How I Actually Blog
So it turns out there’s more to my blogging process than just drinking tea, reading Hunter S Thompson, and burying any occasional useful content under a layer of irrelevant chatter so thick only the most dedicated human reader (and almost no search engines) will find it.
The fact I see this less as a personal failing than a challenge to google to get its algorithms sorted should be a warning to anyone looking here for advice about how to get famous on the internet.
I am not famous on the internet. Being famous isn’t something I’m prepared to prioritise over burying my useful content under a layer of irrelevant chatter. I would be ok with having it both ways, but I won’t start following those pro-blogger checklists of Stuff You Need To Do To Go Pro because that would involve spending extra time on things I find more like work and less like fun than what I actually get paid for, plus I wouldn’t be getting paid as much, and that just wouldn’t make sense.
Nevertheless, I have recently begun to use checklists to help me define my blogging goals, measure my success according to those goals, and spend my time in a way which reflects why I do what I do here.
On the assumption that people exist who are just as curious about how other bloggers spend their time as I am, I’ll reveal my blogging checklists, and you can judge the result for yourself.
How I Use These Checklists
Loosely. I don’t do all the things on my daily checklist every day, and some of the “monthly” tasks haven’t been done for some months. Quite often, I forgo twitter entirely in order to train my six-year-old to bring me tea in bed each morning, or applaud my three-year-old for doing anything at all that isn’t connected to the movie Frozen.
They’re more “priorities lists” than to-do lists. Because of them, I spend less time sitting blankly at the computer deciding what to do next and for how long, or getting lost down the rabbit hole of social media when I should be eating a more balanced diet of online content.
These are the things I feel are are worth doing up to once a day, to the extent I find time:
- Review my to-do list
- Work on a post/edit images for a post
- Five or ten minutes on pinterest, browsing for good content – re-pin/comment/etc
- Five minutes own tweeting on twitter
- Ten minutes catching up with others on twitter
- Ten minutes Google+ – share/comment, browse one community
- Ten minutes on Facebook – share/comment, one Facebook group
- Respond to/triage email inbox
- Read favourite bloggers, leave comments where applicable
- Up to two tasks from the “weekly” list
- Set to-do list for next day
I allow myself to do these things up to once a week, except when it comes to checking my stats because that graph is right there at the header and I get curious about interesting changes in patterns and I’m weak:
- Publish one or two posts
- #randomlimerick on Google+
- Clear out email
- Check to see what I’ve promised/bookmarked in terms of collaborations/guest posts/blog tours
- Join one link party
- Write a review on TripAdvisor, Goodreads (or similar)
- Update contents pages (Travelling with Kids/Life in Singapore) with any new posts
- Pin this week’s post(s)
- Update Blogher with any cross-postable posts
- Check stats
- Free-range blog/article reading
- One or two items from the “monthly” list
- Figure out loose posting plan for next week
- Mel adds that I (we all) should be backing up our blogs on a regular basis, too – posts and comments as well.
This category should really be called Things To Do When I Need A Break Badly Enough That Watching An Online Robot Search My Blog For Dead Links In Real Time Sounds Perfectly Wonderful And Maybe Even A Little Bit Aspirational:
- Check blog for links that no longer work
- Look ahead and start organising/thinking about any guest posts/collaborations/etc
- Check old posts to see if they need to link to newer posts
- Clean blog of posts that just plain suck, in hindsight
- Review popular posts to see if they’re worth a followup post
Once Or Twice A Year
When I need a change but can’t quite justify a whole haircut:
- Tweak layout/change theme
- Set a non-ratings period. Blog/read minimally and without any guidelines.
The Real Reason I’m Telling You All This
Like many bloggers before me, I have this fear that other bloggers are not only more famous and even better at burying their useful content under layers of irrelevant chatter than I am, but manage to do it all in under two hours a week, mostly while cooking dinner, supervising homeschool projects, commuting to work, or participating in long phone calls with people they don’t want to phone but have to anyway.
Do you have a magic protocol? Tell me how you spend your time online. I’ll pay you*.
*No I won’t. But I will tell you all about my secret blog**.
**Unless that’s a disincentive, in which case I’ll promise not to tell you about my secret blog***.
***There is a crossover between secret and interesting, but they are not actually the same thing.
I tagged Emily-Jane on that writing process blog tour I mentioned at the top and here’s what she told us about How To Work From Home When You Have Babies Who Won’t Leave You The Hell Alone.