More and more people are turning to freelance work. In fact, last year in the UK, it was reported that there are around two million people working a freelance career, and that figure is growing and growing. So it is easy to see why blogging is growing and growing, as more people want to get on the self-employed and freelance train. The flexibility can be just what many people need, for a work and life balance, especially for families. Plus, working as a blogger for your career allows more and more people to work and earn money, that in a formal office environment wouldn’t be able to. But how do you get started in blogging? What kinds of thing do you need?
One of the most essential ingredients that you need as a blogger is time. Time to set up your blog and getting it looking like you want it to and responding like you want it to. Then time to write. The content that you create is going to be key. People will keep coming back for more if you are writing about the things that are interested in, can relate to, or want to hear. But taking time to write well, edit images or video, and get a post published all need time. Not to mention time to connect and follow other bloggers, social media time, blogger groups, and admin and emails.
While it isn’t possible to change how many hours there are in a day for blogging and making it a business, there are plenty of things that we can do to make sure that we are blogging more efficiently, and making sure that we are using our time wisely. So here are a few things that you can do, as well as the physical tools that you can use, to help you to become a better blogger, and so you can use your time more productively. Because being busy isn’t the same as being productive.
Prioritise Your Work
Like with most things in life, you can have very few emails come in, and then all of a sudden you have plenty come at once. You might have a quiet week for posts, but then the following week, you have client demands coming at you from all directions. So to stop you feeling overwhelmed, and to get all of the things done that you need to, you have to prioritise your work. How you do that is up to you, though. It could be that the clients have put specific deadlines on for you, which can make prioritising pretty simple. But if they haven’t, then work through methodically. Which posts will need more time to write or what photos are needed for each? Then you can plan your week according to what needs to be done and when. It could even be down to which post is paying the most, as you need the money sooner rather than later.
Get a Good Smartphone
Your phone will be like a mini-laptop for you when you are a blogger. It can be used for social media, as well as reading and commenting on blog posts. Not to mention that you can actually write your posts on your phone too, or jot down ideas when you’re out and about. There is one other benefit of having a decent smartphone; the camera. Having some quality images is what you need as a blogger (relying on stock images all of the time isn’t exactly a good look). But it can be pricey to get a brand new DSLR camera, for example. But getting a smartphone with a well-rated camera could be all you need. Sites like Moneypug compares mobile phones, so it could be worth a look to see what the cameras are like, if your current one is a little worse for wear. London based blogger, The Londoner, swears by just using her iPhone X for all of her blog and social media images. So it could be worth a try, and it saves time having to edit photos off a ‘big’ camera, as you can just edit them off your phone.
For using sites like Pinterest to promote your content, it can be a good idea to have ‘pinnable’ images for your content. It makes your posts stand out, and can be shared more easily in that way. But creating a new image to pin for each blog post is going to be pretty time consuming. While it is a worthy cause, you can make it simpler for yourself. For starters, you could create some templates. It could be an hour of your time, to sit and create five or six templates. Choose a colourful background or ones with stock images. Choose the fonts and get text boxes all lined up. Then you can just use them in rotation for your blog posts. It will save you time when it comes to publishing each post, as well as create a cohesive look across your social channels.
Get Apps To Help
As the saying goes, there’s an app for that! And there really is when it comes to blogging. They can help you to edit images, create video, use your social media, and even help with writing and admin. Here are a few apps that are musts for bloggers:
- PayPal: a lot of clients will pay through PayPal. You can access the money online and transfer to your account, as well as send invoices using the app.
- WordPress: if you need to make a quick edit to a post, upload an image to a draft before you forget, or schedule a post for a certain date, then the WordPress app (providing that you use WordPress) can be so helpful.
- Social Media: it kind of goes without saying that you need to some media apps for your blog, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These are definitely the key ones, but Pinterest and Snapchat can be useful too, depending on your kind of blog and the kind of following that you have.
- Buffer or Grum: You can only really schedule social media posts on Facebook. But there are apps like Buffer and Grum that allow you to schedule posts. This can be really helpful if it is part of a campaign, as you can write all of the information in the post, and schedule it. Then it will post and you won’t have to remember about it at a later date.
- Photo Editing: if you have a smartphone that you are going to use for images, then having an editor on your phone is going to make you be able to manage your time more efficiently. There are a wealth of ones out there, but some of the best seem to be PicMonkey, Canva, and Beautiful Mess.
- Trello: Trello is a planning app, where you can set yourself reminders, as well as write down notes. It can make your everyday life much simpler, as well as your blogging life.
This is just a basic list, and there are plenty of others (including ones that will help you to find opportunities). So have a try of a few and see what works for you and what helps you to be more productive.
Work in Batches
Instead of just doing one task a couple of times a day, just do it for a little longer, once each day. Not all tasks can be done in this way. But checking and responding to emails could be done at set times in the day (perhaps 10 am and 4 pm, for thirty minutes each time). Editing images could be done all at once, rather than post by post, and writing posts are often easier to do when you’re on a roll, so to speak. Again, find what works for you. But with emails, try not to red-flag too many things. If you can’t respond right away, then red-flag it. If you can do something within 10 minutes to respond, then do that, rather than make it a task to be re-read later on.
Have a FAQ Page or Detailed Work With Me Page
There will be times in your blogging career that you’ll get some of the same questions over and over again. It could be something like what kind of camera you use, to do you host competitions on your site. If you have a detailed FAQ page, or a detailed ‘work’ page, then it can answer some questions, meaning you don’t have wasted time sending emails back and forth to people. If you do host competitions, for example, but charge, then state this in your page, so less people are likely to email asking for a freebie (though some will still try, believe me).
Becoming a better blogger and being a more productive blogger can take some time and some trial and error. But focus on two or three things to be working on first, and then you can go from there. Good luck!
This is a collaborative post.