Last Updated on December 13, 2021 by Jeremy
Oh, blogging habits. Everyone has a few, we all want more, and getting into the practice for many is a chore that takes months of work.
For me, when it comes to embracing new habits for my blog, I always set goals for myself at the beginning of a new year. The arbitrary reference point of January 1st is a great way to hit the reset button in many ways both personally and for our sites.
So in this one, I wanted to share five blogging habits I am looking to prioritize in 2022 and beyond. Yes, you're about to learn the skills I'm terrible at and my plans to fix them in the new year in this one!
The name of the game? Efficiency and money, of course.
Putting Notes into Draft Mode Faster
As I run five blogs (yes, five), you can imagine I spend a fair bit of time producing content. In fact, if I could spend 100% of my time churning out articles and doing nothing else, I'd be pretty happy. I often give myself the goal of 10 articles a week in the weekly goal's feature on our Facebook group, but I unfortunately barely hit it.
But I am not immune to all the annoyances that plague bloggers the world over. I get bored. I get distracted (even more so after mounting a huge 4K TV in my office with video games). I get writer's block. I sometimes think all the work I am doing is futile and won't amount to anything.
Whatever you want to call it, I can assure you I am right there with you.
Some days I can sit down, write a 2,500-word article, and have it finalized for publication within an hour or two (this was one such article). Other days, it takes me all day to write a simple 500-word wine review in a heavily structured format (that is almost like a madlib). It can be painful and sometimes quite hard to deal with.
To help with this, I've come up with a few ways to increase my blogging productivity– specifically when it comes to writing. While all these really do help, one I have found myself struggling with the most (while perhaps being the most valuable) is simply putting my thoughts into drafts to begin with.
The concept of this one is simple, and that is when you are burnt-out and can't write a coherent sentence, go into a draft article and simply write out your thoughts. It could sound great or it could simply be word vomit, but simply getting anything out into a draft article will put you leaps and bounds ahead when you do want to sit down for final publication.
Going into a draft article you've been dreading writing to find you already have 200 words with the article premise in it is a great motivation boost. So, when you are feeling drained and unmotivated, give your future self a lift by jotting down some ideas and moving on. Something is better than nothing, and you'll especially feel it if you do this one- which is why I want to prioritize this activity for as many articles as I can moving forward.
Inviting People to Like Facebook Pages
Are you inviting people to like your page on Facebook? Not just friends but also those who are not connected with your page but engage with content via shares or ads? If the answer is no, you need to make this a habit as, while one of the most mind-numbing tasks out there, it really can help build your presence on the network at a faster pace (which, in turn, can become traffic to your website via article shares).
When it comes to inviting strangers to like your page, Facebook makes the process incredibly easy. On any given post, you'll see a row of the engagement emojis (like, love, etc) and a number. This is clickable and expands to show you the individual users who engaged on your update and which emoji they selected as their response.
To the right of their name, it will likely either say “Liked”, “Follow”, “Invite”, or “Invited”.
Liked is a greyed-out button to indicate those who already like your page. Follow are those users who have semi-public profiles that you can personally follow (ignore these). Invite is the button we're interested in and lets you send a push notification to unconnected users to get them to follow your page. Invited is a greyed-out button that appears after you've already invited someone to like your page.
I always forget to do this on my pages purely because it is time-consuming and is a slow payoff. Yes, I do consider this one of the biggest reasons why I was able to build my local blog's page to over 100,000 fans, but it also meant that I probably clicked invite well over 100,000 times to get to that point.
Thankfully, growing a page gets easier as time goes on. The more fans you have, the more engagements you'll likely get. The more engagements, the higher probability you'll get shares. The more shares you get, the more non-connected folks may like your content. The more that happens, the more people you can invite and the cycle continues. (This means more time required, and is why I slowed down doing it.)
Still, inviting people to like your page is instrumental for growth, so be sure you're in the habit of doing this daily- or at least a few times a week depending on your publication frequency!
This one has a few final notes to consider:
- Facebook regulates how many people you can invite to like your page at any given time. Generally, this seems to be on the order of a few hundred or so in under an hour before they block you from inviting people for 24 hours.
- When we have large amounts of invites to send out, I generally will invite 100 or so, wait a couple hours, invite another 100, and so on. This seems spaced out enough to let me invite more over the course of a day before any limits kick in.
- If you are limited in inviting people, wait at least 24 hours to start again. If you invite people too soon the message may pop up again and your inactive time may be extended another 24 hours (if not longer). It really is a balance of spacing out inviting to avoid this from blocking you for a bit.
- Have a Facebook page over 100,000 likes? Facebook has reinstated the invite option for these accounts despite being disabled for a long time. So go back through your popular posts and get inviting!
Prioritize Money Now vs Money Later
One blogging philosophy I have quite enjoyed over the years is the concept of money now vs money later. The premise is as simple as it sounds as almost all monetization activities can fit in one of these two silos.
Money now covers any and all activities where you can put money in your pocket in the immediate future. Think things like sponsored campaigns, freelance writing, paid partnerships, and, if you have a fairly established website, possibly even writing high target articles for ad revenue if you can make things go viral (even if you may not get that payout for a couple of months, you're still earning it now which is the important part).
