, my family often sits about the counter talking and eating while I'm creating recipes. We turn on music, pour wine, and have a great time. I have used this time as family time and bring out fancy cocktails, fun music, and invite friends over.
When the kids were small, we would head to the library when I needed to write. They would play and read while I wrote. I didn't count this time as my allotted time :).
When crafting, I give the kids a small craft they can make alongside me. Or, that is when they get to pull out the play-doh or other messy activity. I have to clean up my crafting, anyways. And then they would look forward to when I needed to work on my crafts.
Look for ways that you can use some of your blogging for your family. Can you get them excited about what you are doing? Can you make it about them and not about you?
2. For those tasks that you need to do by yourself, I suggest...
- work in 20 minute blocks of time when you have younger children
don't fight interruptions, expect them. Set a timer for 20 minutes and tell your kids they have to wait until the timer is off and then they are welcome to come and ask questions & such. Don't allow for interruptions in between those times. But be sure that after 20 minutes, you stop and check that they are okay and not needing anything before you start your next block.
- work in 30 minute blocks of time when you have older children
older kids should be able to go longer in between and better understand what waiting is. They should also need much less from you in between blocks. I simply stop and yell "everyone okay?" and wait for a YES. "Okay, setting the time again!" is my response. And then go again.
- try to have "special" toys, movies, activities, even friend time that is ONLY for when you are blogging. Don't be tempted to dole those out for cleaning or paying bills. Those activities will get done (surprise!) but your "you" time is often set aside first. Keep it top on the priority list.
- block tasks as much as possible to reduce the stress of "needing to get it done" on a daily basis.
Block scheduling social media, responding to emails, doing graphic design, even writing and formatting posts. Doing all the tasks for the month at one time will make you more efficient AND let you relax and enjoy your day.
- Utilize systems and templates.
Create a template for writing posts, graphics, social media posts, and anything that you can. Then you simply grab the template and adjust it for the needed information. It will greatly reduce your time and energy on each task. Bonus...you'll have a more consistent brand. The same idea with systems, create systems for how you pin, how you schedule Facebook, and even how you create your posts. Find what works and then rinse and repeat.
Now for the actual hourly schedule...
For 2 hours a week:
2- 20 minute blocks: Writing posts being mindful of SEO (posting 1x a month)
1-20 minute blocks: Creating needed graphics for post and for social media
2-20 minute blocks: Schedule social media
1-20 minute block: Write email newsletter for the week.
For the 2 hour a week blogger: You probably will only be able to post to your blog 1x a month. Remember, promoting your post is about ⅔ of your time. So make that post long, with great SEO, and something others want to share. To be more efficient and have more impact with your time utilize templates for your graphics, automation for your social media (and have a schedule and system!), and a template for your newsletter. Streamlined, focused, and efficient is the name of your game. Start the timer and GO...don't be distracted.
With any extra time you find yourself having, do what you love most! This is, after all, for fun.
For 5 hours a week:
2 hour (3- 20-minute blocks): SEO, write, and schedule only 2x posts per month.
1 hour: create graphics for posts and social media.
1 hour: schedule social media for the week.
1 hour: write newsletter for week. With remaining time, comment and interact with social media.
You probably will find you have time to post 2x a month. Make your posts long and well SEO'd. Remember, promoting your post is about ⅔ of your time, it's no fun to write posts that aren't seen. You have to be proactive! To be more efficient and have more impact with your time utilize templates for your graphics, automation for your social media (and have a schedule and system!), and a template for your newsletter. Streamlined, focused, and efficient is the name of your game. Start the timer and GO...don't be distracted.
With any extra time you find yourself having, promotion is your best friend. But don't get sucked online, you'll waste away on there.
For 8 hours a week:
I suggest you follow the schedule for the 5 hour week and add:
1 more post a month with affiliates or products
1 more newsletter a week (try affiliate marketing in it! see if you can make some extra $)
extra social media promotion
create a video (great for ad revenue and social media)
reach out to a brand for partnerships
WHATEVER is YOUR Favorite thing.
With those couple extra hours I would suggest you either create content that could make you a bit of extra $, create more social media buzz, or up your ad revenue game.
But pick that thing you love to do more of and STAY CONSISTENT! Put that into your systems and templates and keep at it. Otherwise, you'll find those extra hours are simply wasted away.
An example of a 5 hour a week month:
Monday: 4 - 20 minute blocks of writing a post, 1 of those blocks was researching SEO (1 hour 20 minutes)
Wednesday: 2-20 minute blocks of writing newsletters for 2 weeks, 1 mentioned a product for affiliate sales. Fingers crossed. (40 minutes)
Saturday: 1 full hour (hubby is home and kids are watching cartoons) Scheduled Pinterest for the next month. (1 hour)
Sunday: 20 minutes of snuck time to schedule Facebook for the week. (20 minutes)
Tuesday: 2-20 minute blocks to finish a post and scheduled for next month. (40 minutes)
Wednesday: 20 minute block to schedule Instagram posts for 2 weeks--images come from my blog posts (20 minutes)
Saturday: Another full hour to start SEO and write another blog post. (1 hour)
Sunday: 2-20 minute blocks to create graphics for 2 blog posts, 4 pins, and 8 FB memes (40 minutes)
Monday: grabbed 20 minutes to schedule the FB memes and pins I created yesterday. Also scheduled Fb until Friday. (20 minutes)
Tuesday: 2-20 minute blocks to finish the post, schedule it, and add graphics to both that were created this month. (40 minutes)
Wednesday: 2-20 minute blocks writing the newsletter for the next 2 weeks. (40 minutes)
Saturday: 1 full hour (hubby is home with kids), scheduled out FB and IG for a full month. Played around commenting and interacting (1 hour)
Sunday: 20 minutes of SEO for the next post. (20 minutes)
Monday: 2-20 minute blocks of writing and scheduling a post for next month (40 minutes)
Thursday: 1 hour of writing and scheduling a post --kids were at at a friends and used this time to get ahead (1 hour)
Saturday: 1 hour (hubby home) of creating graphics and pins for the post just created, also went back and fixed SEO and formatting of some older posts. (1 hour)
In this example week we ended up using about 12 hours of the month (3 hours a week). I didn't include about an hour a week I spend on editing photography because some of you aren't needing that in your schedule. And some of you would want more time for writing your posts (I'm very quick with writing). Simply add an extra hour or two and you are still WELL UNDER 5 hours a week!
With 12 focused hours for the month you have:
3 fully SEO'd posts written, formatted, and scheduled.
Graphics and pins for each post.
Fb posts 4x daily scheduled with 8 original memes created
Pinterest 10x daily scheduled
IG 1x daily scheduled
Newsletter 4x monthly written and scheduled (1 is an affiliate email to earn a bit of income)
A bit of commenting and interacting.
Small improvements on past posts.
That's a heck of alot!! Sure, you neeed to have systems and knowledge of how to be quick and efficient in order to get this amount done in a short time. But you can learn that. For sure!
Be smart about how you use your time, protect the small blocks you find, focus on the task at hand, and you'll be able to have a quality blog without spending your entire day on it!
Remember, friends, if you aren't having fun and enjoying yourselves...your blog will show it. Learn how to enjoy what you are doing. Even if you have to say no to what "everyone says you should do".
What does YOUR week look like? Do you think I forgot something important? Is there something you can't find time for?