Money later, on the flip side, covers everything else that may not pay off immediately. Thinking things like writing articles that may not go viral right away, building niche websites, starting new social media profiles, and the like. These are all important in running a business from a holistic viewpoint because they could grow a brand to make money later on, but may not put money in your account by the end of the week, month, or even year.
What we've found as bloggers is that we tend to jump back and forth between these two categories indiscriminately. We may dive into building a new niche site while letting that viral article idea sit on the shelves for weeks or months. I've even been known to turn down easy sponsored campaigns purely because I feel too busy working on, you guessed it, money later activities.
There is no easy answer here simply because it is entirely possible to go into the extremes. Put too much effort into money now activities, and you may not have time to build any brands to earn long-term, passive revenue (money now activities tend to be active work). Put too much effort into money later activities, and you still have to wait for that later point to arrive.
Where you fall on this balance is up to you, but simply keeping the concept of “will this make me money now or money later?” in your mind at all times is a good motto to help prioritize the important work when it comes to your financial bottom line.
Optimize Older Articles for Improved Traffic
I'll be the first to admit that I am on the “create as much new content as possible to grow” train of thought. But for many bloggers, explosive growth doesn't necessarily have to come from new content, but rather optimizing the existing content you already have.
To put it bluntly, you could be sitting on a gold mine and may not even know it.
The steps you take here will vary considerably. For some, you simply may need to engage in keyword research with tools like Keysearch. For others, perhaps you need to focus on internal linking to increase your pages-per-visit. For others still, maybe the work you have to do isn't focused on the content specifically but rather improving your site speed as a whole. Or, if you're like us, you may have to get strategic on just one or two articles to really supercharge their performance using a combination of the above.
If you are looking to improve articles for search traffic in particular, the first thing you may want to do is head to Google Analytics and check out your performance under Acquisition -> Search Console -> Landing Pages. Here you'll see all your Google data including total impressions, average ranking, and clicks. Here, you can possibly glean information on which posts rank well and get clicks but also which posts rank well but don't get clicks.
Then you can circle back to all the SEO practices you know to figure out why. Is it a speed issue? A keyword issue? Or is your article simply not suitable for the user intent for the keywords you rank for? It really is a puzzle that is up to you to crack- these are just a few ideas to get started.
For me, personally, my big nut to crack in the upcoming year is how to get more clicks to my Pittsburgh restaurants article. This article receives over 1,000,000 search impressions per month but only about 6,000 clicks (a 0.6% CTR). Considering we tend to rank in the top 3 for many coveted keywords, this is far lower than some of our other CTRs for high-ranking articles approaching 10% or more.
Obviously, the issue here is user intent. As impressions go up, the odds our article is a fit for everyone go down significantly. But we also have other articles in the hundreds of thousands of impressions that receive 2-3% CTR too. Suffice it to say, this (plus the article's amazing 2.5 pages-per-visit) could be that gold mine we are sitting on, and warrants looking into things more for optimizations- and that is just one article of thousands on our sites.
Suffice it to say, if you are looking to get into a new blogging habit, be sure to look inward to your existing content just as much as you are looking at producing new content. The value may already be there!
Embrace the 80/20 Rule and Outsourcing
The final point here may be considered an extension of the money now vs money later concept, and it is the 80/20 rule- another motto bloggers everywhere should consider adopting.
Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of your return comes from 20% of your actions. For example in blogging terms, perhaps 80% of your revenue comes from display ads but you only spend 20% of your time writing articles. The other 80% of your time is likely spent on other tasks which, if you're lucky, will contribute the rest of your income (20%).
The latter is not the most efficient use of your time, even if it is likely necessary to keep your business going.
You can personally interpret this in a number of ways. Some look at the 80/20 rule and think in terms of efficiency. If you make 80% of your revenue with 20% of your time, you could possibly cut out the rest, take a slight income drop, and free up a good chunk of time to not work at all. Alternatively, you could also look at it and think if you can somehow dedicate 80% of your time to whatever activity makes you money, you could amp up your earnings significantly.
As you can imagine, this starts to tie into the money now vs money later principle we discussed above. But as with all things in blogging, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
Personally, I look at the 80/20 rule as a mix of both examples mentioned above. I spend a lot of my time on activities that don't make me money (very much 80% of my time for 20% of my income scenario), and only some of those activities can fall into the money later category, too.
So, how am I going to tackle this moving forward? By outsourcing as many non-money-making activities as I can out to a virtual assistant (and hopefully later, proper full-time employees).
The pitfall of the 80/20 rule is often that inefficient and non-paying tasks still likely need to be done for a blog, and you have to be in a unique position to outsource them. Things like reaching out to brands for campaigns, social media posts, inviting people to like your page (per the above), checking broken links, fact-checking (or in my case, checking dates for events), and the like are all work that has to get done, but may not be work that you personally have to do- and that is exactly why you shouldn't.
So, if you are able, this is where outsourcing the work really comes into play and is something I hope to tackle more in the new year and beyond- if I can get over my control issues, at least.
Do you have any blogging habits that work well for you that others should adopt? Comment below to share them!